Tag: SPC Events

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.

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).

Traveling performer entertains students with hypnosis

by Abi Hernandez

As the volunteers sit quietly in their chairs in a trance on the stage, Tom De Luca tells them their orders to do after he snaps his fingers as the audience watches.

He snaps his fingers and the stage comes to life as the volunteers do as they were told mindlessly. The audience claps and cheers.

De Luca took a three-hour plane ride to perform on Sept. 16 in the P.E. Complex on the Levelland campus of South Plains College.

De Luca has performed in various places for all kinds of people. He was born in Illinois and now lives in Orlando, Florida. De Luca then attended the University of Illinois, where he first began to explore “the Hypno-business.”

“I learned how to deal with difficult situations,” said De Luca. “I also learned it is harder to get an adult volunteer.”

De Luca’s psychology professor is the one who first introduced him to hypnosis. De Luca then hypnotized a guy and found he had a gift. One of his first shows was at a hotel.

“The crowd was tough and called me fake,” he recalled.

His next gig was at a night club every Wednesday, once a week, and sometimes once a month. He has traveled to 13 different states to do a countless number of shows.

De Luca said he has performed in North Carolina, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Virginia, Georgia, Texas, Alaska, and Kansas. He said he usually does any show where they want him. A lot of colleges call him to ask if he will perform for back-to-school events. So on average, he goes to 13 states a year. When he traveled to Alpine, Texas, he said it was the longest drive “because you feel like your driving forever.”

The most interesting event De Luca performed was at the University of Tennessee during the half-time of a basketball game in front of 22,000 people. He picked out 12 volunteers from the crowd in the stands and hypnotized them. After the show, they hung out with him.IMG_1890

“ It was extremely intense and very scary to perform in front of all those people,” said De Luca.

During his many adventures, De Luca performed for the former president’s daughter and family members. He also did a show at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and he did show for a lot of CEO’s at their own homes. He also has performed in Anchorage, Alaska and Fairbanks, Alaska, where they have only three hours of daylight each day.

Throughout his career, De Luca has learned that he has to keep adjusting all of his performances to fit the different audiences. He has also observed that as the years have passed, the attention span of people has decreased tremendously and is still decreasing. In saying that, he tries to keep the pace of his performances steady and interactive so the audiences won’t get bored.

“ People are more easily offended nowadays, so I have to watch what I say sometimes,” said De Luca.

The more he performs shows, the more De Luca says he learns about human nature and behavior. The older the audience members are, the less likely they would volunteer to participate in any of the shows.

“It’s been rough, but it has been worth it,” De Luca said. “I have met some pretty interesting people.”

Free press, fake news topics of discussion at Constitution Day

The pace of the news is faster than ever. Making sense of it all was at the forefront of this year’s Constitution Day discussion at South Plains College.

Every year, Constitution Day is celebrated at SPC with a public presentation or conversation on important issues facing our country, looking back at past events and forward to future possibilities.

The event, held on Sept. 29 in the Sundown Room in the Student Center, was organized by the Social Sciences Department. The focus of this year’s talk was the freedom of the press provision of the First Amendment, and discussion regarding the idea of so-called “fake news.”

Leading this year’s dialogue as moderator was Tim Holland, instructor in government, with Drew Landry, assistant professor of government, keeping time and tracking social media questions. A panel of local experts gave their thoughts on the questions brought forward.

Before the discussion started, all in attendance were encouraged to take out their smartphones and tweet questions to the Twitter account @SPCGovernment, using the hashtag #1AFakeNews, so questions could be selected for the panel.

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David Williams, Dr. Sharon Bogener, Tim Holland, and Matt Dotray formed the panel for Constitution Day on Sept. 29. MATT MOLINAR/PLAINSMAN PRESS

The subject that garnered the most discussion by far was “fake news,” both what it really is, and how journalists and consumers alike might take measures to fight it.

“You can go back as far as you want to in the history of the world and find so-called ‘fake news,’” said Dr. Sharon Bogener, professor of History at SPC.

According to her, this idea of generating false claims through the media isn’t a new development at all, even if the phrase “fake news” is. The term “yellow journalism” has been around for far longer, and the world isn’t only just now being faced with sensationalized news reporting.

So why the fervor from both sides of the political spectrum about this idea that suddenly seems so new?

“I think it’s uncomfortable to go outside of one’s bubble,” said Matt Dotray, political reporter at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “It is so easy to just feed off your own beliefs that that’s become the default.”

This can then lead to a cycle of only consuming news and ideas that fall within that set of beliefs, and everything else is mentally shifted into a place of reduced credibility.

“Generally, there’s been a decline in trust in sources,” said Holland. “I’ve pulled up a couple of opinion polls from Gallup that’s been doing a tracking poll for quite some time, and confidence in newspapers has been in the 20s.”

“Those aren’t good numbers,” Dotray replied.

But unfortunately, those statistics reflect a reality for many Americans today, even if the sentiment goes all the way back to the American Revolution.

“Not believing the media is a much older look at the media than expecting it to be true,” said Dr. Bogener.

If that’s the case, how can things such as speculation or outright lies be differentiated inside a media that is generally distrusted by the public at large? Is it the responsibility of the press or the people to make this distinction?

“You have to really consider the source of what you’re looking at,” said David Williams, news director at KCBD-TV in Lubbock. “I think there’s a very distinct difference between your local media and the national media.”

Williams added, “Somebody once told me, and I try to always remember this: people will rarely remember who had the story first, but they’ll never forget if you get it wrong.”

Some could argue that putting pundits giving opinionated commentary so close to actual fact-based news reporting is confusing the matter even more.

“I think commentary has its place in political discussions, but I don’t think it should be depended on,” said Dotray. “What’s key to that is to make it well known that it’s commentary. Because I think sometimes the line gets blurred, and that’s when it becomes an issue.”

“CNN always gets called ‘fake news,’” added Dotray. “They’ve kind of become the face of it. CNN is just bad is all. I don’t think having six people arguing around a table […] is helping anybody. Facts don’t matter in those discussions. At all.”

With all the cynicism and doubt about what is real and what isn’t in the media that has apparently been around since the dawn of media itself, why is the press the single profession that the country’s founders decided to protect in the United States Constitution?

“I think it has to do with their experiences at the time, and what they saw,” said Williams. “Maybe they had the foresight to see that information is critical to our culture and the type of country that we were trying to develop at the time.”

Holland came at the question from a more practical point of view.

“There’s certainly no greater check on the power of government or individual politicians than information,” said Holland. “Oftentimes, the media is called the fourth branch of government, or ‘the fourth estate,’ and I think that’s a very apt term.”

The consensus from the entire panel was ultimately a positive one: that regardless of how effective legitimate news organizations currently are at rebuffing the accusations of being “fake news,” if readers and viewers try to occasionally step outside their bubbles, our country may just make it through to the other side, possibly even a little bit more informed than we were before.

“I think you need to read both sides of the story,” said Dr. Bogener, “and make an educated decision, rather than just jump on the train that you like the best.”

Board of Regents discuss crime statistics, upcoming events

Campus crime statistics, a resolution, and upcoming events were among the topics of discussion during the October meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

The Annual Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Report was reviewed, with several key statistics having changed from 2015 to 2016.

The report showed one reported rape and one reported assault on the Levelland campus for 2016, both up from zero the previous two years. Notably, reported disciplinary referrals for drug abuse violations on campus and in student housing facilities dropped from 18 in 2015 to only four in 2016.

Arrests and disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations both increased from the previous year, with arrests rising from zero to 15, and referrals from 19 to 31.

Reporting from the Reese and Lubbock campuses continues to show no criminal offenses reported.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, told the Board about several events available to students in the coming months.

The first is the Career Expo, taking place on Oct.18 at the Civic Center in Lubbock from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It will be a place for students to interact with employers in the community and should be a great opportunity for networking within various professional fields.

The annual Halloween Carnival will be held Oct. 26 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland Campus. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Also, the annual Scholarship Banquet is set for Nov. 2 at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland. It will begin at 6:30 p.m, and scholarship recipients are encouraged to attend.

Dr. Satterwhite also read a resolution honoring Dan Hook, who has represented the college as its attorney for the past 33 years. Hook was present at this month’s meeting, and has been a valued member of the counsel during his time at SPC. He is retiring this year from his long-held position.

“Dan, thank you so much for your service,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “Even in my short time here, it has been invaluable.”

“You were here before any of us in this room,” added Mike Box, chairman of the board. “I have relied on you more than once, even to call you in the middle of the night.”

“Thank you for allowing me to represent the college,” Hook responded.

The Board gave Hook a standing ovation, and the resolution was passed unanimously.

Benefit event raises money for Wharton County Junior College

Talented commercial music students drew a large crowd for the benefit concert that will provide financial help to Wharton County Junior College.

The idea for the Texans Helping Texans benefit concert came up when Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of South Plains College, approached Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president of student affairs, about what, if anything, the college could do to help. Then they sought out the director of student life.

Since Hurricane Harvey had already passed, a lot of the relief efforts such as food, water, clothing and immediate relief projects had already been taken on. So when the faculty and students organizing the event got the project up and running, it was more about rebuilding. Helping the community in the area rebuild was the main goal of the fundraising effort, Texans Helping Texans, which was held Oct.5 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus.

When the Creative Arts Department got involved, they wanted to make sure it would help another community college and reached out to several community colleges to get an idea about who needed help. Wharton County Junior College really caught their attention, because the school is smaller than the surrounding schools. The college also had 30 faculty, staff and students who were homeless due to the hurricane.

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Bray Peevy and T.J. Gutierrez, students from the Creative Arts Department, performing with their band Misdirectory in the Sundown Room on the Levelland campus on Oct 5. THALIA GONZALEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

What also drew attention was the video they posted online called “#pioneerscare.” The hashtag came from their school mascot, the pioneers. After watching the video, SPC decided that was really where help was needed and decided to extend their efforts to WCJC.

Miranda English, the new director of Student Life at SPC, said the first idea was a benefit concert, and so she visited with Sonny Borba, program coordinator for Commercial Music, and he liked the idea as well.

“We were scrambling to put something together quickly, so he got with his wonderfully talented students to put something together,” English said.

The concert raised $400 for WCJC.

In the beginning, everyone who put on the show was nervous about a smaller turnout. But the event drew a large crowd.

“We are strong as a community, but Texas is also a community,” English said, “I think we really want to start bringing our communities together. We want other communities across Texas to know that we care and are here. We all share the same kind of small-town community values across the state and we really want to get our students more active in community service and civic involvement, because if we don’t do it, who will?”

AlternaTV pays tribute to Green Day during February show

by DESIREE MENDEZ//Staff Writer

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The student rock ensemble known as AlternaTV fills the Commercial Music Building with the sound of drum solos and strong vocals.

The band consists of: Chase Gibson from Lubbock, vocals; Moses Chaisouang from Delhart, guitar; Israel Gonzales from Post, vocals; Ashley Moyers from Shallowater, vocals; Joseph Raney from Fort Worth, bassist; Davis Draugahon from Fort Worth, guitar; and Zach Hagris from Jacksonville, Fla., drummer. All attend South Plains College. They are led by Sonny Borba, commercial music program coordinator.

Gibson has been a part of ATV for six semesters, while Gonzales has been a part of ATV for five semesters.

Chaisouang has been with ATV for three semesters, and Draugahon and is in his fourth semester with ATV. Raney, the newest member of ATV, comes from the School of Rock, and is in his first semester with ATV. Hargis is in his second semester with the group.

“The most inspiring thing for me about teaching AlternaTV is seeing the growth in the students, both musically and professionally,” Borba said.  “I hold these students to some high standards when it comes to being prepared and putting on a great show.  It’s really great to see it all come together.”

ATV performs on three Thursdays during each semester, with shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Tom T. Hall Studio in the Commercial Music Building on the Levelland campus.

ATV covers a wide range of hard rock music, from Green Day to modern rock.

During their show on Feb. 23, ATV performed a Green Day tribute. They performed songs such as, “Still Breathing,” “When I Come Around,” and “Jesus of Suburbia.” ATV also has covered Fall Out Boy, and AudioSlave.

During their performance, there is a screen that plays when they are on break. It has interviews with the members and other funny stories from the members of ATV.

Gonzales said he likes performing because it is a way to escape reality, and helps others escape reality as well.

“All the nerves disappear when you get on stage,” Gonzales said. “You feel like you are the center of attention, and everyone is zoomed in on you. You are the reason that those people are out there. You want them to have fun and enjoy themselves.”

  Moyers said she enjoys music, adding that it is very emotional and therapeutic.

It isn’t just the members of the ATV band that make a performance a success. Working behind the scenes are Matt Quick, who controls the front house sound, Jeremiah Denning, who monitors world sound, Tom Stalcup and Greg Cook, video, and Dolf Guardiola, audio for video.

Students need to audition to be part of ATV. Being willing to work with others and their ideas is crucial, and being committed to practicing is a big part of being in ATV.

“It influenced a good habit of practice and preparation,” said Gibson. “Also, it helped me set a goal of quality in musicians. It really made me grow a respect for artists and their songs after covering so many.”

ATV is set to return to the stage on April 4 at the Cactus Theater in Lubbock. The performance free to faculty and staff. All are invited to attend.

[Photo by DESIREE MENDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS]