Archive | Humboldt State

HSU Named Top ‘Military Friendly’ School

Humboldt State helps handle largest influx of college-bound veterans since Vietnam


By Paul Mann


For the fourth year running, Veterans Enrollment & Transition Services at Humboldt State University is rated among the top 15% of colleges, universities and trade schools nationally that provide comprehensive support to soldier students and their spouses.

Humboldt State’s V.E.T.S. office is listed on the 2013 roster of Military Friendly Schools compiled by Victory Media, a veteran-owned small business that publishes G.I. Jobs magazine and related journals.

The ranking is based on extensive research and data drawn from more than 12,000 U.S. Veterans Administration-approved schools nationwide. It recognizes HSU for “leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.”

Humboldt State’s V.E.T.S. support offers services for dependents and active duty service personnel as well as veterans. It provides referrals to Humboldt-area veterans’ organizations and extends ready access to academic advising, course requirements, benefits counseling and work-study options. It also provides job counseling and training, employment searches, agency networking and assistance to the unemployed.

“We provide one-stop shopping that not all campuses offer, and I consider us to be the gateway for veterans to this university,” says Kim Hall, V.E.T.S. director. The office is staffed by vet undergraduate and graduate students, who encourage the camaraderie that returning soldiers say they miss most of all from their service experience.

Responding to the largest influx of college-bound veterans since the Viet Nam war, Humboldt State five years ago expanded services originally begun in the early 1990s. The modernization kicked off in 2007 when the 23-campus CSU system initiated its “Troops to College” program to assist more veterans and active duty soldiers with higher education. The CSU has a campus in every region of the state and close to almost all of California’s military bases.

Veterans and active duty students can use their GI benefits while attending any CSU campus. Likewise, active duty service members can use Department of Defense tuition assistance and other educational benefits at CSU institutions.

The V.E.T.S office is located in Lower Library Room 58 and the phone number is (707) 826-6272.

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HSU Hazing Scandal Scraps Soccer Season

Investigation uncovers threats to lives of students, campus leaders say


By Charles Douglas
Humboldt Sentinel


An alleged hazing incident earlier this month has led to the complete suspension of the Humboldt State University men’s soccer team — and the women’s team may be next on the chopping block.

The epicenter of the investigation centers around a party on Aug. 4 at an undisclosed location in the area, where the lives of two student athletes were placed in serious jeopardy, according to a report issued by HSU President Rollin Richmond.

“Given my understanding of what occurred with the men’s team, I am immensely relieved that all of the students involved are safe,” Richmond stated. “I hope that the team discipline, along with individual disciplinary actions, send a clear message that this was unacceptable. Hazing is not tolerated at Humboldt State, not in Athletics and not in any other area.”

In addition to the men’s soccer team being banned from any California Collegiate Athletic Association games or any University-sanctioned games for the entire academic year, disciplinary proceedings under the HSU Code of Student Conduct have been initiated against the individual students involved, with their names as yet unreleased. They could be thrown out of the entire California State University system as a result of the decision by HSUs Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

“It is vital that our student-athletes, and our entire campus community, understand the seriousness of the situation,” Richmond continued. “Hazing is illegal, and it is prohibited by the student and student-athlete codes of conduct. It has no place at our University.”

An investigation has also begun into alleged hazing by members of HSU’s women’s soccer team, with the same penalties hanging over their heads as well — campus police and the Arcata Police Department are involved in both inquiries. Athletics Director Dan Collen will also have to prepare annual anti-hazing reports and implement curriculum changes to the Life Skills course taught by the Department of Kinesiology

“I was truly taken aback by this incident and the number of students involved,” HSU Student Affairs Vice President Peg Blake stated. “It’s just so
counter to the culture of caring and social responsibility at HSU. We need to be clear that hazing needs to be reported by those who know about it, who see it happening or who are targets. We all have a role to play. For the students involved in this, our goal is to make sure they stay on track academically. That’s the most important thing, that they do well in their classes and make progress toward earning their degrees.”

Lastly, a policy of random alcohol and drug testing will now be imposed on student athletes, with students required to sign an anti-hazing agreement.

“We just cannot have this sort of thing happening. It’s dangerous and it’s unacceptable,” Collen stated. “I’ve made that clear to the coaches and players I’ve talked to, and I’ll continue to make that point throughout the year. Our student-athletes have been tremendous representatives of Humboldt State over the years, and this incident tarnishes that record. I expect better, the whole Humboldt State community expects better, and we won’t accept excuses.”

Incredibly, the men’s soccer team players will still receive their athletic scholarships — even though they won’t be taking the field to play a single game.

Posted in Crime, Humboldt State2 Comments

HSU Soccer Team Target Of Hazing Inquiry

Several team members allegedly misbehaved at recent party


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel 


The National Collegiate Athletics Association is working with the Humboldt State University office of Student Affairs in the launch of an official investigation ito the men’s soccer team at HSU.

According to HSU spokesman Paul Mann, the investigation is cenerted around a party which took place this summer where many HSU soccer players were allegedly involved in hazing and other misdeeds.

“University officials stress that they take these issues very seriously,” Mann stated in a release. “Hazing is both illegal and violates the student code of conduct. Student-athletes receive education on hazing, and are frequently reminded that it is not tolerated.”

Disciplinary action decisions are pending, although HSU doesn’t plan to disclose details concerning sanctions on particular players. Consequences could be a mere written warning, or far worse — including expulsion from the entire California State University system.

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Third HSU Dorm Robbery Suspect Arrested

EPD catches up with Jules Dawson; Miles Sharp still eludes capture


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel


A third suspect in last year’s notorious strong-arm robbery in the Humboldt State University dorms was arrested yesterday.

Late Monday, the Eureka Police Department apprehended 23-year-old Jules Aubrey Dawson, also known as “Jay Doss,” and booked him into county jail. While Dawson is not a college student, the other three suspects are, and 20-year-old Miles B. Sharp remains at large on a $100,000 warrant.

The University Police Department caught up with the other two suspects shortly after the Dec. 2 incident, which took place in Sunset Hall. Eric Schneekluth, an HSU sophomore from San Diego, was taken into custody on Dec. 13 and is still sitting in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Benjamin Beilin, an HSU freshman from Valencia, was picked up on Dec. 9, booked and subsequently bailed out of jail.

Members of the public with information on the whereabouts of Sharp are asked to contact the Anonymous Tip and Crime Report section of UPD at or (707) 826-5555.

Posted in Crime, Eureka, Humboldt State1 Comment

Two More HSU Robbery Suspects Identified

Jules Dawson and Miles Sharp of San Diego still at large


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel


The last two strong-arm robbers who struck a dormitory at Humboldt State University have been identified, on-campus law enforcement claims.

University Police Department spokespersons now allege that Jules Aubrey Dawson, 23, and Miles B. Sharp, 20, were involved in a break-in at a student’s dorm room in Sunset Hall, where the victim was assaulted, tied up and robbed on Dec. 2.

Dawson, also known as ‘Jay Doss,’ is a black male, 5’10″ in height and 165 pounds. Sharp is also a black male, 5’11″ in height and 175 pounds. Warrants of $100,000 each are posted for each suspect.

UPD had already arrested HSU students Benjamin Beilin, a 19-year-old freshman from Valencia, and Eric Schneekluth, a 21-year-old sophomore from San Diego. Both men are charged with multiple felonies, and

UPD asks for further tips and leads to be submitted to the anonymous tip and crime report section of their website at

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UPD Arrests Second Robbery Suspect

Sophomore Eric Schneekluth of San Diego held on $100,000 bail


By Paul Mann


Humboldt State University Police have arrested a second student in connection with an alleged strong-arm robbery Dec. 2 in Sunset Residence Hall.

Eric Schneekluth, a sophomore from San Diego, was taken into custody on campus without incident Dec. 13, booked by university police and remanded to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

Police arrested Schneekluth for alleged first degree robbery, false imprisonment with violence, criminal threats, burglary and battery on a person.

The investigation continues and police expect more arrests.

University police made the first arrest Dec. 9, taking into custody Benjamin Beilin, a freshman from Valencia, CA.

Both men are charged with multiple felonies for allegedly breaking into the victim’s room, binding his arms and legs and stealing property. The victim reportedly observed no weapons being brandished and declined medical attention.

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Arrest Made In HSU Dorm Robbery

Benjamin Beilin an alleged accomplice of the three initial suspects


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel


Humboldt State University officials announced the first arrest in a strong-arm robbery case at the Sunset Hall dormitory last week.

Benjamin Beilin, a 19-year-old freshman from Valencia, was arrested at 10:20 a.m. today after an investigation by University Police Department personnel, according to a press statement by HSU spokesperson Jarad Petroske.

UPD alleges that Beilin, who was not present at the time of the crime, provided information to the three unidentified robbers concerning the victim, who was bound, physically assaulted and robbed of several items in his Sunset Hall dorm room on Dec. 2.

Beilin is charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, first degree robbery and false imprisonment, and is being held in Humboldt County jail until his arraignment next Tuesday.

UPD is continuing its investigation, and is asking the public for more information on the three suspects, who were last seen near the area of LK Wood Boulevard and Plaza Avenue after fleeing with the victim’s possessions. They were described by witnesses as:

  • Suspect #1:  Black male adult, 18-20 years old, 5’9”/155 lbs, black hair, brown eyes.
  • Suspect #2:  Black male adult, 18-20 years old, 5’10”/155 lbs, black neck length dreds, brown eyes.
  • Suspect #3:  Hispanic male adult, 18-20 years old, 5’8”/165 lbs, black hair, brown eyes.

Police are also conducting additional patrols around the dormitories, and other local police agencies have also been provided descriptions of the suspects. The UPD can be contacted at (707) 826-5555 or

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Yurok And Schatz Join Forces

Upgrades made to energy efficiency and generation across tribal lands


By Paul Mann


As the sun rises over the mountains, a glimmer of light reflects off the Yurok Tribe building in Weitchpec, Calif. The glint of sunlight bounces off an array of new solar panels, recently installed with the help of Humboldt State’s Schatz Energy Research Center—the newest energy project in a partnership that spans over a decade.

The Yurok tribal building in Weitchpec, Calif., is adorned with a new, 15.7-kilowatt solar electric array. The array, installed by local solar experts Roger and his Merry Band of Solar Installers, is one of many projects in more than a decade of collaboration between the Tribe and HSU’s Schatz Lab.

Since 1999, Schatz Lab has worked with the Yurok Tribe on several grants, studies and energy projects to improve sustainability. Past projects have included a fuel-cell system to provide back up power to a radio repeater station, a feasibility study for hydroelectric and wind energy development and energy audits of over fifty tribal households and multiple government buildings.

Most recently, local solar experts, Roger and his Merry Band of Solar Installers, outfitted the Tribe with a solar electric system. The Tribe also performed energy efficiency upgrades in its Weitchpec tribal office and is working to install energy efficiency upgrades at its Klamath office.

“Stewardship is a huge element of tribal culture,” says Sophia Lay, a tribal planner and the project manager for this undertaking. “The key elements here were to be more sustainable and to lower our energy use.”

Funding for the projects came from the Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Originally, that funding was to be used to conduct a retro-commissioning study for the Klamath office, install a solar panel system and enact certain retrofit projects. Retro-commissioning studies are used to identify existing structures and systems that could be altered to improve energy use. However, from 2005 to 2007, the Tribe and Schatz Lab had already performed an energy-needs assessment to identify such opportunities.

“Rather than spend money on a report to identify issues, we decided to do some of the retrofits we already knew about,” Lay says. Schatz Lab worked with the Tribe to adjust the project proposal and the Department of Energy agreed to award the grant without requiring a retro-commissioning study.
Instead, that funding went to other projects. The tribal building in Weitchpec received energy efficiency upgrades to its heating and cooling systems and occupancy sensors for its lighting system.

“Small changes like this are really beneficial,” Schatz Lab engineer Richard Engel says. “They’re relatively simple. They make sure no equipment is running unnecessarily. And they save energy.”
Additionally, the building received a 15.7-kilowatt solar electric array. That system was increased from a 13.6-kilowatt system after the price of photovoltaic equipment went down.

Schatz Lab engineers also developed an interactive interpretive display for the lobby of the Weitchpec tribal building. The full-color, touch-screen display allows users to get information on the energy efficiency upgrades of the project, including the real-time energy production of the new solar array. Information from the interpretive display will also be accessible online.

“The display definitely catches your attention as soon as you walk in the door,” Lay says. “If the information doesn’t get people’s attention right away, the fact that it’s interactive will.”

Work at the tribal building in Klamath is currently underway. Those energy efficiency upgrades include weatherizing seals on doors and installation of ceiling fans to improve heating and cooling and prevent stratification. In a room with high ceilings like the Klamath building, stratification occurs when warm air rises and doesn’t circulate with the colder air near the ground. On a cold day, that means the heat has to be turned up much higher to heat the air near the ground. Ceiling fans will also help to circulate air and keep people comfortable on a hot day, without resorting to energy-sapping air conditioning.

As this project winds down, Schatz Lab and the Yurok Tribe have already submitted another grant proposal, this one to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to continue to explore and implement actions to create a more sustainable community.

“Personally,” Lay says, “I learned a lot from this project, and that will carry over into my other projects in terms of energy efficiency.”

Posted in Energy, Humboldt State7 Comments

Campus Moves To Form University Senate

Student representation to be reduced to two non-directly elected senators


By Paul Mann


With the beginning of the spring semester, a new University Senate will replace the Academic Senate as the university’s main policy recommending body.

In a notable change, voting rights will be extended to all members of the University Senate, including two student senators chosen by Associated Students, with the exception of the University President, California Faculty Association president and the Union Council delegate. “The new senate will be a smaller body, but it will have broader representation from campus,” said Provost Robert Snyder. The new senate will be made up of 11 faculty senators, two students, three lecturers and three non–Management Personnel Plan staff members.

The senate’s primary duty is formulating educational policy, including admissions, curricula and criteria for granting degrees. The senate is also involved with the selection of administrative personnel and in the selection of future university presidents. Other duties include maintaining communication to campus delegates and establishing senate committees.

In an effort to encourage more participation in the senate, members’ terms are limited to three years and a senator may not serve more than two consecutive terms. Approximately one third of the membership will be elected annually to ensure a mix of new and experienced senators.

The formation of the university senate comes from a recommendation in the Cabinet for Institutional Change’s 2010 report, Building the Capacity for Change: Improving the Structure and Culture of Decision-making at HSU.

“We hope the University Senate will lead to a better sense of communal decision making with all stake holders involved,” said Jay Verlinden, chair of the Department of Communication and current president of the Academic Senate.

In April, the Academic Senate Executive Committee charged the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) to develop a written proposal for a University Senate structure. Using the university senate model from San Diego State as well as reviewing the current HSU General Faculty Constitution and Senate Bylaws, the FAC drafted new portions of the Constitution and Bylaws, which were approved by the General Faculty in September.

In addition to broader campus representation, the new senate is designed with a streamlined decision making processes. Senators will be required to serve on at least one senate committee, a policy aimed at involving senators at the beginning stages of policy development.

The new University Senate has its first meeting in January. For more information on the Academic Senate visit

For more information on the Cabinet for Institutional Change, visit

Posted in Humboldt State, Politics11 Comments

HSU Vets Launch 5K Fundraiser

Veterans Day event to be held in Redwood Bowl


By Paul Mann


Humboldt State University’s Student Veterans Association will inaugurate its annual Veterans Day 5K Run/Walk on Friday, Nov. 11 to raise funds for the university’s Office of Veterans Enrollment and Transition Services (VETS). Participants will depart from Redwood Bowl at 11 a.m.

All local veterans and the general public are invited to join in the first-time fundraiser, which is aimed at shoring up veterans services rolled back by ongoing budget cuts. “Support Our Veterans!” t-shirts will be available and the Student Veterans Association is seeking sponsorships for the event. Sponsor names will be inscribed on the t-shirts. The association can be reached at (707) 826-6274 in the HSU Lower Library, Room 58.

HSU undergraduate and Iraq combat veteran Kevin Miller, President of the Student Veterans Association and a former Marine Corps sergeant, says the local need is great, both on campus and off. Humboldt County has more than 11,000 veterans and some 400 attend HSU, ranking it third in the California State University system for veteran attendance.

Northern California vet numbers in general are grim. The region has the second highest number of homeless veterans, 12,771, and the highest concentration of homeless veterans per capita in the U.S., according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Miller says Humboldt County veteran services are much better than might be expected in view of its rural location, but unmet needs remain substantial. Veterans Upward Bound academic support services and Outward Bound transition services have been lost to funding cuts in recent years. Veterans have also lost a portion of their “break pay,” money that tides them over during routine breaks in the academic year.

The nation’s stubbornly high unemployment, 9.1 percent, coupled with California’s intractable 12.1 percent jobless rate, compounds the impact of the break pay reduction, according to Miller. “The loss of this specific benefit has been absolutely detrimental to veterans, especially those with families, because they do not have a steady income coming in during break periods,” he notes.

In the wake of these setbacks, support from Humboldt State’s VETS unit, the North Coast Veterans Resource Center and the Redwood Vet Center has become more important than ever, Miller says.

A recent survey of the 23-campus California State University system by the Chancellor’s Office shows that HSU offers solid vet services despite a running series of campus-wide annual budget cuts imposed by the state government. Humboldt State scored above average in such areas as financial support, academic support programs and services, veteran-specific services and veteran policies.

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HSU Author Publishes Indian Language Encyclopedia

Professor Victor Golla produces milestone volume on California tribes


By Paul Mann


Area bookstores have taken delivery of “California Indian Languages” by Humboldt State University Anthropology Professor Victor Golla. The milestone volume is the first encyclopedic reference book of all indigenous languages known to have existed in California before 1850.

Published by UC Press and available at Eureka Books and Northtown Books, Arcata, Golla’s unprecedented survey spans aboriginal languages in California, southern Oregon, areas of Nevada and parts of Baja California.
The omnibus work has drawn praise from fellow linguists and anthropologists alike.

“This book is a wonderful contribution that only Golla could have written,” says Ives Goddard, senior linguist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. “It is a perfect confluence of author and subject matter.”

Anthropology Professor Robert L. Bettinger of UC Davis agrees. “Golla is a gifted polymath and ‘California Indian Languages’ is certainly his landmark achievement, required reading for any linguist, archaeologist, ethnographer or historian interested in aboriginal California.”

The book lays out in full detail the basic facts about every indigenous language of the California region, about 80 all told.

Golla began work on the project in 2003, but the volume stems from a lifetime career in the study of indigenous languages in California and the Northwest. From the time of his graduate studies at Berkeley in the early 1960s, he has been a well-known figure in North American linguistics and anthropology. He served for more than two decades as the Executive Secretary of SSILA, the international professional society for American Indian linguistics.

Golla has taught at Humboldt State since 1988, and was earlier affiliated with the University of Alberta, Columbia University in New York, and George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The focus of “California Indian Languages” is what Golla calls the “aboriginal state of affairs”-the diversity of languages spoken in the pre-white era. Rich ethnogeographical data are supplemented by numerous maps. The history of documentation is uniquely illustrated by more than 100 photographs. The salient linguistic facts about each distinctive language or language group are summarized in tables, and surveyed on an area-wide basis in a separate chapter on “California as a Linguistic Area.”

Golla’s compendium cites everything known about the languages of California as they have been recorded and transcribed by linguists and anthropologists since the 1880s. Also noted are the less systematic, but still valuable materials collected by earlier explorers and missionaries, beginning with Cabrillo in the 1540s. Special sections are devoted to extensive field collections developed by C. Hart Merriam and J. P. Harrington during the first half of the 20th century.

“California Indian Languages” is a one-of-a-kind reference work for graduate students and professionals who need who need a detailed manual to guide their research on California’s native cultures, histories and archaeology. It can also assist California tribes in their efforts to retain knowledge of their traditional languages, Golla said. In his words, “If you’re teaching a language renewal class on, say, the Hoopa Reservation, you’re very interested in knowing how to find all the information that exists on the Hupa language. This book tells you that.”

At the same time, however, the work is accessible to general readers. “It’s not overly technical or laced with jargon,” Golla says. “Someone interested in the local Wiyot language, for example, will find lots of accurate information easily accessible, including where it was spoken, how it was divided up into dialects, what the grammatical structure of the language is and how Wiyot is related to other languages.”

Much of the information will be new to most readers, according to Golla. “Thus, many people will be surprised to learn that the name Wiyot comes from the indigenous word for the Eel River. “The Wiyots actually call themselves, and their language, ‘Sulatelak.’ It’s that kind of fact that people will go to my book to find out.”

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“Occupy Wall Street” Comes To Humboldt

Protest planned on top of HSU Homecoming this Saturday


By Charles Douglas
Humboldt Sentinel


A two-week old protest against the political and economic dominance of Wall Street is spreading across the country and landing here in Humboldt County.

On Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. on the University Center Quad in the heart of the Humboldt State University campus, an as-yet unorganized group of students and allies intends to set up camp right in the middle of Homecoming weekend — just before the HSU Lumberjack football team hosts Dixie State.

Their intention, according to convenor Travis Turner, a Samoa-based advocacy journalist, is not to disrupt Homecoming, but to call attention to the common cause between those confronting the financier class nationally and the economic crisis faced by students in the California State University system.

Travis Turner

Travis Turner

“The CSU system has raised tuition again and again while also raising administrator pay,” Turner stated in a Facebook post inviting the public to Saturday’s event. “Classes are being cut and faculty are being let go while the top 1% of CSU employees get pay raises. Over the last three years we have continued to pay more for less. This must stop.”

Just as the “Occupy Wallstreet” has camped out in Liberty Park in downtown New York, Turner intends for protesters to set up an impromptu tent city and, with musical instruments in hand, camp out on campus. As owner of Venatore Media, he took particular aim at the corrupted Fourth Estate of establishment media outlets who have blacked-out coverage of the growing wave of protests, which have spread as far as Boston, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco.

“I see inequality and greed in almost every facet of American life,” Turner stated. “I see media organizations that I once idolized turning a blind eye to it. I see poverty at an all time high.”

Echoing Turner’s call is local political guru Richard Salzman, longtime campaign manager for Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos and recent challenger of Arcata’s anti-panhandling law (which also criminalized sign-holding at street corners).

“It’s been thousands of people holding rallies day after day to protest the Class War that’s been waged by Wall Street and the Banking Industry and Corporations against working Americans for the last [thirty-plus] years and finally, people are starting to fight back,” Salzman stated in a letter to the Sentinel. “I support these protesters and I hope you will too.”

The Twitter hashtag #OccupyHumboldt is being pushed by Turner as a tribute to the #OccupyWallSt label applied to the thousands of Tweets of independent journalists and participants alike.

While he doesn’t expect Congress or the media to meaningfully respond to the protest, Turner hinted at the launch of a larger movement, saying a General Assembly would convene to decide on any further moves — although he wasn’t sure if they would make any moves off-campus.

Just as protesters and independent journalists in Arcata have experienced in years past, part of the focus of Occupy Wall Street has become about their right to protest in the first place — with notorious examples of police brutality going viral on YouTube.

It’s unclear at this point whether “Occupy Humboldt,” with a few dozen fans on Facebook thus far, will extend its interests beyond education funding issues to the more strident opposition to the “banksters,” the Federal Reserve and the federal government support underpinning both.

Chris Hedges (right) at Occupy Wall Street.

Chris Hedges (right) at Occupy Wall Street.

“…we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges stated in an essay on TruthDig. “Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves.”

“They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.”

Posted in Humboldt State, Politics11 Comments

Engineering Students Put Their Skills To Work

HSU programs reach out to Dominican Republic, Nicaragua


By Ashley Ward


Over the summer, Humboldt State University engineering students took their resources and knowledge and put it to the test in other countries.

The HSU Dominicana Program traveled to the Dominica Republic May 30 through July 8 with Environmental Resources Engineer lecturer Lonny Grafman. Professionals and members of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Northcoast Professional Chapter collaborated with Arcata-Camoapa Sister City Project and traveled to Camoapa, Nicaragua July 31 to Aug. 6.

Grafman led engineering students, enrolled in the Dominicana Program, to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Lauren Adabie, sophomore Environmental Resources Engineering and Chemistry double major, was one of the students who worked with Grafman in the Dominicana Program. “It was a lot of fun working with Lonny. He was a great mentor and a great teacher,” she said. “He seems to be able to get everything done and there was a lot that needed to get done.”

Upon arriving in Santo Domingo, the team did not have specific tasks until the community voted for what their greatest needs were. “When we get there we have no idea what we’re building,” Grafman said. “We work with the community members to see what the needs are.”

This year, the Santo Domingo community rated their top needs for improvement as education, energy and water costs, trash and crime. With a 6-week timeline, the group managed to build an alternative classroom, install renewable energy infrastructure to help offset energy costs, a rainwater catchment system to reduce water costs by collecting their own water, conducted two solar feasibility studies and installed a solar photovoltaic learning station.

Students worked together with community members to get the most out of the available resources to complete these projects. For example, they used bicycle parts and waste product from a newspaper press to make a homemade wind-powered lighting system to light a classroom. The group also constructed a new classroom from alternative materials, including walls built in which the framing was made up of plastic bottles held in place by chicken wire and coated with concrete and cement. A full description of the project is available at Appropedia, the web’s greenest do-it-yourself guide at

The school, Escuela Primaria Nurys Zarzuelain, had faced being shuttered because it was too small and lacked enough classrooms. “This was an experiment to see if the school could last with used materials,” Grafman said. In August, the team found out the classroom was approved as an official classroom for a new class.

“Since completing the study abroad program in the Dominican Republic, I am more aware of sustainable innovations and the beneficial impact that appropriate technologies may have on a community,” said junior Environmental Resources Engineering major Alex Bancroft.

A month after Grafman’s team returned home, four students and three professionals boarded a seven-hour flight to Camoapa, Nicaragua and worked on projects for the community. Camoapa has been Arcata’s sister city since 1986.

“Our primary goal was to investigate the installation of a well and pump to provide a source of water to the hospital,” said Tony Llanos, the project lead and instructor in the Environmental Resources Engineering Department. They spent a week investigating the area and collecting data for the electrical connection and pipeline alignment.

“The distribution system was built 10 years ago and is more than halfway full of sediment which sends a lot of deposits to treatment plants,” said Emily Wortman, senior engineering major and EWB member. Large amounts of sediment in the water can taint a community’s water supply and is currently decreasing the amount of water the community’s reservoir can hold.

Language barriers, minor food illnesses, mosquito nets, tropical heat waves and bucket showers were just some of the factors that made the Nicaragua teams trip a unique experience. “Everyone in the group rolled with it and adapted,” Llanos said. “Even when we were offered a home cooked meal of bull testicle soup, everyone tried it. Its actually pretty good!”

Megan Heintz works with the Dominican Republic team to build a classroom wall out of plastic bottles. Submitted Photo.

The Dominican Republic team experienced its own share of barriers. “All of these projects had to be built in an urban context,” Grafman said. Grafman described the roads in Santo Domingo as very narrow and difficult for two people to walk through, let alone carry tools through. “Weather and brown outs also affected our production time,” Grafman added. “No power, tropical storms, not having the right equipment and yet all the students thrived.”

Gregory Pfotenhauer, Environmental Resources Engineering major, attended the HSU Dominicana Program and said, “There was a lot of trial and error involved with the building process. We had to design for an environment that most of us weren’t used to. It was a constant necessity to re-design as things became unfeasible, or materials became unobtainable,” he said.

Pfotenhauer also faced a similar barrier the Nicaraguan team faced: language. He learned that Spanish could be expressed in different forms, dependent upon country. “The greatest cultural barriers I experienced were linguistic. Even for fluent Spanish speakers, Dominican Spanish can be a challenge,” he said. “Learning by immersion greatly boosted my confidence as a Spanish-speaker.”

Despite the challenges in Nicaragua, Sterling Wallstrum, senior Environmental Resources Engineering major and EWB president, enjoyed the whole experience. “Its definitely beneficial experience because its practical work experience and definitely motivating,” he said.

After collecting enough data and speaking to local officials, the Nicaragua team flew back to Humboldt to review their findings and begin designing a pump. As long as there is enough funding to purchase a new pump and a well gets drilled for the hospital, the team plans to head back to Nicaragua next August and help build and install the pump.

Students interested in working with Grafman’s class or Llanos’s club are encouraged to contact each via email: Lonny Grafman: and Tony Llanos:

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Change Of Command At UPD

Lynne Soderburg to take the reigns from Tom Dewey on Thursday


Staff Report
Humboldt Sentinel 


There’s a new Chief on campus this week.

