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The best apps for music and concert seekers

  Hello music lovers of CSUN.! Curious about when musicians and bands will be making an appearance near your city? Perhaps there is an interest in new music releases. Probably you want a useful for app for when you’re at the concert. Whatever your musical interest may be here are some apps that are all about music and concerts.

1. Concerts! By preAmped LLC – Free

    Concerts! offers information on shows going on in any particular city and can display certain events based on the music on the phone. Also, this app keeps concert goers up to date on what is going on with their favorite band or musician by offering notifications of new shows and album releases. This app is available for the iPhone.

2. Band Of The Day By 955 Dreams – Free
    Attention music enthusiasts, Band Of The Day features a brand new band or musician every day with streams of their top songs, some videos, photos, reviews, a biography, and much more. It is like having a music magazine in your pocket that updates with new music each day and is available for the iPhone.
3.  Where Did I Park? By Mobilevel – Free
   Mostly everyone has experienced the dreadful realization that they have forgotten where their car is parked, especially at concerts. Where Did I Park? offers a GPS Service to keep track of where a car is parked, users can take a picture of the surrounding area, choose a time limit to how long a car can be parked in the particular spot, and a reminder to move the car. It is available on the iPhone and Android.

Mouse Guard comic is a bit of a mouse bore

Illustration by Natalie Rivera/Arts & Entertainment Editor

Dark and gritty. Mice and mayhem. Welcome to the world of David Peterson’s fantasy graphic novel, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152. It has some strong moments and the action is great when amped up but the entire affair ends up falling flatter than a mouse fart in the wind.

The appeal of a story like this is one that is rooted in our basic need to discover hidden secrets and the worth of good overcoming evil. It barely succeeds at both and due to this lack of basic skillful storytelling, it ends up being a pointless slog.

Evil forces conspire against a brave band of noble protectors known as the Mouse Guard. The nefarious plot is discovered by three of the guard’s best warriors and their adventure to discover the source of the plan is the bulk of the story.  In a spectacularly awkward reveal the villain is discovered but the motive is never really explained which is one of the many issues throughout the novel.

Maddeningly worse, are the filler parts of the journey. It’s a trudge through the mundane. The three protagonists, are so woefully under-developed as characters, that their personalities are effectively rendered down to weapon of choice and color of cloak. This results in a complete lack of sympathy for their plight.

Equally absurd is the abundance of MacGuffins which fail to enhance the story in a plausible way. Whether it’s the aforementioned villains goals or the three heroes discovery of a mythical warrior, the story suffers from general lack of direction. At a hefty 200 pages the story should be dense in a good way but ends up dense like a boring block of un-carved wood.

The action sequences save the mendacity of this particular mouse affair and one gets the feeling that the creator, Peterson, has more skill with his drawing than his wordplay. And while the art is beautiful at first it eventually coalesces into a muddy stew of browns and grays, punctuated by bright moments of clarity, most notably in a beautiful beach setting. Unfortunately, this all results in an otherwise bland offering.In the end this journey just isn’t worth the undertaking and the result is a steaming pile of mediocre.

The Possession; same suspense, different demon


Courtesy of MCT

Once again they have created an exorcism film that is nothing more than just another possession with a different set of events.
The Possession that made its debut on Friday is based on a true story. According to an article from the LA Times the box which is called a dybbux box, a cursed jewish box, was sold for $280 through eBay.

      Just like the films Amityville Horror, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and The Haunting in Connecticut which were also based on true events, the Possession is predictable but with a somewhat different look.
       The film tells the story of 10-year-old Em, played by Natasha Calis, discovering the box in a yard sale. The box was put for sale just days after the box tortured its previous owner. After opening the box, Em begins to change her attitude and becomes attached to the box. A demon has escaped from the box and is now taking over her body.
       This film’s storyline has been told before. A broken family goes through hardships when one member gets possessed by a demonic entity. The family, then, has to hurry to force out the spirit before it has taken full control.
       The suspense is overdone. In every horror film it’s the suspense that usually tries to scare the audience. The suspense only warns that something is coming. In this film the suspense leads to nothing. The suspenseful scenes are only there to warm up the crowd for the right moment to scare them.  It is too bad it failed. The suspense of the box opening on its own is scary but there was an expectation of a hand or a head coming out of the box not moths.
     The special effects, more specifically the lighting, is dull. There is a perfect moment for everything. There is a perfect moment to start the flickering lights and there is a perfect moment no to.  The flickering lights when the demon made its appearance was just trying to add fear to a demon that looked like a crawling baby. In that particular scene it didn’t need the lights since the demon just wasn’t scary.
    Unlike other exorcism films, this movie took a different direction and made the linked religion Jewish. Another interesting thing this film does that other films haven’t was link the possession with technology. In other films, medicine could not determine the sickness that takes control over the possessed. In the Possession, during an MRI, the demon can be seen lurking in Em’s body.
Natasha Calis’ performance, on the other hand, was a little dreary in the beginning of her possession but she recovers herself once the demon gets stronger. Her gags, as the demons fingers begin to poke from the back of the throat, come off as painless. The hand that crawls beneath her cheek’s looks like she is trying to spit something out. Once the demon becomes stronger, Calis’ pain begins to become more realistic. Her need to eat raw meat, crawl through the floors and the moths that come out of her mouth turn into gruesome images and betters her acting.
Despite the endings predictability, one thing’s for sure the Possession has caused fear of buying antiques from a yard sale. 2 and a half out of 5

Running the graduation gauntlet: students battle ever-changing policies

Illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea/Visual Editor


With only a semester away from receiving his bachelor’s degree in Asian-American studies, Marvin Jordan struggles to pay for his tuition. He is the first person in his family to go to college.

Jordan, 23, first encountered financial aid problems through an email he received in February notifying him of his failure to comply with the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

His financial aid was subject to cancellation if he did not raise his pass rate by the end of Spring 2012 to meet the new requirements.

He filed an appeal, but was denied after being unable to provide a compelling reason for not meeting the standards. Jordan’s financial aid was taken away after six years at CSUN and he was faced with the possibility of not graduating.

“I didn’t have enough time to bring up my pass rate,” Jordan said. “I only brought it up to 74 percent and now my family is struggling to pay for my education. I wouldn’t be at CSUN anymore if it wasn’t for them.”

In February, the CSU system sent an email to all students stating a change to its SAP policy. The new policy would call for students to maintain an 80 percent pass rate of all attempted classes for the 2012-13 financial aid award year instead of the previous 70 percent requirement.

This means students are required to pass at least 80 percent of all units they enroll in. Repeated courses and courses in which students received a fail, incomplete, no credit, withdrawal or withdrawal unauthorized also count toward the number of units attempted.
In accordance with the current SAP policy within the CSU, students receiving financial aid also face a 150-unit cap policy that threatens to cut off their aid, thus delaying their projected graduation date if they are unable to pay.

Students only need 120 units to graduate and cannot exceed 140 units if they are double majoring, according to the University Catalog.

“Students can have up to two majors and two minors as long as they can be completed in 140 units,” said Elizabeth Adams, senior director of CSUN’s Undergraduate Studies.

Daniel Mulato, a graduating senior double majoring in psychology and Chicano/a studies, is having trouble paying for the five units he has left this semester in order to receive his diploma. Having reached his 150-unit limit, he now faces disenrollment if unable to find the funds.

Mulato works at the Educational Opportunity Program office as a transitional program student assistant and sees first-hand how first-generation, low-income freshmen are faced with these challenges.

“What concerns me is the fact that these policies only affect a certain population,” Mulato said. “They don’t affect rich kids with parents who pay for their education. They affect low-income students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Loans and state grants require a minimum of half-time enrollment for eligibility Khashmanyan said. Although federal grants can be given to students with less than half-time enrollment, the aid amount is very minimal.

“Students who maintain full-time enrollment receive the maximum amount of aid,” said Armenka Khashmanyan, CSUN Financial Aid representative. “Otherwise, assistance can be reduced or cancelled depending on the source.”

Financial aid is helping students getting an education, but in return students have the responsibility to maintain good academic standing, according to Khashmanyan.

“Some students flip-flopping between majors take courses that aren’t required, or are just being ‘professional students,’ which are students who are only here for financial aid money rather than an education,” Khashmanyan said. “It isn’t CSU policies that are slowing down their expected graduation, it’s the student.”

In 2012, the number of units a student was allowed to take per semester was capped. What used to be a maximum of 17 units during registration appointments changed to the current 13 units. Once it is open enrollment, students can take up to 16 units. With a limit on the amount of units per semester, students are meeting the 120-unit graduation minimum at a much slower rate. Less units per semester means more semesters spent in school and delayed graduation dates for CSUN students.

According to Vice Provost Cynthia Rawitch, the 13-unit limit per semester and 150-unit cap on financial aid have actually improved graduation rates within the past few.

“We encourage students to graduate in a timely manner and be smarter about the units they take, but our students lead different lives with busy schedules,” Rawitch said. “Some will graduate in four years and others in six. But my focus is on units, not years.”

David Wakefield, chair of child and adolescent development, teaches students self-improvement

David Wakefield, Department Chair of Child and Adolescent Development, sits in his office at CSUN on Monday, August 27. “Learning ways to self-improve is something I want students to take away,” he said. “(It is) one of the most important things you can learn from the college experience.” Photo credit: Danielle Hale / Daily Sundial

If you have ever wondered about what path your life will take or which direction you should go, you are not alone.

David W. Wakefield, chair of the child and adolescent development department (CADV), was not sure of his calling until graduate school.

Since early schooling, Wakefield noticed his natural curiosity as to why some students excelled in school while others struggled. This curiosity peaked while taking a general education psychology, course as an undergrad, at UC Berkeley. And, so, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

When he continued on to graduate school, the puzzle pieces came together.

It was clear that being an educator was his passion.

This epiphany was encouraged by others, principally a crucial support system of family, friends, and professors who pushed Wakefield to achieve higher goals.

Wakefield said these support systems are integral to finding success in education, especially for those in ethnic minority groups who may be the first of their families to attend college.

“Historically there has been limited access to higher education (for ethnic minority groups and first generation college students),” Wakefield said. “That has somewhat changed now (although) the odds are still against you if you don’t have that support system.”

Coming from a family of educators (his parents and grandparents were also teachers), the desire to help others reach their long-term goals and find their path is a family trend.

“We need to do a better job building pathways for people,” he said, “We have a really good group of faculty at Cal State Northridge that are committed to…helping students identify how to navigate college.”

Wakefield takes pride in providing the highest quality education for the 900 students in the child and adolescent development department, although he admits the CSU budget issues have not left the department unscathed.

When it comes to budgetary constraints, trying to be as economical as possible is difficult, he said. Instead of offering more sections with fewer seats, the department opted to offer larger lecture courses with more seats, giving students an opportunity to get into classes they need, according to Wakefield.

“Teaching larger lectures may change some of the ways a professor teaches a class,” Wakefield said. “But faculty at Cal State Northridge are choosing to teach here because they enjoy closely working with students.”

Counseling services is another area where Wakefield’s CADV department has adapted, in particular, by revamping the advisement model.

In an effort to reallocate resources and maximize the benefit for students, mandatory advisement appointments have been replaced with access to online tools and informational workshops on topics like networking and applying to master’s programs.

While faculty has been working hard to maximize student benefits, they have also been bargaining for their own.

This pass Friday the teacher’s union, the California Faculty Association (CFA), and the CSU Chancellor’s office reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for faculty members that extends through June 30, 2014.

Competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits have been a steady concern for faculty members, but the faculty is also aware of the financial circumstances and budget issues the state faces.

“I think most (of the) faculty, including myself, hope that the taxpayers of California pass the initiative to put more money into education,” he said. “Otherwise it seems that things are only going to get worse before they get better.”

Wakefield began teaching at CSUN 13 years ago and describes the experience as fulfilling in many ways. Working closely with students has been the most enjoyable part of his job.

Mentoring students on their research projects in the Presidential Scholars program, which has served as a springboard to the next step for many students, has been a true highlight, he said. In child and adolescent development it is a treat to see students active in the community where they are working with children, families, school districts and community organizations.

Looking back, he recalls the influential people who helped him along the way and the pivotal role their guidance played. Now he is paying it forward.

One lesson he hopes students gain from his classes goes beyond getting an ‘A’.

“Learning ways to self-improve is something I want students to take away,” he said. “(It is) one of the most important things you can learn from the college experience.”

Sex apps beneficial only when used in moderation

Photo illustration by Caitlin Shieh and Jeffrey Zide


Since what seems like the beginning of time, ticking hormone-bombs faced a wonderful dilemma: they wanted no-strings attached sex. And up until 10 years ago, people in search of partners joined niche chatrooms, awful party lines and had to cruise bars – risky adventures that didn’t always pay off.

Smart phone applications like Skout and Blendr changed that, offering easy-to-get sex with willing strangers who might be around the bend. The efficient applications have proven to be an international success, with a reported 3.5 million Grindr users in the world, according to PR Newswire.

Sex apps are a positive force in our society enabling individuals to express their sexuality in healthy ways; people once restricted by community taboos or social circles are suddenly surrounded with liberating and fun possibilities. However, these touch-screen-tools also have downsides and should not replace real-life socializing – even if it is just for some casual sex.

Before making judgements, I decided to test out the Grindr app, popular in the gay male community, for one week. What I found in sex apps was the same outcome of Twitter and Facebook: an elimination of social skills (thanks to people using them as substitutes for social lives). People’s flirting skills might be heading that direction as well.

Set up was a hot and sweaty breeze. Once the application has been downloaded, users are asked to provide a profile picture and their exact location. You will soon find out that this part caused me the most problems.
Once registered, the app throws your image into a sea of people who can be divided into two groups: the ones with a fair amount of social grace and the people you will most likely witness grabbing a fistful of boob from unsuspecting women in clubs.

During my seven-day trial, I encountered my fair share of unwanted explicit photos (a picture of you mid-orgasm isn’t wooing material) and more disturbingly, an online stalker.
I met my obsessed fan on night three of the trial. The man sent a friendly message saying, “what are you into?” I would soon learn that he didn’t want to know about my hidden passion for vintage clothing.

“Lol cute. U a bttm?” the man asked.

“I’m here for friends,” I replied.

What followed were 15 minutes of me softly rejecting a man who could not take a hint. As previously mentioned, the app’s location feature was the source of my trouble, allowing him to vaguely figure out what street I lived on.

“I’m nearby where you are,” the man messaged me. “Let’s meet up.”

The fear of being murdered wasn’t previously in my mind, but I started racing and swearing like Clint Eastwood at the RNC. Covering all my bases, I blocked the man from my profile and promptly deleted it. Grindr definitely wasn’t home to charming Casanovas.

The tragedy of it all? Physically, the stalker was 100 percent my type and I would have talked to him under normal circumstances.  I am not alone in  discovering that a seemingly attractive person online has the seductive skills of a shotgun.

“I’ve done it with a couple of guys I’ve met online,” said Kimberly T., a 19-year-old community college student who used Skout a few times before meeting her girlfriend at school. “They’ve been cool… because I’m super picky.”

While using the Skout application, Kimberly remembers the unsolicited nude pics that appeared randomly in her chats with men.

“I got this message from this guy I’ve never even talked to,” Kimberly said. “Muscle, in his 30s and a little gray hair… the message had a [picture] of his wang and the text ‘hey cutie.’”

Twenty years ago, if a man wanted to flirt with a woman who was way “out of his league,” he risked being ridiculed by the “classy” drunk folks at a bar or party. Now, all one has to do is write a simple ‘hey’ to a woman and pray she believes him when he says, “yes, that is a picture of my nine-inch-penis on my profile.” In the end he might be rejected, but will face no real repercussions.

While we no longer have to waste time seducing Mr. or Ms. Right-Now at the local McDonald’s or waiting until last call at the Tonga Hut bar, the applications can also rob us of the little remaining social muscle we as Internet beings possess.

The result is an attractive, yet awkward individual with poor skills whose lost an essential part of living in a diverse society. Picture a drunken Kristen Stewart and the story writes itself.

Do you find sex apps to be helpful or hurtful to your sex life?

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Dickey’s Barbeque Pit offers delicious bites at a cheap price

In 1941, Travis Dickey, owner of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, opened his first restaurant in Dallas, Texas. Dickeyâ??s has become a popular restaurant of smoked meats. Photo credit: Carla Adelmann / Daily Sundial

Cal State University Northridge students now have a chance to eat healthy outside the campus in the newly opened grill restaurant Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.

Dickey’s, which  is located at 9035 Reseda Blvd, in Northridge, only opened a month ago, but already it is the home to regulars and hungry crowds.

The original owner, Travis Dickey, opened his first restaurant in Dallas, Texas, in 1941.  Since then, Dickey’s has become a popular restaurant for smoked meat all over the country.

The first impression you get  the minute you  step inside Dickey’s, is that you feel like you’ve just walked into a barbecue picnic at a park. The smell of smoked meat is so incredible and strong, you feel your mouth water. Even if you are a vegetarian or just don’t like to eat meat, you can still tolerate the smell because it is just so delicious.

I couldn’t decide what to try for a while. My stomach wanted it all at once. So, I ordered a smokehouse salad and baked potato casserole and took almost half of it home because the Dickey’s portions tend to be big. The salad had meat, greens, fried onions and cheese, all delicously mixed into a great salad combination. The potato casserole however was decent, but that is probably because Dickey’s  focus is more on the meat.

“Meat is definitely our special,” says Justin Nakamura, manager at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.

Nakamura  also explained that they smoke all of their meats in the restaurant just like all their other Dickey’s locations. This is an old tradition that was saved from the 1940s.

“We smoke a whole 600 pounds chunk of meat for 14 hours to get the special Dickey’s taste,” Nakamura says.

When a customer orders they can  see how the meat is prepared by looking behind a glass counter where the cook prepares the meat.

A meat lover can choose from a variety of  sandwiches, salads or meat plates. One meat plate with two sides, sauce by choice and homemade bread will cost you $10.50. Sandwiches are cheaper. You can have BBQ sandwich for $6.00, which is a regular size sandwich or a “Westerner” sandwich, which is bigger, for only $7.50.

For dessert, Dickey’s offers something that everyone, especially kids, can appreciate – free ice-cream with a food purchase.

“We were waiting for this place to open,” says James Valiensi, who walked to the Dickey’s with his wife and son from their home. “It is good to have a place that you can actually walk to.”

Valiensi and his family have enjoyed Dickey’s ever since their first Dickey’s dining experience. They have decided they will come to dine at Dickey’s again in the future. Maybe they should come on a Sunday, because Dickey’s has a special weekly offer – kids eat free on Sundays.

Weekly Column: Dwight Howard has many masks, just ask around the NBA

Ron Says:

This offseason’s blockbuster trade among the Lakers, Sixers, Nuggets and Magic not only neutralized the point of last season’s lockout to spread out talent in the league, but also created another title-contending super team by adding the best center in the league to an already star-studded Lakers’ lineup.

Last year, Lakers fans such as myself knew the team had glaring holes in their lineup — they didn’t have a point guard who could create shots for others, they had no bench and they were stuck with a center who gave up too easily. All of these flaws were exposed when the Oklahoma City Thunder stomped LA in the playoffs.

This summer, the Lakers addressed all of their problems by pilfering Steve Nash from the Suns, signing Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks for chump change and sending Andrew Bynum to the Sixers for Dwight Howard, whose addition will take the Lakers into the NBA finals over OKC.

So how exactly does Howard lift the Lakers over their main competitors?

Offensively, Howard solves all of the Lakers’ problems. He can get wide-open shots for anyone because he commands a double team, he’s the best pick and roll big man in the game as he scores 78 percent of the time when involved in the play, and he’s statistically a better offensive rebounder and finisher at the rim (he scores on 64 percent of his offensive rebounds) compared to Bynum, negating the free throw percentage disparity. Not only that, Howard has a higher field goal percentage in post-up situations compared to Bynum (50.2 to 46.8).

Defensively, Howard blocks and alters more shots than Bynum. He’s won Defensive Player of the Year three seasons in a row, meaning the Lakers’ perimeter defenders can tighten up on defense because they know Howard will be behind them to protect the rim.

Book it — the Lakers are coming out of the West and setting the stage for the first-ever Kobe vs. LeBron finals.


Jonathan Says:

The NBA has become the Lakers, the Heat, and everybody else. This summer’s trade was bad for basketball because it set up a dangerous precedent in the minds of GM’s across the league.

Up until the Miami Heat took home last season’s Larry O’Brien trophy, the idea–that the amount of stars on one’s roster resulted in championship rings–didn’t “ring” true.

But the Heat won, the Lakers responded and now everyone’s expectations seem reminiscent to the one we had for the London Olympics’ version of the Dream Team.

And that was boring to watch. Seriously. It was like charity basketball.

But there was a glimmer of hope resulting from the trade and that was guard-forward Andre Iguodala’s move to my hometown team, the Denver Nuggets.

For the Nuggets, the acquisition of Iguodala puts an All-Star on a young team full of potential. This is a move that may prove to be the one shiny adjustment to George Karl’s team-first basketball that could prove counter to the name-first we’ll see this season.

On the surface, Iguodala’s presence will shore up a defense that was among the league’s worst in points allowed and his 15.3 career points per game average will help make up for the loss of both Al Harrington and Aaron Afflalo.

In addition to Harrington and Afflalo, last season’s Nuggets had six players who averaged over 10 points a game, and three more players on the current roster – Andre Miller, Wilson Chandler, and Corey Brewer – were on the verge. Simply put, the Nuggets are deeper than an Adele album.

Still, “potential” is Denver’s biggest weakness because the team relies upon players like Javale McGee, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, and Kenneth Faried to be consistent performers.

If it happens, however, then the Nuggets could become David in a tale of two Goliaths, and the rest of professional basketball would have cause for hope.


Christina Says:

After the “Big Three” of Miami took the 2012 championship, the same tears cried by Cleveland over Lebron James soaked the faces of Orlando Magic fans with news of the trade of Dwight Howard. A new “Big Four” was assembled in Los Angeles after my home team’s franchise player made his tumultuous exit.

Howard once said, “I love the way (Stan Van Gundy) coaches us.” Fast forward to this past year’s “Dwightmare” and we have a very forward display of dissatisfaction with his formerly beloved coach after alleged reports surfaced of Howard’s request to rid the Magic of Gundy (these reports were denied by former GM Otis Smith).

This would not be the last time Howard contradicted himself in front of his Orlando fans. Just last week, he took a full-page ad in the Orlando Sentinel to “thank” his fans and rub the trade in Orlando’s face one last time. Along with a giant photo collage of Howard and his charities are captions of his undying love for Orlando and its “beautiful” fans. He cited his time with the Magic a privilege and honor.

Now the Magic will attempt to move forward without Howard, Gundy or Smith. Instead, the Magic get first-time head coach Jacque Vaughn. Quite frankly, I don’t recognize this team anymore. Thank goodness we now have Glen Davis and Al Harrington holding the fort. I hope the Lakers truly enjoy Howard’s 48 percent free throw shooting, which will come into play since he’s always the target of fouls.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not mad at Dwight Howard for leaving the Magic. Howard, like James, wanted to leave because he had to do what was best for him, and I support that motion. But can he please stop with his pleas for acceptance? He is gone and part of the Lakers now, who will go for the NBA title. Although I am personally mortified at the thought of his first game in Orlando on March 12, as the majority of Magic fans tend to not forget things easily. I know I will be watching.


U.S. Department of Education to make $10 million cut to the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program

Director of the McNair Scholars program, Dr. Renee Moreno, shows off student research projects from recent McNair Scholars at CSUN. The program faces a $10 million cut in federal funding this fall that could eliminate one in three of the more than 200 McNair programs on campuses nationwide. CSUN is among the 10 percent of McNair programs at Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Photo credit: Ken Scarboro/Senior Photographer

Come September, the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program will be hit with a $10 million cut made by the U.S. Department of Education affecting more than 200 McNair programs nationwide.

The McNair Scholars Program is one of eight TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The program is meant to help students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies with the goal of obtaining a Ph.D. It is designed for low-income, first generation college students and underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities in graduate education, said Renee Moreno, program director and Chicano/a Studies professor.

“The focus of the program is mostly on upper division students like juniors and seniors and puts them on a path to a Ph.D.,” said Moreno. “It trains students to take the GRE, on contacting faculty, to be good grad students and gets them to do critical research with a faculty mentor that works with them on an original research project.”

The cuts will result in one in every three programs being eliminated from institutions, said Moreno. This means that the CSUN McNair Scholars Program will be in jeopardy of receiving no funding and being cut.

“Having a program like this is so rare for people that really want to make a difference and it’s devastating to see the priorities continue to be misplaced on the federal level,” said Jorge Moraga, former McNair scholar and CSUN student who is in a doctoral program for American Studies at Washington State University.

The reason behind the funding cuts made to the McNair Program is that the funding will instead be given to the Upward Bound Math-Science Program, another TRIO program, said Moreno. The Department of Education is “pitting one TRIO program against the other and they both deserve funding.”

The consequences of cuts to the McNair Program mean fewer scholars of color and a loss of jobs.

“McNair is the pipeline for the diversity we might expect to see in the future,” said Moreno. “People will lose their jobs that are employed by their program if the cuts are made.”

The McNair Program here at CSUN will not know if it will continue to receive funding until September when award letters are sent out, but Moreno says she is hoping the program will get prior experience points for the grant program.

“I hope that someone will recognize that CSUN is incredibly diverse as an institution and is able to get the students who the program is designed for,” said Moreno. “I’m optimistic. I think the grant I wrote is very strong. The program here has very good success rates at placing students in graduate programs.”

Nationally, the McNair Program has a 53 percent success rate placing students in graduate programs and CSUN’s program has a success rate of 75 percent, said Moreno.

Moraga, who first heard about the McNair Program from Central American Studies professor Alicia Estrada in May 2011 and was strongly encouraged by her to apply, credits the program for the scholar that he is today.

“I wouldn’t have been able to develop into a scholar if it hadn’t been for the resources and my mentor,” said Moraga. “Without the program I wouldn’t have chosen academia; I would have chosen law.”

There is a lot of action being taken to try and stop the cuts to the McNair Program.

“I’m writing tons of letters, making phone calls and encouraging students to be active,” said Moreno. “I’m writing to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Congress, senators and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, asking to advocate for the McNair Program, keep the program going and keep its funding.”

There is also an online petition that is asking the Senate to stop the $10 million cuts to the McNair Program.

For now Moreno says she is strategizing.

“If we get the grant it’s five more years of funding. If not then I can request a one year extension; it’s negotiable,” said Moreno.

CSUN welcomes incoming 2012-2013 freshman with convocation

The Freshman Convocation, an annual ceremony welcoming freshmen students to the CSUN community, will take place Thursday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. on the Oviatt Lawn.

“Convocation is the first bookend of a student’s career,” said Cheryl Spector, director of academic first year experiences. “The student’s career begins with convocation and ends with graduation.”

President Dianne Harrison will open the event with a speech officially welcoming freshmen to CSUN and will introduce keynote speaker Chitra Divakaruni.

Divakaruni is the author of “One Amazing Thing,” the 2012-2013 freshman common reading book. She will speak about themes represented in the book and will also do a signing after the convocation ceremony. A reception will follow, where free finger foods will be offered to anyone who attends.

“The freshmen love it,” said Dustin Beech, student coordinator at the Student Development Office. “They were having discussions in their 100 (level) classes about the book and the keynote speaker.”

The Student Development Office is preparing for 2,500 students to converge on the Oviatt Lawn for the ceremony, ranging from freshmen to the dorm living community to athletes, Beech said.

“It’s great to see everyone in their CSUN gear and apparel walking together,” Beech said. “Here’s a real sense of connectivity and camaraderie.”

Also attending the event are faculty who will march to the lawn together in their cap and gowns, Spector said.

In its sixth year, the convocation is “a party of the mind,” Spector said. “Convocation is another symbol of the way student affairs and the academic side come together.”

CFA approves new faculty contract

The California Faculty Association members ratified the tentative faculty contract between the CFA and the CSU system on Friday.

CFA members and the CSU have been in negotiations on a contract since June 2010 when the last contract expired. As of August, a tentative agreement on a new contract was created, but needed ratification from both parties.

After three weeks of voting, 91 percent of CFA members voted in favor of the new contract, according to a CFA press release from Aug. 31.

The new agreement saves members from pay cuts and layoffs, provides better procedures for sabbaticals and teacher evaluations, and gives priority to pay raises for faculty who were scheduled to receive raises in 2008.

The CFA can also begin negotiations with the CSU board of trustees for salary increases for all other members in early October.

The contract will still need approval by the CSU board of trustees, who are scheduled to vote on Sept. 18-19. If approved, the contract will be effective until June 2014.

Matadors earn Labor Day victory on new Matadome floor

CSUN women’s volleyball team defeated Idaho (2-5) in four sets 28-26, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 in their first game in the newly refurbished Matadome.

Junior setter Sydney Gedryn gets up to set teammate Sam Kaul (15) against Idaho in the Matadors home opener on Labor Day. Loren Townsley/ Photo Editor
Junior outside hitter Mahina Haina led the Matadors (4-2) with 19 kills while junior opposite hitter Natalie Allen added 17 kills, three service aces, and added defensive support with 11 digs.“Everyone hit well tonight,” Allen said.  “It makes it hard for the other team to block and defend us. When everyone’s hitting strong, the blockers don’t know where to gang up on us.”

Matador head coach Jeff Stork praised the performances of Haina and Allen.

“Nineteen and 17 kills apiece is very good,” Stork said. “(Allen)’s always been very good, she’ll do some things that a lot of other players can’t get away with. Most of that has to do with her hand control and her vision. (Junior setter Sydney Gedryn) did a wonderful job tonight distributing the ball and following the game plan.”

Gedryn coordinated the offense with 52 assists while senior libero Cindy Ortiz led the CSUN defense with 24 digs.

“Our passing was really good,” Allen said.  “That led to our setting being really good, and our hitters being able to find holes in their blocks and their defense.”

In the first set, Matador freshman middle blocker Cieana Stinson helped open up an early 2-0 lead.  She finished with seven block assists and seven kills.  Stinson was one of two middle blockers who helped step in for the injured Casey Hinger, who was out with an ankle injury.

Idaho’s Allison Walker had a game-high 20 kills and 12 digs to lead the Vandals.

Haina got the Matadors to set point by spiking the ball right through two Vandal defenders.

“The first game was a real back-and-forth, but once we figured out our side of the net, it was a lot easier,” Haina said.

Stork sized up his team’s efforts after the game.

“I don’t think we played the best volleyball that we’ve played so far this year, but I think cumulatively, it’s one of our better efforts overall,” Stork said. “The first set, I think we were confident in our ability to sideout, I think we were siding out at like 70% in the first two sets, and when you’re doing that, it’s hard to have teams keep up with you.”

After taking the first two sets, the Matadors fell early to the Vandals and never recovered in the third set.

“Maybe we came out a little more relaxed than what we normally would do, but at the end of the day, our confidence showed up again in the fourth set,” Stork said.  “I’d hate to think we were giving sets away, but Idaho played a little bit better, they started blocking the ball a little bit better, transitioning pretty well out of their middles and we had to change our tactic against that a little bit, but we knew that being up 2-0 or 2-1 is a better situation than being down 1-2.”

Idaho miscues in the fourth set led to an early 3-1 Matador lead and Haina added another kill to make it 4-1.

“I give a lot of credit to our middles,” Haina said. “It’s the best feeling when you have nobody up and you just see clear net, it’s exciting.”

The Vandals’ implosion continued while Haina pounded Idaho defenders to make it 10-4.

Despite helping Idaho recover and close the deficit to 24-20, Walker ended the match by hitting a powerful shot out of bounds.

Northridge is still getting used to their renovated home.

“We love the Matadome,” Haina said.  “We liked our Matadome before, but now we love it.”

“It just gives us more confidence,” Allen said. “It’s a lot better now.”