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Volume 51, Number 18   January 26, 2004         

    Announcements    Events    News    Newsmakers


Wooing gay tourists
More cities across the country are wooing gay and lesbian tourists, USA Today reported Dec. 8. From Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Bloomington, Ind., to Philadelphia, Penn., tourism bureaus are marketing their cities' gay-friendly images with brochures, advertisements and slogans targeted to gays specifically. More conservative cities are targeting gay and lesbian tourists more discreetly through the mainstream media with images of same-sex couples and messages that everyone is welcome, said Daniel Wardlow, professor of marketing. "Certainly some tourism promotion boards would avoid promoting directly to gays and lesbians if there is reason to fear a local political backlash," he said. Read the full story:

Journalists judge writers
Two journalists from Porterville recently were honored at the fifth annual New California Media Awards in San Francisco, the Porterville Recorder reported Dec. 11. The New California Media Awards, known as the "ethnic Pulitzers," were judged in part by the Journalism Department's Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism (CIIJ). "The awards recognize j

ournalistic excellence in ethnic media in California where they represent the primary news source -- the new mainstream media -- for over half of the state's new majority of ethnic residents," CIIJ Director Cristina Azocar said. Read the full story:

A generation with no first language
Mark Roberge, assistant professor of English language and literature, was the subject of a Facetime profile in the Dec. 14 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. He discussed "Generation 1.5," a group of immigrant children who arrived in the United States before kindergarten and speak their native language at home but struggle with English skills in school. "Half of our students come from families where at least one person doesn't speak English as their first language," he said. "We work with them. We get them tutors. We send them to the learning center. We have extra courses. But we don't know exactly what to do with these kids either. They have these grammar errors. They've been saying it a certain way for 15 years, and there's nothing you can do to get them to change." Read the full story:

Ethnic media and common ground
Rufus Browning, political science professor and senior faculty researcher with the Public Research Instutute, was interviewed by KTSF-TV, channel 26 Chinese-language TV and quoted in the October/November 2003 issue of American Journalism Review about PRI's recently-released Bay Area ethnic news media survey. Browning disputed the belief that ethnic media dilute the "common conversation" that binds society together. "We talk about this notion of common ground" in the media, Browning said. "But I don't see this common ground there. It's all split up anyhow. People are [already] choosing which mass media to use. They're not watching CBS; they're listening to Rush Limbaugh, or somebody worse, to hear somebody whose views are more like their own. That whole thing about common ground is really exaggerated." Read the full story:

Wild about mushrooms
Bay Area folks love their wild mushrooms, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Dec. 5 and within this mycophilic (mushroom-loving) region, biology Professor Dennis Desjardin is "one of the West Coast's foremost mycologists." Desjardin shares tips for picking porcini and bagging boletes and waxes about the fungi that he finds most tasty. His most important advice: "There's only one surefire way to determine an edible mushroom, and that's by identifying it properly by species: keying it out." Read the full story:

Gay marriage makes gains in '03
On the legal front, 2003 was a year of remarkable gains for gays and lesbians, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Dec. 30, most notably with the Massachusetts Supreme Court's ruling that gay couples are entitled to all the rights of marriage. Yet, controversy about gay marriage continues, and Gil Herdt, director of the National Sexuality Resource Center, believes religious dimensions are sparking the debate. "When it comes to marriage, I think there's going to be continued resistance when people think about it as a religious institution. If marriage is seen as secular, it has much higher [public] support," he said. Read the full story:

Bland tackles an uphill battle
There's a hill in Petaluma so unique that cars roll up its slope, according to local lore. KPIX-TV's Evening Magazine put the myth to the test – with the help of physics Professor Roger Bland. Employing good humor and good science, Bland measured a "flat" piece of road that takes drivers on a steady downhill ride. His team checked the magnetic field for anomalies in the earth's gravity and surveyed the slope. "The bottom line," he pronounced, "it's a hill."

Future scientists at American Geophysical Union meeting
KCBS-AM aired stories on Dec. 12 about high school students from SF ROCKS (Reaching Out to Communities and Kids with Science) attending the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union -- the first time students were invited to present their findings. Lisa White, geology professor and SF ROCKS director, and two students shared their delight about presenting scientific posters at a conference attended by more than 9,800 scientists from around the world. "They have first-hand experience working with professors and college students on really exciting geoscience projects," said White. SF ROCKS recruits students to study the earth sciences in college.

The message of hip-hop literature
Dorothy Tsuruta, associate professor of Black Studies, provided perspective on the emerging genre of hip-hop literature for The Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS in December. Tsuruta commented on the work of novelist Renay Jackson, author of "Oaktown Devil." Tsuruta said she finds Jackson's work is not devoid of morality. "No, I don't think he's condoning violence at all. He wouldn't have all the bad guys get killed. He's not celebrating this. He's saying, ‘Folks, look at this. This is what we have come to,'" she said. Read the full story:

A backlash in San Francisco
The strong campaign by Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez against San Francisco's new mayor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, shows there is now another political force in town, Corey Cook, associate professor of political science, told the San Francisco Chronicle in a Dec. 10 article. "The progressive community in San Francisco has really woken up," he said. "It really showed a backlash to the Democratic establishment." Cook added that the close election shows that Newsom will have to reach out to more liberal members of the Board of Supervisors and to his opponents' supporters if he wants to move his agenda forward. "For him, the work has really just begun," Cook said. Read the full story:

Willie Brown's 'Waterloo'
In a January story in the Washington Post on Willie Brown's tenure as mayor of San Francisco, political science Professor Rich DeLeon said Brown's "Waterloo" was how he handled the dot-com boom. "He just rolled out the red carpet and was not responsive in any way early on to all the suffering that was occurring because of the building explosion. And when there were dissenting voices on the Planning Commission, he fired them. He basically did what he did so well when he was ayatollah in the Assembly, but in the fishbowl of San Francisco that boomeranged." DeLeon was also widely quoted in national newspapers, including the Boston Globe and The New York Times, commenting on Brown and Gavin Newsom, San Francisco's new mayor.

Latinas and soccer
Kinesiology Professor Susan Zieff was quoted in the Dec. 9 edition of The Journal News (New York) about the more than 250 Latinas playing in a new soccer league that has teams in the Bronx, Yonkers and Manhattan. While there is support for the sport, not all the men are happy. It's that kind of lingering attitude that contributes to the continued lag in Hispanic girls and women participating in sports in the United States, said Zieff, who's written extensively on both immigrants' and young women's participation in sports. "There may not be outright discouragement, but there is less overt encouragement than for other groups," she said. Read the full story:

Nurse serial killers
School of Nursing Director Beatrice Yorker appeared on national television news shows and was quoted in nearly a dozen national newspapers in December and January, including Newsday, The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today, regarding alleged nurse serial killer Charles Cullen charged with murdering about 40 seriously ill patients in nine hospitals since 1997. "This is an established, predictable phenomenon. It's time to do something about it," said Yorker, a lawyer. She added that the problem has been exacerbated by a nursing shortage. "Some hospitals just want a warm body with a nursing license and a CPR card who can be on the floor the next day." Hospitals must be more careful to check for unusual numbers and types of patient deaths and to control nurses' access to drugs and patient records. Read the full story:

Bush's reasons for Iraqi invasion
Ramon Castellblanch, a heath education assistant professor, wrote in his bi-monthly column in The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant that President George W. Bush slid the United States further down the slippery slope of pre-emptive war by expanding the rationales for the U.S. military to invade and occupy foreign countries. Apparently, now it's reason enough to invade if it is just possible that a country might acquire weapons of mass destruction, Castellblanch wrote. "Nearly a year after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the weapons are yet to be found. When confronted with this contradiction in a rare interview last month, Bush clarified what he meant by 'worst threats.' Bush also repeated that the world is better off and America was safer because the United States had conquered Iraq, Castellblanch wrote. Read the full column:,1,2863154.column?coll=hc-headlines-oped.

Help for the nursing shortage
Responding to the critical need for more nurses, the University has teamed up with Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City on a new program that will train at least 30 additional students each year and increase the University's undergraduate enrollment of nursing students by 40 percent. The district will pay $25,000 annually per student to SFSU, where it costs about $35,000 to educate a nurse in a four-year program, Beatrice Yorker, director of the School of Nursing, told the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal on Dec. 22. The difference in funding will come from tuition and "in-kind" donations from the hospital. "We could not have done this without the district funding," Yorker said. Classes will be held at Cañada College in Redwood City near Sequoia. Read the full story:

Reforming California's civil service
"Could Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enact changes to California's civil service like other states?" Katherine Naff, assistant professor of public administration, commented on the possibilities of the Golden State reforming civil service in an article published Dec. 23 in the Contra Costa Times. "The unions won't go along with it. Florida and Georgia had very weak unions," Naff said. Unions such as the California State Employees Association and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association are entrenched against any change that their leaders perceive as weakening members' rights, she said. Read the full story:

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Last modified January 23, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs