Category: News

Juarez crowned Miss Caprock at annual scholarship pageant

by Autumn Bippert

Julieta Juarez was crowned Miss Caprock during the 62nd annual scholarship pageant at South Plains College.

The event was held on Nov. 15 in the Tom T. Hall Recording and Production Studio in the Creative Arts Building on the Levelland campus.

The daughter of Salvador and Angelica Juarez of Sudan represented the STAR Center. She received a $750 scholarship along with the crown and sash.

“I’m shocked, and I’m very blessed,” Juarez said after being crowned as Miss Caprock. “All those girls up there had as much talent as I do, and they’re all very intelligent. I feel very honored to be chosen.”

All of the contestants participated in an interview session with the judges earlier in the day. The interview is worth 50 percent of the participant’s overall score.

During the show, after both the “After 5 Wear” and “Formal Wear,” which comprised of 25 percent of the scoring, the top five contestants answered onstage questions from the judges, which covered the remaining 25 percent.

Juarez’s on-stage question was, “If you could wake up tomorrow with any one ability or quality, what would you want it to be?” Her answer was to have the ability to fly, or not have to pay for a plane ticket ever again. She explained with tearful eyes that she wants to be able to see her loved ones who live great distances away.

The top five finalists answered on stage questions, that ranged during the 62nd annual Miss Caprock scholarship pageant held on Nov. 15 in the Tom T. Hall Recording and Production Studio in the Creative Arts building on the Levelland Campus. ALL PHOTOS BY AUTUMN BIPPERT PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I talked myself out of competing last year, so I wanted to push myself and try something different,” Juarez explained. “I wanted to leave SPC knowing that I did everything I wanted to do. That was my main reason for competing.”

Haley Norris, 19, a sophomore Pre-Nursing major from Lubbock, received a $500 scholarship after finishing as the first-runner up. Norris represented the Texan Cheerleaders.

Rounding out the top five contestants for the night were: Hallie Satterwhite, 18, a freshman Biology major from Levelland, who represented the Student Government Association; Danisha Lewis, 20, a sophomore Sports Broadcasting major from Plano, who represented the Black Student Union; and Courtlyn Judah, 19, a freshman Child Development major from Lubbock, who represented Baptist Student Ministries.

The other contestants included: Kamryn Alvarez, 18, a freshman Video Production major from Earth, who represented Catholic Student Ministries; Cielo Esqueda, 18, a freshman Business Administration major from Dimmitt, who represented the Student Government Association; Kaitlynn Jackson, 18, a freshman Education major from Fort Worth, who represented the Texan Cheerleaders; and Raelynn Wooley, 18, a sophomore pre-med major from Levelland, who represented the Sixth Man Club.

Staff, former students win seven awards

Current and former staff members of the Plainsman Press recently received seven awards from the Texas Community College Journalism Association.

The winners of the awards, for material published during the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters, were announced during the annual TCCJA fall conference, which was held at Baylor University in Waco.

Kendall Rainer, a sophomore general studies major from Georgetown, placed first in the category of Sports News for his story on the Lady Texans and their run at the NJCAA National Tournament.

The current associate editor and sports editor of the Plainsman Press, who is graduating from SPC and will continue his education at Texas Tech University in January, also placed third in the same category for his story on the Lady Texans capturing a share of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference championship.

Victoria de Souza , a sophomore public relations major from Brazil, placed second in Column Writing for her column on speaking with a foreign accent. She also placed third in the category of Critical Review for her review of the movie, “The Act.”

Autumn Bippert, a sophomore photojournalism major from Georgetown who also is graduating from SPC and will continue her education at Texas Tech, received an Honorable Mention award for her review of the book, “Dry.”

Also, Kaitlyn Hyde, a sophomore photojournalism major from Houston, placed first in the category of Sports Action Photo for her photo of a member of the men’s rodeo team practicing.

MaKayla Kneisley, a print journalism major from Abernathy now attending Texas Tech, placed third in the category of Environmental Portrait for her photo of an aerial aerobics class in Lubbock.

Members of the Plainsman Press staff have won 122 awards in the TCCJA competition since 2005.

Tenth annual Stocking Drive provides cheer to children in hospitals

Autumn Bippert

The South Plains College Reese Center Library has hosted a stocking drive for children in need for close to a decade.

The idea for the Stocking Drive came from students working in the Reese Library. One of the students had been involved in an organization called Project Homefront that collected toys for children in military families. When she had toys left over, another student suggested the extra toys be put in stockings and taken to local hospitals.

The Library is collecting new Christmas stockings and stocking stuffers to reach their goal of 245. They are asking for students, faculty and people in the community to donate.

Tracey Pineda, librarian at the Reese Center campus and the director of the Stocking Drive, said that this goal is up from last year.

“We delivered 222 stockings last year to four shelters and four hospitals,” Pineda explained. “We already know there are more children in some of the shelter locations this year. So we are planning on more at the other locations just in case.”

The stockings will be delivered to the same locations as the previous years in the Lubbock, Levelland and possibly Plainview hospitals, as well as to agencies that serve women with children and agencies that shelter homeless families. These locations include: My Father’s House; Hope House and Spirit House (both are a part of Family Promise Lubbock); Women’s Protective Services; and the Restoration Empowerment Center. The Empowerment Restoration Center in Lubbock was founded and directed by former SPC student Janet Railey.

“ We’ve been in touch with most of the shelters already, and they are all looking forward to our visit and receiving stockings again,” said Pineda. “We wait to see if we have enough to include Plainview.  Last year, we had enough to take 29 stockings to that hospital, and the person who received them, Sherri Wall, was thrilled with the generosity of SPC. Hospitals usually can’t give us an exact count until the day we arrive.  Children are admitted and some have to stay at the hospital during the holidays. Some get to go home before our scheduled visit, which is a good thing.”

Pineda also explained that they’ve learned from nurses that having extra stockings to leave with them helps during the holidays, because they will see children in the emergency room as well.  She said that the stockings are nice to have on hand to give to children who need something else to focus on other than feeling bad and being scared.

There are donation boxes at the Reese Center and Levelland campus libraries, at the Lubbock Center behind the service desk, and in all Reese Center buildings.  Christmas stockings, filled or unfilled, and stocking stuffers are accepted now until the holiday break. Monetary donations, which will help to buy things if there is a need, are also accepted in the libraries.

A wide variety of items can be donated, including: baby wipes, infant clothing, bottles, teething toys, stuffed animals, bath toys, toys for various elementary-age boys and girls, dolls (small enough to fit into stockings), puzzles, art supplies, paperback books, snacks, school supplies, caps and scarves, and hygiene products, among others. There is a full list of items needed on the Library’s Facebook page.

Pineda explained that the biggest challenge they’re facing this year is the calendar.

“Most years, we have two weeks after Thanksgiving to receive donations and put the stockings together,” Pineda explained. “This year, we come back from the holiday and have one week and then finals.  The bulk of donations come in after Thanksgiving, when people have gotten into the Christmas spirit and have been out shopping. And we have set our goal higher this year. To raise additional funds this year, we have been selling chocolate to have funds to spend at the dollar store in case we find ourselves short of items for particular ages.”

As donations are received, students sort the stocking stuffers by age appropriateness. Then the stocking stuffing can begin.

After students finish filling and packing up the stockings, they will be delivered to as many children as possible.

“The filling will take place during the week before finals, right after we return from Thanksgiving this year,” Pineda said. “Our first delivery will be made during the week of finals, though the exact date hasn’t been finalized.  There are usually several trips made during that week across different days.”

During the past nine years, with the help of the SPC community of students, faculty and staff, the Library has been able to donate hundreds of stockings to children.

“We’ve discussed the possibility, if we have enough funds left from donations and chocolate sales, after all stockings are delivered, of buying a brick for the Founders Plaza to commemorate the 10 years the Library has held the Stocking Drive and contribute to the College’s endowment that supports scholarships, which was Juanita Yanez’s, who is the Library technical assistant at Reese, idea,” Pineda said. “Recently, someone at Hope House mentioned to us that if we added up the number of people receiving stockings from SPC through the years we would realize the college has touched a lot of kids and families through this endeavor.  I’d like to see a memorial of that.”

Pineda said that her favorite thing about doing the Stocking Drive each year is seeing the willingness of people at SPC to give and to help. Also, she likes seeing and hearing how delighted children are to get a surprise of fun stuff and how appreciative parents are to receive something that makes their children happy. She explained that she also loves experiencing the gratitude the people who care for the children and families at these locations have toward SPC for supporting their efforts to make life better for others.

For additional details, or to contact Pineda or Yanez about drop-off locations, call (806) 716-4682.

Students, Levelland community to gather for annual tree lighting

by Desiree Lopez

Members of the South Plains College Grounds and Maintenance Department have already begun decorating the Levelland campus in preparation for the annual event that has become known as The Festival of Lights.

SPC, in collaboration with Levelland Main Street and the Marigolds, will host the event on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. at the main entrance of the Levelland campus.

Dr. Gary Hudson, professor of fine arts in music, will lead the SPC Symphonic Band as they perform familiar Christmas songs to begin the evening.

At that time, free hot chocolate will be offered for those in attendance.

Once the sun has set, Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, will give his remarks about the event and will join the winner of the Miss Caprock pageant, Julieta Juarez from Sudan, to light the trees, along with the other decorations around campus and lights on campus buildings.

Afterward, SPC faculty and student organizations, including Levelland community organizations, will begin their parade floats down Magnolia Street, leading the people to the downtown square for many fun activities. Student Life will have bouncy houses available and a place to throw snowballs at the grinch.

Santa Claus will also be in attendance for those wanting to take a picture.

For questions about the Tree Lighting, contact Miranda English, director of student life at SPC, at (806)716-2377.

Board of Regents discuss student demographics, fall retirees

by Autumn Bippert

A construction report for the Science Building, student demographics, and fall retirees were among the topics discussed during the November meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, provided a construction update on the renovations for the Science Building.

“We’ve been working very diligently with the architects and construction management trying to prepare for the renovations,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “There is a lot of complexity of trying to tie several 60-year-old buildings together, in addition to another building that’s about 15 years old. It’s just very challenging. I really think they’ve done a fantastic job of getting us where we are today.”

Dr. Satterwhite explained that David Etheridge and Ronnie Watkins spent countless hours working to prepare for the renovations.

“They have gone through room by room, cabinet by cabinet, light switch by light by outlet, trying to find out what does this look like,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “Seeing what we currently have and what it needs to change. I want to thank them publicly; they’ve done a fantastic job.”

Dr. Satterwhite explained that after talking with the architects while looking at the current budget for the renovations, the renovations need to be done in phases.

“Because we’ve discovered the complexity of the building and the complex construction project,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “And also we’re not going to be able to get this all done with $13.5 million.”

The first phase would consist of a large additional building that is 22,799 square feet. That would house a variety of new areas, such as a large student study area, private study rooms, classrooms, and offices.

“The estimated costs associated with that is approximately $6.5 million for the new addition,” Dr. Satterwhite said.

Phase 2 would include hallways and classrooms for chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology. The second phase also would include new roofing for the entire building, since the roof was planned to be replaced in the next year. The estimated cost for the second phase is $4.8 million.

A third phase would be needed for the rest of the building. But Dr. Satterwhite explained they have not yet sent for bid estimates for the third phase, because additional money needs to be raised.

Stephen John, vice president for institutional affairs, presented the student demographics for the semester.

The total fall headcount is 9,179 students, a 1.1 percent decline from a year ago.

“What we see from these numbers is about 78 percent of our students are what I would classify as being college-level students,” John said. “They’re not dual credit students. They’re students that have already graduated high school and have come here to South Plains College, and that’s 7,168. The remaining 22 percent are going to be students that concurrently enroll in dual-credit courses for this fall, that’s 2011 students.”

Gender demographics are 41.4 percent, or 3,797, students who are male, and 58.6 percent, 5,382 students, who are female.

“We’ve had a 10-percent decline in the number of men enrolling at South Plains College, over the last five years,” John said, “whereas women enrollment increased.”

The number of students who are age 22 and younger are 68.7 percent of enrollment, or 6,307 students. Students ages 22 to 24 are 10.8 percent of enrollment, or 990 students. Students ages 25 and older are considered to be non-traditional, and they make up 20.4 percent of enrollment, or 1,877 students.

Full-time students make up 46.3 percent, or 4,252 students enrolled, while part-time students are 53.7 percent of students, or 4,927 students.

“In terms of ethnicity and race, each year our student body becomes more diverse,” John added. “Overall, 57 percent of our students are minorities. Hispanic students account for 49 percent of our student body. White students represent 42 percent of students. African-Americans make up 5.8 percent, and Asians male up 1.2 percent. We have 102 international students, which is 1.1 percent.”

John said that when in comes to residency, 96.8 percent of students, or 8,885, are Texas residents. Out-of-state students are 2.1 percent of enrollment, or 192 students.

Academic majors are 81 percent of enrollment, or 7,437 students. Technical majors are 19 percent of enrollment, or 1,742 students.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president of academic affairs, talked about the retirees for the fall of 2019.

A total of 14 faculty and staff members are retiring this year. The 14 had a total of 329 years of service. Danny Vest, transportation supervisor, had the most years of service with 36 years.

The retirees for the fall of 2019 are: Becky Arrant, testing assistant; Judy Brunner, instructor in vocational nursing; Glenda Bryant, professor of English; Helen Delgado, custodian; Sarah English, professor of psychology; Kiyomi Kaskela, assistant professor of mathematics; Jennifer Morris, assistant professor of vocational nursing; Ginger Mulloy, administrative computing specialist; Tony Ortiz; professor of diesel services; Whitney Owen, professor of diesel technology; Randy Rowan, professor of history; Danny Vest, transportation supervisor; Vickie Vest, payroll and retirement contributions manger; and Randy Wall, assistant professor of English.

There will be a fall retirement reception held Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. in the foyer of the Student Services Building on the Levelland Campus.

Vaping increasing in popularity with teens

by Victoria De Souza

The increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes among teenagers is a result of the easy access and targeting a young audience in the promotion of vape products.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly two in five students in 12th grade report vaping within the past year. This has been raising concerns about the impact on vaping on brain health and the potential for addiction in teenagers.

The use of e-cigarettes by teens has been increasing for the past few years. In 2016, the NIDA released data showing that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes.

In 2018, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an estimated 3.6 million adolescents were using e-cigarettes.

With the e-cigarettes companies, such as eCigs and JUUL, targeting teens and young adults with frequent appearances of the products on social media, that impact has been increasing sales of the products and inducing people to become consumers. In 2015, JUUL spent more than $1 million in promoting their product on social media.

The rising number of hospitalizations related to e-cigarettes has been pushing lawmakers to step up to change regulations for the production of e-cigarettes and how they can be obtained.

The Texas Medical Association has confirmed more than 70 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the state of Texas. Nationally, there have been more than 800 reported cases and 11 deaths in 45 other states. The state of Texas enacted legislation to increase the minimum age to purchase electronic cigarettes to 21 on Sept. 1 of this year.

The first death in the state related to vaping was reported by the Texas Department of Health Services on Oct. 8.

Around 20 percent of high school students in 2018 consume e-cigarettes, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Richard Winslow (not his real name) is an 18-year-old high school student in the Levelland area who said experimenting with vaping was a means of escape.

“I started vaping a year ago,” recalled Winslow. “I was in a dark place. I used my sister’s vape. I could say I started to feel the need to continue using it to feel good and feel something new.”

Gabriel Regnedel (not his real name), another high school student from the Levelland area, explained how curiosity lead him into the habit of vaping.

“I was hanging out with my junior buddies when I was a freshman,” recalled Regnedel. “They had vapes, and I tried it, and it was a shocking experience. It was very flavorful.”

Richie Hook (not his real name), another student from the Levelland area, said he used e-cigarettes for two months as a casual thing to do that did not last.

“I was honestly interested in it because of all the tricks that I saw people doing with the vapor,” said Hook. “But then I realized that I was not getting nothing out of that besides losing my money.”

Winslow, Regnedel, and Hook each said that although they are younger than the minimum age to purchase e-cigarettes, it is easy to obtain the product. Almost any person they ask buys it for them.

According to NIDA, teens who consume e-cigarettes are 30.7 percent more likely to start smoking tobacco products, while there is only an 8.1 percent chance of a non-user starting to smoke.

Regnedel mentioned that a couple of months ago he consumed tobacco cigarettes, but said that being a user of e-cigarettes did not lead him to cigarettes.

“I don’t believe that vape lead me to try cigarettes, because I always vaped, but I never was bothered by the smoke of cigarettes,” said Regnedel. “My dad was a smoker for all of his life and passed away from lung and liver cancer.”

Recent media reports about how unsafe using e-cigarettes may be are causing some users to reconsider their actions.

“Vaping, in general, doesn’t concern me,” said Regnedel. “I believe the danger is on the THC-based vapes.”

Winslow, who has been vaping for a year, said that after seeing the news about e-cigarettes, he started to be concerned about how vaping could lead him to have issues with his lungs.

DeEtte Edens, associate director of Health and Wellness on the Levelland campus of South Plains College, reports that the number of students presenting symptoms of vaping-related issues has been increasing on campus.

“We have an increase in the number of students that have been seen for upper respiratory issues that are also users of vape,” said Edens, “and, unfortunately, some of them have been presenting strong side effects.”

Jayden McDaniel is a 19-year-old SPC student who has been vaping for two and a half years.

McDaniel mentioned that his usage of e-cigarettes, THC-based and regular vapes, started as a habit to help him deal with his issues with stress and anxiety in high school.

“It was always available to me, so I just kept using for the nicotine,” said McDaniel. “I tried THC vapes, and they made me feel better, but I did not enjoy the taste.”

The lack of regulation for e-cigarettes based in THC has been brought to the attention by the public, since the use of cannabis products are prohibited by federal law. But they are being produced on the black market.

“These products have no regulation by the Food and Drug Administration regulations,” said Edens, “and there is no knowledge of what kind of chemicals are being mixed and later being inhaled by the consumers.”

Consumers of e-cigarettes, whether THC-based or not, say that vaping has brought them judgements from others who may not have consumed or do not have knowledge of what it is.

Consuming e-cigarettes is not safe and must be stopped immediately, according to the FDA.

Book signing, reading held for ‘Passe-Partout’

by Autumn Bippert

“Passe-Partout” tells the tale of two lives, two narratives centuries apart, as they unravel the mystery of a hidden magic of writing.

“Passe-Partout,” written by Stephen M. Sanders, assistant professor of English at South Plains College, tells a narrative of two characters, Paul and Cyprus, in another dimension.

The Levelland campus Library hosted a book signing for Sanders on Oct. 2. He had copies of the book for sale, which were sold out at the event.

Sanders also read passages from his book at the signing.

The fantasy narrative is divided into two “books.” “Book One” follows Paul, who is in vaguely modern day, while “Book Two” follows Cyprus, who is living at some time in the Middle Ages.

Sanders said he kept details of time periods vague on purpose in order to avoid having to make sure he didn’t have to spend a lot of time on details and live up to research of past time periods.

The protagonist in each “book” is trying to solve the mystery of the death of their father figure. Through the “book,” each character discovers that these deaths are far bigger than he thinks.

“Passe-Partout” took about eight years to write, according to Sanders. He began writing his book before his son Stellan was born, and then took a break to help take care of him.

“After he (Sanders’ son) was a little more self sufficient, I decided to get back into writing my book,” Sanders explained. “I had so many ideas of what I thought I could do better than everybody else, as if it was that easy. And it’s not that easy.”

Sanders said that he is a poet by training, and he has only written poetry most of his life. He wanted to see if he was able to write something other than what he has been used to.

“It’s been received decently, which is encouragement to keep on,” Sanders said of his book.

Sanders said that he wanted to express in his book his own teetering relationship with faith.

“How can I talk about that into a murder mystery/fantasy (book), and how can I talk about things I don’t see other places,” Sanders said. “So this book is like a squished together compendium of everything I was thinking about and everything that I am.”

Sanders explained that he wanted to write a book with characters he hadn’t seen well represented before. His book features main characters who are LGBTQ, women and people of color.

“Being an English major, you see a lot of cliches, and tropes you should avoid,” explained Sanders, “which I think makes you harder on yourself. I wanted to make sure I had characters of color, characters that are LGBTQ, as major characters and protagonists. I wanted them displayed as just people.”

He said he wanted to present people from all different types of life as just people in his book and not as “others,” because in this part of the country, you don’t see people represented well.

“I was always paranoid of treating characters that aren’t white, cisgender male with respect and dinginty,” Sanders explained. “I had one reviewer say, ‘Why don’t you point that out on the back of your book, that you have these minority characters?’ I said, because they’re just characters in my book. They’re normal people. I’m not going to take advantage of someone’s minority, or who they are, to sell a book.”

Sanders said he was scared to show his book to his parents. He said the book is written by a person who comes from a place of an ultra-strict form of Christianity. He said that people who come from that place in their lives might find this book challenging.

“I hope you get ticked off when you read it (the book), because that means that you’re thinking about it,” Sanders said. “I wanted to make something moving, something that would move me when I read it.”

Sanders explained that he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which made writing his book difficult at times. He said that he would find himself writing the same sentence in his book 10 to 15 times.

He said once he read the book over, he noticed that his character would exhibit some of his same Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tendencies.

“I didn’t realize I was transferring some of my angst to this character,” Sanders said.

Sanders explained that the book cover was designed by one of his former students, Delany Price Jackson. Jackson is a graduate of the Graphic Arts program at SPC and currently is an adjunct instructor at the college.

“She did really good work,” Sanders said. “It was a process of several months of work. She was amazing at narrowing down on what I wanted for the book.”

Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock honors women affected by domestic violence

by Desiree Lopez

Women who were killed by an intimate partner or family member in Texas and those who have survived domestic violence recently were honored and remembered during a Candlelight Vigil.

The event, with Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock playing host, was held on Oct. 2 at the Lubbock County Courthouse Gazebo.

The service began with a prayer and was followed by a recognition made by Shelia Patterson Harris, a member of the Lubbock City Council. She offered special recognition to the WPS of Lubbock Candlelight Vigil. Harris strongly encourages every citizen within the city of Lubbock to join WPS in the effort to actively address and eliminate family violence.

After the recognition, employees of WPS read the names of the victims of domestic violence and their county of residence.

The guest speaker, Irma Linda, ended the event with her success story of how she got out of an abusive family and how she turned her life around. Linda graduated from high school and college, then began her own loving family, despite her family’s past of domestic violence.

The Candlelight Vigil was organized by Steven Garcia, coordinator of community education, outreach, and legal for WPS. It is his job to conduct presentations, training, donation drives, and public appearances. He also oversees the assistance of clients with legal issues such as filing charges, divorces, custody, child support, and immigration.

“Women’s Protective Services is a nonprofit agency dedicated to the elimination and prevention of domestic violence,” explains Garcia. “WPS services Lubbock County and 11 surrounding counties by providing shelter, food, clothing, counseling, educational classes, assistance with employment and benefits, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence.”

WPS is funded by government programs such as the Victims of Crime Act and Violence Against Women Act. They receive state-level funding through the Office of the Attorney General and Health and Human Services. They also receive funding through the local level by grants and foundations. WPS is truly thankful for the additional funding they receive from private donations and fundraisers.

According to Garcia, there are various fund-raising events and donation drives held throughout the year designed to assist the families staying at WPS and to bring awareness to the public. To stay updated on upcoming events, visit

The mission of WPS is to create an environment of empowerment for women, children, and families, and to eliminate family violence, according to Garcia. They hope to intervene in relationships where domestic violence is present and bring awareness to the public.

WPS specifically hopes to reach the entire population since, according to Garcia, one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

If you know someone who needs help, it is encouraged to become informed or lend a sympathetic ear. Do not blame the victim. Instead, guide them to community services, confront the victim with the danger, and help develop a safety plan.

If you are the one who needs help, you do not have to suffer alone.

“You are not alone in this,” explains Garcia. “It is not your fault, and you don’t deserve this. WPS can help you and your children.”

If you are a victim, do not hesitate to call WPS at (806)-747-6491.

Renaming of Science Building, fall contact hours among topics discussed at Regents meeting

by Atumn Bippert

The South Plains College Foundation Annual Report, approval for renaming the Science Building and fall contact hours were among the topics discussed during the October meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, presented the SPC Foundation Progress Report for 2018 to 2019.

“The Foundation had a very successful and very productive year,” John explained. “Net assets for the Foundation grew 2.54 percent to a record, $23,182,702. While this growth was a little bit less than what we experienced a year ago, when we closed up fiscal year 2018, the fact that we were able to end the fiscal year with the positive change in that aspect was really good.”

John also said that the Foundation received a total of $1,918,308, including $743,516 in contributions to new and existing scholarship funds.

“We had 597 individuals, businesses and organizations give to the Foundation in fiscal year 2019, and that was a 21.6 percent increase in the number of donors,” John said. “The number of individual donors increased by 39 percent over the prior year.”

John said that individuals and SPC employees contributed 45 percent of the total gifts that the Foundation received, with employees making 17 percent of the contributions and individuals at 28 percent. Also, 39 percent of total gifts were contributed by businesses and organizations.

“The fact that our employees are giving a little more than a sixth of the amount of funds that are received by the Foundation is a good sign of support from our employees,” John said.

John added that after discounting grants received for the Lubbock Center, the average gift amount was $1,330.

“The Foundation exists primarily to provide scholarship support or support college students,” explained John. “And this last fiscal year, 853 students benefited from those scholarships that total $953,095, which was a record of about a 4.75 percent increase in the amount of scholarships awarded the prior year.”

John also said that the average scholarship awarded was $1,117, which increased by12 percent from 2018.

The Foundation’s Permanent Scholarship Endowment grew by 2.3 percent, equalling $20.8 million. The Founders Opportunity Endowment grew by 4.1 percent to $4.2 million. The permanent endowment for the Founders Opportunity Endowment fund reached its goal of $3 million, which was set in 1998, for the 2019 fiscal year.

“The primary source of contributions over the past 21 years has been from our two fundraisers, the Scholarship Gala and golf scramble,” John explained. “That is really what has fueled that to that $3 million over that period of time. Our two fundraising events this last year raised $236,000 in net proceeds for scholarships. They were both very successful, and they continue to be an important source for scholarship funds.”

John also mentioned that nine new scholarship endowments were established, and seven additional funds reached endowment status during the year.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, presented a letter from the William R. & Sandra L. Wheeler Charitable Foundation, Inc. that requested that as a part of their $7 million donation toward the reconstruction of the Science Building that the college rename the building the “Helen and Wilburn Wheeler Science Building,” which was approved by the Board.

“Mr. Wheeler and I’ve been discussing this, and he’ll be delighted,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “They were very impressed and very excited about the renderings of what the building would look like. He’s very proud to have his father’s name on that building, and we should be very proud of that.”

Wilburn Wheeler was a member of the college’s first faculty, and his son, William Wheeler, is an alumni.

The college also has a $5 million commitment from the Helen Jones Foundation and $350,000 from the Montgomery Family Foundation.

“This is the largest construction project we’ve entered into on this campus ever,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “I just am very convinced that this is will be transformative for our college. It will be one of the first things students see. It will change the face of one of our most sought after educational facilities here at the college.”

Dr. Satterwhite said that they anticipate a groundbreaking ceremony and formal announcement of the name change sometime in January.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, presented the Fall 2019 Contact Hour Report. Dr. DeMerritt pointed out that the college saw a dip in contact hours by 1.2 percent, which is 21,856 hours. The college has a total of 1,842,944 contact hours.

According to the report, contact hours for the Levelland campus dropped by 6.3 percent, which is 54,304 contact hours. The Reese Center also saw a drop of 8.7 percent, or 25,328 contact hours.

The Lubbock Center and Plainview Center saw a rise in contact hours, 11.9 percent (17,552 hours) and 1 percent (608 hours), respectively.

Dr. DeMerritt also presented the Clery Report on Crime and Safety for 2018.

“You’ll find most of our activity, not surprisingly, happens on our Levelland campus as related to housing,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “That’s very common and just part of having a residence life on campus.”

The college is required by the Clery Act to report all crime from the previous year on Aug. 1.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, informed the Board that the college received the Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Grant Award, which is a grant of $506,719.

Dr. Gibbs also reported to the Board that the college’s nursing program was recommended to receive accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

It also was announced at the October meeting that Board members Linda Patton and Ken Williams are resigning, effective immediately, due to moving outside of the tax district. Williams’ term was to end in May of 2020, and Patton’s term ends in May of 2024.

Chairman Mike Box appointed himself, Bobby Neal and Ronny Alexander to the Appointment of Regents Nomination Subcommittee. The committee will decide to either find someone to fill these chairs immediately, or wait until May for the candidates to run for the position.

Whoever fills Williams’ chair will serve a full six-year term, while whoever fills Patton’s chair will serve for the remaining four-years of the term.

Crime report shows decrease in burglary, increase in stalking

by Desiree Lopez

An increase in stalking and motor vehicle theft, along with a decrease in burglary, are among the reported in the 2018 Annual Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Report.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president of Student Affairs, had assistance from Dr. Lynn Cleavinger, dean of students, and Nickolis Castillo, chief of the South Plains College Police Department, with collecting information and disseminating the report before Oct. 1.

It is required by law that all post-secondary institutions receiving federal financial assistance disclose campus crime statistics and security information every year, according to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990.

One case of rape was reported on public property in Levelland in 2018, while no cases were reported the previous year, therefore, showing a slight increase.

Cases of fondling decreased from one case to zero, while cases of aggravated assault also decreased from four cases in 2017 to zero in 2018.

Two cases of burglary were reported on campus property in student housing facilities on the Levelland campus, which is a decrease from the four reported cases in the 2017 crime report.

Only one case of motor vehicle theft was reported for on-campus properties in 2018, while two cases were reported on public property.

There were no cases of incest, statutory rape, robbery, or arson reported on the Levelland campus in 2018.

In 2018, one case of domestic violence was reported on public property in Levelland, which shows a small increase compared to zero in 2017. Cases of dating violence decreased from one to zero in 2018 for on-campus student housing facilities.

The number of stalking cases increased from zero to eight on on-campus properties, and two out of those eight were at on-campus student housing facilities.

We have a case with multiple reports involving the same person,” said Dr. DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, at the October meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents meeting. “So that’s why it looks inflated than what it usually is.”

These stalking cases were all reported from the Levelland campus.

One arrest was made in 2018 for carrying or possession of a weapon at an on-campus student housing facility. No disciplinary referrals were given for carrying or possessing a weapon on the Levelland campus.

Three arrests were made for drug abuse violations on on-campus property, and one of them was at an on-campus student housing facility. This is a slight increase from zero arrests reported in 2017. A total of 14 disciplinary referrals were reported for drug abuse violations in 2018, declining from 19 in 2017.

A total of 21 arrests were made in 2018 for liquor law violations, while a total of 19 disciplinary referrals were given on the Levelland campus. Both totals are decreases from the 2017 report, which included 28 arrests and 47 disciplinary referrals.

“We know for a fact, that if you look at disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations, we had a group of students in the fall of 2016 that continued into the spring of 2017 that continued to cause problems for us,” explains Dr. DeMeritt.

Three fires were also reported in 2018. An accidental grease fire occurred in one of the Smallwood apartments, which had property damage of $100. In Lamar Hall, a lit sparkler caused a fire with no property damage. Lastly, in the kitchen of North Sue Hall, a fire caused by burned popcorn was reported, but there was no property damage.

According to the Annual Security Report, South Plains College’s goal is to create a truly safe campus that can be achieved through the full cooperation of all students, faculty, and staff.

We take care of this (report) every day and try to make sure that we’re taking care of what we need to report and being very transparent with it and not hiding numbers, not inflating numbers, not ventilating numbers and being very truthful with what we find,” explains Dr. DeMeritt.

It is encouraged to act responsibly, work collaboratively together, and whenever possible assist each other to promptly, accurately and effectively report all unsafe incidents and criminal offenses to campus security authorities or responsible employees.

The Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Report can be found on the SPC website at under Security, Crime, and Fire Safety Reports.

Presidential primaries discussed at Constitution Day

by Autumn Bippert

Every four years, the country begins the nominating process of candidates for United States presidential elections.

The history of presidential primaries and the processes of primaries were the main topics discussed at the Constitution Day event at South Plains College.

The Social Sciences Department hosted the annual panel in honor of Constitution Day, which is a federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens.

Drew Landry, assistant professor of government at SPC, served as the moderator for the discussion held on Sept. 21 in the Sundown Room in the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

The panelists included Timothy Holland, assistant professor of government at SPC; Christina Bearden-White, assistant professor of history at SPC; Lubbock County Democratic Chair John Gibson; former and Lubbock County Republican Chair Carl Tepper.

Landry said that primaries are not actually mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

Holland began the panel by explaining that presidential primaries are unlike any other types of primaries.

“Whenever you vote in a normal primary, whether it’s for Congress or the sheriff, your vote is directly going to choosing who’s going to be the nominee of your party,” Holland explained. “But one of the interesting things with the presidential primaries is you’re actually voting for delegates. And it’s the delegates that get elected to your national party convention that will actually choose who’s going to be your presidential nominee for either the Democratic Party or Republican Party, or any of the various third parties.”

Holland also mentioned that with the upcoming election there will be a lot of coverage of the nomination process.

“There are 22 candidates or so currently running for the Democratic nomination,” explained Holland. “That means that there’s going to be a lot of splitting of delegates from each state. And so the possibility that we might end up at a brokered convention, which we’ll talk about a little bit later, is pretty likely at the moment if we continue to have so many candidates. You are going to have quite a bit about divisions that are going on. In the most recent polls, Biden was only pulling 20 percent nationally, Warren 18 percent, and Sanders 16 percent. They’re nowhere near the majority that they’re ultimately going to need, or to have enough delegates, to win the national convention.”

Bearden-White followed by giving the history of primaries.0Q6A6727

“The Constitution had no provision for political parties to begin with,” Bearden-White explained. “In fact, many of the founding fathers thought that a political party would be the downfall of the new Republic. Even James Madison, who’s considered the father of the Constitution and who wrote the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, and Alexander Hamilton both wrote papers that said what we don’t want is partisanship. Madison believed that there wouldn’t be any one party. He believed that people would have factions and thought that different factions would come together, and that they would form a party briefly in order to get things passed.”

She also explained that later both Hamilton and Madison ended up becoming heads of the first political parties.

“The first elections that happened were not by the people at all,” said Bearden-White. “They went through the electoral college. And they would cast one for president and one for vice president. So the first presidential election where they had two political parties running, John Adams, who had been vice president, became president and then ended up with a person on the opposite ticket, Thomas Jefferson, as his vice president.”

She explained that later the 12th Amendment put into law that presidents and vice presidents had to be in the same parties. Bearden-White also discussed how, historically, primaries were conducted and changed, as well as Abraham Lincoln’s election.

The panel discussed that historically you had to have name recognition in order to run for president.

  Tepper talked about how a lot of the primary process is dictated by state law and election code.

“Which is a bit controversial within the parties,” he added. “We don’t think the state should be telling us how to run. We are independent parties, we’re independent citizens and we don’t believe that they should have any influence over the structure of our political parties.”

Tepper said that state codes don’t mention Republicans or Democrats, but just mentions that a party has to conduct themselves in a certain way. He explained that both parties are obligated to a chairman of the party, a state chairman and the vice chairman. If the chairman is a man, then the vice chairman has to be a woman, or vice versa.

The panel then discussed the upcoming primary battle in 2020.

“There are some states that are wanting to cancel their third GOP primaries. What do you make of that? Do you think that’s a good thing?” Landry asked Tepper.

Tepper said that every party is going to want to have a vote in the primary process.

“There was a big Free the Delegates movement (in the 2016 primaries),” explained Tepper. “As a matter of fact, my vice chairman in Lubbock County was part of the Free the Delegates group. And then there was a lot of relationships broken over that process. The Texas delegation was at almost fisticuffs in hotel lobbies between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump at the time.”

Tepper explained that with the upcoming primary, there could be a lot of tension and division about who will be the candidate like has been seen in the past. Ultimately, it is going to come down to which candidate is better at interacting with the delegates who will decide the nominees, according to Tepper.

Gibson discussed that there are more disagreements in the Democratic Party about policies and procedures rather than the candidates’ stance. They are looking at whether candidates are using rules properly.

The panel also discussed how Texas’s demographics will play a major role in the upcoming election.

“Texas has been a majority minority state for quite some time now, 10 or 12 years,” Tepper said. “The white voters are outnumbered. They have been by the Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks, and some of those groups tend to vote Democratic. We’re starting to see a shift there.”

Tepper also said that Texas is becoming more of a metropolitan state, so the urban areas are growing and tend to vote more Democratic as well.

“The demographics are definitely shifting to make a more competitive state,” Tepper said. “It’s also interesting that Texas has been able to export a lot of resources over the years, money and volunteers (for campaigns.)”

He also explained that Texas has become more and more a two-party state, which makes it a major variable in the upcoming election.

The panelists also answered questions about PACS, voting percentages of the country and ranked voting.

Effects of vaping increasing in young adults

by Victoria De Souza

E-cigarettes may be a possible risk for some new lung illnesses, but the actual cause of these diseases still remains unknown.

With reports of hospitalizations related to vaping, doctors and scientists are scrambling to find the cause.

In the early 1800s, tobacco was one of the most popular vices. Now, in the 21st century, new tobaccoless devices are gaining attention for presenting a negative impact on health.

The marketing of addictions is one of the most lucrative, with around $9.36 billion of profit made in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even though the first attempts of inventing a smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette started in 1963, they became popular around the mid-2000s.

In 2011, after the invention of the first-modern e-cigarette, the use of an electronic cigarette became part of the mass market in the United States.

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol vapor produced by the e-liquids. Most of the e-cigarettes contain glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and different flavoring liquids.

While there is uncertainty surrounding any health benefit from vaping, e-cigarettes have been promoted as safer substitutes for tobacco. But there has been some concern about manufacturers targeting young adults and teenagers as their main holding a vape pen and cigarettes

With nine confirmed deaths and more than 300 people hospitalized as a result of vaping, the rising visibility of the effects of vaping is causing the health community to question the safety standards of vape consumption and production.

Dr. Ximera Solis, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, said little is known about the effects of vaping.

“The fact is that we do not know much about the effects of vaping on long-term and short-term health,” said Dr. Solis. “As far as I know, there is no regulation on these products by the FDA, and a lot of these products are bought from less than credible sources.”

The CDC has issued a warning about the dangers of vaping and recommends that people stop using this product.

Since vaping only has been around for a short period, there is no research on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.

“Most of the research now is focused on pathophysiology and learning more about vaping in general,” said Dr. Solis.

E-cigarettes can be helpful to ease the process of quitting the consumption of tobacco cigarettes.

“The only ‘advantage’ (to smoking e-cigarettes) is that it does help some people quit smoking regular cigarettes,” said Dr. Solis, “and they can lower the nicotine content over time to wean themselves off this.”

One of the side effects brought about by the use of e-cigarettes is the new development of a lung disease. So far, the CDC has not been able to identify any specific substance that could be the cause of this illness. But it is known that nicotine can cause very damaging effects to the lungs.

One questionable substance that can be found in the e-cigarettes that has come to the attention of medical specialists is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can be found in a variety of e-liquids that can be counterfeited without proper regulation.

The lack of information known about the development of this new illness makes it difficult for medical professionals to provide the correct treatment to be given to the patients.

“What we do know is that the patients become ill very quickly,” explained Dr. Solis. “What is important to realize is that this is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that we have to rule out other causes that could explain this symptomatology. Each patient must be treated on a case by case basis. What we do see is that patients have required admission to the intensive care unit, intubation and mechanical ventilation, and even chest tubes for pneumothorax (air in the chest wall from a collapsed lung).”

Dr. Ebtesam Islam from the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine of TTU Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, explained the inflammation in most of the cases is severe and diffuse, affecting both lungs.lungs this one

“It is suspected that the formation of an aerosol (i.e. the combustion of the flavoring, nicotine, and other chemicals) causes stress on respiratory epithelial cells by inducing inflammation,” said Dr. Islam. “What we see on imaging, such as Computed Tomography scans or chest x rays, are signs of severe inflammation, like what we would see with infectious processes.”

Dr. Solis mentions the present symptoms are nonspecific for any respiratory illness, such as coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.

The repercussions of e-cigarettes have been rising, along with lung disease cases. The symptoms of these cases do not match those of cigarette smoking and highlight an entirely new disease.

“Cigarettes tend to cause damage over time, leading to a chronic illness such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Emphysema and takes years to develop,” explained Dr. Islam. “Vaping incidents that are being reported now suggest an acuity to the illness. The time to illness from exposure has varied from days to weeks. With vaping, over two thirds of the patients have been young, between the ages of 18 to 34, and otherwise healthy, and the opposite tends to be true for those with chronic pulmonary disease.”

A focus on treating current cases and the causes of the e-cigarette illness will be the main priority of future research, according to Dr. Solis.

Both Dr. Solis and Dr. Islam agree that vaping should not be taken lightly, and avoiding the usage of e-cigarettes is the safer way until there is more information about the subject.

“These otherwise healthy young adults can present in critical condition, requiring prolonged and repeated intubations,” said Dr. Solis. “Since not much is known about how well these patients would recover, the effects from this illness can be damaging and life-long.”

Students leave sexual education event with useful information

by Desiree Lopez

South Plains College students were recently able to ask anonymous questions regarding sex, sexual abuse, STDs, and relationships during an event called Sex in the Dark.

The event was held on Sept. 16 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus.

The panel included: Jana Daniel, professor of sociology; Craig Allen, instructor of law enforcement and criminal justice; Dr. Peggy Skinner, chairperson of the Behavioral Science Department and professor of psychology; Samantha Curtis, employee at Texas Department of State Health Services; DeEtte Edens, associate director of health and wellness at SPC;, and Brant Farrar, professor of sociology and sponsor for SPECTRA. Dr. Lynne Cleavinger, dean of students at SPC, served as the emcee for the night.

Students wrote down questions on pieces of paper while one of the panelists came by to pick them up. Questions were hand-picked randomly by Dr. Cleavinger. All lights were turned off for anonymity, and glow sticks were passed around to provide some illumination. Condoms were also given away for free to students in attendance.

Whether students attended for extra credit or voluntarily, they left the event with a lot of useful information.

According to Daniel, there is a great need for sex education, particularly among SPC students.

“What we [department faculty] have found is that students across the state of Texas and other states don’t typically get comprehensive sex education,” explains Daniel. “So when they get here or become sexually active, they think they know everything, and there is so much that they don’t know.”

When discussing sexuality, it is important to have knowledge about it because it involves not only physical health but mental health too.

“It is also important for students to know the resources they have, because a lot of students don’t have a clue that they have them and that they are free,” says Daniel.

Professors and special guests enjoy being on the panel for Sex in the Dark, according to Daniel. They enjoy the interactions they receive from students when they discuss various topics about sex.IMG_0384

Daniel explains that the panelists continue to participate at Sex in the Dark because it is beneficial to students.

“We have a good time doing it [Sex in the Dark],” said Daniel. “Some students may have a little bit of hesitancy, but I think that after the event they begin to feel more open about it. We just want students to be safe.”

Faculty of the Behavioral Science Department and those at the Health and Wellness Center are available to answer any questions that students may have regarding sex, diseases, and sexual assault.

The difference between both departments is that professors are required to report any sexual assault or rape, while the Health and Wellness Center has confidentiality under the HIPAA, which is medical rules and guidelines.

It is encouraged that if someone is a victim of rape or sexual assault and wants to speak with a certified individual, speak with a professional counselor at the SPC Health and Wellness Center or call the Voice of Hope 24-hour crisis hotline, (806)763-RAPE (7273).

Bus driver retires after traveling thousands of miles

by Desiree Lopez

Danny Vest has spent many hours driving hundreds of thousands of miles for students at South Plains College.

He recently retired after 35 years of service as the transportation director. He started working for SPC in 1984 and was employed at the college until August 31, when he officially retired.

A Levelland native, Vest attended junior high and high school in Levelland before enrolling at SPC. While he was an SPC student, he served as the manager for the men’s basketball team. After he graduated, SPC had gotten new “people carriers,” according to Vest, which is another term for bus, and the position for full-time bus driver became available, so he applied for the job.

His favorite memory was when he had the opportunity to drive the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. They came to campus one year, and he had the privilege of picking them up from the airport and driving them to their destinations.

Vest considers his most memorable moment while working at SPC to be when the men’s track and field team won 11 consecutive NJCAA Outdoor National Championships.

Being the bus driver, Vest had the chance to go on multiple trips with many SPC organizations. He drove the students in the Upward Bound Program every summer and went to many places such as Colorado, Ruidoso, N.M., San Antonio, and Austin. He also was able to go to Florida with Country Caravan, which was a band of college students and professors who performed free concerts while traveling around Texas and other parts of the country.IMG_0372.JPG

He drove the basketball and track teams to many of their games and events. He went to San Diego, California with the women’s basketball team, as well as to Detroit, Michigan with the track teams. He also has driven the men’s basketball team to Hutchinson, Kansas, where he watched them win several national championships.

According to Vest, his trip mileage with SPC is about 750,000 miles.

There are a few SPC organizations that are sad to see him go, but wish nothing but the best for him as he starts the new chapter of his life.

As of now, Vest doesn’t have any plans for the near future, but hopes to one day visit Alaska, since it is the only state that he has not been to.

“I actually just thought that it was a good time to just do it now,” says Vest explaining why he chose to retire.

Vest said he is very thankful for South Plains College for the numerous opportunities he had while working here. He made many lifelong friends and intends on keeping those friendships throughout his retirement.

New downtown center will benefit students, Lubbock

By Autumn Bippert

The City of Lubbock and South Plains College have finalized the sale of the current City Hall building to become a new campus. 

The sale comes just after of the 12-month time frame was set aside to explore the possibilities of using Lubbock City Hall as a future campus for South Plains College, as part of  the Memorandum of Understanding between the college, the City of Lubbock, and Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA).

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, recently explained that the cost of the building was $2 million. He also said that the expected cost of the construction is $15 million. SPC has received $16 million in commitments from LEDA to support  the purchase and remodeling costs.  SPC will receive an additional $3 million in operation support for the first five years of operation.  Overall, the college will have $19 million in financial commitments for the project.

city hall

The Lubbock City Hall buliding will be remodeled to be the college’s Downtown Center.
The new campus will house Arts and Sciences classes that are currently at Reese
Center and is anticipated to open for Fall 2021.

“There were a number of factors that influenced the decision to move forward with the Downtown Lubbock Center,”  Dr. Satterwhite said. “Among the greatest of these was the long- term decline in enrollment at the Reese Center and the potential for SPC to be located closer to Texas Tech and our other university partners.”

Dr. Satterwhite said that he anticipates that this will benefit the City of Lubbock because it will establish a more permanent and comprehensive community college presence in the heart of  the city.

Lubbock was previously the largest city in Texas without a college campus downtown. The Downtown Center is expected to enroll 2,500 students a semester. Dr. Satterwhite also explained that the downtown campus is important for employment preparation and creating a more robust workforce for the city and the region.

