Aug. 25, 1997 Vol. II, No. 1

Northridge In The News

For those of you who missed it, Lewis Yablonsky (Sociology) was quoted in a Los Angeles Times Column One story on April 25 on effective drug treatment programs in prison. "Many convicts are amenable to changing their behavior," he said.


Eugene Turner and James Allen (both Geography) and their new study "The Ethnic Quilt: Population Diversity in Southern California" were the topic of "The Issue This Week" segment on KCOP Channel 13's news show on May 17. Turner was asked if the study meant that the definition of who was an "Angeleno" was changing. He said yes. "We've noticed that the white population is in general leaving the area, while we have an influx of Hispanics and Asians," Turner said. Allen also made an appearance on KCET's "Life and Times" on May 23, adding that he and Turner "wanted to describe Southern California in the richness of its diversity. We wanted to look at social class dimensions. We wanted to look at occupational specializations. We wanted to look at intermarriage. When we try to answer the question why these patterns occur as they didÉwe felt we could we could do a pretty good job at explaining."

Later, the pair's study was the focus of a May 26 Daily News article that took at look at some of their findings, including the widening wage gap between minorities and whites in the region, contrary to a national trend. The income gap clearly seems to be "one source of resentment on the part of low-income minorities, who probably expected that improved civil rights and the passage of time would bring them closer to whites in income levels," the article said in quoting the study.

Carol Docan (Business Law) was quoted in two articles that appeared in the Business section of the Anchorage Daily News on May 18 about the responsibility of employers for workers who harass each other to the point of injury and lawsuits. "The employer really has a duty to prevent workers from abusing and harassing each other," she said. She pointed out, though, that a worker who is abused or harassed has the obligation to report it.

Kenyon Chan (Asian American Studies) showed up on CNN the morning of May 19 to talk about a recent American Council on Education study in which Chan took part on performance of minorities in higher education. Referring to the stereotype of Asians as super students, Chan said "It separates Asian Americans out as somehow odd and separates them from the issues that face other minorities. It's no less problematic than a negative perception of Asian Americans that was here 20 years ago."

Chan also appeared on KPCC radio's "Talk of the Town" show May 23 to talk about the results of the study. He was quoted in newspapers across the country, including the Los Angeles Times and the Honolulu Advertiser on May 19. Chan also was quoted in a Chronicle of Higher Education story on May 23, saying, "It would be wrong to assume that Asian Pacific American students are somehow linked genetically to science and math and can't do anything else."

Peter Marston (Speech Communication) was quoted in a May 20 article in the Daily News about MTV's new "Loveline" show. "The good thing about 'Loveline' is that it gets information out to the public about things that schools and parents may be reticent to discuss," Marston said.

The face of Jorge Garcia (Humanities) graced an ad in the May 21 Los Angeles Times that pays tribute to the newspaper's 1997 Community Partnership Awards Honorees. Garcia, who helped judge the competition, also was mentioned in a story about the recipients that same day.

Peter Marston (Speech Communication) also weighed in on the debate over the new Bugs Bunny stamp in a front page article in the Los Angeles Times on May 22. Marston said Bugs deserved the recognition because he represents an American Ethos. "He represents the ability to overcome problems by outsmarting the enemy, by being ingenuous (and creative)," he said.

Adrian Herzog (Physics and Astronomy) was quoted in a May 22 Los Angeles Times article on a new agreement between the university and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We can do things they can't do, and they can do things that we can't do," she said. "We can offer assistance to JPL in the form of researchers and college credit to participating students, while JPL can offer the scientific expertise and information available to them as a national laboratory of NASA." The agreement also was featured in a Daily News article on May 22.

Alum Rosa Martinez was profiled on KABC Channel 7's "Making a Difference Segment" on May 22. Martinez, now executive director of El Projecto Pastoral in East Los Angeles, works with barrio residents providing them with a variety of social services. "The people who live here, who struggleÉthere's a hope. There's a life here," she said.

Rabbi Jerrold Goldstein's (Hillel) retirement was featured in a article in the Los Angeles Times on May 24. "He's a patient, warm and understanding person who's taught hundreds of students over the years," said Rabbi Michael Katz, Hillel's interim director.

Students Jack Hannum and Carlene O'Neil and William Jennings (Finance) were quoted in a Los Angeles Times article May 24 on the great job Jennings' students have done with The University Corp.'s investment portfolio. In four years, it has gone from $500,000 to $850,000 under the guidance of students in an upper-level finance class. "This is real money," Jennings said. "The students have a fiduciary responsibility. They're not held to a different standard because they are students."

The Los Angeles Times May 24 did a eye-catching photo spread of commencement preparations, including a bird's-eye view of the set-up in front of the Oviatt Library.

Tearful accounting student Ana Rosa Gonzalez graced the front page of the Daily News on May 25 for a story on Latino graduation. Gonzalez was one of more than 100 students, many of them in native costumes, who took part in the ceremony. The story featured Maria Else Lepe, who is who is 42. She took seven years to get her degrees while maintaining a marriage and raising three children. "I feel that now I can be a true role model for my kids," Lepe said.

Alum Darryl James, owner and publisher of Rap Sheet magazine, was featured in Stacy Brown's Community News column in the Daily News on May 25. "Hip-hop music and its culture demand a viable journalistic instrument to reflect its development and achievements," said James, who also hosts a radio show and has recently written a book.

President Blenda J. Wilson was quoted in a Daily News brief on May 25 on the National Science Foundation ranking CSUN first among 529 master's universities for turning out graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees in science and engineering. "The report by the National Science Foundation confirms what we know on campus," Wilson said. "Cal State Northridge has superior undergraduate programs in science, computer science and engineering." The Los Angeles Times' Valley Focus page did a brief story on the ranking on May 28.

Shirley Svorny (Economics) wrote an opinion piece for the Daily News on May 25 on the Los Angeles City Council's decision to allocate money toward race relations. "This type of spending falls into the 'feel good, do nothing' category and will fail to improve life for those dissatisfied with conditions in Los Angeles," she wrote. "Even more troubling, the appearance of action will forestall the day when we really take steps to improve the lot of those who choose civil unrest."

Dianne Appel (Engineering and Computer Science) was featured in a Los Angeles Times front page article May 25 on the work colleges and universities put into finding commencement speakers each year. Appel recalled the anxious moments her college suffered in February when cloud cover over Florida threatened a timely landing of the space shuttle, which was piloted by Scott Horowitz, the college's speaker last spring. In the end, everything went off OK.

Randy Cohen (Biology) tried to reassure Southern Californians that they had nothing to worry about with the recent increase in the local spider population. Among the other insects making a more prominent appearance are crane flies. "They make a tasty meal for spiders," Cohen said. "Spiders are natural predators and they usually increase in number when there are a lot of insect prey for them to eat."

Mother/daughter students Jo-ana and Monique D'Balcazar were featured in the front page Valley Newswatch column in the Los Angeles Times on May 27. Both were graduating with bachelor's degrees in speech communication.

A computer program called WiggleWorks, run by the university's literacy center, was featured in a Valley Focus story in the Los Angeles Times on May 27. Phil Kligman, director of the center, said the program has improved the reading skills of children using it.

Capped and gowned students graced the front page of the Los Angeles Times' Metro section on May 28 as the paper announced the start of commencement week at CSUN. A story inside the section quoted President Blenda J. Wilson telling the students that "the most important part of your educationÉwill be the values you have learned here."

The Daily News on May 28 ran a lengthy feature on some of the university's outstanding graduates who overcame adversity to achieve their goals. The story looked at the lives of four graduates, Vinh Tung Pham (Environmental Chemistry), Hsifang Huang (Economics), and Jo-ana and Monique D'Balcazar (Speech Communication). "We know that with our education we will overcome financial barriers because the key to success is education," Jo-ana D'Balcazar said.

Alum Cheech (Richard) Marin was featured as one of the Valley 200 by the Los Angeles Times on May 28 in its column commemorating the San Fernando Valley's bicentennial. While in college, the article said, Marin shared a home near campus with three other students and was known more for his academic prowess, his stance on the peace movement and his music than for acting or comedy.

Alum Thomas Kaufman, now a biology professor at Indiana University, was quoted in a May 29 article in the Daily News on the math and science graduation ceremony. "I missed my own. I was always too busy," said Kaufman of his own commencement ceremony at Northridge in 1967. Also quoted in the story were President Blenda J. Wilson and graduate Ray Khajeh, who said he was going to use Wilson's speech as a "motivating tool for me" in life.

Dee Shepherd-Look (Psychology) and Lewis Yablonsky (Sociology) were quoted in a Ventura County Star article on what may have caused a Simi Valley man to kill his wife, three children and then himself. "You have to be in an extremely desperate kind of situation, severely depressed to do something as serious as this," Shepherd-Look said. "He just probably assumed that life was no longer worth living," Yablonsky said.

Kenyon Chan and Teresa K. Williams (Asian American Studies) were quoted in an Asian Week article on May 23 about a conference the university held on Asian American sensuality and sexuality. "This is the first national conference that deals with the various aspects of Asian American sensuality and sexuality," Williams said. "Various types of Asian cultures have restrictions on sensuality and sexuality, and here in the U.S. we also have the added issue of race realities to deal with."


Columnist John L. Smith of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote a piece in early June about Lewis Yablonsky's (Sociology) new book, "Gangsters: 50 Years of Madness." "If you want to attack the gang phenomenon in America, Yablonsky says the real battle should be waged on an economic and social level-not merely at the curbline," Smith wrote. "Yablonsky is bound to find allies in the cops who work gangs. Each day they see the tragic results when the gang family replaces the traditional one. They know operating an arrest-and-incarceration mill is no answer."

Paul Klinedinst (Science and Mathematics) was quoted in Stacy Brown's Community News column in the Daily News on June 1. Brown wrote about the university being ranked first among 529 master's colleges and universities for producing graduates who go on to other schools for doctorates in science and engineering. "We are No. 1," Klinedinst said.

You never know where our students will turn up. Junior Daniel Khoshnood (Business Law) made the New York Times on June 3 and the Los Angeles Times on June 4 because of a legal dispute he was in with Microsoft Corp. (yes, the one owned by Bill Gates). Khoshnood named his small Web page design company "The Microsoft Network" and registered it. Needless to say, Microsoft Corp. was upset. "I guess I figured they would come after me," Khoshnood said.

Rodolfo Acuna (Chicano Studies) was quoted in a New Times cover story for the week of June 5 about undocumented students who graduate at the top of their classes from high school and are admitted to some of the country's leading colleges and universities- but then are unable to attend because they are not U.S. citizens. "It has taken away leadership from us and condemned undocumented students to a life of minimum-wage [jobs]," Acuna said.

Jack Solomon (English) wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times on June 8 on the wisdom of a college degree. "Rather than waiting for political solutions to economic inequity, we should work both to change attitudes and to make certain that the avenue to higher education is open to everyone who seeks it," he wrote. "Two kinds of attitudes need to be changed: those of students who think that college is a useless bore, and those of taxpayers who regard higher education as an expensive luxury. Turner's and Allen's report suggests that it is not luxury at all, for if enough boats don't rise, the whole ship can be in danger of sinking."

Alum Dirk Gates was featured in a Daily News article on June 9 on his gift of $1 million to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. "When I went to school there, I feel I got a particularly good education," he said. "It contributed to my success and career...In the back of my mind I wanted to repay them. Now I'm at a point of my career where I can do that."

Michael Hammerschmidt (Development) and Dirk Gates were featured in a Scott Harris column in the Los Angeles Times on June 12. Harris talked about the university's appearance on "The Tonight Show" and about Gates' donation. Gates called his experience at Northridge "an amazing contrast" to those of his friends who went to UCLA.

Adele Scheele (Career Center) appeared on NBC's "The Today Show" on June 12 to talk about job interviewing techniques for people over 50 for the show's "Forever Young" segment. Scheele said older people have to prepare even more than younger people for a job interview because "they have to select from their experiences, and they have a lot more experiences." But she said that additional experience is a plus.

Melanie Havens (Business Law) wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times' Valley Perspective page on June 15 on a proposal to exempt the creative community from home-based business taxes. "If the 1st Amendment compelled the government to exempt writers from income tax, they'd have to exempt all writers, not only the professionals," she wrote. "Since we're all writers on some level, and since we are all protected by the 1st Amendment, then the government would be effectively barred from taxing any of us. Wait a minute, I'm starting to warm to the idea."

Professor emeritus Bob Horn (Political Science) was profiled in a moving piece on NBC's "The Today Show" on June 18 in a segment called "Leonard's Look." Correspondent Mike Leonard interviewed Horn, his family and friends about his life since he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, and about his new book, "How Will They Know When I'm Dead?" "In the end, we would all be better off if we focused on what we have, rather than on what we don't have," Horn told Leonard. "I'm convinced that what I have left is more valuable than what I have lost."

Steven B. Oppenheimer (Biology) wrote an opinion piece for the Daily News on June 16 on the new academic concept of "integrated science." "The intentions of the dedicated teachers who are working to implement integrated science in our schools are good. They feel that many non-college-bound and science-phobic youngsters may benefit from this approach if taught well," he wrote. "But to throw out the baby with the bath water, to replace traditional courses with integrated courses, in a rushed, sometimes poorly taught manner may have resulted in dooming the very program they so deeply believe in."

Images of professionally clad alumni graced page four of the Daily News on June 19 in a photograph of the university's "Alumni Job Fair." Hundreds of job seekers turned out to fill out applications and take part in impromptu interviews at the annual event.

Engineering students Erick Nerdrum and Arbi Karapetian were featured in a Los Angeles Times Valley Focus page article on June 19 on the car they designed for the 1997 FutureCar Challenge in Detroit. "In any class you have your doubting Thomases when it comes to technology," Nerdrum said of the CSUN car that suffered a last-minute glitch but still ran.

The start of the first two classes in the university's Entertainment Industry Institute was noted in the Los Angeles Times on June 21 with a short story on the Art Department's new animation program. "It's going to happen," said Joe Lewis (Art). "There's tremendous interest in the field."

Barbara Rhodes (Pan-African Studies) and student Jermaine Thompson (Black Student Union) were quoted in a Daily News article June 22 on the university's Juneteenth celebration. The two were asked how they felt about President Bill Clinton's proposed federal apology for slavery. "We worked many years providing free labor and we need to be compensated," Thompson said. "An apology is all words and no action. Action needs to be taken." Rhodes said she supports the apology, but doesn't expect reparations. "Reparations have become more a symbolic issue rather than an expectation," she said. "We live in a market-driven economy. I don't think [the federal government] is going to make that kind of commitment."

Student Keith Beckstead (Electrical Engineering) was quoted in a Daily News profile of media mogul Rupert Murdoch on June 22. Beckstead maintains a web site on Murdoch. "I see him as being most responsible for degrading journalism and treating news as entertainment," Beckstead said. "He represents more and more concentration of power. The question is, is he willing to abuse that? I think he has demonstrated that he is."

Shirley Svorny (Economics) wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times that ran in all its editions on June 25 on the Valley's efforts to separate itself from the rest of Los Angeles. "There is no valor in sticking with a sinking ship unless, like the politicians and public employee union representatives who oppose reform, the sinking ship contains your primary source of sustenance," she wrote.

Rene Engel (KCSN) was asked by the Los Angeles Times to comment on announcer Bonnie Grice's departure from the radio station to join her husband in New York. "I'm happy for Wally, and Bonnie will be missed," Engel said June 25.

Angela Lew (Library) was quoted in a front page Daily News article on June 29 on Hong Kong's transition to Chinese control. "The freedom of press is going to suffer tremendously," she said.

Alum Yvonne Chan (Education) was profiled in a Daily News article on June 29 that examined what she would do with her family and property in Hong Kong once the Chinese took control of the island. "There may be a lot of robbing of the rich. Are they going to play Robin Hood in Hong Kong?" she asked.


Crystal Gips (Education) was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on July 1 saying, "Reputation is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy," theorizing that the San Fernando Valley has less than its share of poorly performing schools because teachers and students try to live up to the area's image.

CSUN senior Oswaldo Servin and alum Darcy Arreola took first place in the men's and women's divisions in the Independence Day Classic 5K Run in Newhall, according to the Los Angeles Times on July 5.

Ah-Jeong Kim (Theater) and Jan Fish (Educational Psychology), along with several students, were quoted in a Daily News article on July 5 about the university's new Korean Study Abroad in Los Angeles Project. "One of the real reasons for this program is to provide opportunities for our students who cannot afford international exchange education," Fish said. "They don't have to leave jobs and family. They can still have that international experience while living in Los Angeles."

CSUN senior Arlet Piranian was one of more than 5,000 people who took part in the 22nd annual Armenian Athletic Games. Piranian took part in the tennis competition, according to the Daily News on July 6.

The Los Angeles Times ran a major piece on the university's campus master plan for the front page of the Valley section on July 7. Art Elbert (Administration and Finance) was quoted as saying, "I want Cal State Northridge to be something we can be proud of. We're not going to be a success if we don't look like a success." Later on July 13, the newspaper ran an editorial lauding the university's emerging proposal. "Making CSUN the kind of place where commuting students want to linger strengthens the connections not only among students but between students and the school itself," the paper said.

Engineering alum Jim Sprunck made the Los Angeles Times on July 9 in a story about an Oxnard company that played a role in the Pathfinder spacecraft's successful landing on Mars over the Fourth of July weekend. Sprunck and his partner designed and built the mechanisms that position and point the stereo camera on the Pathfinder lander that beamed images from Mars back to Earth. "We specialize in rescue type programs," Sprunck said. "We sell ourselves as specialists in rapid development."

The Los Angeles Times reported July 9 that the Los Angeles City Council had confirmed Mayor Richard Riordan's appointment of alum Gregory Scott (Economic Geography) as director of the city's Bureau of Street Maintenance.

Jeff Levy (Theatre) was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article on July 10 about the annual Teenage Drama Workshop, and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department's donation of $6,000 to help disadvantaged youths attend the prestigious program. "Given the cost of living these daysÉthe cost [of the workshop] prevents numerous kids from attending," he said.

Frederick Kuretski (Radio-Television-Film) was profiled in the Los Angeles Times' Calendar Weekend on July 10. The cinematography professor had a photo exhibition at the Orlando Gallery in Sherman Oaks. His show contained several photographic series, including one taken in an empty apartment with a real-life couple. "It doesn't quite tell a story, but it suggests one," he said. "And it seems that you could make a story if you tried hard enough."

Rodolfo Acuna was featured in the Los Angeles Times on July 13 as one of the Valley 200. The column is running 200 days in honor of the San Fernando Valley's bicentennial and recognizes people who have left their mark on the Valley. "The more education you get, the more notoriety you get, the more of a duty you have to help out the society," Acuna said.

Philip Handler (Arts, Media and Communication) was quoted in a Daily News article on July 16 touting the selection of internationally recognized architect Robert A.M. Stern to design the new Arts, Media and Communication Building planned on campus. "He had walked around the campus and he described it to us," Handler said of Stern. "We were amazed by what he sensed about the campus and his eye for detail." Handler also was quoted July 17 in a Los Angeles Times article on the selection.

Daniel Blake (Economics) was featured in a KABC Channel 7 segment on July 17 on the Northridge community's recovery since the earthquake. Citing the influx of money from insurance companies and the federal and state governments for earthquake repairs among other economic factors, Blake said the "outlook for the Valley is really good."

John Broesamle (History) was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article on July 18 that described the razing of the Fine Arts Building, which was designed by noted modernist architect Richard Neutra. "This is a very sad day for the university," Broesamle said. "This was its leading architectural specimenÉNeutra was a giant in 20th century Southern California architecture. He could be called the Frank Lloyd Wright of Southern California."

Juana Mora (Humanities) was the focus of a Los Angeles Times' Valley Focus article on July 23. The article announced that Mora had been named an American Council on Education fellow for the 1997-98 academic year.

Julian Nava (History) wrote an opinion piece for the Daily News on July 27 on U.S./Cuba relations. He quoted a high-ranking Cuban official as saying "You Americans are stupid. After all these years, you don't understand us. If you were to restore normal relations-you know trade, tourism and education-we would get voted out in the next election. Your hostility keeps the party in power."

There are more items from the summer for this section that will run in the next issue.

August 25, 1997

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