Category: News

Red Flag Campaign bringing awareness to domestic violence

by:CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief 

Red flags cover the ground of the Levelland campus of South Plains College in an effort to bring to light issues involving domestic violence.

The Red Flag Campaign originated in Virginia and has spread across the country as a way to approach domestic violence, according to Jill Zesiger, a counselor at SPC.

Zesiger said that by the time she came to work for SPC in August, Dr. Lynn Cleavinger, director of Health and Wellness, had already done most of the leg work to get the campaign up and running.

“When I interviewed for the job, that was part of the job description,” recalled Zesiger. “It turned out to work really well with my personality.”

According to Zesiger, the Red Flag Campaign goes hand in hand with the new program, “Don’t Cancel That Class.” Within that program, professors can call and schedule Zesiger for a day when they will not be able to make it to class, and she will cover the class. When she covers the class, she has plans to discuss topics along the lines of what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and what resources are available to students.

“It doesn’t take up their teaching time, and it’s a resource that’s offered,” said Zesiger. Zesiger said that the main goal of the Red Flag Campaign on campus is to bring awareness to the topic of domestic violence.

“One of the things I always ask when I go into the classrooms is, ‘How many reports or incidents (of domestic violence) do you think have been reported at South Plains College?’ and I get a lot of random answers,” said Zesiger.

According to Zesiger, there were no incidents reported at SPC. But she follows up with the question, why do you think there were no incidents reported? She said the majority of the answers were because he or she was scared to report it. She said they have seen success with the campaign so far.

“Our vision is to make it a topic that people can begin to talk about and feel comfortable talking about it,” Zesiger explained. “That’s really the first step in preventing things from happening.”

Zesiger said that with domestic violence especially, it happens because it is a secret. She said it happens behind closed doors, and people do not feel that they can talk to anyone about it.

“It happens in really personal places, with personal people or relationships, and it’s not OK to talk about,” Zesiger said. “So, if we can get it out in the open and put light on it and make it OK to talk about, then people are comfortable doing something about it.”

According to Zesiger, during the upcoming spring semester, the Health and Wellness Center is planning to work with Voice of Hope in Lubbock to have a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event at SPC. She said the goal is that the event will bring even more awareness to domestic violence and get more involvement from students and the public. She said it will also give people an opportunity to take an active stand against things that they see or experienced in their life.

“To coincide with that, our office is in the process of creating a consent video with the men of South Plains College,” Zesiger explained. “It’s a really fun time to work in this office.”

Zesiger said the goal of the video is to change the culture of the men of South Plains College when it comes to consent. She said the two topics coincide with each other to really start changing the culture on campus.

“Use the resources we have here (at the Health and Wellness Center),” Zesiger says to students. “We are super fun to work with and I think that’s a huge component of why this campaign has been so successful.”

The Health and Wellness Center has also been working with the SPC Athletic Department, Student Affairs, Housing, the Levelland Police Department. the SPC Police Department, Voice of Hope in Lubbock and Women’s Protection Services in Lubbock in their quest against domestic violence. Other organizations interested in getting involved with programs can contact the Health and Wellness Center for more information.

Zesiger said as far as eradicating domestic violence on campus, it is up to the students. She said bystander intervention is the framework behind the Red Flag Campaign. So, the students are really who the campaign depends on to change campus culture.

Zarbano elected president of Student Government Association

by:NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

Being involved and being the student voice of a college can be difficult.

But it’s not too difficult for Taylor Zarbano, who recently was elected president of the Student Government Association at South Plains College.

The Student Government Association is the student voice in academic, cultural, and social affairs of the college.

“The purpose of the Student Government is to be the voice of the student body, serve as a model government and to foster leadership development,” says Ann Epps, director of student life at SPC.

The SGA elections were held on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 in the Student Center. Elections will be held again sometime in April.

Elected as vice president is Holley Shearer, while Andrew Palomin, was elected as secretary. Grant Dewbre was elected as treasurer, while Celina Martin was elected as parliamentarian, Andrew Skipton elected as public relations, and Mandy Gage was elected as historian.

Zarbano explains she loves being a leader, and she’s very passionate about leading people and being helpful.

“I really like leadership, and I attended several leadership conferences that made me want to put those skills into practice,” explains Zarbano. “I feel that God has given me the ability to lead. I feel very passionate about leading, and I’m very passionate about seeing good changes in school.”

Zarbano says she feels that being a leader is all about being confident and being involved with the student body.

TaylorNoGlare
Taylor Zarbano, new president of the Student Government Association, explains her commitment in an interview on Oct. 29.  CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I think being a leader isn’t a follower,” Zarbano explains. “A leader is being confident no matter what you’re doing, if what you’re doing is right. I feel that being president is a team effort. I ran for president knowing that I wanted to be involved. I love people, so I wanted to get involved with people, and I also want to make changes for them…I want to serve. I think leadership is serving, and I thought what better way to serve students than be president. So that way if they need anything, they can come to me, and then I can go forth with that issue and discuss it with the team, and to the best of my ability get that changed, whatever they may be.”

Zarbano says she was excited when she got the news about being elected president. She recalls one of her friends calling her when she was doing homework.

“One of my good friends, Jaycee, called me,” Zarbano recalls. “I asked her, ‘Aren’t you at cheer practice?’ and she said, ‘yeah, I just wanted to call and tell you that you got president.’ I flipped out on the phone, and I was so excited. I told my grandparents that I won, and they were really proud of me.”

Epps said she believes even though elections were late, she was very pleased with how the elections went.

“All of the candidates were excited to present their message to the students and are ready to make changes around campus,” Epps explains. “Now that the student government officers are in place, I think that they will improve SPC, because they will be an active voice for the students by serving as an advocate for student issues and presenting student perspectives to campus administration. Their mission is to always be in search of ways to create a better campus for both current and future students.”

Biblical course offered among spring classes

by:TAYLOR ZARBANO/Staff Writer 

With the fall semester half way over, many students already know what classes they will be taking during the spring semester, while others have not given it one thought.

South Plains College has many classes to offer that are overlooked, but beneficial to one’s education.

One of these overlooked classes is the Life of Christ class taught by Arlano Funderburk, which will count as a Humanities course.

The class is described as “a survey of the major events; birth, baptism, temptations, transfiguration, death, resurrection, and major teachings as they are presented in the Gospels of the New Testament.”

The purpose of the class is to “familiarize students with the historical context out of which the story of Jesus is recorded in the New Testament Gospels, and introduce them to major teachings of Jesus like the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer” according to Funderburk.

The class will look at when and why Jesus came, and how He goes about accomplishing His purpose, according to Funderburk.

Funderburk says he wants students to be encouraged through this class.

He said he desires for students to really think about the purpose and the “content of Jesus’ life and His teachings and consider carefully the implications for their faith and relevance for their lives.”

The perspective of the class will be taught from the Judicial Christian Perspective.

“We have Catholic folks, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Nazarenes; many denominations, and some from not any denomination,” Funderburk says

“I think denominations are on the way out,” he added. “I think Christianity is moving where denominations will go away.”

Funderburk started teaching in the spring of 1973 as soon as he completed his seminary degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary School in Fort Worth, Texas. He also has his master’s degree in theology.

Funderburk served as the director of the Baptist Student Ministries for 40 years, at South Plains College, which he started doing right after graduate school.

Funderburk explains, “The students can expect to be surprised at how much God loves them and wants to be a part of their lives. God loves us so much that He would rather die than be without us.”

The Life of Christ class is only offered one semester a year, with only one class a week. It will be offered during the spring semester on Tuesday nights from 6p.m. to 9p.m. in room 122 in the Administration Building.

The class will come with include assigned readings, three short reflection papers, of which two will be presented, and a final exam.

Funderburk says that he is ready and excited for the opportunity to teach the class and meet new students.

For further information on the Life of Christ course, email Funderburk at afunderburk2@gmail.com.

Interactive workshop brings photographers together

by:GABRIELLA BAMBOA/Staff Writer 

Three years ago, Wes Underwood started a workshop that has completely changed the way people view photography.

Fandango is a fun, interactive photography workshop filled with new people, new lessons, and thousands of new ways to improve your skills as a photographer.

“Fandango was an idea I had to give back to my students that had taken classes with me,” explains Underwood, a photographer in the Office of Marketing and Recruitment at South Plains College. “I wanted them to step out of their normal locations for doing photography.”

He added, “It’s about having one day that covers the full gamet of lighting situations.”

Fandango is used to bring future photographers together to practice and interact with people who might know a little more than them, to swap advice and get that extra push they need to excel. Even well-known photographers learn something new every time they “Fandango.”

This fall’s event was held Oct. 17 and included 56 participants who made stops at Lake MacKenzie, Quitaque, Texas, and even Pole Canyon Ranch with the group throughout an 18-hour period.

IMG_1163colored
Students participate in Wess Underwood’s Fandango workshop on Oct. 17. SARA MARSHALL/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I truly enjoy hanging out with everyone and helping them to achieve those “I never thought about doing that” moments,” said Joe Baker, a well-known Lubbock photographer. “When I first started out in photography, I found very few willing to help. So I vowed that if I ever get to a point where I can share my knowledge and help others enjoy this hobby, I would.”

The first Fandango workshop started with only 14 photographers and one model. Gradually, through the years, Fandango grew. The trip on Oct. 17 featured 38 photographers, 12 models and six supporters helping everyone learn and come up with new things. People traveled from near and far to be a part of this amazing experience. There were photographers and models not only from the Texas areas, including Lubbock, Plainview, and Fort Worth, but also from as far away as New Mexico and Oklahoma.

“As I keep teaching my Jumpstart class, I see it getting bigger and becoming the Premier photography event of the fall and spring,” said Underwood of Fandango.

To Underwood, photography is a lifestyle.

“My motivation is just to help others learn and help them to enjoy photography,” said Underwood, who has organized six Fandango events so far.

Fandango doesn’t only help participants learn new skills, but it is also about becoming a family and knowing that there are so many other people like you, the type of people to have a camera at every family event. Fandango also is about enjoying the art of others and having others compliment your perspective.

“Everyone has unique techniques that work,” said Deanna Racca, who was one of those participating at the workshop on Oct. 17. “It’s fun seeing all of that in action with so many different photographers.”

When asked what his favorite part of Fandango was, Underwood replied, “Watching people learn and push their limits. And trying new things without being judged if it’s right or wrong. Watching a great group of people at all different levels of photography skills come together and learn from each other and try new things.”

Fandango has grown so much just from word of mouth, advertising, and the quality of the images produced by the students. Underwood says that he plans to keep the program going and keep helping upcoming photographers to escape that comfort zone and spread their wings.

Message events educate public on physical therapy

by:JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Feature Editor 

To educate the community on physical therapy students at South Plains College planned an evening of soothing music, relaxing massages, and a friendly atmosphere.

In honor of Physical Therapy month, the Physical Therapy Assistant Student Association (PTASA) students at South Plains College hosted a Community Massage Evening on Oct. 3 at the Allied Health Building in Levelland.

Other Community Massage evenings were held Oct. 7, in Lubbock for two hours, and again on Oct. 14 in the Cosmetology Building on the Levelland campus from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Physical Therapy Month features events, fundraisers, and programs that the PTASA holds to help bring awareness to the community about physical therapy.

“It educates the public on what [we] do and how [we] help the people in need,” said Amy McNeill, the class historian for the Physical Therapy Association (PTA) Program.

Amy also goes on to say that physical therapy is more than just exercises and massages. However, to make physical therapy more entertaining and approachable, the PTA students decided to give massages.

Massage Therapy3.jpg
Participants in a community Massage Evening enjoy a massage for fundraising event on Oct. 3. SARA MARSHALL/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“People are more likely to enjoy massages than a speech on what physical therapy is,” McNeill said.

After the interview, McNeill says that there are different types of massages such as effleurage, circulating the hands over the entire body, and petrissage, kneading the body.

McNeill explained that when she applies pressure to the knots, or pressure points, the lactic acid inside the muscle is being released.

Massages are a small portion of what physical therapy actually is, McNeill explained. Physical therapy helps to restore function, decrease pain, and increase mobility.

“By doing the Community Massage Evening, it gives us an opportunity to educate people,” McNeill said.

At the event, massages cost $10 for 10 minutes, $15 for 15 minutes, and $25 for 30 minutes. All of the money goes directly to support the PTASA’s activities of attending the TPTA Student Conclave, graduation events, and service opportunities for program students.

The Texas Physical Therapy Association is a statewide conference for physical therapy students in the profession. At the conference, the students learn more about the profession as well as networking.

Every year, the conference changes locations. Last year, it was in Galveston, and this year it will be held in Arlington. In Arlington, the students will be able to talk to people in the profession for a more first-hand description and educational experience.

“The medical field changes constantly,” McNeill said. “Going to the conferences gives us new information and keeps us on top of what’s going on in the field.”

Other than the massage evening, the PTA students hosts a golf tournament every spring, which is one of PTA’s largest events. At this particular event, the students raffle donated golf clubs and other items, with proceeds going toward the TPTA conference.

“All these fundraisers help fund Gateway,” McNeill said. “Gateway is a graduation celebration to show encouragement and reflection of the year.”

Family Outreach works with families to help eliminate child abuse

CAlogo

(Editor’s note: This story is the first part of a multi-part series “Stolen Innocence,” about children who have been victimized by abuse that begins in Issue #1 and will continue through Issue #6. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.)

by:NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

A child can be a fragile human that needs protection from this world.

Children need love, care, attention, and affection. But what if those parents aren’t obligated to take care of their children? What if they end up abusing them, instead?

Across the nation, child abuse is a real issue, and it happens every day. According to Tameka Riley, case manager at MCH (Methodist Children’s Home) Family Outreach in Lubbock, parents are miseducated when it comes to abusing their child.

“There is a high percentage of child abuse,” Riley says. “For the most part, they’re doing the same thing that their parents did to them. It’s a generational thing, or they just don’t know how else to handle their children, or discipline them. I don’t think there is a high percentage of intentional abuse, it’s just miseducation.”

MCH Family Outreach discusses physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. The program works with the families to try to teach them preventable measures against child abuse, and to try to decrease those risk factors that cause abuse. They also try to eliminate the stress at home that can lead to abusing their children.

According to Riley, at the very beginning of their program, they do an assessment on the family for 30 days, and then a plan of service will be completed based on the family’s assessment.

“It’s an education piece we go over with the families,” Riley says. “Most of the families that we come in contact with, I don’t believe its intentional abuse. It’s a lot of parent education, and we have them come in and talk about their own childhood, how they were raised and things that may have happened to them as a child. We open their eyes up to why they do the things that they do, as far as how or why they discipline their child.”

Riley says, in most cases, the reason why child abuse occurs in families is because of the parents’ childhood. The parents are not aware or educated on the issues, which leads to child abuse.

“We take the time to educate them,” explains Riley. “We give them different tools as far as education goes or how to discipline their child, like spanking. We don’t go in and say, ‘Oh, spanking is wrong. You don’t need to be doing that.’ It’s more of an educational piece, and we say,” We know that probably spanking has been part of your family’s generation, but how successful has that been?’ We give them a chance to reflect on how that works, and then we give them tools for how to help them.”

Riley says that when she teaches a parenting class, the first thing she does is ask the parents what ideas or issues she should bring to the table. This results in parents asking questions and listening to other parents who struggle with the same issues.

“I ask the parents their feedback, and this is helpful,” Riley explains. “The parents feel like they have a voice. They don’t all of a sudden say they’re doing something wrong, but they say they have questions, which opens up the conversation. Then they hear other families give examples on how they deal with their children. It’s really good when they’re engaged in it and they don’t feel like they’re being blamed.”

According to Riley, the good part of their program is the tools that Family Outreach uses for parents to become better and help educate them about parenting.

“It almost makes the parents sit back and think about what they’re doing as far as parenting,” says Riley. “They realize themselves that the strategies that they’re using aren’t working. It’s not hard to convince families that they need to try a different route or different tool. It’s just a matter of letting them know as parents we all make mistakes, and nobody is a perfect parent.”

Family Outreach works with different agencies that refer families to their programs. They also work with schools within the community.

“We go out and educate the community as well,” Riley says. “I have actually done a class for Monterey High School, and it was a family studies class that they had. We do this so students can be aware of abuse and what they need to do if abuse occurs.”

Child abuse is a serious issue, and, according to Riley, informing families about abuse and teaching them is a learning experience.

“We never know everything about parenting,” Riley explains. “It’s not necessarily doing things wrong. It’s just the parents need more education and more tools to try to be the best parent that they can be.”

College award Title V grand to broaden programs, expand learning strategies

by NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

South Plains College is planning to expand learning opportunities after recently  being awarded a five-year, $2.6 million federal grant.

SPC is receiving the federal grant from the Office of Postsecondary Education’s Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Programs also known as Title V.

“The grant is called ‘Fostering the Access and Success of Hispanic/Low Income Technical Students,’” says Dr. Gail Malone, director of the Teaching and Learning Center in a recent interview with the Plainsman Press. “We want to improve new student learning outcomes and develop two new program options for students.”

In order for SPC to be eligible to receive the grant, the college needs to have at least 25 percent enrolled Hispanic students, and 50 percent of those students have to have a low income. SPC has a Hispanic enrollment of 40 percent.

“We’ve had two individual grants before and a corporative grant,” says Dr. Malone. “Those grants have really helped us reach out and recruit more Hispanic students, and they’ve been very successful here. They are very important for our economy and our future.”

The grant will allow SPC to broaden its diesel service technology program, along with developing a new associate degree program in culinary arts.

“The diesel technology is for the people who want to work for the construction or the oil industry with really heavy machinery,” Dr. Malone says. “They will be learning how to service and repair the big pieces of machinery. The second program SPC is going to develop is the culinary arts. Our program can be a bridge for students who are coming from high school and want to go into a university, or if they want to get their associate degree and concentrate in culinary arts.”

SPC will begin with expanding the diesel service technology program specializing in heavy equipment.

“This year, we’re going to start the diesel technology heaving equipment,” Dr. Malone explains. “We’re going to develop the course and hire the faculty, identify the students who want to be in that program and then piloting new courses and following the success of students and redesigning the courses. Then we’ll be expanding it in the Plainview campus. So, it will be available in the Plainview area.”

The culinary arts program will be developed in year two of the grant. The program was decided on because there were surveys taken by students based on what they were interested in, and the community had a high demand for employment involving culinary arts.

“When a student finishes these courses, there will be more employment opportunities for students in this area,” says Dr. Malone. “We are doing these programs based on what the students and the community wants.”

It will take SPC five years to develop the two new programs. In addition, SPC is helping the faculty re-identify courses that are high-risk courses for students who are not doing well in their classes.

“We’re going to redesign the courses and see what we can do to make students more successful,” explains Dr. Malone. “and we’re also going to provide professional development for the faculty so they know they have a better understanding of their students and have a better way to teach their students to be affective. We’re going to expand tutoring specifically in the technical programs. Right now, we have math, general studies, accounting, and music theory. We’re going to target industrial technology, health occupations, professional services, and creative arts.”

SPC is going to become a member of an organization called EdReady. The organization is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“It will give every student at South Plains College access to things that are somewhat like Kahn Academy, but only a lot of it is developed for college students,” Dr. Malone explains. “We want these programs to be very good for our students and our faculty so the students can achieve even more, and if they’re having trouble in those courses, we can support them.”

Application deadline approaching for December graduates

by: MALLORY CARVER/News Editor

Many students are finishing up their final year at South Plains College, tying up loose ends and looking forward to the future.

Those students who have completed all their degree requirements could be eligible for graduation in December. If you think you may be one of those students, see your program advisor as soon as possible. Students can find out who their advisor is on CampusConnect. They will be able to tell students if they are eligible for a December graduation.

Students who have completed their degree requirements must fill out a graduation application and submit it by Nov. 3.

Students must complete all degree requirements by December 2015. They must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0, and they need to complete an online application through their MySPC account.

Applications also are available at the Admissions and Records Office on the Levelland, Reese Center, and Plainview campuses.

Andrea Rangel, dean of admissions and academic advising, says that, “The most important thing is that students who are interested meet with their advisor.”

Advisors will be able to tell students if they’re eligible to apply for graduation. Check with them to determine whether you need any further classes or last-minute assistance.

Students who graduate at the end of this semester will not have a graduation ceremony in December. Instead, they are invited back in May of 2016 to participate in the ceremony that the rest of their class will participate in.

To fill out an online application, go to the college’s website at http://www.southplainscollege.edu.

Student printing policy helps college manage costs

by: BRANDI ORTIZ/Editorial Assistant

Transgender individuals go through life with many hardships.

Almost half of the community will experience suicidal thoughts in their lifetime. Many organizations have begun to take action in order to help transgender individuals feel content with who they are.

When an individual wishes to transition, there is a long process he or she must go though. For instance, in order to receive hormone replacement therapy, the individual must go through the proper amount of therapy in order to ensure he or she is aware of what is to come. Nicole Poulsen, a counselor based in Lubbock who specializes in crisis and trauma, has had the chance to counsel a few transgender individuals.

“When a client wants to transition, and they want their insurance to cover it, often times, the insurance requires that a client must go through 12 consecutive months of counseling where they talk about the process of transitioning, the hormone replacement therapy, and things like that,” Poulsen told the Plainsman Press in a recent interview. “They do this so that the client knows what they are getting themselves into.”

Transgender individuals not only go through the process of transitioning, which can be a very tedious phase, but a large number of these individuals will develop different emotional disorders and stress disorders. These issues are what Poulsen says have brought them into counseling.

printingpolicy2
Photo Illustration by CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I’ve had clients here, who, a lot of times, are dealing with things like anxiety problems,” Poulsen said. “They’re worried a lot. They experience bullying at school, and they may be dealing with depression. The suicide attempt rate is very high among transgender people.”

Poulsen’s clients have not necessarily gone into counseling solely because they wish to transition. They will usually request counseling in order to help deal with suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety, as well as other emotional disorders that come with the process of transitioning, that many of the individuals will experience.

“They just have a lot of mental health issues, because it is so hard to be transgender in this day and age, especially in West Texas,” Poulsen said. “The suicide rate is astronomical for transgender people versus the general public.”

The process of transitioning, especially in the south, can be very difficult. For transgender individuals living in the conservative south, treatment for mental health, as well as surgeries, is very scarce. Some individuals will travel more than 100 miles just to get the proper care they need, according to Poulsen.

“I had a client who was transgender from Amarillo who had called me, and they wanted to get into counseling,” Poulsen explains. “They were willing to drive from Amarillo, because they couldn’t find anybody. I think it’s important for counselors to be aware that if you’re an ally, then you need to make yourself known to the public. There are a lot of people that are not accessing services because they just can’t find anyone. But there’s other limitations as well.”

For the youth who are in transition, the struggles can be very difficult for them. Transgender teens will more than likely face discrimination through bullying in their schools. For some of these teens, the teachers can be the bullies. Discrimination against transgender individuals can also be seen from medical professionals as well as police officers, according to Poulsen.

“I had a teenager that is enrolled at a local rural school, “Poulsen said. “They identified as being gender-fluid. In West Texas, people just aren’t as accepting. The client reported that even the teacher was making snide remarks. A lot of transgender people have reported being discriminated and harassed by medical professionals and by the police, and that’s just not acceptable.”

For children who are not comfortable with their gender or even their gender roles, things can become scary for them. Suicidal thoughts can become a reality in children younger than 12 years old, according to an article written collectively by Carl L. Tishler, PhD, Natalie Staats Reiss, PhD, and Angel R. Rhodes, PhD about suicidal behavior found in children.

“I am seeing a rise in transgender people identifying and seeking treatment,” said Poulsen. “A couple of months ago, I had a 9-year-old that came in. At 9, you don’t even identify sexually. They were dressed like a girl and looked every bit like a girl and was asking mom how to get hormone therapy. This poor nine-year-old was being bullied, even by the school district, and being discouraged by the school principal. When this young nine-year-old came in, it became very clear that this is not a choice. No 9-year-old wants to be put through that by choice. This is something that we all need to be very aware of.”

In West Texas, many of the discriminatory remarks will be backed up by religious beliefs, according to Poulsen, as the south has proven to be a heavily religious area. Much of the backlash that these individuals receive is based on religion, especially in the south.

“Some people will make religious-based remarks to them,” said Poulsen, “A lot of times, people are really heavily rooted into their religion. They find it hard to separate their religion from just being nice to other people.”

Some transgender individuals will become homeless. Parents, out of rage, will decide to just reject their children instead of showing love to their children, according to Poulsen. This can cause the individual to become suicidal. The suicide rate among transgender individuals is at an astonishing 40 percent, while people who identify as the gender assigned at birth will have a much lower rate.

“A lot of the suicide cases come from the way their family either embraces or rejects them,” Poulsen explains. “They may not even have a problem with being transgender. It’s all these other things that come with it, such as the anxiety, depression, being ridiculed at school, the fear of being the subject of a hate crime. Drug use is even prevalent within the community.”

In Lubbock, more and more organizations and individuals have begun opening themselves to the transgender community. There are community churches, counselors, spas and even hair salons that are transgender-friendly. Poulsen says that with the right support and care, transgender individuals can feel more comfortable with who they wish to be. A resourse list of transgender-friendly facilities and organizations can be found at “pflaglubbock.org”.

Counselor explains relationship of mental illness in transgender community

TransSymbol

(Editor’s note: This story is the third part of a multi-part series “Identity Crisis,” examining the transition from one gender to another that begins in Issue #1 and will continue through Issue #6. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.)

by: MATT MOLINAR/News Editor

Transgender individuals go through life with many hardships.

Almost half of the community will experience suicidal thoughts in their lifetime. Many organizations have begun to take action in order to help transgender individuals feel content with who they are.

When an individual wishes to transition, there is a long process he or she must go though. For instance, in order to receive hormone replacement therapy, the individual must go through the proper amount of therapy in order to ensure he or she is aware of what is to come. Nicole Poulsen, a counselor based in Lubbock who specializes in crisis and trauma, has had the chance to counsel a few transgender individuals.

“When a client wants to transition, and they want their insurance to cover it, often times, the insurance requires that a client must go through 12 consecutive months of counseling where they talk about the process of transitioning, the hormone replacement therapy, and things like that,” Poulsen told the Plainsman Press in a recent interview. “They do this so that the client knows what they are getting themselves into.”

Transgender individuals not only go through the process of transitioning, which can be a very tedious phase, but a large number of these individuals will develop different emotional disorders and stress disorders. These issues are what Poulsen says have brought them into counseling.

“I’ve had clients here, who, a lot of times, are dealing with things like anxiety problems,” Poulsen said. “They’re worried a lot. They experience bullying at school, and they may be dealing with depression. The suicide attempt rate is very high among transgender people.”

Poulsen’s clients have not necessarily gone into counseling solely because they wish to transition. They will usually request counseling in order to help deal with suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety, as well as other emotional disorders that come with the process of transitioning, that many of the individuals will experience.

“They just have a lot of mental health issues, because it is so hard to be transgender in this day and age, especially in West Texas,” Poulsen said. “The suicide rate is astronomical for transgender people versus the general public.”

therapist
Counselor Nicole Poulsen offers support to transgenderclients. MALLORY CARVER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

The process of transitioning, especially in the south, can be very difficult. For transgender individuals living in the conservative south, treatment for mental health, as well as surgeries, is very scarce. Some individuals will travel more than 100 miles just to get the proper care they need, according to Poulsen.

“I had a client who was transgender from Amarillo who had called me, and they wanted to get into counseling,” Poulsen explains. “They were willing to drive from Amarillo, because they couldn’t find anybody. I think it’s important for counselors to be aware that if you’re an ally, then you need to make yourself known to the public. There are a lot of people that are not accessing services because they just can’t find anyone. But there’s other limitations as well.”

For the youth who are in transition, the struggles can be very difficult for them. Transgender teens will more than likely face discrimination through bullying in their schools. For some of these teens, the teachers can be the bullies. Discrimination against transgender individuals can also be seen from medical professionals as well as police officers, according to Poulsen.

“I had a teenager that is enrolled at a local rural school, “Poulsen said. “They identified as being gender-fluid. In West Texas, people just aren’t as accepting. The client reported that even the teacher was making snide remarks. A lot of transgender people have reported being discriminated and harassed by medical professionals and by the police, and that’s just not acceptable.”

For children who are not comfortable with their gender or even their gender roles, things can become scary for them. Suicidal thoughts can become a reality in children younger than 12 years old, according to an article written collectively by Carl L. Tishler, PhD, Natalie Staats Reiss, PhD, and Angel R. Rhodes, PhD about suicidal behavior found in children.

“I am seeing a rise in transgender people identifying and seeking treatment,” said Poulsen. “A couple of months ago, I had a 9-year-old that came in. At 9, you don’t even identify sexually. They were dressed like a girl and looked every bit like a girl and was asking mom how to get hormone therapy. This poor nine-year-old was being bullied, even by the school district, and being discouraged by the school principal. When this young nine-year-old came in, it became very clear that this is not a choice. No 9-year-old wants to be put through that by choice. This is something that we all need to be very aware of.”

In West Texas, many of the discriminatory remarks will be backed up by religious beliefs, according to Poulsen, as the south has proven to be a heavily religious area. Much of the backlash that these individuals receive is based on religion, especially in the south.

“Some people will make religious-based remarks to them,” said Poulsen, “A lot of times, people are really heavily rooted into their religion. They find it hard to separate their religion from just being nice to other people.”

Some transgender individuals will become homeless. Parents, out of rage, will decide to just reject their children instead of showing love to their children, according to Poulsen. This can cause the individual to become suicidal. The suicide rate among transgender individuals is at an astonishing 40 percent, while people who identify as the gender assigned at birth will have a much lower rate.

“A lot of the suicide cases come from the way their family either embraces or rejects them,” Poulsen explains. “They may not even have a problem with being transgender. It’s all these other things that come with it, such as the anxiety, depression, being ridiculed at school, the fear of being the subject of a hate crime. Drug use is even prevalent within the community.”

In Lubbock, more and more organizations and individuals have begun opening themselves to the transgender community. There are community churches, counselors, spas and even hair salons that are transgender-friendly. Poulsen says that with the right support and care, transgender individuals can feel more comfortable with who they wish to be. A resourse list of transgender-friendly facilities and organizations can be found at “pflaglubbock.org”.

Diversity Celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month

by: DARIELLA HERNANDEZ/Editorial Assistant

National Hispanic Heritage Month has been a celebration of the Spanish histories and cultures since the late 1960s.

Hispanic heritage month begins September 15, which symbolizes the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries, and ends on October 15, shortly after “Dia De La Raza,” most commonly known as Columbus Day.

During this month, not only Latinos, but also many other cultures, like to get together and celebrate by throwing parties, carnivals, and attending different museums or historical places that celebrate the Latino culture.

Although many people enjoy the different festivities and foods that come along with Hispanic heritage month, “it is not just about festivals or food, it’s more than that,” says Maria Lopez Strong, academic counselor and the diversity coordinator at South Plains College.

Strong is a firm believer in diversity, raising your voice and seeking knowledge, which are also the main elements that come along with Hispanic heritage. At the beginning of the month, Strong had a mariachi group come to SPC as an introduction for the festivities to come. Besides the musical presentation, Strong has many future goals in mind for the Hispanic heritage months to come.

“If we are able to continue to grow, we can continue to see the things that I want to see, like a poetry slam,” says Strong.

HH3
Photo Illustration by CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

The poetry slam could serve as an alternative to sharing different cultural views, as well as entertainment. Besides the poetry slam, Strong thinks that “working in conjunction with other organizations” will help further express the true meaning behind Hispanic heritage.

Most of the activities throughout the month are held in the Student Center at the Levelland campus. SPC has been a Hispanic-serving institution with a population that is now 24 percent Hispanic students. With the diversity that comes along SPC, there are different classes “that are inclusive of [the diversity],” says Strong.

“Diversity is about inclusiveness,” adds Strong.

Strong says she believes that “in order to be understood, you have to understand.” And although many people “feel threatened by diversity,” Strong suggests that “we need to be ‘prosocial’ in order to have common ground” with all of the other cultures. That is where the true meaning behind most of the cultural awareness holidays comes in.

Hispanic heritage month, according to Strong, has more to do with the different cultures and races than just the Hispanic race. Just like other holidays, this month is about the diversity and the knowledge that comes with being accepting of others and raising your voice.

Regents discuss new Title V grant at October meeting

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief

South Plains College received a grant that will be the key to begin implementing a new project.

The new Title V grant for $2.62 million was among the topics discussed during the October meeting of the SPC Board of Regents. The project that will be implemented because of this grant is called Fostering the Access and Success of Hispanic/Low-Income Technical Students.

Stephen John, vice president of institutional advancement, presented the plans for the project. He first brought up the grant to the regents last fall when they began the process of applying for it.

“A proposal team spent the better part of last year putting this proposal together,” said John. “We submitted it in May, and we heard the results of that about a week ago.”

John said that there are several different areas that they plan on spending the money on. Diesel services will be developing and implementing a new Heavy Equipment Technician specialization. This program will actually begin running this year.

“We are going to have this program accredited by AED (Associated Equipment Dealers),” said John. “If we’re successful in getting that accreditation we will be the only college in a four-state area that has a certified program.”

There are also plans in place to develop a new Culinary Arts program. There has been a strong student interest and job demand in our region, according to John. This program will start in the year 2016 – 2017.

The other plans that will be able to be implemented with the grant is the opportunity to improve success in the associate degree completions by incorporating active learning strategies into the Technical curriculum, and providing new online remedial options and improved tutoring for technical students. Also, there are plans to strengthen professional development for Technical faculty by emphasizing innovative, active learning strategies, according to John.

“The more actively engaged we can keep students in learning and in what they’re doing in their programs, then the more success they’re going to have,” John said.

Cathy Mitchell, vice president of student affairs, presented the student services update. The new Health and Wellness Center has been training the residence hall directors on handling student stress and conflicts. The student staff has also been trained on the same things as the directors.

“They are currently doing a new project called ‘Don’t Cancel That Class,’” said Mitchell.

According to Mitchell, information has been sent to all SPC faculty members about the project. If a faculty member is sick or has to miss a class for any reason, instead of canceling the class, they simply let the Health and Wellness Center know and they already have lectures ready to cover that class.

“They will talk about healthy relationships and boundries,” said Mitchell.

The Advising Center is also going to work on the Don’t Cancel That Class project, with lessons on stress relief and study skills. They are also doing skills workshops in classrooms where they give a lecture on how to take notes, and then stay and take notes for the rest of the class lecture. Then, after the class, they allow the students to come to their office and compare notes, according to Mitchell.

“One of the biggest groups that is doing things are our Residence Hall Association,” Mitchell said. “We have some really fantastic residence hall directors.”

According to Mitchell, the residence hall directors are planning their own activities. In November, they are having a James Bond Black Tie Affair, which will be a formal dance, among other activities.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, vice president for academic affairs, presented the health occupations and articulation agreement update.

Dr. Satterwhite first went over the applications versus the number of students admitted. In some of the health programs, such as EMS, the numbers are close. But in the more competitive programs, such as nursing, there are usually significantly more applications than the number of students admitted.

“We’re not intentionally limiting admission,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “But we do have limitations on how many student, we can admit.”

According to Dr. Satterwhite, the Allied Health programs have a positive placement rate. Some of the rates are lower, but that is because some students realize later what they have their degree in is not what they want to do anymore. The licensure percentage is also positive, and that is based on the first time students took the test.

Dr. Satterwhite also reported on the updated articulation agreements. According to Dr. Satterwhite, SPC has large-scale articulation agreements with certain colleges, such as Texas Tech University and Lubbuck Christian University. But SPC also has articulation agreements with certain fields of study.

“We can measure exactly what courses we have that will for sure go towards a degree in engineering or business,” explained Dr. Satterwhite.

Dr. Satterwhite said they are reevaluating those classes throughout the fall and the spring. The goal is to be able to set down a plan in front of the student so he or she knows what is needed to be taken at SPC that will transfer toward a degree to whatever university he or she is planning on attending.

Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of SPC, informed the Board about upcoming activities and a construction update for the Lubbock Center.

The first advisory committee for the Lubbock Center recently held a meeting. The committee discussed what is going to be done with the building. The locks have all been changed, and a previous ventilation area has been patched up to keep out the rain and birds.

The upcoming activities include: the T-Club Lunch on Oct. 26, the Halloween Carnival on Oct. 29, Meet the Texans on Nov. 2 and the Scholarship Banquet on Nov. 5.

Child abuse survivor uses her experience to help other victims

CAlogo

(Editor’s note: This story is the third part of a multi-part series “Stolen Innocence” about children who have been victimized by abuse that begins in Issue #1 and will continue through Issue #6. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.)

by: DARIELLA HERNANDEZ/Editorial Assistant

Jenna Quinn was 12 years old when a close family friend sexually abused her.

After dealing with the traumatic experience, Quinn became an activist against child abuse at the age of 17.

With hopes of becoming more than a victim, Quinn’s goal is to help others fight through and prevent child abuse.

The Dallas Morning News reached out and contacted Quinn after hearing her story. The decision to have her story featured opened many doors for her.

Quinn is a 27-year-old graduate with a master’s degree in communications from the University of North Texas. She lives in Dallas and is now happily married. Quinn spends her time traveling across the country speaking about child abuse. Her main audiences are members of law enforcement and abuse prevention centers.

Quinn has recently ventured into political action, reaching the Texas legislators and telling them what ideas she has in mind. One of those includes the search for an appropriate school curriculum on child abuse.

Quinn says that she found motivation to start helping others once The Dallas Morning news wrote the story on her case.

“At the end of the interview, they asked me to give other survivors a message,” Quinn recalls. “I told other survivors that they are not alone, and to seek help, that they deserve healing. I told them to tell someone who will report and get them to safety, someone who will take action.”

The Dallas Morning News felt as if Quinn would want to keep her name private.

“After the interview, the journalist told me they had all the information they needed for the story and thanked me,” Quinn says. “Then he said, ‘and don’t worry, Jenna, we won’t put your name in the paper.”

After hearing that, something triggered inside Quinn.

“Immediately, I felt a boldness rise up inside of me, and I shouted, ‘No!’ recalls Quinn. “He was puzzled. The last thing I said was for other survivors to speak out and get help. How can I ask them to be bold when I was not leading by example? I didn’t want to show any indication of shame.”

In order to help others, Quinn had to first help herself. She wanted survivors “to know that they have nothing to feel shameful about.”

After a bit of thinking about the topic, the newspaper went ahead and published her name.

Another reason why Quinn was motivated to help child abuse survivors was her experiences interning at the Children’s Advocacy Center. Although Quinn was there to counsel, “something called [her] back there to learn more about child abuse.”

“As I did my internship, I realized how prevalent child abuse is,” says Quinn. “The statistics are sickening. I saw these little children with my own eyes come in every hour for help.”

That’s when Quinn was convinced that she wanted to use her pain and experiences to help others.

Quinn not only realized that there was millions of children suffering, but she also realized that she was not alone and they were not alone. She says, “something needed to be done to help protect them.” And that’s when “Jenna’s Law” came along.

Jenna’s Law is the “first education law in the U.S for child abuse prevention.”

Now, thanks to Jenna’s Law, children, school staff, and parents are taught appropriate boundaries, and what the signs and symptoms are for all forms of abuse,” added Quinn. “Children have a chance to make an outcry now in a safe place, where before they didn’t.”

By being able to help others who are victims, Quinn finds a lot of things to be appreciative for. She says that she enjoys knowing she has the “chance to change lives for the better, give people hope when they gave up, and expose evil in the world.”

child abuse 3
Photo Illustration by SKYLAR HERNANDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

 

 

Quinn says that she sees child sexual abuse as evil and wants nothing more than to stop having the topic hidden from society and expose the damage it makes in so many children. With the help of her audience and motivation, Quinn will continue to raise child abuse awareness.

Unisex bathroom newest edition to Administration Building

TransSymbol

(Editor’s note: This story is the second part of a multi-part series “Identity Crisis,” examining the transition from one gender to another that begins in Issue #1 and will continue through Issue #6. Several staff member took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.)

by: MATT MOLINAR/Opinion Editor 

If you’ve walked through the administration building, you may have noticed the newest addition near the test room hallway. There is now a unisex bathroom set up for anybody to use. There is even a wide stall, which is accessible for disabled students and staff.

With transgender issues being brought into light, more and more changes are being made in order to help trans men and women feel both safe, and comfortable when using public facilities.

Cathy Mitchell, SPC vice president for student affairs, originally suggested the unisex bathroom to the SPC president, Kevin W. Sharp. Through this, all she had to do was order a sign, find a spot on campus to label as the new unisex bathroom, and the job would be done.

“I took it to the president.” Mitchell said, “One thing that changed was that we moved the health and wellness center, which had a bathroom that everyone could use. I knew that we had transgender students and staff that were using that restroom. It came to my attention that when we were closing that off, we were closing off the restroom” After realizing that the transgender students and staff who normally used this bathroom no longer had access to the facility, Mitchell wanted to find a new place to utilize as a unisex bathroom.

Lily Perry, a transgender student in Hillsboro, Missouri, received backlash from other students after she was seen using the girls’ bathroom. Students protested in opposition to Perry by staging a “walk out”, making her feel uncomfortable to use any bathroom in the school. Issues like Perry’s have surfaced all over the United States. Mitchell says that the unisex bathroom will help SPC students, so that nobody has to feel uncomfortable.

“We were just wanting to provide a location for students that didn’t feel comfortable going to a men’s only, or a women’s only bathroom. It’s for everyone, so that no one has to feel uncomfortable.” Mitchell said

Bathrooms haven’t always been gender segregated. According to Sheila L. Cavanagh, author of “Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination”, only up until the late 1700’s have bathrooms started becoming gender segregated. Mitchell explains that when you go to the bathroom at your house, you would just call it “the bathroom.”

unisex sign
A unisex bathroom opened in the Administration Building on Sept. 14. MALLORY CARVER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

In more liberal states, like California, unisex bathrooms are seen almost everywhere.

“When I’ve traveled, I’ve realized, in other places, that this is just the norm.” Mitchell said, “There was a sign on the door that said ‘Yes, this is for both. This is the restroom.’”

Under Title IX, schools are expected to treat transgender students by the gender they identify as. However, the unisex bathroom at SPC wasn’t part of any regulation. Mitchell saw this as an opportunity to help keep students feeling safe and comfortable.

“I can see things moving this way as a nation. It’s just basically to help our students.” Mitchell said, “This is a college campus, so we should be respectful to all students.” Mitchell says that she hopes they will be able to find more places on campus to use as unisex bathrooms.

Advocacy Center supports child abuse

CAlogo

(Editor’s note: This story is the second part of a multi-part series “Stolen Innocence,” about children who have been victimized by abuse that began in Issue #1 and will continue through Issue #6. Several staff member took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.)

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief

In 2014, 699 children were sexually abused, severely physically abused or witnessed a violent crime and went to the Children’s Advocacy Center (CACSP) of the South Plains for help.

“Our main job is to interview abused/traumatized children for CPS (child protective services) and law enforcement,” said Carmen Aguirre, executive director of the CACSP in Lubbock.

The CACSP serves children, along with developmentally delayed adults, who have experienced abuse. The average client who goes into the CACSP is a 9-10 year old girl who has been sexually abused by someone she knows very well and trusts. According to Aguirre, CACSP works with law enforcement, CPS, prosecutors, therapists and medical personnel on these cases.

Aguirre says that, when a family walks in the center, they are greeted by a family advocate, who explains the process they are about to undergo and helps with the paperwork. The family advocate for CACSP right now is Lori Salinas. According to Aguirre, Salinas also talks to the family about crime victims compensation and the importance of therapy.

child abuse 2
Photo Illustration by SKYLAR HERNANDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“We also offer free therapy free of charge for children and their non-offending caregivers,” said Aguirre.

The family advocate will also inquire about things such as any other social services the family may need and makes referrals for them.

The most difficult part for Aguirre is when the child is participating in the interview.

The child is taken to talk to the forensic interviewer. The acting interviewers are Terri Sanchez, John Wuerflein and Mary Infante. There is an observation room where law enforcement and/or CPS employees are able to observe the interview. After the interview, the investigators or detectives meet with the parents and talk to them about what is going to happen next. It also is possible for the forensic interviewers to be subpoenaed to testify in court.

“(Forensic interviewers) go through extensive training at our state chapter,” said Aguirre. “After that, they are required to go to peer review, where they meet with other interviewers and get their interviews critiqued.”

According to Aguirre, the CACSP offers community outreach programs and education of child abuse.

“We teach children how to stay safe,” said Aguirre, “and adults how to recognize and report child abuse.”

The CACSP provides coordination of medical evaluations and of bi-monthly case reviews and support of partner agencies in their investigations, a resource library, an emergency supply room for children removed or at risk of removal from their homes, and training for other institutions on recognizing abuse.

According to Aguirre, the most rewarding part of being involved in the CACSP is when they see a perpetrator get a conviction, as well as when the child and their non-offending caregivers engage in therapy and improvements are seen in the child.

“It is everyone’s business to report child abuse,” Aguirre said. “If your agency needs training on recognizing and reporting child abuse, we can do that. There is no charge for our training.”

Student housing group planning more activities

by SARA MARSHALL/Photo Editor

Students who live on campus in the residence halls can have voices and ideas about their state of living.

Some students wish for more things to do in Levelland, where others wish just for a pool table in their lobby. No matter the idea a student has, the South Plains College Resident Hall Association (RHA) is just the place for these voices to be heard. RHA is a student-led and student-run organization that promotes a positive environment for those living on campus.

Becoming a member or a contributor to RHA could benefit you and others you know in your residence hall by being provided with valuable leadership skills. To become a member of RHA in some form, all a student resident needs to do is attend the weekly meetings, which are held 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in the campus Library.

“Being an advocate is paramount in order to voice needs and address concerns,” said RHA advisor Robert Camacho. “Student residents need to be able to assemble in masses in order to identify obstacles and create change together.”

RHA has an elected executive board of student residents, which is comprised of: sophomore James Salzman, president; sophomore Cristien Holguin, vice president; freshman Kaedan Garrison, secretary and treasurer; and sophomore Martha Dyck, public affairs officer.

RHA

“The board this semester is brand new, and we are dedicated to make RHA the best it has ever been,” Salzman said. “So come to the meetings, and don’t miss out.”

These officers manage all RHA activities, such as campus-wide events, collaborations with other organizations, and relationships with the college’s administration. The board members listen and consider all problems and issues brought before them to encourage growth and development within student housing.

“If people let us know about problems within the halls, we will try to fix the problems,” Dyck said.

RHA is not limited to just supplying residence hall lobbies with microwaves or hosting events around campus. The association also organizes many on-campus events, typically suggested by student residents who attend the weekly meetings. Upcoming events include a BBQ on Sept. 28 at 5p.m., Human v. Zombies game on Oct. 19 – Oct. 22 and a Haunted House, “Nightmare on College Avenue,” on Oct. 29 during the Halloween carnival.

“Everybody who lives in the halls can get involved,” Salzman said. “There also are many events being planned in our meetings right now, so make sure you attend to find them out!”

According to Salzman, student residents can expect big things from this semester’s RHA executive board as they continue to improve upon how they handle arising problems, resident concerns and potential special events.

“Without knowledge of obstacles and needs, administration won’t be able to facilitate their needs,” Camacho said. “Residents must be active participants in creating a sense of advocacy for student housing.”

Perception of transgender community changing in society

TransSymbol

(Editor’s note: This story is the first part of a multipart series “Identity Crisis” examining the transition from one gender to another that begins in Issue #2 and will continue through Issue #6. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.”

by: NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

Transgender isn’t a phase, it’s reality.

The term “transsexualism” is a mismatch between someone’s gender identity or gender expression and their assigned sex.

In our society today, the transgender issues have become more national.

The most historic event for the transgender community was when Bruce Jenner, now known as Caitlyn Jenner, did an interview with Diane Sawyer on April 24. This was the last interview Jenner did before transitioning into a woman.

The two-hour exclusive interview aired on ABC-TV, and it helped society understand the transgender community more.

Jenner explained to Sawyer and the world that she has always thought and felt he was a woman, showing society that being transgender isn’t a phase, but it is who you are.

Even before Jenner, there has been many reality TV stars, actresses, and actors who have portrayed being transgender on TV shows and movies. There has even been TV shows dedicated toward being transgender.

For example, ‘Transparent,’ which has been a hit for Amazon, was inspired by director Jill Soloway’s family. Soloway’s father told her he was “coming out” as a transgender woman, and that surprised Soloway. It became the inspiration for the show.

Society might see more transgender people coming out on TV shows and movies, but according to ReachOut USA, there is more to it than that.

transgenderGS
Photo Illustration by SKYLAR HERNANDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

According to ReachOut USA, people in our society discriminate and are violent toward people who are perceived as different According to the Human Rights Campaign, four out of 10 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youth say the community in which they live is not accepting of the LGBT community. LGBT youth are twice as likely to be physically assaulted, kicked, or shoved at school.

According to the Transgender Law Center, the transgender community is at risk of violence because of their gender identity and transphobia within intimate partnerships. A Transgender Law Center report found that transgender survivors were two times as likely to face threats within violent relationships and two times more likely to experience harassment than someone in a heterosexual relationship.

Even though there have been reports about the violence involving the transgender community, according to the Transgender Law Center, many of them are not willing to report the abuse because of many factors, such as “being outed” and the privacy and safety of their personal lives.

According to the Transgender Law Center, there have been some reports about violence projected on the transgender community, but no one knows how many transgenders are within our society due to the fact they are scared to show who they really are. Also, the U.S Census Bureau doesn’t ask if someone is transgender.

Even if the Census Bureau did ask who was transgender, there still would be unreliable responses, according to the Transgender Law Center. There are statistics about the transgender community, but those numbers are a rough estimate because of the response society would give to the transgender population. The main issue as to why society isn’t more accepting toward the transgender community is because many don’t fully understand the community, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there have been many studies reporting whether transgender is a mental disorder, or if the transgender individuals are born with it.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender is not a mental illness, but it still remains as a stereotype.

Other reports from biologists say gender is a complicated matter, which is why it’s so hard to truly identify the reasoning for people being transgender.

Whether it is not a mental illness, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, or it is, society is changing, and that also includes the transgender community. Transgender individuals are “coming out” into society, rather than hiding in the shadows, thanks to the support and courage of others. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, laws, policies, and attitudes are changing around the country, making life better for transgender people overall.

Constitution Day discussion focuses on First Amendment

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in- Chief

A panel of South Plains College professors joined together to voice their opinions on hot topics regarding the First Amendment during a Constitution Day presentation in the Student Center Building on the Levelland campus.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution includes religion and expression. It states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Drew Landry, instructor of government, read the First Amendment to begin the event on Sept. 18, then questioned the panel members following their presentations.

The panel also wanted the audience to be more involved. Students were asked to tweet their questions or comments for the panel with the hashtag #SPCfreespeech, and the top three questions chosen would receive a free Constitution booklet.

The first panel member, Natalie Gray, instructor of history, discussed the history of free speech. Gray started by asking the question: why do we even have the First Amendment? “Honestly, it’s because, in the colonial period, while we were all English citizens, free speech was not guaranteed,” explained Gray. “If you were of descenting opinion, if you spoke out against Parliament or the king, you could go to jail.”

Gray went on to explain that some politicians in America wanted specific rights set that the government could not take away. One of the first items proposed was by James Madison, which was the First Amendment.

“Within seven years, we are already starting to curtail complete free speech,” Gray said. Gray led into the battle in Congress between the Federalists and Republicans over whether free speech was for everyone or just the elite of America.

“You’ve got the Federalists, who are like, ‘Yes, we’re protecting America by curtailing your speech,’ and you’ve got the Republicans saying, ‘It’s unconstitutional,” said Gray.

Landry, who served as the moderator, questioned Gray for the remaining time she had left for her presentation. Among those questions was the feeling of not being patriotic when questioning what our government is doing.

“The founding fathers actually say we should be able to question what people are saying in government,” Gray said. “It’s actually that question portion that is patriotic.”

To discuss freedom of the press, Charlie Ehrenfeld, chairperson of the Communication Department, associate professor of journalism and advisor of the Plainsman Press, presented next.

“If I had to pick a favorite amendment, the First Amendment would be it,” said Ehrenfeld. “Not just because it’s the first one, or because it’s one of those top 10 that form the Bill of Rights, but mostly because it’s at the heart of what I do.”

According to Ehrenfeld, the freedom of the press in the First Amendment applies to newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, TV, radio and the World Wide Web. He also said that any of those news media are not subject to government censorship, also known as prior restraint.

“Perhaps the most famous case regarding prior restraint was in 1971,” Ehrenfeld said. “The New York Times Company versus the United States.”

This case, according to Ehrenfeld, involved the newspaper’s right to publish official document excerpts in a series of articles. The president at the time concluded that would harm national security if published. The case became known as the Pentagon Papers. The court ruled in favor of the press.

“What this means is that newspapers and magazines are free to publish information as they see fit,” said Ehrenfeld.

Landry inquired as to why America needed a free press at all.

“It goes back to the beginning of the First Amendment, when the freedom of the press was set up so that the press can be the watchdog of the government,” Ehrenfeld said.

Next, Zachary Carlton, instructor in government, discussed free speech on campus.

“The Constitution may say that free speech may not be abridged, but the Supreme Court, for a very long time, held that government and their agents do have the right to enact certain restrictions within reason,” said Carlton. Carlton went on to discuss the limitations set for students for campus speech. One of the things that are seen at student speeches is what is referred to as the Heckler’s Veto, which is more of the government restraining speech because of the reaction from the crowd, but it does matter on campus also. “The Constitution said that speech shall be unabridged, but we have to have some degree of restrictions on speech,” Carlton said. “Not so much to curtail speech itself, but really to make sure that my speech will not be interrupted or infringed upon by your speech.”

According to Carlton, in the current legal climate, students have the right to assembly. He said before a student goes out on campus to say what he or she would want to say, he or she needs to talk to someone in an administrative position beforehand. This way he or she is within his or her rights. Students are able to have a place for free speech on campus as long as it does not interrupt normal traffic of the college. The quadrangle is the designated free speech area on the Levelland campus, because of the heavy foot traffic, and staying in the center circle would not interrupt the normal flow of the college.

This subject brought up by Landry was that overall, even though everyone has the best intentions, it has been turned into the equivalent of smoking zones. “Yes, I would say I see a lot of similarities there,” Carlton said. “One’s right to perform ‘x’ should not necessarily inflict a wrong on someone else.”

Kristin Sorensen, instructor of geography, discussed limits regarding free speech. She said that one of the things the Supreme Court looks at is the extent to which free speech should go. They also look at the location where someone is speaking.

“One of the big things (today) is dealing with the Westboro Baptist Church,” said Sorensen.

They protest soldiers’ funerals, and it eventually ended up at the hands of the Supreme Court, who decided they do have a right to do that. They can protest at these funerals, but they are not allowed to shout obscenities, and they must stay on public sidewalks, according to Sorensen.

Sorensen also discussed symbolic speech, such as the burning of flags, which is protected under the First Amendment. But people are still offended by it.

“What’s interesting is when a flag touches the ground, you’re supposed to burn it,” Sorensen said.

According to Sorensen, the Confederate flag is a part of our history. There was 20 high school students who recently were suspended from a Virginia school because they refused to remove the Confederate flag they were wearing. The Confederate flag has been removed from some public places, because people found it offensive.

“You have to be careful, because it is and isn’t covered under free speech, and people do find it offensive,” said Sorensen. “Yet, there has to be some guideline within that.”

This matter was compared to a previous case, Tinker vs. Des Moine, in the 1960s by Landry, when a man protested the Vietnam War by wearing a black patch, but was told by the Supreme Court he could.

“To me, it’s very similar, except one is a college student, so he’s technically awarded more rights because he is an adult,” said Sorensen. “It’s not a democratic society in high school, so you don’t necessarily have all of the rights under the Constitution, because you are a minor.”

James Kemper, instructor of economics, then presented the three best questions on Twitter from that morning. The first question from the audience was: “In Tinker vs Des Moines, schools cannot restrict symbolic speech. However, yesterday a radio show reported the Virginia school has suspended students for wearing Confederate flag clothing. Does the First Amendment give the students the right to wear this clothing?”

“The Confederate flag in many of the southern states is actually inviting violence,” according to Gray. “This Confederate flag was taken by the KKK (Klu Klux Klan) from inception and became their symbol of racial hatred.”

Gray said the KKK associated this flag with putting the African American down and basically back into slavery. The students do have the right to be racist, but they are potentially inciting violence.

“You can’t rewrite history,” said Ehrenfeld. “That’s what they are trying to do.”

According to Ehrenfeld, the Confederate flag is a part of history, and by that being taken away, the government is trying to rewrite history. He said what happened to those people, such as church bombings and lynchings, was horrible, but you cannot rewrite history.

IMG_1456
Professors discuss the First Amendment at Constitution Day on Sept. 18 in the Sundown Room on the Levelland Campus. DEVIN REYNA/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“It’s a question for that particular school,” Carlton added. “Would the wearing of the Confederate flag disrupt the classroom environment?”

Carlton spoke up next about how the school can act in a parental capacity. He said a high school child is a minor, and the school has a greater responsibility to maintain decorum.

“It’s a high school,” said Sorensen. “Basically, if you’re under the age of 17, you have no rights.”

Kemper said the next Twitter question was as follows: “If obscenities are not protected, then how does Westboro get away with what they do?”

Carlton talked about the Snyder vs. Phelps court case where the Supreme Court voted that it was Westboro’s right to say the things they were saying. “If you’ve ever been to one of the funerals, it can be very offensive,” said Sorensen. “There has been a modicom of protection from outside sources that come into help protect the families from that.”

Gray said it sounds to her like the church just wants a lot of attention. She also said people must understand that what is obscene changes.

“Society gets more permissive over the years with what people can say and do on TV, radio and movies,” said Ehrenfeld.

The last Twitter question from the audience member was as follows: “How does free speech relate to immigrants, and how would recruiting for things like ISIS relate to free speech and religious beliefs?”

All of the panelists agreed that the issue of ISIS recruiting for their terrorist group would not be protected under the First Amendment. They all also agreed that immigration was a hot topic.

According to Ehrenfeld, it is a cut-and-dry issue that if you are an American citizen you are protected under the First Amendment. But if you are not a citizen, you should not have any rights.

Sorensen said it was a little more complicated than that. Gray also said she was not sure what and what could not specifically be said.

Carlton had the last word, saying that although immigrants may not have the right to free speech, there are not going to be people checking every immigrant at a rally to see if he or she is an American citizen.

The winners of the Constitution booklets were William Dodge, Timothy Miller and Natasha Henry.

SPC alum Maines receives Walk of Fame honor

by PAMELA GANDY/Editorial Assistant 

South Plains College alumni inducted into West Texas Walk of Fame.

The West Texas area is home to many talented artists, and South Plains College has a fair share of talented alumni. Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks and a former SPC student, was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame on Aug. 17 for her contributions to the music industry. Maines was inducted alongside actress and longtime family friend, Jo Harvey Allen.

The ceremony was held in the Lubbock High School auditorium. There were many guests present. Both inductees had a large number of family and friends sitting near the stage for support. Many other West Texas artists were among the audience members, including Mac Davis and Joe Ely.

Maines was introduced by Terry Allen, who was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame in 1997. Allen had worked with Lloyd, Natalie’s father, on a Maines Brothers album and met Natalie when she was 4 years old. Allen recounted many of the memories he had of Natalie as a young girl and as an aspiring musician.

“Natalie grew up singing in the choir,” Allen said, “which she says instilled the deep love for voices, singing and harmony which she has to this day.”Allen also shared one of his favorite memories of Natalie, when Natalie and her family had come to visit the Allens at their home in New Mexico.

“One evening, we were all sitting around outside,” Allen recalled. “Someone asked Natalie to sing a song for us. And Natalie, always the absolute opposite of shy, sat up on our wall that night, and sang, acapella, the most stunning version of ‘Panic Beach’ I ever heard. She was barely 12 years old, and it wasn’t hard to imagine where that confidence and voice would take her.”

After being introduced, Maines spoke about many of the memories she had in Lubbock. She mentioned some of her favorite teachers from her childhood and some of her favorite things about Lubbock.

“I love Lubbock,” Maines said. “I loved Lubbock growing up. I never quite fit in, but I kind of like that. I think I used it for my benefit.”

Maines mentioned many times that her family was the most important thing to her, and that her family was essential to her musical interests and her career.

“The Maines family is the best family in the world,” she said.

NatalieMainesPerforming1
SPC alum Natalie Maines sings “Wide Open Spaces” at her West Texas Walk of Fame induction on Sept. 17. BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

After Maines spoke, the plaque that will be displayed in the walk of fame was unveiled. To conclude the ceremony, Maines and her father sang “Wide Open Spaces”.

Maines began her education at SPC in the fall of 1993, majoring in commercial music. After three semesters at SPC she transferred to the Berklee College of Music. She went to school there until joining the all female band, The Dixie Chicks in 1995.

Cary Banks, assistant professor of commercial music, has been close to Maines since she was a young girl. Banks was a member of “The Maines Brothers Band” with Natalie’s father, Lloyd Maines, and two of her uncles. Banks also taught Maines when she was a student at SPC in the creative arts department.

“She mostly did rock and R&B,” Banks said of Maines experience at SPC .“She mostly did rock ensembles and R&B. She was in one country ensemble, the country jukebox ensemble. She sort of prided herself on being sort of an outsider.”

“One of the main things that she learned while she was at South Plains College,” said Banks, “was really, how to get up on that stage and really take charge of the stage. Take charge of the band, lead the band and really project the energy of the band to the audience.”

Banks also shared that SPC was where Maines had “her first real success of becoming what they call a front man, a lead singer.” Banks said that the musical individuality and the skills she learned about being a lead singer, “definitely helped her as she became a member of ‘The Dixie Chicks’ and went on to the worldwide stage.

Campus carry bill allows concealed handguns at colleges,universities

by:NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in Chief

The Texas House of Representatives recently passed a bill which will allow students to carry concealed firearms on college campuses.

The bill states that the person carrying the concealed hand gun will have to have a concealed handgun license.

“According to the law, if you have a CHL (concealed handgun license), then you are allowed to carry your handgun on private property in regards of campuses,” explains Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of South Plains College. “You have to go through a series of training exercises to carry a concealed handgun.”

The bill is expected to take effect for community colleges on Aug. 1, 2017, but will he put in place for universities in 2016.

“It will be interesting to follow a model such as Texas Tech University in terms of where are their gun-free zones,” Dr. Sharp explains. “I think it will be good to follow the campuses around us, and we get to watch those plans for a year and then we get to come back and decide what we think is best for South Plains College. I think we’ll have a good implementation and opportunity to see what’s going on at the other universities.”

Dr. Sharp says SPC will get input from the students, faculty, and staff to help identify the gun-free zones.

“You’re never going to know what’s going to happen,” Dr. Sharp says. “For example, if we have a ruling that there will be no guns allowed in the dormitories, then that’s the rule. Because who knows what’s going to happen. Someone can say, “Look at this gun I got,’ and the next thing you know it goes off and shoots someone.”

There are many positive and negative aspects of the concealed campus carry bill. One negative could be the confusion it will cause between the shooter and the person who is trying to help.

campuscarry2
Photo Illustration by CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“It’s one thing to get a license to carry a concealed handgun, but it would be nice if the training would extend to some kind of active shooting training,” Dr. Sharp explains. “Maybe a little more training in regards to ‘what do you do if there is an active shooter?’ What if there’s an active shooter and five people run out and they all have their gun drawn? When the campus police show up, they’re going to be thinking, ‘Which one is the bad guy?’”

Campus police officer Nickolis Castillo has concerns about the bill as well.

“There is a significant difference in law enforcement training and civilian training,” Castillo says. “It is fairly easy to get a concealed carry gun license. Most concealed carry courses will not train under stress conditions, and even under stress conditions, even most law enforcement who are trained see a significant reduction in accuracy when using a firearm to hit a target.”

Castillo is concerned that students who don’t have the training under stress are going to have their accuracy reduced when shooting at the target they are intending to hit.

Even though there are concerns about the bill, there are many pros for the campus carry bill.

“The positive side of this bill is once you let students carry on campus, then anyone who has a plan to harm a group of people understands that they are going into an environment with others who are carrying a weapon,” Dr. Sharp says.

Castillo says the bill is going to help the campus police at SPC if there is an active shooter on campus.

“We have a good response time here at the campus police,” Castillo explains. “But sometimes we need help. When there is an active shooter across campus, and SPC is a very large, open campus, it may take some time for us to get there. So, having that additional support is a plus. It’s like adding quite a few officers.”

According to Castillo, the law enforcement officers, students, and administration need to work together to enact this bill.

“We need to work together so SPC can be a safe environment, and that’s going to require some training,” Castillo says.

“So, we’re going to be going through some training to guarantee a safe campus.”

Dr. Sharp said he believes that the most important thing is people are willing to protect themselves and others.

“For the most case, the research shows that people who have concealed hand gun licenses are safely trained and there aren’t incidents with CHL carriers,” Dr. Sharp explains. “You have to have some confidence in the people who have the weapons, so we’re not out there like sitting ducks. The times have changed. So I think this will help our campus feel a little safer.”