“Being more closely located to our largest transfer partner, Texas Tech, we believe we will have a greater number of students co-enroll at SPC and TTU,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “This    will allow us to serve a greater number of students.  Currently, many of these students cannot commute to Reese or Levelland and maintain their necessary schedule at TTU.  However, since we will only be approximately seven blocks from TTU, we expect that students may choose to enroll in many of the courses offered  at SPC at a fraction of the cost of attending the university.”

He also said that the plan to completely remodel the building in Lubbock will result in very high quality and attractive educational facilities.

Dr. Satterwhite explained that they know that SPC will eventually need to make substantial capital improvements at some of the Reese Center facilities, and the college’s investment could be more productive at a location that will better serve the students.

That the current plan is to completely remodel the Lubbock City Hall building, according to Dr. Satterwhite. This will require removing almost all of the current infrastructure of the building to change the function from an office facility to an educational facility.  Additionally, SPC hopes to create a very modern and vibrant educational environment to best serve students.

Dr. Satterwhite anticipates that the building will be complete for coursework to begin in the Fall of 2021.  He also said that they do not have a completed design for the building, and won’t be  able to begin construction until the current Lubbock city management moves out of the facility.

“The current plan is to move the Arts and Sciences classes that are currently being offered at the Reese Center to this new Downtown Lubbock Center when it is complete,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “The Arts and Sciences classes include those courses that are offered as part of the AA or AS degree plans.  It is important to note that not all AA or AS classes are planned to be offered at the new center, only those currently offered at the Reese Center.”

Dr. Satterwhite said he’s most excited about the potential for increased enrollment at South Plains College.

“One of the major factors in students attending college is accessibility, geographic and financial accessibility,” added Dr. Satterwhite. “I believe that this new center will provide greater accessibility through lower costs than the other Lubbock options and  ease of access. Additionally, I am excited about the opportunity to create a new location that is supported by our private industry partners that will be attractive and appealing to our students.”

Library director hopes for increased student interest after improvements

By Desiree Lopez

During the summer, improvements have been made to the Library on the Levelland campus of South Plains College in hopes of increasing student interest.

The Library has new furniture throughout the first floor, such as movable tables and chairs, white boards, and charging stations.


The Library on the Levelland campus has added comfortable
and functional seating to the first floor to make it more inviting

“We’re trying to bring students in from all different parts of campus and make it a place where students want to come and hang out between classes,” said Mark Gottschalk, director of libraries at SPC, who adds that upgrades on the first floor are ongoing and there are plans to start renovating the second floor soon. 

The furniture is not the only new thing added to the Library. There are also a few new rules in place for the beginning of this semester. Students are now free to eat and talk with one another on the first floor only. 

IMG_0348“We want you to come in here and hang out with your friends, and have a burger or whatever you want to do,” said Gottschalk, “and then go upstairs if you need quiet.”

 The first floor of the Library is meant to be a place where students can hang out with one another in a comfortable setting. Meanwhile, the second floor is reserved for those who want to study in a more quiet environment.

“Everything we’re trying to do as a department is to make it a space where students want to be and make it a campus destination,” says Gottschalk. 

Suggestions are welcomed for how to make the Library a more student-friendly environment. 

“We’re working with more students this year to figure out what else they would like to see,” says Gottschalk, “and then figure out how we can keep the momentum up by changing it to what you guys might like.” 

IMG_0350Students are free to adjust the new furniture in a way that is comfortable for them. 

“We’re kind of watching how furniture moves around, and if you guys use it differently, then we’ll just shift and adjust,” explains Gottschalk. 

Library staff have been working to make the Library a welcoming environment for all students and hope to attract more students to visit. 

An event for students called ‘Grocery Bingo’ recently was held at the Library, which is open to hosting any campus or student group meetings and events. In October, the Library will be hosting an author event for Stephen Sanders, an English instructor at SPC, who published his first book last year. The library plans to hold more events for students in the near future in hopes of making it a more social place and open space for students.IMG_0356

Plans are still in the works for the upgrading of the first floor, with work to start soon on the second floor and the lobby. All furniture that was not repurposed was donated to Levelland Christian School. 

The Library is open from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, as well as from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

New officers elected for Student Government Association

By Desiree Lopez

The Student Government Association at South Plains College will have some new faces for the fall semester. 

An election was recently held for the offices of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, public relations coordinator, and historian on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3. 

Elected as president was Cameron Pope, a freshman government major from Slaton, Texas. The role of the president is to preside over all SGA members, set an example regarding behavior, and lead all meetings. 

Elected as vice president was Danisha Lewis, a sophomore sports broadcasting major from Plano, Texas. The vice president works closely with the president and must be ready at any time to take the place of the president when needed. 

Elected as secretary was Cielo Esqueda, a freshman business major from Dimmitt, Texas. The secretary must maintain the records and take notes at every meeting. 

Elected as treasurer was Zachary Nava, a sophomore kinesiology major from Slaton, Texas. The role of the treasurer is to keep up with all finances and the budget. 

Elected as public relations coordinator was Holden Basquez, a freshman marketing major from Levelland, Texas. The public relations coordinator is in charge of advertising all events and meetings and organizes fundraisers for SGA. 

Elected as historian was Myranda Alvarez, a sophomore computer science major from Morton, Texas. The historian is responsible for all materials and for collecting files, photographs, and any other important documents, as well as, compiling a record of the SGA activities. 

An election is held once every school year for vacant positions, according to Miranda English, director of Student Life at SPC. 

There is an executive board meeting for officers once every week. The general assembly takes place twice a month in room 102 of the Student Services Building and is open to all students. 

Officers are required to attend every meeting. In these meetings, service projects, volunteer opportunities, all campus-wide events, and changes needed at SPC are discussed. This year’s focal point is food insecurity, the state of being without access to food for a certain amount of time, and promoting the SPC Food Bank.

Recent legislative session topic at Town Hall Meeting

By Desiree Lopez

The Texas budget, water supply, mental health, education, and transportation were among the many topics discussed at a Town Hall Meeting held on Sept. 10 in the Sundown Room in the Student Center on the campus of South Plains College in Levelland.

Among those who participated in the event were Charles Perry, state senator for District 28 and chairman of the Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee, and Ken King, state representative for District 88. 

Senator Perry officially designated Levelland as the City of Mosaics in Texas. Barbra Pinner, mayor of Levelland, attended the meeting to receive the proclamation. 

Rep. Ken King and State Senator Charles
Perry discuss the recent legislative session
during a Town Hall Meeting held on Sept.
10 in the Sundown Room of the Student
Center on the Levelland campus.

“This (proclamation) designates the city of Levelland as the City of Mosaics in Texas, so it’s a new district, it’s a new culture… Anytime we recognize a rural city down in the capital we need to reestablish the identity. We need to make people aware of who we are and what we are out there, and that we do have some culture,” proclaimed Senator Perry. 

Senator Perry represents 13 towns in 51 counties, which allows him to travel to different cities and speak. The topic he discussed mostly was the Texas budget, while doing a recap of the 86th Legislative Session. 

This year’s budget was $251 billion, with $72 billion going to public education, $20 billion for community colleges, $85 billion for human services, and $31 billion for transportation. This is the largest state budget yet, and this makes Texas the 10th largest economy in the world, according to Senator Perry. 

Two main items Senator Perry went into the session eager to talk about were Public School Finance Reform and Property Tax Reform. When in session, they hit these two items head on, and fortunately, they had a big enough budget to do some of the things they did. Unfortunately, two events crept up on them: Hurricane Harvey, which overflowed rivers and coastlines; and shootings, which brought public school safety to the highest concern. Because of these, the budget had to be readjusted.

Through Senate Bill 8, the idea that was agreed upon was that cities should do a watershed basin approach for the lack of water in some areas, which means that when areas near lakes and rivers flood, it is required by law to coordinate, collaborate, and work together with other cities in tandem so that one city’s solution doesn’t create a bigger problem.  

Mass shootings in schools were also discussed. Senator Perry blamed unstable mental health as the cause of them. 

“I will never advocate shutting down mental institutions,” says Senator Perry, “because for a lot of people, it’s their last resort.”

Representative King, who has served as a representative since 2013, and is currently running for reelection. One of his main priorities is redistricting. 

He touched on public education and Senate Bill 11 during the meeting. He said that the idea that teachers should be getting paid more because they are educated and professional people came up during this legislative session. It was also discussed that the state should help students based on their needs, not by their zip code. 

This past session is said to have been the most productive session yet, according to Representative King. 

Senator Perry ended the Town Hall Meeting with suggesting the audience read Leviticus 26:40-45.

Mixer connects alumni, current students

By Abi Hernandez

Current students had the opportunity to network and hear from former students during the Texan-to-Texan Mixer held at South Plains College

The event was held on Aug. 27 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus. The purpose of the mixer was to celebrate the alumni’s’ journey of completing their years at SPC. There was food and live music provided for students, staff, and the alumni who attended the event.

The host, Stephanie Smith, said she started as an English major and switched to her second major, Public Relations. Smith attended South Plains from 2009 to 2011. 

“ SPC helped me to blossom into my own person,” said Smith. 

Among her favorite memories is when she was in the Miss Caprock Pageant, representing the LGBTQ community. Smith was also a Mascot and Campus Ambassador. Her advice to students was to “get involved and meet new people.” Since 2014, Smith has worked at SPC as the Alumni Coordinator. 

Miranda English, an alum from SPC, said that she explored several different majors during her time at SPC. English first enrolled in 2004 but dropped out in 2006. She returned in 2008, before graduating in 2012. Her favorite memory was when she walked into Jim Archer’s psychology class and the class was singing along.

English said she thought to herself as she saw them,  “ This is the place to be.”

Smith’s advice to students is to explore career choices intelligently and see an advisor to help determine if it is the right career track for you. Currently, English serves as the Director of Student Life at SPC.

Among the other alumni attending the event was Amber Langehenning, who was a double major in Human Development and Telecommunications. Langehenning attended SPC in 1995 through 1997. Her favorite memory was “being able to do all the cool stuff like student government, Campus Ambassador, the TV studio, and BSM.”  

Langehenning’s advice to students is to “get involved and find your people.” Langehenning is the District 504 Coordinator for Lubbock Cooper ISD. She also produced seven different movies.

The live music was provided by another alumnus named Gypsy Jayne, a Sound Technology and Commercial Music when she attended SPC from 2003 to 2006. Jayne’s favorite memory was that she had a good relationship with the administrative assistant in the Commercial Music Building, Tammy Amos, who she enjoyed talking to and hanging out with.  Her advice to students was to stick with it, learn as much as you can, and to appreciate and respect all of the professors. Jayne is now a professional musician and a live performer for the past five years. 

A few of the students who attended the Texan to Texan Mixer were asked what they learned from the alumni and something that they thought was valuable. 

Brice Juarez said he learned people end up being like you when you don’t expect them to be. He said what he found valuable was that no matter what the alumni stayed with it, even after their lives started. 

“The alumni told us to always take a risk and do not be afraid of new things,” said Juarez.

Deja Madrid learned to meet more new people more, and what she found valuable was that she should never give up and always take risks. Some advice she took was to try her hardest regardless of the task.

“They told us to never be afraid of new experiences and opportunities,” said Madrid.

Haley Norris said, “I learned about the traditions the alumni had while they attended SPC.”

Norris was also advised to return books to get your money back after the semester and save up for the next.

Enrollment, academic integrity software discussed during Regents meeting

By Autumn Bippert

Fall enrollment, housing occupancy, Title IX changes and academic integrity software were among the topics discussed during the September meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents. 

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, presented the preliminary Fall 2019 enrollment as of Sept. 11. 

“Our total unduplicated headcount for the fall term is 9,300, 104 less than last year,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “We’re down 1.1 percent over last year. Not surprising, really looking at the economy continuing to maintain where it’s at, doing better and better.”

Dr. DeMerritt explained that there has been a significant uptick in online classes, with an increase of 203 students, or 7.1 percent, totaling 3,048. 

“We did see a decrease in our dual credit,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “Our dual credit decrease is due to the loss of Frenship High School to Angelo State University. Last term, they could not offer what they needed. While this term, Angelo State actually offered what they needed, and so they pulled from us.”

Dual credit enrollment saw a drop of 3.9 percent, 80 students, totaling 1,986 enrolled.

Levelland campus enrollment is 4,067, which is a decrease of 120 students, 2.9 percent, from last fall. Reese Center campus decreased by 132 students, 6 percent, totaling 2,078. The Lubbock Center campus enrollment increased by 24 students, 2.4 percent, totaling 1,079. Plainview campus decreased by 16 students, 4.9 percent, totaling 312. Online classes increased by 203 students, 7.1 percent, totaling 3,048. 

Dr. DeMerritt also presented the housing occupancy for the fall semester.

“We’re sitting at 90.6 percent occupancy,” Dr. DeMerritt said. “Of the 766 beds, we have 694 filled. Of those, eight are private rooms. So we’re sitting really strong.”

Dr. DeMerritt said that in the dorm occupancy, 54.18 percent are male students and 45.22 percent are female students, which is a change in trend to have more male than female students living on campus. Total occupancy is at 90.6 percent which is an increase from 87.9 percent from the previous year.

“Surprisingly, Gerstenberger still has nine beds open,” Dr. DeMerritt added. “The issue there is some of those folks really liked the cost that they’re paying right now for the triplets at $1,000 and don’t want to pay up the other $1,500. It’s the same way if you look at the women’s halls. Tubb has 11 empty beds.

Dr. DeMerritt also discussed several changes coming to Title IX due to HB 1735, SB 212 and HB 449 that were passed in the last Texas legislative session. He said that these changes will be made within the next month or two. One of these coming changes  is transcript notation. 

“The State of Texas has approved all disciplinary actions, a suspension or expulsion from an institution to be transcribed on the academic transcript beginning immediately,” Dr. DeMerritt explained. “They have taken collegiate registrars and admissions officers’ recommendations on transcript notation regarding disciplinary actions and have actually instilled that into law.”

Dr. DeMerritt explained that this is beneficial because institutions can see what has happened with these students who have a record of either sexual assault or heinous crimes of some type, and they can’t continue to roll between institutions. Institutions have to honor any disciplinary suspension just as they honor any academic suspension from another institution.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, discussed adding a fee of $10 to a students’ bill for academic integrity software. 

“In August, we discussed the need to invest in an academic integrity software application that would allow us to ensure the integrity of our online learning environment,” Dr. Gibbs said. “We are currently going through the state-mandated formal bid process to determine the vendor or the service. We would like to pilot this application in spring of 2020, with institution-wide implementation in the fall of 2020.”

Dr. Gibbs explained that pricing for this type of service is typically based per student per academic year and is estimated to run approximately $200,000 annually. SPC has determined that $10 per student per semester would be enough to cover the cost of the service.  

“It will be available to all of our students and to every class, even in-person classes,” Dr. Gibbs said. “I think it’s going to enhance our ability to make sure that our students are doing their own work. So our in-person classes, we’ll actually have a more secure testing environment if they move their test to an online environment with the use of the services. So in the old days when we would go in and take a class and we would take a scantron with multiple choice tests, students were cheating those in classes.”

Dr. Gibbs said that because of the algorithms that are run by the system, students are not going to be able to get away with cheating.

  Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, brought for consideration change in dual credit pricing. 

“We charged $210 for the first dual credit class,” Dr. Satterwhite explained. “Every class thereafter, we charged $174. That’s how we structure our fee. We find ourselves increasingly competing with universities.”

Dr. Satterwhite explained that the University of Texas, Angelo State and several other colleges have been approaching high schools in the area with lower costs for dual credit classes.

He said that a decrease to $180 per three-hour course would help retain schools in the area. He also added that the fee would need to be revisited in the future to continue to compete with universities.

Dr. Satterwhite also provided an update on the construction for the Science Building. He said that the original cost estimated was $13.5 million, and SPC has raised $12.1 million through private donations. He also said that the cost is only an estimate until they begin to make bids and see where they’ll have more room to spend at.

Groundbreaking for the Science Building is estimated to be held near the beginning of December of this year.