Tag Archives: Elections

Staff Editorial

Staff Editorial: Opposing the Unopposed

This year, every candidate that ran for an executive board position on ASUSF Senate was unopposed. This means that the new ASUSF President won by default. The same goes for the Vice President of Business Administration, Vice President of Internal Affairs, Vice President of Public Relations, Vice President of Mission and Vice President of Sustainability. All of these candidates won simply because they filled out a form on time.  It is no small victory either—senators on the executive board have more power, and earn more money (taken from the student activity fee that each undergraduate student is required to pay) than any other student leaders by far.

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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.”

 

 

Students Must Fight Discrimination by Prop L

Imagine all of the times you have  sat on a public sidewalk. Whether you were waiting for a bus, eating food from a street car on the curb or just resting after a long day of shopping, chances are you never thought the act of sitting would become illegal. Last week, however, Proposition L was passed by San Francisco voters, changing the city’s police code to make sitting or lying on sidewalks illegal between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.

The Foghorn staff believes that Proposition L unfairly targets homeless people who often populate the city’s sidewalks. Our argument, drawn from the “No on L” campaign, exists in the three parts. First, Proposition L is simply unnecessary. Laws already exist that prohibit the criminal behavior that Proposition L supporters claim to oppose. The illegality of sidewalk sitting would not directly prevent any particular crime or societal problem.

Second, the government’s focus should be on reducing homelessness, not banning the homeless from sidewalks. The money poured into the Proposition L campaign and the funding needed to enforce it in the future could be going to increasing resources for homeless shelters. Considering our proximity to the Haight, USF students are well aware of the rampant number of homeless people on the streets of our city. Unlike our government officials, however, the Foghorn staff believes that homelessness is the result of a flawed system. We should not fight the result of the system but, instead, fight the system itself.

Third, Proposition L is based on socioeconomic discrimination. Although the proposition never specifically states that it is targeted at the poorest members of our society, the Foghorn Staff is convinced that it was, indeed, written with class-based intentions. As students, we are angry that we can no longer legally sit in these public spaces, but we are also aware that we probably will not be punished if we do. Police officers will be looking for homeless people, street kids and persons who might appear “threatening.” The police force does not have the resources to enforce to convict every Prop L offender. Thus, citation fines and jail time will probably be reserved for those people who can afford them the least: the homeless.

What good could requiring individuals to stand rather than sit possibly do? We believe it is our job as USF students to promote social justice and build awareness about the city’s exploitation of poor individuals. We absolutely must take a stand. Homeless shelters and aid facilities need our help now more than ever. The Foghorn staff challenges you to do your part.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron

Tea Party Wants To Be Taken Seriously

In light of the recent Tea Party victory for Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s governor GOP primary, it cannot be denied that America’s newest political party has propelled itself into the limelight. While many disregard Tea Party members as a radical blip in a two sided political radar map, the potential impact of the Sarah Palin endorsed force should not be taken lightly. Founder Dale Robertson paints a picture of an alternate “new voice” party based on the hypothesized wants of the Founding Fathers. Despite the Republican undertones, Robertson argues that his movement does not answer to a political party, but rather the Constitution alone. He continues to explain away the conservative sway by arguing, “It was the Constitution that is inherently conservative, not a party.” Actually, the Constitution remains one of the most politically interpretative documents to this day. It is in the political standing of the president, Congress and federal judges that the Constitution reflects either a strict Republican view or a looser Democratic one.

To research further, I took to a primary source – Dale Robertson’s blog, which is casually disguised as the official website of the Tea Party movement. Teaparty.org hosts a wide variety of propaganda and persuasion links, more notably a list of the fifteen core values of a true Tea Partier. They range from the importance of protecting domestic jobs and balancing the national budget to the eloquently written fact that “Illegal aliens are here illegally.” Apart from stating the obvious, these “non-negotiable core beliefs” do a good job of establishing the stereotype that Tea Partiers are essentially just Republicans on steroids.

For example, Republicans generally push for gun-rights, but Tea Partiers take it up that extra notch with the “gun ownership is sacred” rule. In a nation where horrors such as Columbine and Virginia Tech occur outside of nightmares, some form of gun regulation should be in place to counteract psychopaths. Indeed, a licensed hunter should be able to buy as many guns as he wants, but the angst-ridden teen bent on garnering some attention should not be able to get his hands on the same weapons.

Perhaps most broadly, comes the “Political offices [should be] available to average citizens” argument. While I agree that average citizens deserve the right to be represented fairly and be heard distinctly, putting Joe Schmo in the Governor’s seat is not going to help the state or nation. Frankly, no matter how good Joe’s intentions or convictions are, he will get eaten alive by the experienced sharks circling around him. A leader must be in tune with the needs of his or her people, but that leader must also possess the political savvy to transform those needs into reality.

The site’s “About” section does not help its nonpartisan case much either. Robertson declares that, “the responsibility of our beloved nation is entrenched within the hearts of true American Patriots from all walks of life, every race, religion and national origin.” Robertson’s organization may “accept” all walks of life, but it’s easy to say that when 75 percent of the people who come knocking are of his own race and socio-political standing.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron

USF Students Need To Stay Informed About Elections

Elections around the United States this fall are slated to create significant change in the country’s political climate. Come November 2, California voters will choose a new governor, senator and lieutenant governor. Additionally, San Francisco residents will vote for district supervisors in even numbered districts. Members of the Foghorn staff certainly do not see eye-to-eye on every political issue, but we all agree that students should be informed about the elections and propositions that maybe have a great effect on all of our lives.

Regardless of whether USF students are registered California voters, it is crucial for us to be cognizant of who runs our government and how local and national elections influence the issues we care about. Currently, five districts in San Francisco are holding elections for district supervisor. USF students who live in the Outer Sunset (district four), the Castro (district eight) or downtown (district 6) will all have the opportunity to elect new supervisors.

On a state level, San Francisco’s mayor Gavin Newsom is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket. His opponent, Abel Maldonado, is the Republican incumbent. Newsom’s campaign is heavily focused on education reform, something that could greatly benefit state schools. His progressive stance on funding for education has received significant acknowledgement as mayor of San Francisco and we can expect that his attention to education will continue if he is elected in Sacramento. Maldonado’s campaign is focusing less on education and more on economic reform. He describes himself as a fiscal conservative, someone who is opposed to raising taxes and an advocate for small businesses.

Also on the state level, Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman are competing for Governor, as moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger reaches his term limit. Both candidates have used aggressive advertising in the past few months to belittle their opponents. The Foghorn sees this as a childish campaign strategy and hopes most USF students will recognize the arbitrary nature of campaigning against someone, instead of for something.

Possibly one of the most relevant races to USF students is the battle for District Eight representation in the U.S. Senate between incumbent Barbara Boxer and Republican nominee Carly Fiorina. The two candidates disagree on almost every issue, epitomized by Boxer’s background in politics and civil rights and Fiorina’s background as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Boxer’s priorities in the Senate have been health care reform, the increase of Pell grants and education funding for minorities and advocacy for immigrant families. Fiorina’s campaign has capitalized on her experience in big business, her pro-life and anti-gay marriage beliefs and her disdain for Obama’s health care reform plan.

While these races unfold in the next month, students at USF should stay informed about how each candidate could affect the city of San Francisco, the state of California and the United States upon election. The Foghorn encourages everyone in the USF community to vote, regardless of where they are registered. By staying informed, USF students have the opportunity to become truly active citizens.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron