Fr. Fitzgerald speaking at an event at the Chinese Consulate in New York City honoring extraordinary Chinese graduate students in the region’s universities. Photo courtesy of  Paul J. Fitzgerald

USF Welcomes New President Father Fitz

The presidential search ended last week with the Board of Trustees voting unanimously to elect the Reverend Paul J. Fitzgerald S.J. as the 28th president of the University of San Francisco. Fr. Fitzgerald will officially take office on August 1.

“When I received word I was selected as president, I was absolutely elated,” Fitzgerald said. “USF has an impressive legacy. The chance to contribute to this environment of learning and service is a true honor.”

Fitzgerald is due back to the Bay Area in August. Courtesy of Barbara Ries.

Fitzgerald is due back to the Bay Area in August. Courtesy of Barbara Ries.

This role will bring Fitzgerald back to the Bay Area. He grew up in Los Gatos, Calif. after his family moved from Southern California when he was five. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1980 (“that other Jesuit school,” he joked) and entered the Society of Jesus two years later. Fr. Fitzgerald was ordained to the priesthood at St. Ignatius Church on the USF campus in 1992. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Fitzgerald also has a wealth of international experience; he attended the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, where he earned a postgraduate degree and PhD in the Sociology of Religion and he taught as a visiting lecturer in China and Kenya. He is fluent in French, German, and conversational in Spanish.

“We believe Fitzgerald is ideally suited to work with the entire USF community in delivering a Jesuit education to the next generations of USF students,” said Thomas E. Malloy, chair of the USF Board of Trustees. “He has a strong commitment to diversity, brings a global perspective, and is an enthusiastic supporter of intercollegiate athletics. He is excited about leading San Francisco’s first university and expanding our partnerships with the community.”

Fr. Fitzgerald married three couples at Santa Clara University this year. Here he is (second from the right) celebrating the wedding of Becky and Bobby Reuter, SCU ‘05. Courtesy of  Paul J. Fitzgerald.

Fr. Fitzgerald married three couples at Santa Clara University this year. Here he is (second from the right) celebrating the wedding of Becky and Bobby Reuter, SCU ‘05. Courtesy of Paul J. Fitzgerald.

Fr. Fitzgerald talks to the Foghorn in an exclusive interview

On coming back to USF and California

“I want to be back at USF because that [diversity] to me is normal, and I just feel joy in a place where everyone feels welcome. USF should look like the Bay Area.”

“In San Francisco you can eat the food from the world, and you can do that in New York City as well, but in New York there’s snow.”


On his campus presence 

“I want to have structured conversations, and I want to meet constituencies and groups of students, but I also want to give myself opportunities to go and have lunch in one of the student dining commons, and sit at a random table and talk to people. I want to do that with faculty. I want to do that with staff.”

On Pope Francis

“I love the new pope, I love the new pope. He is just so genuine, so warm, so loving, non judgmental; you know, he’s like Jesus. He’s challenging, and he is going to be challenging because he’s going to ask people to lead lives of virtue, generosity, kindness, charity, diversity — and those are not alway easy.”


On the San Francisco Chronicle calling him “tech-savvy”

“That’s nice of them. I don’t have any degrees; my degrees are in history and philosophy and theology, and sociology. What some of our conversations were on is what’s going on in San Francisco right now, which is that Silicon Valley is moving into the city. I think the students at USF will go into the tech industry, whether as an engineer, marketer or technical writer, so I think we want to pay really close attention to what are the jobs students are preparing for and what are the jobs our students want when they graduate.”


On technology and morals

“We need to talk together about what technology can do for us, but we also have to be attentive to what technology can do to us. When undergraduate students arrive, they’re pretty comfortable using technology. Is it really keeping them connected to people or is it keeping their relationships kind of  superficial?”


On how USF can lead the conversation on tech and morals

“Some people arrive having had the experience of cyber bullying so how do we have conversations around being kind and being caring in a digital format? If we can be a place where people from different religious traditions have deep conversations, maybe we can help folks in the city do that, as well.”


On student media

“I promise I will never ever ever censor the newspaper. Student media is educational; students are learning how to be journalists; but also they serve a really important function of building community and that also involves presenting difficult questions and brokering difficult conversations.”


On interacting with outside community

“Jesuits have always, for 450 years, thought of our schools as a place where we educate our students, but also a place where we engage the larger community; and sometimes we do it through our students. USF wants to be, and is, and should be more and more, a university for San Francisco, not of San Francisco. We can help the city think of ethical questions about inclusivity and respect. We can have the city ask itself “what are the values of this community that we’re willing to stand up for?”


On his morning routine

“I do yoga. I sit for 25 mins or so, say my prayer. I do these yoga poses: salute to the sun, the cat. There’s a lot of them. I get cleaned up and have breakfast and get the paper and eat with other Jesuits and we chat a little bit.”


On what newspapers he will be reading at USF

“The Foghorn! The [San Francisco] Chronicle, and I hope we get the New York Times and Le Monde.”


On speaking many languages

“We get students from all over the world, and we want to send students all over the world, and we want students to have a sense of global citizenship.”



Staff Editorial

Staff Editorial: Trigger Warnings Threaten Academic Freedom

Earlier last week, the LA Times published an article, “Warning: College students this editorial may upset you,” about how the student Senate at UC Santa Barbara recently passed a resolution that calls for mandatory “trigger warnings” to be issued by professors to their students if an upcoming lecture, class discussion, activity and/or assignment might cause psychological or emotional distress. A “trigger warning” gets its name from the term “trauma trigger,” the latter being what psychologists and mental health professionals refer to as an experience that may evoke a traumatic event. “Trigger warnings” are not new on the Internet and in the social media sphere, but news of this resolution has been the onset of a nationwide debate over whether or not such resolutions are threatening academic freedom by censoring class material in an attempt to protect students’ sensitivities.

The goal of the UCSB resolution states in part that, “including trigger warnings is not a form of criticism or censorship of content.” Furthermore, “it does not restrict academic freedom but simply requests the respect and acknowledgement of the effect of triggering content on students with P.T.S.D., both diagnosed and undiagnosed.” The resolution also suggests a list of “triggers,” including “rape, sexual assault, abuse, self-injurious behavior, suicide, graphic violence, pornography and graphic depictions of gore.”

What makes the UCSB resolution more controversial is the fact that if students do find course material to be distressing, professors will have to excuse the students from those lectures and assignments without a deduction in points from their grade. This aspect of the resolution is what is drawing criticism from anti-censorship advocates, who believe that “trigger warnings” will give students a concrete reason to skip class without reprimand. This also proves unfair for students who regularly attend class and are still held accountable for their attendance and completion of assignments, as well as further muddling the lines between what material is and is not appropriate to be introduced in the academic course to begin with.

Marc Blecher, a political science professor at Oberlin College, was featured in an article by the New Republic, in which he states that he believes Oberlin’s new “trigger warning” policy — meant to guide university faculty in avoiding subjects that could induce “triggers” relating to “heterosexism, cissexism, [and] ableism” — constitutes as academic censorship. He explained that the purpose of a liberal arts education is “to challenge students, to conduct open inquiry in classrooms, [and] to make students feel uncomfortable.” Blecher’s statement inspires a point: most students enroll in a course knowing a bit about the nature of material to be covered. This leaves sole discretion to the students in deciding whether or not they would like to take the course.

In addition, recent psychological and mental health research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania on P.T.S.D. (post-traumatic stress disorder) suggests that, for those who have experienced trauma, “triggers” can be unpredictable and difficult to understand. “Triggers” can arise from various different factors, including a particular taste or smell, a certain time or place, or specific colors or objects. In this sense, almost anything can be classified as a “trigger.”

The problem with a “trigger warning” resolution, like the one at UCSB, is not found in its intent or the attempt to validate individual experiences, but the sole fact that a “trigger” warning will not solve the core problems most commonly exhibited by individuals who have P.T.S.D. or other mental health issues, nor will it be fair to students who have not experienced traumatic events that allow them to cite a “trigger warning” as reason to miss class lectures or assignments. Instead, focus needs to be placed on strengthening the awareness and availability of campus psychology and mental health resources to help aid students in their recovery and healing process, and also for professors to provide supplemental assignments to accommodate students who cannot participate fully in their academic courses due to distressing material. Otherwise, “trigger warnings” are a threat to academic freedom.


lady pin with cover depth LRG print

USF PR Class Works with Local Jewelry Designer

Students in the public relations campaigns class are getting hands-on experience in the PR industry by creating their own firms and working with clients this semester. Senior Lani Vaill said that this is an experience “we would never be able to learn from a book.”

Vaill is working with a jewelry company  based out of Oakland. Founder Laura Bruland makes jewelry out of recycled books and according to Vaill, Bruland is the ideal client. “She is so responsive and open to what we want to do with the campaign,” Vaill said. “Having Laura as a client has been invaluable experience to our PR team, as all of us want to enter the PR industry after graduation. It has given us a glimpse into what working with an actual client is like.”

Bruland  started making jewelry just before graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz. She turned to her creative roots instead of going to graduate school as she originally planned. She said, “My goal was to start on a path that would lead me to being my own boss, and doing whatever I wanted.” Bruland is doing pretty well since she quit her day job at a café to focus more on her jewelry-making career. She started creating jewelry a couple of years ago, making flower brooches out of upcycled wool scraps from her grandmother.

Bruland joined TechShop, an organization that drives local innovation by allowing members to create, learn, and use tools in their studios. TechShop allowed her to experiment using a laser cutter and play around with materials that took her jewelry practices into a new direction. Bruland said that after learning the basics she came up with an idea to use book covers because she didn’t want to use materials that would release toxic chemicals when burned. She also liked the idea of using materials that could be repurposed or recycled. Two years ago Bruland got the help of Kickstarter to raise money for her own laser cutter. “Now that I have my own machine I can make so much more product,” she said.

Bruland’s jewelry is exclusively made from the covers of hardcover books. The pieces are all handmade one book at a time by Bruland and her partner, Julien Shields. Using the laser cutter, Bruland says that she can turn a single book into about 12-35 pieces of jewelry depending on its size in a few hours. She also likes to play around and experiment keeping a sketchbook to keep track of ideas. She is currently working on custom wall pieces and wedding items including ring-bearer books, cake toppers, and other fun decor.

Katy Lim, the managing director at Change Communications, is teaching the course under USF’s Communication Department.  The class is divided into three student PR firms, where students are required to come up with a four-month campaign that includes creating pitches to media outlets, bloggers, and potential retail locations for two non-profits and a local designer.

Bruland is very impressed by all the work that the USF PR class has done in helping her business this semester. “So far, they’ve boosted my Facebook and instagram followers quite a bit and I can’t wait to see what else they throw my way,” Bruland said.

Vaill, of the USF PR team, said, “Our main goal is to increase [the  jewelry’s] exposure to the public and we also plan on pitching to local popular retailers about featuring the products in their stores (Books, Inc. and Russian Hill Bookstore to name a few).”

Since working with USF students, Bruland is now making a prototype of necklaces for USF’s social sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, with their Greek letters and 2014 graduation tassels in USF colors that are made from books which add a statement to cap and gowns.  Most pieces from cost between $16 and $50 and can be purchased online, at museum stores, and at many retail locations across the country. Bruland even sells her pieces at Urban Air Markets and festivals that celebrate the crafts of local designers. Bruland’s customized, one-of -a-kind necklaces and products are something Vaill and her team are proud to promote. The collaboration between the USF PR class and local designers demonstrates the strength in community that the San Francisco Bay Area fosters.


New Sports Club Brings Lacrosse To USF

If you’ve passed by Negoesco Stadium recently, you may have noticed something you had probably never seen before at USF; lacrosse players practicing on the field. That’s because the university did not have any type of lacrosse organization on campus before October, when a group of students got together to form the USF Lacrosse Club.

Though they are officially a University of San Francisco organization, USF Lacrosse holds the “club sport” status, which means they do not get most of the benefits that athletes in sports such as basketball and soccer get.

Suraj “Zed” Talluri is a first year lacrosse player and the goalie for the USF lacrosse club. Courtesy of Suraj Talluri.

Suraj “Zed” Talluri is a first year lacrosse player and the goalie for the USF lacrosse club. Courtesy of Suraj Talluri.

“Club teams often operate separately from the athletic department, the big difference there is that they don’t receive any funding from the school.” said Dan Vilar, head coach of the Lacrosse Club. “With varsity sports you have recruits, you follow NCAA bylaws, you have scholarships, and a big budget. Club sports are organized, funded and administrated all by the students – they do the work, they hire all the coaches, they pay the coaches.”

Not only do students hire the coaches, they also pay for everything else needed to run a team.

“It’s an additional burden on top of tuition and everything else – it comes out of the players’ pockets,” Vilar said before mentioning that it gets easier the longer you have the program. “More established programs will have better fundraising efforts, more alumni who give back to the program.” Vilar gives the example of UC Berkeley’s lacrosse squad, who have been a club team for 50 years now and were able to raise around $50,000 to help with paying for a coach.

Vilar played lacrosse from fourth grade through college, but only got into coaching once his eligibility ended. After that, he coached at various different levels at a number of schools around the Bay Area. Vilar jokingly said that “bossing people around” was his favorite part of being a coach, before continuing in a more sincere tone.

“My favorite part of being a coach is bringing out the best in somebody, seeing that moment where it clicks for them and they go from being a beginner to intermediate, or a brand new player on the team to a starter on the team,” Vilar said. “I love to see people who have that enthusiasm, that gusto, and are receptive to coaching.”

For sophomore Suraj “Zed” Talluri, who plays goalie for the USF Lacrosse Club, the best part of lacrosse is the feeling that he gets in the heat of the moment.

“The adrenaline rush, I’d have to say, is my favorite part about it,” Talluri said. “Like when I see someone bolting towards the cage about to take a shot, the insane amount of adrenaline I get before that shot is just addicting.”

Like a number of others on the team, this is the first experience that Talluri has had playing lacrosse, but skills from other sports have eased his training a little bit.

“I played a lot of tennis beforehand so that really helped with my hand-eye coordination,” Talluri said.

Hand-eye coordination is especially important for Talluri in his role as the team’s goalie. He said that while the position is pretty much what it sounds like, there are leadership aspects involved as well.

“It’s been described to me as the defensive quarterback in a way, because you need to command the defense, let them know what position they need to be in, and tell them who to approach and how to block,” Talluri said.

The team finished up its season on Sunday with a 15-3 win over Cabrillo College, but the players will be back in the fall to strengthen their skills and return to play. Moving forward, Vilar would like to see the team accepted into the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League (WCLL), but said that it will be hard if students with prior experience don’t show up to play.

“I know there are guys here who aren’t on the team but have played lacrosse before, and I hope that I can get them to come out and join,” Villar said.


On Patrol

Staff writer Joe Isaac joins ROTC for a weekend of field training

    “You can’t make an officer in 60 days,” USF Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Executive Officer Major Dodge told me on the van ride to camp. I could only appreciate the truth in the Major’s sentiment two days later when I witnessed a military transport helicopter landing twenty meters ahead of me to simulate the evacuation of the lone casualty of the morning’s action: a cadet I had headshot with my paintball marker just minutes earlier.

Captain Romero shields a fallen cadet from debris. Photo by Joe Isaac/ Foghorn.

Captain Romero shields a fallen cadet from debris. Photo by Joe Isaac/ Foghorn.

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