City College San Francisco The Guardsman

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Journalism Department
Journalism Department
Journalism Department

Volume 143, Issue #4




Reporter Alma Snyder, right, donates blood at Blood Center of the Pacific bloodmobile March 5.


It was a typical Monday in Bungalow 214 when I was roused from my slightly hung-over stupor by my editor. She needed a story. “Can anyone here give blood?” she asked the half-empty room. I’d heard of blood-sucking editors, but this was ridiculous.

Liz handed me the eligibility guidelines for giving blood. “I’d do the story myself, but I can’t give blood,” she said. A few of the many disqualifying factors on the list were recent tattoos, travel to a malarial area and intravenous drug use. Relieved to see alcohol use wouldn’t prevent giving blood, I agreed to do the story.

Before giving blood, there was some paperwork. The Blood Centers of the Pacific questionnaire included 54 questions regarding health and sexual history. Eight of the questions were about recent sexual encounters – I answered no to each one with a sigh – but for once, my non-existent social life was paying off.

Next, Guardsman photographer Michael Smith and I headed for the bloodmobile. Large and white, about the size of an RV, the Blood Centers’ van gleamed in the drizzling rain in Ram Plaza.

Inside the bloodmobile it was warm, dry, clean and bright. I felt no pain as Medical Assistant Somath Veth stuck my finger for the blood-iron test. I watched my drop of blood sink rapidly to the bottom of a vial of blue liquid. “Is it supposed to float?” I asked, eying a previous volunteer’s drop bobbing at the surface. “It’s supposed to sink within 15 seconds or that means you don’t have enough iron to give blood,” she said.

Soon I was reclining on one of the comfortable blue vinyl mats that lined each side of the bloodmobile. Somath swabbed my arm with alcohol and told me I could look away, but I wanted to watch. The photographer zoomed in on the action. Once again, I felt no pain as the needle went in, probably due to the lingering effects of the weekend’s drinking. The needle didn’t hurt, but it looked much larger than I remembered from the last time I gave blood. “It’s a 16-gauge,” Somath said. “It’s standard.” Sarah, another student giving blood across from me, was surprised at how fast my pint bag filled up. “Six minutes,” said the medical assistant.

After eying the blood in my plastic pint-bag slosh back and forth, rocking gently on a little mechanical treadle designed to keep it from clotting, Sarah turned slightly green and told the assistant she was feeling strange. The assistants brought her juice and snacks and told her to keep her feet up. She was still recovering as I headed for the snack area by the exit door. I asked the photographer whether he wanted pictures of me munching out, but he had to go. I guess he had enough scary stuff already.

Alpha Gamma Sigma, the City College honor society, organized the blood drive in order to help the community and raise scholarship funds. Knowing I’d be helping other City College students, as well as whoever received my blood, gave me a good feeling.

Tiffany Lam of Alpha Gamma Sigma said in an e-mail to AGS members that the drive collected 39 pints, surpassing their goal. AGS earned $250.00 for scholarships.

I learned my blood type (A-negative) and found out Blood Centers of the Pacific tested my blood and was able to use it. It was separated into four components – white cells, red cells, platelets and plasma – and distributed to hospitals. So I got a free mini-physical along with the satisfaction of knowing I helped save lives.

One pint of blood can save three lives. For more information about how to donate blood the number for Blood Centers of the Pacific is 1-888-393-give.  There will also be another AGS-Omega blood drive at CCSF’s Ram Plaza next Monday and Tuesday, March 19 and 20.




At a brief ceremony March 9 in the Ocean Campus automotive shops, Regional U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Wayne Nastri presented Chancellor Philip R. Day, Jr. with a $200,000 check to promote bio-diesel and advance the fledgling industry.

The two-year grant under the guidance of the City College Advanced Transportation Technology Institute will be used to develop infrastructure for bio-diesel fueling and distribution facilities, as well as provide classroom instruction for distributors, mechanics, fleet operators and other private users, according to an EPA press release and information sheet.

“This grant gives City College of San Francisco a unique opportunity to help jump start the use of bio-diesel in the Bay Area,” Nastri said.

The EPA’s Region 9 Website, “Bio-diesel: Fat to Fuel,” highlights bio-diesel production from waste oils that would otherwise go down the drain, end up in landfills, clog pipes or cause hazardous spills.

“Under the Advanced Transportation Initiative we are looking for ways to incorporate alternative fuels into transportation systems, such as electric cars, hydrogen, compressed natural gas and bio-fuels,” said Ben Macri, chair of City College’s Automotive, Motorcycle, Construction and Building Maintenance Department.

“CCSF has a long history of developing technical skill training for existing and emerging industries,” said Chancellor Day. “This ‘Bridging the Bio-diesel Gap’ initiative will facilitate the introduction of bio-diesel fuel to users throughout the Bay Area. Beyond this training, however, will be emission reductions, improved air quality and improved health here in Bay View-Hunters Point and other parts of the city.”




Mayor Newsom (center left), Anita Grier, and Julio Ramos listen as Chancellor Day (far left) speaks.


Newly elected City College Board of Trustees President Anita Grier and Vice President Julio Ramos, were sworn in March 1 by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom at City Hall.

In an overcrowded conference room after a speech in which the mayor spoke of his support for education and the partnership between the city and City College, the two trustees were elevated in a brief ceremony.

“Being president of the board of trustees still provides a unique honor and a great responsibility,” Grier said.  “We’ll do well because our heart and head are in the people of San Francisco.” Grier served as board president in 2000 and 2003.

Grier, a City College graduate, holds a Bachelors and Master of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D from the University of San Francisco.  She has wide experience in education, having worked as a teacher, principal and program manager.  Grier has also been a program administrator and Director with the San Francisco Unified School District.

“City College is a great place to start and from there you can go anywhere,” Grier said.

Ramos praised the opportunities that the College offers, and related how his mother, an immigrant, attended a community college and obtained a degree which allowed her to secure a better job that benefited the entire family.

“If you mess up in elementary school, and you mess up in high school, you still have the opportunity to go to college through CCSF,” he said.             

“Education is the key,” he said.  “What would we do without it? We’ll always be relegated to the lowest levels if we do not focus, we must get busy.”




The African American Scholastic Programs is relocating from Bungalow 500 to the second floor of the Rosenberg Library beginning February 19 for health and safety reasons.

The decaying metal stairs leading up to Bungalow 500 are an indication of how unsafe and outdated the facility is.  The AASP has been serving students in Bungalow 500 for eight years.

“The conditions there represent a health and safety hazard,” said City College Chancellor Philip R. Day Jr.  “Because the building is very old and has been subject to leaks, which usually leads to mildew.  It is also a fire hazard.  If that thing goes up in flames, so does the A.S. building.” 

Chancellor Day stated that moving the AASP to the library is part of the bungalow removal program that is currently underway.

“Our commitment is to get rid of all of the bungalows,” he said. “We’ve gotten rid of the ones North of the football field and we’re going to get rid of the 600 bungalows. Ultimately, we want to get out of the bungalow business.  It’s long overdue.”

Henry Augustine, director of the AASP, agreed that the chancellor’s decision was a positive one.

“The new area will be more accessible and larger,” Augustine said.  “Offices will surround the computer lab and study stations on the second floor.”

The ultimate goal of a permanent location for the AASP as well as the Latino/a Services Network and Asian Pacific American Student Success Program is to be housed in one area when the library extension is built.

“I will miss some things about this place,” Augustine said.  “But it’s served its purpose to a lot of students.  You always miss your first home.”

Faculty development programs on the second floor of the Rosenberg Library will be moved to Batmale Hall.

“Eventually, we want to get all of these retention programs under one roof,” said Chancellor Day.  “Then we can put together one comprehensive computer lab.  The programs will be able to share resources, counselors, computer technology, and a large lounging area for socialization.  It will allow for a better degree of centralization, and create more classroom space from their previous location.”

The AASP hosts a wide variety of programs such as the African American Achievement Program, Summer Bridge Program, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Transfer Program.




Spain Rodriguez, comic bok writer and artist, looks for inspiration.


Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez, legendary underground cartoonist came to City College on Wednesday, March 7, to give a speech on his works and the history of comics.

Held in Conlan Hall’s lecture room, avid comic book readers and Spain fans alike gathered to listen and view some of Spain’s early accomplishments. After introducing himself, Spain launched into an impressive detailed history of comics and the roots of the popular magazines.

“I loved it. It was some comic history and it really inspired me” Danny Nowin, student and aspiring cartoonist said.

Spain started his professional career in 1967, working with New York’s East Village Other. Early works included the column “Zodiac Mind Warp” which later evolved into “Trashman”, maybe one of Spain’s most sought after works. He later moved to San Francisco, and began to live solely off of his comics.

Once the lecture concluded, Spain held an impromptu “press conference” for anyone who had questions or comments.

Spain gave his opinion on if comics and graphic novels would continue to be a popular avenue for children and adults.

“Graphic novels seem to sell now,” Spain said. “Comics give kids, at an early age, the ability to appreciate drawing, so I think they’ll always be around.”

Spain offered his advice for anyone who wants to be a cartoonist.

“I’ll tell you like I was once told when I took some work around the block from my house to get published-I can’t use this-but you’re good,” Spain said. “So draw every chance you get. Don’t be discouraged. Just keep drawing. Draw at home, draw in school, on the bus, anywhere you can.”

Spain’s works can be found at Comic Relief in Berkeley and online at Amzon.com




A small part of the larger mural on he walkway in front of the Mission campus.


City College's Latino Educators Association (LEA) has pledged $25,000 to name a multipurpose community meeting room at the new Mission Campus in honor of Margaret Cruz, a long-time Mission District activist who died Feb. 6 from breast cancer.

The original idea was to name the entire campus in Cruz’s memory. Members of the Mission community and Cruz’s friends organized a letter-writing campaign to bombard the board of trustees with e-mails, requesting that the campus be named in her honor.

Anne Cervantes, who knew Cruz for 20 years, was part of the group that initiated the campaign.

“All the people she did things for are writing to the board because they think naming the campus would be a fine tribute to her,” Cervantes said. “People are just trying to give back to her what she gave to them. She’s touched so many people’s lives in the Mission, from getting people appointed to judgeships to helping the homeless.”

Cruz was a 4 foot 11 inch educator, lawyer, political activist and businesswoman nicknamed “The Little Giant of the Mission District.” She was the first female president of the Mexican American Political Association, an organization she co-founded in 1973. She was considered a possible candidate for secretary of the treasury under President Nixon despite her being a staunch Democrat.

The board of trustees acknowledged the requests to name the campus after Cruz at a recent meeting. Trustee Julio Ramos suggested forming a committee with the fundraising/advancement staff to address issues raised by the requests.

The committee will discuss the naming of the campus and the facilities within it.

“The naming of the entire Mission Campus should be tied directly to the college’s fundraising objectives,” Chancellor Philip R. Day, Jr. said. “We need to raise as much money as possible to keep the campus up to speed and fully equipped.”

The committee will review the college’s building naming policy. Currently, a minimum donation equal to 50 percent of the building’s cost is required. The policy is outdated because naming buildings is relatively new territory for the college, Chancellor Day said.

Policy also requires the person to be deceased, a rule that has been broken in the past. The Rosenberg Library, the college’s newest building, was named 20 years ago after two living people.

“That was unusual and it didn’t appear on my watch,” Chancellor Day said.

The exception was made because of budgetary needs, he said.

At LEA’s March 6 meeting, eight members donated $1,000 each toward the $25,000 pledge. LEA expects to have the full amount by the new Mission Campus’ grand opening in August, said Jorge Bell, president of LEA and City College Dean of Financial Aid, CalWORKS and EOPS Services.

“Naming the campus after Cruz was discussed but the consensus was that a community room would be named,” he said.

The multipurpose meeting rooms at the new Mission Campus will be one of two places in the Mission District where nonprofit organizations can meet for free. Desks and blackboards will allow the rooms to double as classrooms.

LEA’s pledge to honor Cruz will help fulfill City College fundraising goals. For each of its new buildings, the college wants to use naming opportunities to raise $10 million to $15 million.

The money will pay for updating equipment, faculty, program development and scholarships for students enrolled in programs associated with the buildings.