This Thursday, Humboldt State University president Rollin Richmond will swear in lieutenant Lynne Soderberg as the chief of the University Police Department. She’s been the second-in-command of the department since March 2007, and succeeds seven-year incumbent Tom Dewey.

Soderberg, an HSU graduate, is most notable in local law enforcement circles for her leadership role in the Humboldt County Crisis Intervention Team, formed to train and intervene in situations involving persons with mental illness with a non-violent approach. The CIT was awarded with the Patriot Award by the Redwood Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in 2009 due to their successful prevention of further police slayings of mentally ill people following the death of Cheryl Moore at the hands of the Eureka Police Department; Soderberg accepted the award on behalf of CIT at the Redwood ACLU annual meeting in early 2010.

Born in Edmonton, Canada before moving to Arcata at the age of 12, Soderberg served in the ranks of EPD for 23 years, where she was named rookie of the year. After filling various postings as a field training officer, corporal, detective sergeant and field training program leader, she joined UPD and pursued additional education at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Vir. in 2008. Soderburg also received commendations from the Humboldt County Mental Health Board, the Humboldt County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Program in her time at EPD and UPD.

Her predecessor, Dewey, is also an HSU alumnus and also served in other local law enforcement agencies, notably the Arcata Police Department. He also lead the local Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association and provided critical support to the police review system adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2009.

In addition to his role leading on-campus security services, Dewey also headed up the Parking, Commuter Services and Alternative Transportation unit of HSU, where he implemented the Jack Pass system to provide universal bus passes to students and installed over 600 new bike racks on campus.

Soderberg’s swearing-in will take place on Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. in Goodwin Forum, located in Nelson Hall East next to the University Quad. Campus leaders as well as policemen and firemen from Arcata are expected to attend the ceremony, along with members of the public.

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HSU Takes Lead In Statewide Tsunami-Probability Research

Lori Dengler and Humboldt State students uncover ancient local history


By Paul Mann


Imagine a towering ocean wave 60 feet high, racing with a tsunami’s obliterative force against the mouth of Redwood Creek in northern California.


Salt water explodes in a gigantic onrush against the coast, pulverizing the community of Orick and the Redwood Park Information Center as it engulfs everything inland with devastating speed, over expanses no one foresaw.


The Japanese don’t have to imagine this. It happened to them on March 11th. Their vaunted seawalls afforded as much protection as tissue paper.


Such devastation had ripped through Japan before, albeit hundreds of years ago, in 869 A.D. Paleoseismologists were aware of it, but civic planners didn’t build to it.


The Orick scenario is not imaginary, either. Oral history accounts of the Yurok people suggest that water heights of nearly 60 feet deluged that section of the Redwood Coast in the distant past. It is one of a number of places along the Pacific Northwest littoral where tribes have similar communal memories.


Might there be some way to predict Great Tsunamis, however inexactly, which destroy lives by the thousands in near-countless numbers in a gigantic spasm? Could scientists develop a method for establishing the prehistorical recurrence of tsunamis across centuries of time along the California coast?


Readying for future tsunami onslaughts requires a thorough understanding of what has happened long ago. Humboldt State University is taking the lead in the 23-campus California State University system to gather the data necessary to understand the state’s tsunami risks better.  HSU faculty scientists and students are pioneering research in an academic discipline scarcely known a generation ago: paleotsunami science.


The basic research consists of dating tsunami deposits—micro-fossils and marine sediments—that faculty and students extract when drilling for cores in diverse coastal areas. The slender cores, sample deposits, are analyzed and dated, and then correlated with similar sediments found elsewhere.


Lori Dengler & HSU students take samples

HSU Geology Professor Lori Dengler and students Kelly Givins and Matt Eiben take core samples at the Mad River Slough just outside Arcata, CA. Cores reveal evidence of centuries of earthquake and tsunami activity.

“What ultimately we’re trying to do is come up with a probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment,” says HSU Geology Professor Lori Dengler, a world expert in earthquake and tsunami mitigation and principal investigator for the project. “‘Probabilistic’ means calculating the likelihood of the maximum kind of event we might expect, how probable it might be, and how frequent it might be. Evaluating tsunami deposits on shore tells us how far the water reached in the past. That’s vital in preparedness and evacuation planning.”


Under a $40,000 contract between Humboldt State and the California Geological Survey, findings derived from collected cores will be archived in a unique database. It will enable scientists to track the occurrence—and recurrence—of California tsunamis, reaching back to prehistorical eras for which there are no written records or chronicled observations.


The prehistorical record is of crucial importance for tectonically-active northern California. The largest fault system in the contiguous 48 states dives beneath the Pacific Northwest coast. Running from northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to northern California, this fault system or “megathrust” is only about eight miles beneath Eureka and the Humboldt Bay Region.


The fracture is named the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Scientists say the fault generates a monster earthquake in periods stretching from several hundred to about a thousand years, with an average of about every 500 years. As for the next one, there is believed to be a 30 percent chance it could happen within the next 50 years—or during tonight’s ballgame. The potential exists for a rupture to occur at any time.


Megathrust earthquakes cause the sea floor to be pushed up, generating not only strong ground shaking, but also very large tsunamis. They can be large enough to inflict damage on coastal regions many thousands of miles away.


The March 11 tsunami triggered from Japan was only the latest event to cause damage to California. What is more, numerical modeling shows a number of source areas that pose a threat: great earthquakes originating in the Eastern Aleutian Subduction Zone, the tectonic plate boundary that stretches along Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain. They have the potential to impact coastal communities with run-ups on the order of 20 feet or more in some locations.


The mammoth challenge in preparing for tsunamis originating from the Cascadia and Aleutian zones lies in the nearly non-existent historical records of large tsunamis along the U.S. West Coast. It was this dearth of evidence that led to the California Geological Survey (CGS)’s decision to develop a paleotsunami database, and support work to identify prehistoric tsunami deposits along the California coast from Crescent City to the Mexico border.


Humboldt State University is in the forefront because it has been pulling together the basic research, field work and knowledge for nearly two decades. Its Department of Geology boasts a corps of tsunami experts. “There aren’t many institutions—none of our size—that have the level of expertise and capabilities we have,” Dengler comments.


Dengler and Rick Wilson, CGS engineering geologist, say the Japan disaster is strong evidence that scientists should think anew about Cascadia. It heightened the importance of gathering paleotsunami data for the entire California coast. Information about the March event is still preliminary, but, in Wilson’s words, Japan’s cataclysm raises the question: “Should we expect larger slips offshore of California than have been predicted in the past?”

Wilson was referring to the fact that the scope and scale of the large vertical slip that triggered the March upheaval were a surprise to Japanese scientists, who had underestimated the slip’s potential extent.


“That’s one of the main reasons for this paleotsunami project,” explains Dengler. “Underestimation leads to huge losses of life. Paleotsunami data take you back at least a few thousand years further, and they are even more vital here than in Japan because our historical record for Cascadia is so short. It’s like trying to describe an entire elephant by touching the end of its trunk.”


This past summer, HSU micropaleontologist Eileen Hemphill-Haley and geology graduate student Nick Graehl collected core samples in such locales as Half Moon Bay, Point Reyes, and Bodega Bay. This was phase one of the field program to gather geological evidence for past tsunami inundations on the coast, in an area that would have been strongly impacted by trans-Pacific tsunamis emanating from the Aleutian Subduction Zone. Paleotsunami deposits had not been documented previously in that area.


The Humboldt State team worked jointly with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey as well as the California Geological Survey. They will proceed with coring numerous additional localities along the central and southern California coast in coming months. Initial field results are scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco in December.


As for the redwoods region, grad student Graehl says, “Here on the northern California coast, we live at a triple junction where three tectonic plates are colliding with one another. Our tectonic setting makes this area an epic place to study geology. It was living here that got me interested in earthquakes and tsunamis. For me this is a dream job: I know the work I’m doing will ultimately save lives and property and I feel good knowing that. It feels good to get down and dirty coring for earthquakes and tsunamis, too! Also, I’ve been able to work in some remote and beautiful locations that people rarely get to see.”


Wilson underscores that tsunami deposits will help scientists plot out how often Great Tsunamis have occurred along the California littoral.  “We need to consider how often really large events occur along Cascadia,” he says. “Understanding recurrence times has major implications for emergency scenarios and evacuation planning.”


Although the new paleotsunami database is expected to be an invaluable tool, earthquake and tsunami prediction is likely to remain a devilish task despite the gains in understanding achieved in recent decades about Cascadia.

“When I first came to Humboldt State in 1979,” recalls Dengler, “the debate centered on ‘Does this Cascadia Subduction Zone even have earthquakes?’ Some people said, ‘Oh, no, it’s such a young and warm tectonic plate, it’s just sliding, not slipping. There’s no friction at all.’ Well, we were able to rule that out really quickly. That’s progress. ”


Yet, a new book by veteran Canadian journalist Jerry Thompson, “Cascadia’s Fault: the Coming Earthquake and Tsunami that could Devastate North America,” analyzes the obstacles to prediction, suggesting that earthquakes, like car wrecks, are rooted in too many variables to predict reliably. For example, speeding is known to be a factor in car accidents, but only a fraction of speeding violations results in crashes.


Even as a conjunction of factors starts to form, setting the stage for an accident, its extent and severity hinge on a host of other, contingent factors —weather, road, light and traffic conditions, driver reaction times, the number of cars involved, and vehicle safety features, to name but a few.


In the book, Dengler tells Thompson she started her career as a prediction optimist, but today she is only absolutely certain that “the next Cascadia earthquake is one day closer today than it was yesterday.”


On the other hand, Dengler has led detailed, post-tsunami reconnaissance missions to such places as Indonesia and Chile. She is convinced that, however imprecise predicting the probability of earthquakes and tsunamis remains, community awareness can enable everyone to survive if residents are taught to heed the natural warning signs.


Historical awareness saved all of the residents of Langi village on Simeulue Island off the west coast of Sumatra at Christmas 2004, when the tsunami produced by a magnitude 9.3 earthquake wiped out the entire village, leaving no structures standing. Yet no one died in Langi because of the island’s lengthy oral tradition about great waves following earthquakes. Even though Langi residents had only eight minutes to flee the surges, every man, woman, and child escaped. Even the elderly and disabled survived as family members and neighbors put them into garden carts to push them up a hill.


In Phuket, Thailand, Dengler discovered during a post-event reconnaissance that an alert schoolgirl who had learned about tsunamis two weeks before in the classroom warned her parents when she noticed frothing bubbles on the sea’s surface as the tide receded suddenly. Everyone cleared the beach and holed up in the upper floors of a hotel. Everyone survived.

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New Online Program Preps Students for Higher Ed Teaching

Humboldt State Extended Ed to offer new Certificate in Faculty Preparation


By Paul Mann

The Office of Extended Education has launched an online certificate in faculty preparation for graduate students, faculty members and working professionals interested in teaching in higher education.

Offered for the first time this fall, the Certificate in Faculty Preparation: Teaching in Higher Education will focus on the unique challenges facing today’s higher education instructors: teaching students with different learning styles, teaching to English-as-a-Second-Language learners, designing large lecture classes and using technology in the classroom.

“Our hope is to make this program accessible to anyone, anywhere, interested in teaching,” said HSU’s Associate Dean of Professional Studies Chris Hopper. “It could be a graduate student in education interested in pursuing a doctorate who wants teaching experience, a community college faculty member who wants to improve their skills or a professional horticulturist with no teaching experience who wants to teach at a local community college,” Hopper said.

Education and experience requirements for teaching at California community colleges vary by discipline. While some fields—such as English, Business or Computer Science—require a Master’s degree, others such as Carpentry, Electronics and Interior Design, require a Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience or an Associate’s degree and six years of experience. Education and experience requirements for teaching at public and private colleges and universities vary by school.

The certificate will consist of four online courses, taken consecutively over three semesters, culminating in a capstone “Apprentice Teaching” experience consisting of 90-hours of faculty mentored instruction at a community college or university.

To earn the certificate, students must earn 12-units in the following classes: Foundations of Teaching in Higher Education (three units); Student Centered Design (three units); Instructional Planning & Pedagogical Reflections (three units); Apprentice Teaching (two units) and Reflective Practice Seminar (one unit).

The inaugural course, Foundations of Teaching in Higher Education, will be taught by Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration and former Associate Dean in the College of Professional Studies Kathy Munoz and will explore educational philosophy and theory, faculty roles and responsibilities, teaching styles, educational models and the use of technology in the classroom.

The school’s original faculty preparation certificate started in the 1990s and was a classroom-based program for HSU graduate students that included an internship at College of the Redwoods. The program awarded hundreds of certificates before its elimination in 2009 due to budget cuts.

The new online certificate represents significant cost savings and broadens the program’s reach to include national and international participants, Hopper said.

“We’ve already had interest from universities in Vietnam interested in learning the American style of teaching,” he said.

Online instruction has become more popular in recent years as colleges and universities look to cut costs and make higher education more accessible. Among the California State universities, Sacramento State and Cal State Dominguez Hills also offer online faculty preparation programs, according to their websites.

In addition to its faculty preparation certificate, Humboldt offers online certificates in Exercise Nutrition and Ecotourism Planning & Management through the Office of Extended Education. The university also conducts several courses either partly or fully online.

“The old ‘sage on the stage’ model of teaching, with professors standing up in front of the class and deciding what information the students need to know has become outdated,” Hopper said. “Today, teachers must determine what the students need to learn to be successful. This certificate reflects the new pedagogy.”

The online program begins Oct. 17. For more information, visit, call the Office of Extended Education at (707) 826.3731 or email

The Office of Extended Education offers numerous certificate, distance learning and continuing education programs. For more information, visit

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New Humboldt State Building Dedicated To Alternative Energy

Top Officials Preside Sept. 2 at HSU Schatz Center Dedication


By Paul Mann


Humboldt State University President Rollin Richmond, Representative Mike Thompson, and Schatz Director Peter Lehman will preside at the building dedication and open house of Humboldt State University’s new Schatz Energy Research Center on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. The new structure sits just west of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building and the dedication is open to the general public as well as the campus community.

The state-of-the-art 6,000 square foot-plus center houses an exterior laboratory, two indoor labs, a machine shop, a conference and library room, and offices for staff and graduate students.

Adhering to the sustainability principles of both Schatz and Humboldt State, the new building meets LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold equivalent standards.

“This is a watershed event for the lab,” Lehman said. “Our new facility gives us the wherewithal to develop the clean energy technology our world so desperately needs, and now we’ll be able to get even more students involved in the work.”

Funding for the $3.2 million project came from the estate of the late Dr. Louis W. Schatz, long-time benefactor of the Center, founded in 1989 when he was president of General Plastics Manufacturing Company in Tacoma, Washington.

At the founding, Schatz wrote, “I look forward to a successful research effort and hope that eventually it will solve many of the world’s energy and pollution problems.”

The Center’s mission is to promote the use of clean and renewable energy, geared to energy efficiency and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The Center’s work spans research and development, technology demonstration, project development, energy systems analysis, and education and training.

Notable Schatz Center successes during its 22-year history include the first fuel cell car licensed to drive in the U.S. and the nation’s first solar-powered hydrogen fueling station. Its fuel cell patents have been licensed to four U.S. corporations seeking to commercialize the technology. Recently, the Center designed and built a modern hydrogen fueling station on the HSU campus and it is testing a state-of-the-art Toyota fuel cell vehicle.

Most recently an HSU/Schatz team travelled to Bhutan in south Asia and wrapped up the first installation of Smart Grid devices named GridShares, with the specific purpose of enabling rural customers of hydroelectric power to manage their individual power use and curb brownouts.

Humboldt State students and faculty advisors installed 90 low-cost GridShare systems of their own design in the village of Rukubji. They collaborated with local residents on-site, teamed with the Bhutan Power Corporation, Bhutan’s Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Long-established internationally with links to Asia, Africa, Central America, Europe, Canada and Mexico, the Schatz Center also recently made its first technology transfer to the Middle East, completing an agreement to provide a test station and accompanying fuel cell to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The initiative is aimed at jump-starting Masdar’s fuel cell research. It is a key part of Masdar’s charter as an international graduate-level research and education institution in the Persian Gulf, directed at spurring renewable energy knowledge, development, and practical applications.

As Schatz staff and students settle into their new building, researchers have a new piece of equipment as well. A torrefier is on loan from Renewable Fuel Technologies (RFT), a San Mateo start-up business. Through torrefaction, biomass, such as logging slash, is heated without oxygen to temperatures of 250-300 degrees Celsius. The result is a cleaner-burning, energy-dense renewable energy source that RFT calls “BioCoal.” The Schatz Center is performing research to assist RFT in designing a commercially-viable torrefier that is self-sustaining.

Schatz is affiliated with Humboldt State’s Environmental Resources Engineering program, enabling both undergraduate and graduate students to acquire rare hands-on experience with cutting-edge, 21st century energy technologies.

Posted in Energy, Humboldt State1 Comment

Campus Forms Groundbreaking Bias Response Team

“Survivor-centered” council to involve victim in developing responses

By Paul Mann

Humboldt State University is the first campus in the 23-campus California State University system to form a permanent Bias Response Team, effective with the start of the fall semester Aug 22.

Headquartered in Humboldt State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Siemens Hall 209, the new Bias Response Team (BRT) provides three easy ways to report hate and bias incidents: online at voice messaging at 707/840-HSU1 (4781); and paper forms that can be filled out at multiple locations, including the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the University Police Department, the Office of Student Affairs, Counseling and Psychological Services at the Student Health Center, Academic Personnel Services, and the MultiCultural Center in House 55, among others.

The BRT is a campus-wide, institutionalized process designed to address bias and hate incidents in a coordinated and comprehensive manner instead of a case-by-case approach. Humboldt State’s development of the process stems from the University’s commitment to maintaining a safe and inclusive campus for all of its members alike, students, staff, faculty, and administrators.

The team is led by a faculty appointee, partnering with HSU administrators, staff, and other faculty from a wide variety of departments. The multi-pronged unit will respond to and document incidents. It will also educate the campus community on a systematic basis about hate and bias incidents. Educational programming will span both immediate and long-term bias issues. Public forums will address specific topics and incidents.

A Bias Response Team Council with campus-wide representation will carry out the development and revision of pertinent policy and pursue reforms as needed.

Bias Response Coordinator and HSU Sociology Professor Jennifer Eichstedt emphasizes that the first-of-its-kind unit in the CSU is “survivor-centered.” The team will support the right of survivors or targets of bias and hate incidents to participate in shaping the responses to these incidents, as far as circumstances allow.

“We recognize that sometimes, because there are different targets in a bias incident, there are different needs that may be expressed, and we will work to meet those multiple needs to the best of our abilities,” Eichstedt said.

As coordinator, Eichstedt oversees the team’s day-to-day operations and takes first responsibility for organizing a response to an incident. A pool of some 25 HSU community members from across campus is trained to assist those who have been targeted. The overarching objective is to ensure the safety of all involved, and to support HSU’s efforts to build an inclusive community.

Bias is any form of physical, verbal or written act of abuse, including vulgarity, violence, harassment and intimidation, that is personally destructive of others and aimed at a target chosen for his or her actual or perceived membership in an identifiable group. Usually hate crimes and bias attacks are experienced by individuals, but may also be directed as intimidating messages to entire groups to which the individual belongs.

Many incidents of bias appear “micro” in nature—that is, an individual expressing bias who is unaware of the impact of his or her behavior. It can still cause great distress in those to whom they are aimed.

In contrast, a hate crime is legally actionable, for example in connection with property damage or personal assault.

Full details about Humboldt State’s Bias Response Team are posted at

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Zero Waste Forum Today In Arcata

HSU alumni Help Anchor Waste Management Forum

By Paul Mann

Five Humboldt State University alumni will join other experts in the waste management field and luncheon presenters Assemblyman Wes Chesbro and Maggie Gainer of Gainer & Associates at a Zero Waste Innovation Forum at noon on Friday, Aug. 19, at Arcata’s D Street Neighborhood Center at 13th & D Streets.

Participating Humboldt State alums include Juliette Bohn (’10), Humboldt Waste Management Authority Program Analyst; Ed Boisson (’91) of RW Beck, a SAIC company; Mark Bowers (’80), Sunnyvale Solid Waste Program Manager; Allison Poklemba (’02), Education Manager at the Arcata Community Recycling Center and Coordinator of the North Coast California Regional Environmental Education Community; and Tedd Ward (’93), Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority Analyst/Planner.

They will team with keynoters Chesbro, Gainer and Maureen Hart, North Coast Recycling Market Development coordinator, in an afternoon-long discussion of how Humboldt County can benefit from recent innovations in integrated waste management.

The purpose of the forum, sponsored by the City of Arcata, the Humboldt Waste Management Authority and the North Coast Recycling Market Development Zone, is to generate collaborative planning ideas that will help guide the Authority in preparing a state-mandated integrated waste management plan.

Ideas include methods to help more area businesses develop end-use markets for locally-collected materials. Hart will share examples of several local businesses that have already integrated recycled feedstock into making their products.

Forum discussions will air legislative initiatives, business needs, local market development for recyclables, integrated waste management planning, creative reuse systems, new approaches to handling food waste, public recycling behavior, and domestic and international buyers.

“It is critical that Humboldt County’s integrated waste management plan, which is required by the state, is practical and useful,” said Gainer. “This forum will give us ideas for how to develop an authentic and collaborative planning process to guide the Humboldt Waste Management Authority.”

In recent years, other communities have laid considerable groundwork for strategic waste reduction that meets multiple demands—not only resource conservation, but also economic development, state-mandated landfill requirements and the impacts of climate change.

“For many citizens, recycling ends at the curb, but in fact that is only the beginning,” Gainer explained. “It is a worldwide imperative for resource and energy conservation, and it is also an initial step of the manufacturing process. That is where the term ‘recycling’ came from.”

The public is invited to the Aug. 19 forum, but seating is limited. Lunch is $15.00, payable at the door.

Posted in Environment, Humboldt State2 Comments

Renewable Energy Student Union Installs Smart Grid

Humboldt State Team Scores World Energy First in Bhutan

By Paul Mann

A Humboldt State University team in Bhutan has completed the first installation of Smart Grid devices called GridShares with the specific purpose of enabling rural electricity users to stabilize their own electricity grids and curb damaging brownouts.

Humboldt State students and faculty advisors have put the low-cost, prototype system of their own design into operation in the village of Rukubji. They collaborated with local residents on-site, teamed with the Bhutan Power Corporation, Bhutan’s Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Bhutan is a developing country in the Himalayas situated above India and below Tibet. A Smart Grid delivers electricity via digital technology, which monitors usage and enables users to adjust their consumption, conserve energy, cut their utility costs and help ensure dependable current.

Chhimi Dorji (far right), an HSU alumnus, Department of Energy engineer and GridShare team member, talks to Rukubji residents at a village gathering.

Members of Humboldt State’s Renewable Energy Student Union won a $75,000 technology design award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Bhutan project. It demonstrates the potential of smart grid technology at the village level. HSU students and faculty say it holds the promise of improving renewable energy mini-grids in thousands of communities worldwide.

“GridShare devices are useful wherever brownouts are an issue with mini-grids,” says graduate student Meg Harper, who is pursuing a second undergraduate degree in Environmental Resources Engineering as well as a master’s in Energy, Technology, and Policy. “The GridShare makes electrical power more reliable. It lets residents know when power is and isn’t available and when you can use large appliances and when you can’t. Now, Rukubji residents can avoid damaging their appliances.”

Faculty Advisor Arne Jacobson, co-director of HSU’s Schatz Energy Research Center and Professor of Environmental Resources Engineering, says, “The students and our partners in Bhutan have done a great job of developing a creative solution to a challenging problem. One key aspect of the solution is a multi-disciplinary approach that combines technical innovation with education and the social dimensions of energy use.” GridShare encourages electrical load shifting with a three-pronged concept: education, indication, and enforcement.

The education prong pinpointed why Rukubji was experiencing brownouts and assisted the village in addressing the challenge. The Humboldt State team created a series of bilingual posters and pamphlets to help Rukubji residents learn how to work with GridShares and better manage their limited electric power.

The team led a student education program in Rukubji’s fourth, fifth and sixth grades about brownouts and load shifting. It also did community outreach, briefing residents from more than 80 households and businesses about the installations, explaining the GridShare program and responding to questions and concerns.

“As we were installing the GridShares, people in Rukubji gained a broader understanding of how electricity works,” said HSU Environmental Resources Engineering alum Kyle Palmer (’07). “As we explained the system, they came to realize that brownouts are not caused by the weather. They recognized that electricity is a finite resource. It made people aware that they can’t all use a lot of electricity all at the same time.”

Both Palmer and fellow alum Tom Quetchenbach (’11, Environmental Resources Engineering master’s degree with the GridShare project) spoke highly of Rukubji residents’ willingness to cooperate and the unstinting hospitality they extend to visitors. In Palmer’s words, “There is a real spirit of social sacrifice, to pitch in and share the grid.”

As for hospitality, Quetchenbach said he was impressed by it throughout the team’s stay. “Whenever you went into a house, you were served a cup of tea. Sometimes we had more than 10 cups during the course of a day!”

GridShare’s “indication” prong literally signals the state of the grid to the consumer. A display in each resident’s kitchen activates a green LED light when enough electricity is available for high-power appliances; a red one signals that residents must limit the use of high-power appliances such as rice cookers, though they can continue to use low-power devices such as lights, radios, televisions and mobile phone chargers.In its “enforcement function,” GridShare blocks the use of large appliances during brownouts. Rukubji residents are thereby encouraged to shift their use of high-power appliances such as water boilers to periods of low demand. That helps stem disruptive brownouts during peak hours of usage.

The Humboldt State team traveled to Bhutan in June to install GridShares in each home in Rukubji. Students will continue to monitor the devices for at least six months. They will evaluate GridShares’ capacity to stabilize the electric system and also assess residents’ satisfaction with the devices.

This summer’s phase of the pilot project is one part of a multi-year effort, not only with the village of Rukubji, but also the surrounding communities of Bumiloo, Sangdo, and Tsenpokto.Chhejay Wangdi, manager of the Bhutan Power Corporation’s Electricity Service Division, says Gridshares are particularly beneficial because “rather than managing grids with rolling blackouts, all houses can now keep their lights on, even in periods of high demand. This makes our customers happy indeed.”

Posted in Energy, Humboldt State0 Comments

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    In These Times - In early February, Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker drafted a draconian state budget that proposed to decrease the state’s contribution to the University of Wisconsin system by over $300 million over the next two years. Beyond simply slashing spending, Walker was also attempting to alter the language that has guided […]
  • Cities ranked by LGBT resident percentage
    Vox […]
  • Liberation theology gets some respect
    NY Times […]
  • The killer in my classroom
    Steven Singer, Gadfly on the Wall - A parade of faces. No names. Words are all lost in the haze of time. But the faces remain. Kids I’ve taught and wondered about. What ever happened to Jason? Did Rayvin ever get into dance school? I wonder if the army took Tyler… But there’s one face that always comes last. A strong straight lip. Soft nose. Brooding eyes. T […]
  • Links; War & peace
    NEWS Peace War Department Torture Veterans   ESSAYS War on terror: Misnamed, misfought, misthought Behind the Paris killings Backing off of hate The good thing about war Essays on war Mission creep: the militarizing of America Spooks & spies All war all the time The biggest threast to us: ourselves Why is the military sacred? A speech CSPAN didn't l […]
  • Word
    Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they cha […]
  • Rand Paul compared national healthcare to slavery
    Rand Paul, 2011 - With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who […]
  • Dublin today
     Karl […]
  • Word
    Des Wilson - The Church of England has decided that bishops can have civil partnerships provided they do not actually have sex together. I propose: l) people can go to restaurants - but only if they do not eat 2) people can get in to swimming pools provided they don't get wet 3) people can go to church provided they don't listen to a word they […]
  • Another banker found dead
    There have been scores of bankers who have committed suicide or found dead under uncertain circumstances in the last few years. Here's the latest:Bloomberg -  Murray Abbott, an institutional sales trader at Morgan Stanley in Toronto who had been missing since April 25, was found Monday by the shore of Lake Ontario near the city’s Beaches neighborhood wh […]
  • Ireland approves same sex marriage
    CNN - Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote on Saturday... With votes tallied from nearly all of Ireland's 43 parliamentary constituencies, the measure will sail through with more than 60% of voters approving, according to official results...More than 1.8 million Irish voters participated in t […]
  • How TPP could affect freedom of speech
    Hundreds of tech companies and digital rights groups havesigned a letter to Congress that outlines some of the freedom of speech issues in TPP. Excerpt: • Threats to Fair Use: The TPP contains language that could prevent countries from expanding exceptions and limitations to copyright. The Fast Track Bill also contains nothing to promote balance in copyright […]