Tag Archives: College

(Graphic by Jasmine Bautista)

Smile for the Camera: Facial Profiling Coming to Residence Halls

Like something out of a James Bond film, dorm residents of USF may soon be greeted with a facial recognition camera — if the test run goes well, that is. Currently, only one residence hall, Fromm, has this technology, but it has been in a “pilot” phase since Fall 2013.

“It’s a big security enhancement.We’re using technology to improve something that’s already being done,” said Jason Rossi, the Director of One Card and Campus Security Systems. Rossi explained that the software does exactly what front-desk workers (referred to as Community Assistants, or CAs) do — recognizes people’s faces and determines whether or not they belong in the building.

The facial recognition technology is meant to increase security in the residence halls by identifying any non-residents trying to enter the building, and flagging them for the CAs.

USF Law Professor Susan Freiwald, who specializes in cyber law and information privacy, said,  “I’m glad the university seems interested in making sure that the cameras are effective in their purpose, rather than putting them up just because they can.”

Freiwald did raise concerns over campus security being able to learn her habits and the hours she keeps.

“It’s a good idea to have a record of non-authorized access to solve crimes, but it seems unnecessary to store information of people for whom there is no suspicion of wrongdoing for a whole year,” she added.

Addressing privacy concerns, Rossi noted that, “no one is actively watching the footage.” For those concerned about the facial database that campus security will have access to, Rossi assured that the photos would only be stored for the duration the student lives in the residence hall.     He explained that having our faces captured, whether by static photo or live-video, is a culturally accepted phenomenon.

“Is your face on Facebook? Mine is, my children’s are,” Rossi said, “There’s something as a culture…where, if I were at a Giants’ game and my face got put up on the big screen, I’d jump for joy.”

Is this technology effective? While the technology is working in Fromm, it has yet to be launched for CAs. Rossi said the residence hall staff should be trained on the facial recognition software in March. A Fromm Hall CA, Giana Orsi, said that she, “doesn’t know much about it,” but, “ it seems like a nice backup.”

Currently, non-residents are allowed in residence halls as long as they are properly checked in as a “guest” by a resident of the building and a community assistant. However some USF students don’t  follow this protocol and attempt to sneak in, bypassing the front desk and creating security issues. Many USF students travel in large groups, making it difficult for the community assistant to tell who is entering the building.

This new technology is intended to make the CA’s job easier. Students moving into a residence hall will have their photos taken during move-in; these photos will be stored in a database for one year. Throughout the rest of the school year a camera outside of the building will capture student faces, and using the data from the stored photos, will determine who the student is and if they live in the building. The CA at the desk will be notified if a non-resident is trying to enter the building.

The camera log is only visible right now to Public Safety and One Card to determine its accuracy. In terms of identifying faces, it has shown 70% accuracy so far in Fromm Hall, according to Rossi. He explained the camera needs a good shot of a student’s face in order to work, meaning students wearing baseball caps or looking down at their phones are not always accurately identified.

Rossi explains the technology not only makes the CA’s job of providing security easier, but it will compliment students’ natural tendencies to travel in large groups. “[Campus security] is always trying to break the way that you naturally function, but this technology will compliment how you already move around on campus,” Rossi said.

Facial recognition technology is quickly making its way into our everyday lives. The New York Times reported that certain retailers, who already use facial recognition to catch shoplifters, are looking into installing the technology to track big spenders to offer them discounts and deals. Facial recognition is becoming so ubiquitous that a pair of Japanese professors has already invented high-tech glasses that would shield you from facial recognition cameras. Their aim? To stop the “invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret,” the professors told Slate magazine.

Sally Morgan, Assistant Resident Director of Fromm Hall, recognized potential student privacy concerns. “I’m sure some students will have privacy concerns but they should understand that it’s for their own safety,” she said. “There has to be a balance between keeping our residents safe and making sure they don’t feel like their privacy has been violated.”

Rossi also referenced this quote, spoken by Harvard Professor Juliette Kayyem, when further addressing privacy concerns: “The general public has an unrealistic expectation of pure security; however, they have little interest in the preparedness process. Interest in security peaks during a time of crisis and the public has little to no tolerance for breaches of security.”

Graphic by Jasmine Bautista

Women’s Tennis: Dons Split Matches in Arizona, Lose to UC Berkeley

The Dons bounced back from two consecutive losses to beat the New Mexico State Aggies 5-2 on Monday, Feb. 3 in the second of two matches at the Robson Tennis Center in Arizona. It was a welcome return to winning form for USF, which got victories on courts one through four from freshman Thyra Taune, sophomore Andrea Ka, sophomore Sofia Holmberg, and junior Marina Nikolic. Taune and Ka were especially impressive, taking their matches by scores of 6-1, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-1, respectively.

San Francisco also came out on top in all three doubles matches. The tandem of Ka and Nikolic were dominant in their 6-2 win, and Nikolic and junior Milica Hadzi-Tanovic completed the doubles sweep on court three.

On Sunday, Feb. 2, the Dons dropped their second match in a row when they faced the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz. Though it was the second game of the day for the Wildcats, they did not ease up and maintained their focus against USF, ultimately winning 6-1.

Sofia Holmberg defeated Arizona in her doubles match with Thyra Taune. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Sofia Holmberg defeated Arizona in her doubles match with Thyra Taune. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

There were bright areas for the Dons (5-2) in both the singles and doubles matches. In singles, Taune defeated Arizona’s Lacey Smyth 6-4, 6-4. Unfortunately, San Francisco couldn’t come up with a victory in any other singles matches. Sophomore Brooke Irish lost 6-3, 6-2 to Laura Oldham, and Holmberg was beat handily by Akilah James, 6-1, 6-1. Nikolic and Hadzi-Tanovic nearly came away victorious in their matches, but they were both eventually defeated in four and three sets, respectively.

In doubles matches, the duo of Holmberg and Taune bested Arizona’s Smyth and Shayne Austin. Still, the Dons could not capitalize on this win, losing matches on courts two and three.

On Friday, the Dons faced off against the University of California, Berkeley Bears. Though they came into the match riding a four-game winning streak, the Dons were handed their first loss of the season against the Bears at Berkeley’s Channing Tennis Courts. USF was unable to come up with victories in both the doubles and singles matches, allowing UC Berkeley to win 7-0.

In the singles matches, Hazdi-Tanovic went against UC Berkeley’s Alicia Duranteau, ultimately coming up short. Taune and freshman Genevieve McCloskey also fought to tilt their matches in favor of the Dons, but none were able to garner a single victory. On court three, Ka jumped out to a lead, but the Bears’ Klara Fabikova overcame the early deficit to win 6-4, 6-3. Another close match was Nikolic’ battle against Meagan Manasse, which she wound up losing 7-5, 6-3.

In the doubles competition, USF was no match for UC Berkeley, losing 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in the three matches. The final loss in the doubles sweep came when McCloskey and Hadzi-Tanovic faltered against the Bears’ Cecilia Estlander and Kelly Chui, losing 6-1.

The next game for the Dons will be at UC Davis on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 12:00 p.m.

USFBookstore

Welcome Back! You’re Paying Too Much for Your Textbooks

(If You Shop at the USF Bookstore)

Bookstore Comparison of PricesAn overwhelming majority of the textbooks at the USF Bookstore are more expensive to buy or rent than purchasing the books online, even though the USF bookstore advertises that students should “rent fearlessly” and they could “save on average 50% or more.” Foghorn reporters used Amazon.com to compare prices of the textbooks to bookstore prices.

The USF bookstore isn’t owned by USF; it is operated by Follett Higher Education Group, a division of Follett Corporation, a $2.3 billion enterprise. According to their website, Follett Higher Education Group manages more than 930 college bookstores nationwide.

Junior politics major Madeline Meininger does her research about the cheapest options available to her while shopping for textbooks, and avoids shopping at the USF Bookstore unless she needs a specific customized USF textbook.

Pricey textbooks are just one of a number of financial burdens college students encounter, and many USF students opt to buy or rent their textbooks through other online retailers to save money.

“I’m a savvy shopper,” said sophomore sociology major Kristina Rodriguez. “I’ll do a side by side price check [of USF bookstore prices versus other online retailers] and very rarely is it cheaper to rent the textbook from the bookstore.”

However, Rodriguez did acknowledge the convenience of buying books on campus, as did other students.

Senior Caroline Christ, a communication studies major said, “If I need a book for class it’s easier to go downstairs than to wait two weeks for Amazon to deliver it.”

Danielle Maingot contributed to the reporting.

 
freepressusfonline

Staff Editorial: How Do We Know Our Halloween Costume Has Gone Too Far?

 One word: Blackface.

Let there be no doubt that we at the Foghorn believe in the spirit of Halloween. Yet recently, the media has covered many, including celebrities’, Halloween costumes that have pushed many tacit societal boundaries and we feel the need to put our foot down.

In the 1830s, blackface minstrelsy was a form of popular entertainment in the United States. It was suggested that performers donning blackface — literally painting their faces charcoal black — was a way to allow audiences work out cultural anxieties and race prejudices. These performers would then begin to entertain their fans in “black bodies” while being crude, acting promiscuous and using extremely racist slurs. There is also the fact that blackface tends to perpetuate physical stereotypes portrayed by 1800s cartoons made to isolate black Americans as the “other,” as well as ridicule them.

Once you try make their color a focal point of the costume, you take away from the person you are trying to embody.

In light of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, many college students this past weekend have circulated pictures of them on social media donning Trayvon Martin “costumes”, sometimes coupled with a friend dressed as George Zimmerman. Those acting as Trayvon Martin painted their face black, wore a large grey sweatshirt and held bags of Skittles and Arizona cans; while having their friends pointed plastic guns at their head wearing neighborhood watch shirts.

Beyond this being just, as many call it, “college students having fun”, actress Julianne Hough dressed as “Orange Is The New Black” character, “Crazy Eyes”, also painting her face black. She has since then apologized on Twitter due to public backlash at pictures of her that surfaced the internet, citing that “it certainly was never [her] intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way” and that she “realized [her] costume hurt and offended people…”

We would love to say that the aforementioned incidents of blackface that caused so much controversy this past weekend are isolated incidents made by a handful of people who obviously do not understand the racial implications of what they did, but college students every year are making this woefully ignorant mistake. And it seems that many do not understand that this just adds insult to injury in today’s society — a society that some people would like to label as a “post-racial America.” Yet it is obvious that race is still in the forefront of our country’s issues. The question is, is this because many are not versed in the history of blackface or is it because people really do not care about how racially insensitive they are?

The fact is you can tribute a favorite character or icon without having to bring their race into the matter. Once you try make their color a focal point of the costume, you take away from the person you are trying to embody. There is no need for “whiteface,” “redface,” “yellowface,” or “blackface” to make it clear that you are dressed as Michael Jackson or Nicki Minaj. And beyond that, we should not have to spell out the fact that dressing up as a seventeen year-old boy who lost his life to racial profiling and ignorance is sick and abhorrent.

 

A Reminder This Exam Season

Meerim Djunusalieva is a junior international studies major.

Meerim Djunusalieva is a junior international studies major.

Stop everything you are doing and look around you. Look at the people who surround you. Are they all running to class, constantly checking their phones or doing homework? In college, it is so easy to fall into the trap of daily routines. It feels like everything we do is done automatically. We become machines that repeat the same things over and over again.

The danger of mediocrity in life is to fall into the self-destructive spiral that completely takes away our ability to properly enjoy the beauty of life. From my own experience, it takes a tragedy or an accident for a person to realize that our life can be abruptly ended at any second and that time is such a treasure that cannot be taken for granted. However, that should not be the case. It should not take the death of a loved one or the discovery of a terminal illness to come to this realization. We think we are going to have more time to pursue our dreams, to spend more time with our family and friends, and even more time to tell to that special one how we truly feel. The truth is time is not promised to us and we will never know what tomorrow or the next will bring.

As cliché as it may sound, living in the moment and being self-aware should be one of our goals in life. We are raised in a society that constantly tells us what we should be or should not be. From this, we create ideas of what we think we want from life and where we want to be in the future. It feels like everything what we do right now is for the sake of “being happy” later. Happiness is such an ambiguous concept designed by our society that constitutes a symbol for the finish line.

The truth is time is not promised to us and we will never know what tomorrow or the next will bring.

Why not live and be happy in the moment? Things rarely go according to planned. Even if life does not turn the way you think it should have, it does not mean you failed. There is more to life than reaching an end goal as cheesy as it sounds, it really is the journey.

As important school is, we must to enjoy other aspects of life such as time spent with our friends who we may not see after the graduation. Time passes quickly. Things change fast. We change gradually. Instead of dwelling on the past, forge a path you will not regret. Of course, it is great to want to succeed, but make sure that in the meantime, you grow and embrace every moment of your existence. Every minute is a minute you will never have again.

Meerim Djunusalieva is a junior international studies major. 

 

According to the statstics, seniors (left to right) Staci Hoell, biology major, Sarah Rewers, English major, and Sarah Halvorsen, math major, are getting their schooling done in a majority female environment. Could the 63% to 37% ratio of female to male students be part of the reason USF has been unofficially dubbed the “University of Single Females?” (Photo: Allison Fazio)

Investigating Stereotypes: “University of Single Females”

Rumor has it that the “University of the Best City Ever” isn’t USF’s only nickname. The university has apparently acquired a small variety of unofficial nicknames, all derived from the simple three-letter acronym “USF.” But how true are the stereotypes? This week we explore the facts and hear the opinions behind USF — the “University of Single Females.”

Last year, there were 6,246 students enrolled in USF’s undergraduate program, according to the USF Fact Book. Of these students, 63% were female and 37% were male, making campus home to 3,935 females.

Information on relationship status was not made available through the USF Fact Book, (this isn’t Facebook, y’all), though some students correlate the nearly 3:2 female to male ratio with USF’s rumored status as a hub for single women.

 “There are more girls than guys, which means less people to date for straight women.”

“I think the fact that there is such a high percentage of girls compared to boys might give the nickname some truth,” Sarah Halvorsen, senior math major said. “I definitely noticed it a couple of years ago when so many USF girls would go to the bar scene at an early age, a lot of times, just to meet guys. However, nowadays, I’m not sure if the label fits — at this point, the majority of my USF friends are in relationships!”

Senior Sarah White, a psychology major, dismisses the stereotype, stating, “I know a lot of students here that are in a relationship. People just think there are a lot of single girls because of the guy to girl ratio.”

Kahanu Salavea, a junior psychology major, puts it practically: “There are more girls than guys, which means less people to date for straight women.”

According to one student opinion, another possible reason for USF’s “Single Female” nickname might stem from a second stereotype. “There is a big assumption that a lot of the men here are gay, so girls think there are less guys on the market,” Kristian Balgobin, sophomore psychology major and intern at the Gender and Sexuality Center said.

Halvorsen believes that whatever truth that may lay behind the nickname is something that changes with time. “Guys aren’t mature enough for a relationship early in college,” she said. “Now that we are all seniors and getting closer, it’s different.”

But is it really all about the guys? Salavea said he has never heard a male student say anything about the “University of Single Females.” “I think that it’s mostly heterosexual women who are perpetuating this stereotype,” he said.

The reason why remains a mystery.

Still, there are students who disagree with the nickname completely. “Everyone has boyfriends coming into school,” TJ Armand, senior finance major said. “And a lot of the girls are foreign.” Could language barriers be contributing to the stereotype of “single females”?

John Zamora, a counseling psychology graduate student from the Philippines, elaborated. “University of Single Females? That’s a first. The most common nicknames I hear of are either ‘Spoiled Filipinos’ or ‘Spoiled Foreigners’ — although I am not spoiled… nor consider myself privileged. I do consider myself lucky that my parents did support me, though.”

Verdict? USF may be home to more females than males, but student responses suggest that the stereotype is inaccurate. Next week, we investigate “University of Spoiled Foreigners.”