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A few minutes with student advocate Jason Bell

June 8, 2004

Photo of Jason BellThe fact that Jason Bell is a college senior who just made the Dean's list is remarkable, considering he spent all but six months of his 20s behind bars at San Quentin Prison. The 32-year-old sociology major is devoted to helping other ex-offenders make the transition from correctional facility to educational institution. He volunteers with Project Rebound on campus helping other "ex-cons" succeed in their studies. This spring Bell was quoted in a New York Times story about a contentious provision that prohibits drug offenders from receiving student aid.

Other than what you're reading for school, what are you reading right now?

Blood in my Eye, by George Jackson. He was a prison writer who was killed in San Quentin in 1973.

Who is your favorite SFSU faculty member? Why?

Karen Hosfeld, chair and associate professor of sociology. She shocked me so much. I hate to stereotype, but she's this blond lady who I expected to be conservative and have negative ideas about me, but she is completely not like that.

Who are your heroes?

Mandela, for the simple fact: that man did 27 years, and went from prison to president. That's a spectacular thing.

What was your first job?

McDonald's at age 13.

What is guaranteed to bring a smile to your day?

Definitely good grades. I just made the Dean's list.

Why did you choose to attend SFSU?

Specifically because of Project Rebound. It is a program to help ex-offenders deal with the transition from correctional institution to educational institution.

Where on campus are you most likely to be found?

This office [in the Cesar Chavez Student Center].

What is the most important issue facing college students today?

Whether they’ll be able to afford it.

What are your long-term goals?

I'd like to work in the juvenile probation department and make some changes in the whole juvenile system -- put back the whole aspect of humanity with the kids.

What is the hardest thing about being you?


What are your passions?

Writing poetry and stories. Writing helped me get through the institution.

Favorite quote?

The mere belief in something proves the validity of nothing.

What inspires you?

Learning new things.

-- Student Writer Elizabeth Davis with Ellen Griffin


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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications