Bigotry, stress, more evident at Chico State Reporting to national database is "bearing witness"

defaced flier

defaced flier

by Leslie Layton

This is the second  story in our “Tracking Hate” series. Our first story,  “CSUC student newspaper sparks hate speech debate,” was posted June 8.

When a Chico State staff member posted her “You Matter” flier on a wall in the Meriam Library stairwell after the Nov. 8, 2016, presidential election, she believed it would convey an uplifting message.

Instead, it was defaced, and the defaced flier circulated on Facebook, to be shared and commented on dozens of times by alarmed staff and other members of the campus community. read more

CSUC student newspaper sparks hate speech debate Critics of Chico State's The Orion call for more sensitivity

OrionSign_359_286

This is the first in a two-part series. Part 2 on Chico State’s political climate will be posted June 9.

by Leslie Layton

On a recent Wednesday, Chico State journalism professor Mark Plenke was messaged that he should check the campus newspaper racks. The student-run weekly newspaper, The Orion, had come out earlier that day, and an opinion column was already producing a stream of angry social media responses.

Plenke, the faculty adviser to The Orion, found some 600 newspapers missing from racks in Tehama and Butte halls and rescued them from nearby garbage and recycling bins. The May 10 column by student journalist Roberto Fonseca, “Debunking GSEC Myths,” had already inspired a newspaper theft and was on the verge of sparking a campus debate that would veer from angry threats to culture-wars name-calling to thoughtful discussion. read more

Student challenges mental health stigma College can be tough time for those with disorders

Alexa Thornblad

photo by Hannah Panten

Studying at the coffee shop

By Hannah Panten

“I’m bipolar,” Chico State freshman Alexa Thornblad says casually, sipping her white mocha. Thornblad uses the tattooed back of her arm to wipe milk froth from her lip. Giggling, she holds up a No. 1 with her tiny index finger, then explains: “Bipolar 1 Disorder.” Tugging on her four-sizes-too-large corduroy pants, she sits in the corner of Naked Lounge — an eccentric cafe she frequents sometimes when she feels no drive to go to class.

Thornblad, an 18-year-old Los Angeles native, is majoring in sociology and liberal studies. Contrary to popular practice, she has no issue speaking up about her recently diagnosed mental disorders. Her first glimpse of depression came in 10th grade, soon after realizing she’s bisexual, but it wasn’t until last winter that she got diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder. Thornblad attributes her late diagnosis to her parents not believing in mental disorders. She also believes that her parents’ lack of concern about mental health is not unusual. read more

Professor finds a home in nature Former KZFR host keeps it simple in classroom

photo by Karen LasloRandy Larson

photo by Karen Laslo

Randy Larsen

By Hannah Panten

In an “Environmental Ethics” class of 10 students who would rather be sleeping, it’s a few minutes before 8 a.m. when Randy Larsen enters, exclaiming “good morning scholars!” with a wide grin and scruffy beard.  Pulling up a chair to the family-dinner-style seating arrangement, Larsen begins class with his usual pep (and his red, ceramic coffee mug, of course).

When interrupted by a student trailing into class late, he greets the tardy student with a genuine, “thanks for coming,” then proceeds teaching.  Sporting a plain T-shirt, patched denim, and a neon-green knit hat, his appearance sums up his personality and teaching style quite well — unconventional and refreshingly simple. read more

Former resident adviser couch surfs after firing Off-campus party costly for more than 20 Chico State students

photo by Dave Waddell

“I was very honest about what happened” – Edgar Vasquez

by Dave Waddell

College is supposed to be full of lessons. This semester, Chico State junior Edgar Vasquez is learning a particularly painful one that has left him homeless and losing weight.

Vasquez, 21, says he was one of about two dozen university resident advisers who were fired en masse in early March after they attended an off-campus party at which some drank alcohol. With the firings, the university forced the RAs out of their dorm rooms and off their meals plans. Vasquez valued the economic hit to him at between $2,000 and $2,500.

According to another fired RA who asked not to be identified, a total 23 RAs were terminated, including 16 from Whitney Hall, a nine-story dorm that houses exclusively freshmen and has a reputation for rowdiness. The remaining seven RAs came from the Shasta, Lassen, University Village and North Campus dormitories, she said. Some of those terminated have been rehired as resident advisers for the 2017-18 academic year, she said. read more

Fear grips communities as immigrants prepare for new administration Information is empowering, rights advocates say

OneJustice legal fellow Maureen Slack and Orland Unified Student Support Services Secretary Neli Peña discuss the upcoming immigration fair.
OneJustice legal fellow Maureen Slack and Orland Unified’s Neli Peña at a planning meeting for the March immigration fair.

by Leslie Layton

Scared.

That’s how attorneys and immigrant rights advocates were describing their clients in the weeks preceding the inauguration of a president whose campaign was laced with hostile anti-immigrant rhetoric.

As a candidate, Donald Trump talked about massive deportations and vowed to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has brought relief to hundreds of thousands of young adults who were raised in this country without legal status.

The best antidote for fear, say rights advocates, is preparation. In California cities, immigrants can usually find a qualified organization that offers free or low-cost services – including legal consultations and know-your-rights forums. But in rural California, those kinds of resources are often rare or nonexistent. read more