Mental health services on the rise at SGV private universities

At 7:30 a.m. May 1, University of La Verne junior Rachel Drake wakes up, brushes her short blonde hair, puts in her earrings, does her winged eyeliner and takes a pill from the small orange bottle on her dresser. Before she walks out the door, like she does every morning, she must take her prescription — 20 mg of Prozac.

Today she has an extra stop. Before class, she stops by the stone building on the corner of 2nd and E Street, checks in at the front desk, and takes a seat. She waits for her monthly visit with her school-appointed therapist.

“Therapists at school are accessible and free under my student insurance,” Drake said. “I’m lucky that I don’t have to drive back to San Diego once a month and pay $55 to see a therapist who doesn’t know me or is aware of my university and is assigned to me by my insurance.”

At private universities in the San Gabriel Valley, an increasing number of students are taking advantage of their colleges’ mental health facilities. At University of La Verne, Azusa Pacific University and the five Claremont colleges, full-time undergraduate students have access to free mental health services under their school-issued student insurance.

Compared with other private colleges in the area, the University of La Verne’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has been busier than its counterparts. Eleven percent of ULV’s undergraduates use psychological services compared to 8 percent at APU and 5 percent at the Claremont colleges.

“We understand students on campus become stressed or anxious with college life, so it’s important they are accommodated with an on-campus mental health service,”CAPS Director Elleni Kuolos said.

University of La Verne students who use CAPS’ services attend appointments three times more than students at APU and the five Claremont colleges. However, ULV has the least students and mental health programs to offer compared to the other universities.

“We find that nothing beats face-to-face interaction,” CAPS director Elleni Kuolos said.

Therapists at the five Claremont colleges’ combined mental health program, known as Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS), can interact with students in ways not available at ULV.

“We have an emergency therapist who is available after business hours who can provide counseling over the phone and via Skype,” MCAPS director Gary DeGroot said.

Like MCAPS, APU’s mental health program, the University Counseling Center (UCC), also has 24-hour and emergency services.

Out of the three programs, CAPS is the only one that does not provide 24-hour mental health care through the school.

“If I could change one thing about CAPS is that I don’t have access to a therapist at night,” Drake said. “The night is when I’m alone with my thoughts. That’s when I might need them the most.”

If CAPS students have an after-hours emergency, they must contact local mental health hospitals provided to them through an introductory pamphlet.

“It’s impersonal,” Drake said. “If I have a psychiatric emergency I have to rely on people who don’t know me and don’t know my situation, triggers or issues.”

On May 15, CAPS formally requested funding for a 24-hour therapist to begin next school year, Kuolos said.

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication and anti-psychotics are prescribed by psychiatrists at all three of the programs, however more UCC students are prescribed medication than by any other service. Eighty-six percent of UCC students are prescribed antidepressants compared to 72 percent at MCAPS and 79 percent at CAPS.

“It’s not our intention to prescribe medication to everyone. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding if antidepressants are the right choice for each student,” UCC Director Bill Fiala said.

Child and adolescent psychologist Joanne Als said she believes college campuses prescribe medication to distance themselves from potential lawsuits.

“Many college mental health programs are quick to prescribe medication because it’s immediate proof that the University is meeting the needs of students,” Als said. “It removes liability if the student were ever to have a psychological break or complete suicide. The University could say in a lawsuit ‘We did everything we could, we even medicated them.’”

Overall, CAPS provides service to more of its student population and a longer-continuing treatment. CAPS students visit approximately 10 times a school year compared to one to two times a school year at MCAPS and UCC.

Kuolos credits this with the University’s therapeutic practices and involvement with multiple clubs on campus that advocate for mental health and sexual assault awareness.

“Depression isn’t just you take a pill or go to therapy once and you’re okay, it’s a process,” Kuolos said. “We try to make students understand this by being active on campus.”

Drake has adopted this motto from CAPS.

“I know that alleviating my symptoms of depression is a process,” Drake said. “I visit CAPS at least once a month, go to group and individual therapy, take my medication and use the coping techniques I’ve learned.”

CAPS, unlike UCC and MCAPS, contacts students throughout the school year and between appointments.

“We encourage our students to come back and send them texts and email reminders so that they know we care, we’re here and we’re ready for them,” Kuolos said.

Convincing students to continue their therapy is a challenge at UCC and MCAPS.

“Our biggest problem is getting students to come back,” DeGroot said. “As of now, they come about once a semester, if that.”

Because of the low return-rate, UCC psychiatrists tend to prescribe medication during the first visit. This contributes to the large percentage of UCC students on medication, Fiala said.

“Students tend not to understand that being healthy mentally is a process, they need to come back more,” Fiala said.

To increase participation, APU is implementing e-mail reminders to UCC students beginning next school year. MCAPS will not implement a contact list as students are from five different colleges, according to DeGroot.

At 8:30 a.m. Drake is called into the office by Kuolos. As the school year is coming to an end, Drake receives her end-of-the-year assessment and summer supply of her anti-depressants.

In Fall 2017, Drake will return and continue her treatment at CAPS. She will continue therapy at home in San Diego during the summer.

“The most important thing is making myself go, I can’t do this alone,” Drake said.

The story above was written as an assignment for my Journalism 300 class. Information and quotes should not all be taken as fact.

“13 Reasons Why” suicide depiction raises concerns

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based on the popular young adult book by Jay Asher with the same name, has been the subject of heated online discussion over its entertainment value vs. potential detrimental effects on viewers, since the show’s debut on March 31.

The show centers around high school student Hannah Baker, who makes tapes listing characters and what they did to influence her suicide. One character listens to the story unfold as the 13 episodes progress.

Some critics praised the show for realistically and boldly addressing mental health and suicide in the compelling series.

Some University of La Verne therapists and psychology students, however, claimed the drama romanticizes suicide, and the show’s graphic nature may “trigger” vulnerable viewers.

Viewer discretion essential

“This show is an issue across the board,” said Elleni Koulos, University of La Verne’s Counseling and Psychological Services Director.

CAPS staff member and psychology graduate student Tatiana Kassar, who has also watched the show, said she understands its entertainment value. She said her main concern as a mental health professional is the show’s impact on young adult and teenage viewers.

“The target audience does not have a fully developed prefrontal cortex,” she said. “They don’t have executive function yet.”

The prefrontal cortex controls personality expression, decision making, complex cognitive behavior and social behavior. Executive function includes reasoning, problem solving and control of inhibitions, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“We are 100 percent concerned about copy-cats,” Koulos said. “A lot of high schoolers have that ‘I’ll show you’ mentality, and now they not only have a how-to guide, but this unrealistic idea that this is how the aftermath of suicide will happen.”

The prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until approximately 25 years old, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“High school was not that long ago for college students, so developmentally college students are in similar stages,” Kassar added.

“Any vulnerable college student could react to the show the same way as a junior high or high school student.”

Another concern the therapists raised was how accessible the graphic content is to children or those impressionable due to mental illness.

“All Netflix does to combat that is when you’re watching it will ask who’s watching,” said CAPS staff member and psychology graduate student Katherine Courtney. “All a kid has to do is click the adult’s profile and they have access to adult Netflix.”

On Netflix, ratings are only available in the show or movie’s overview, which a viewer must intentionally click to read.

According to the Netflix overview, “13 Reasons Why” is rated TV-MA, for mature adult audiences.

Trigger Warnings

The show does provide some trigger warnings, including a screen before the first episode reading: “This fictional series covers several difficult issues including depression and suicide. If you or anyone you know needs help finding support and crisis resources in your area, go to for more information.”

“There should be a much more explicit warning before you even get into the show about what exactly you might see or feel, because a screen is not going to stop people from pressing play once they are into it,” Kassar said.

The other warnings come before episodes that include sexual assaults and Hannah’s suicide.

“It’s after someone has been hooked on this show and may already be triggered,” Kassar said. “It should be at the beginning of every single episode.”

Courtney said that the show can also be upsetting to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide.

“The show does not consider what the effect might be on them in processing their own grief,” Courtney said.

Specifically, CAPS said, parents who watched the show may identify with Hannah’s parents and have a reaction.

“I often think about all the parents who have lost children to suicide and how triggering this show is for them,” Koulos said. “Reliving the blame all over again.”

The reaction of Hannah’s parent is a huge plotline in the show, Kassar said.

“We watch their experience and the scene where they come in, find her body, and that whole process,” Kassar said. “It’s hugely triggering for the family and parents of those who died by suicide.”

Graphic content is explicit

Another concern raised by the ULV therapists and the online community is the show’s use of graphic content, including two sexual assaults as well as Hannah’s suicide.

“I think that you can still talk about these issues without showing the graphic content,” Koulos said.

Kassar added that she felt sick watching the completed suicide scene.

“I think that there’s no need for anyone to ever see that,” Kassar said. “The camera doesn’t cut away, you just completely watch her bleed out. No one can unsee that.”

The CAPS staff said the technical accuracy of the act is troubling.

“In some ways, it’s a how-to guide,” Kassar said, adding that the sexual assault is also gratuitous in its explicitness.

The show includes two plot-lines surrounding the sexual assault of the main character Hannah and supporting character Jessica. The characters react to the assault differently: Hannah spirals into depression and later attributes the assault to her suicide, and Jessica represses the memory and self-medicates with alcohol.

The scenes are shot from a third-person perspective, but also the point of view of the attacker and the victim.

“It could be very triggering for someone who has been raped to see it in that graphic way,” Courtney said.

Staff at CAPS agreed that another accurate part of the show is its portrayal of depression.

“It definitely shows the darkness that someone who is suicidal goes through,” Kassar said. “It doesn’t really glamorize depression, which is good.”

She said the show demonstrates the roller-coaster those with depression experience.

“I think the show explains how a person that presented with really no symptoms at the beginning can go from that point and experience all these kinds of stressors in her life where she does end up killing herself,” Kassar said.

Difficult communication

Another aspect of the show, the CAPS staff criticized is the way the main character Hannah does not reach out for help until the day she decided to complete suicide, when she passively attempts to make her high school counselor, distracted by his ringing cell phone, recognize she needs help. She takes the tape recorder with her to the meeting and even speaks to her future audience as she fruitlessly waits for her counselor to run after her.

“She needed to talk about it,” Kassar said. “A missing piece of the show is that we saw all the things that happened and what went wrong, but we didn’t see much of her reaching out for help. It was, at the end, her last attempt.”

This too may be typical teenage behavior: wanting others to know something is wrong without having to tell them, the CAPS staff said. “A lot of teens don’t reach out,” Koulos said. “It takes a friend or a family member to convince them they need help and to talk.”

Kassar said that it was realistic that even Hannah’s parents, who were involved in her life by often checking in on her, and her counselor, who may have many students and not properly trained, could miss the clear signs of a suicidal person.

In the tapes, Hannah mentions that she wished they had asked her what was wrong one more time.

“There are scenes that show the audience what could have been done differently, but that’s not the case,” Kassar said. “She needed to reach out. You can’t be passive with your own mental health. It’s okay to talk about it, it’s okay not to be okay.”

Romanticizing suicide

The show follows Clay, Hannah’s friend, as he tries to come to terms with her death and reacts to the tapes. He often acts out against those listed in her tapes, even before reaching his own.

“This show casts all blame on those in the tapes, but the reason she killed herself is because she killed herself,” Kassar said. “That was a choice. Suicide is a choice.”

Kassar said the title of the show is indicative of blame.

“When someone in their lives kills themselves a lot of people sit with the ‘Did I cause that?’ feeling,” Kassar said. “To say “13 Reasons Why” implies causation.”

The title itself is where CAPS thinks the controversy that the show romanticizes suicide comes from.

“I think I would say it romanticizes suicide because of the 13 reasons component,” Kassar said. “It’s a very accurate representation of suicide itself, but it’s also very fictional because who, realistically, is going to make 13 tapes?”

CAPS staff explained the making of tapes, although not impossible, is not what a suicidal person would do.

“It’s an inaccurate representation of the mindset of someone who is actively going to kill themselves,” Kassar said. “To think that ‘I am absolutely going to do it, but first let me sit down and record these tapes and make a map and essentially avenge my death,’ is not realistic.”

The tapes can be interpreted as Hannah’s final act of vengeance.

“I do think the cognitive ability of some high schoolers is that (suicide) is a way to get back at people,” Koulos said.

CAPS staff stressed that suicide should not be interpreted that way.

“If you kill yourself, that’s it,” Kassar said. “You have no idea what’s going to happen and all of that information may never come out, so the show does romanticize the aftermath of suicide.”

According to Kassar, viewers get the feeling that Hannah, since she is narrating the tapes and therefore part of the show, is watching over the characters from death.

“The narration makes us think she’s watching and she’s not, or at least we don’t really know if she could, so that is very romanticized and fictional,” Kassar said.

Suicidal people are focused on the act, a reason there may not be a note with suicide attempts.

“This is a character who really detailed all the people who hurt her and it’s not always like that – a clear picture of why someone chose to end their life,” Courtney said. “Often times there isn’t a note or explanation, and even if you have those reasons, it doesn’t take away the pain of losing someone.”

Not for the vulnerable

The CAPS counselors do not recommend the show to anyone, especially those suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts or mental illness.

Kassar said that she would not recommend the show to patients or friends, but if someone told her they were going to watch it, she would give them a severe trigger warning.

“The show made it seem like suicide is the only solution, but it’s not, so in that way the show was very narrow and not as inclusive as it could be,” Kassar said. “If we could learn anything as a campus is that there are resources and people you can reach out to instead of trying to deal on your own.”

Courtney agreed that the show, although bringing to light sensitive subjects, should not be seen as realistic or a good step toward awareness.

“Overall, I don’t think the show is necessary. It’s not representative of someone who is actively suicidal. You cannot avenge your own death, and you can spread awareness without this triggering content,” Courtney said.

Koulos said that despite CAPS’ negative review of the show, they are using it as a platform.

“I think the problem with the show overall is that you can spread awareness in other ways, like educating people,” Koulos said. “It doesn’t have to be that explicit and graphic. The good thing that came out of this is that we can use this to start a conversation about mental health and give people 13 reasons why not,” Koulos said.

Kassar said that bullying, sexual assault, depression and other issues Hannah had could be dealt with by seeking professional help.

“So many people have gone through these issues and not committed suicide, and I wish it showed more of that,” Kassar said. “We may have all kinds of experiences, positive and negative, but how are you going to use that to make yourself better or others better? Suicide is not the only solution.”

CAPS helps over 300 students annually. The program has over 3,000 appointments a year and does both individual and group appointments.

“If Hannah were at ULV, I’d tell her to come to CAPS,” Koulos said.

To make an appointment, students can call CAPS at 909-448-4178 or visit the CAPS office at 2215 E St in La Verne, located at the corner of Second Street and E Street. Concerns about the mental health or safety of an individual can be submitted through a Behavior and Wellness Referral Report via the CAPS webpage at

CAPS recommends contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network at 1-800-656-4673 for 24-hour and weekend emergencies.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

Seven student films to be screened

Seven student films were selected and will be screened at the at Sixth Annual Inland Empire Media Academy Film Festival starting at 7 p.m. today.

San Bernardino Valley College will host the festival in the library viewing room, featuring work from students attending high school, community college, private or public universities in the Inland Empire.

The films were entered into the festival by Professor of Communications Don Pollock in April without the students’ knowledge. They found out they were entered in the competition when they received an email inviting them to the festival.

Pollock entered seven of the student-made films including comedy “Powdered Treason,” experimental film “The Girl,” as well as documentaries “Drifting Through Her Currents,” “Graber Olives,” “Entertainment at the Fair,” “Rancho Remembers” and “Be Perfect.”

The films were made by sophomore television broadcast majors Savannah Henry and Florencia Schinoff, junior television broadcast majors Paloma Bobadilla, Crystal Cellian, Dylan McElligott and Jacob Ramirez, senior television broadcast majors Ezra Broadus, Scott Feuerhelm, Jada Gamble, Shanyn McFadden, Alexis Moya, Steve Rodgers, Daniel Romero, Marc Salomon, Tina Sanchez and senior broadcast journalism majors Michael Hernandez, Joseph Orozco and Lauren Van Lul.

Thirteen categories were available for entry: News/Reality/Documentary, Action/Adventure, Comedy/Romantic Comedy, Crime/Drama/Film Noir, Family/Children, Science Fiction/Thriller/Horror/Fantasy, Musical, Animation, Experimental, Romance, Native American Film/Culture or other.

The social media category was an additional category for films that were promoted with a strong social media platform including a Facebook page or Twitter profile.

Trophies will be awarded to winners of categories with two or more entries.

Van Lul directed the film “Be Perfect.”

She worked with Bobadilla, Orozco and Hernandez to complete the film about the Be Perfect Foundation created by alumnus Hal Hargrave in 2007.

“The foundation helps people with spinal cord injuries and Hal started it after he was injured himself,” Van Lul said.

Van Lul added that she will be attending the film festival and that winners are expected to give a short speech.

“We get to stand up and show our stuff,” Van Lul said.

Pollock previously entered the films into other local competitions, including the Alliance for Community Media western region conference March 10. Students, faculty and alumni were finalists for seven Western Access Video Excellence awards.

Two alumni won awards and “Be Perfect” won the Accessibility-Abled Programming (Community Producer) award.

For more information and tickets visit

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

ELD System raises concerns

As 9:30 a.m. rolls around, 11-year-old Juan Aguillar anxiously stares outside the window from his plastic blue chair, bouncing his leg and tapping his pencil on his desk as he watches as the overcast sky dims the jungle gym outside. He watches the third and fourth grade students having recess. His teacher has reminded him to read his book, Mr. Frog and Mr. Toad, three times within the last 20 minutes.

He chose the book from his teacher’s library based of her two sticker system. The top sticker indicates the grade level of the book, the bottom sticker on the difficulty. Aguillar always chooses a book with a top sticker reading six and the bottom sticker reading one.

Despite his teacher’s sticker system, he still has difficulty reading the book written in English. At 12-years-old, Aguillar is not fluent in English, and has known the language half of his life. His parents, a migrant farm worker and a cleaning woman, brought him to the United States from Mexico at 6-years-old.

The Spanish-speaking student spends his Friday mornings in an English Language Development, or ELD, class with eight other students. At his third through sixth-grade school, sixth-grade ELD students spend Fridays with a bilingual teacher, trained to help students whose second language is English.

Since the early 2000s, California Elementary School has had an English as a Second Language, or ESL, program. Bilingual teaching aides were assigned a child to provide one-on-one help the whole school day.

In 2006, the school’s ESL program catered to a record 28 kids, a more than 50 percent increase from the previous school year.

“We had to hire more aides, and even then they had two students instead of one,” ELD teacher Amber Spina said.

As a result, at the start of the 2007-2008 school year, the school began its ELD program. ELD students in each grade have a specified day for an ELD class.

Although ELD students only make up 7.57 percent of the school’s students, the school spends 30 percent more on ELD students than non-ELD students.

“The technology we provide for them is more expensive than non-ELD students,” Spina said. “The school provides ELD students with laptops during the school day and an individualized Rosetta Stone program.”

Despite ELD teachers’ efforts at the elementary level, the district has noticed a downhill trend in students graduating from the ELD program. From the 2012-13 school year to the 2015-16 school year, 7.5 percent points less students were redesignated as English fluent, or students no longer in need of the ELD program. The decreasing amount of students graduating from the ELD program has become a trend in the last decade. Seventeen percent less students tested out of the program at sixth-grade in 2016 than in 2006.

“This decrease has inspired us to implement an individualized Rosetta Stone program than a general one, and we’re in the talks of reintroducing the one-on-one aides,” Principal Lori Wildes said. “But with that, comes the need for more funding, which means the gap in what we spend on ELD students and what we spend on non-ELD students is growing.”

At 9:45 a.m. the bell rings, notifying fifth- and sixth-graders that their 15-minute recess begins. Aguillar immediately perks up, drops his book, and runs to the door. Before he gets out the threshold, Spina reminds him to push in his chair and return the book to the library.

He turns around and does as he’s told with a sense of urgency and quickly runs out the door for recess, straight to the jungle gym.

Crime alert system needs upgrade

5.12.17 SafetyThe University of La Verne prides itself on the level of safety it provides its students. With full-time campus security, proximity to the La Verne police department, video cameras, blue emergency poles, the LiveSafe app and procedure posters in each classroom, it’s hard to feel unsafe on campus. The University also employs the “chad” system, or radio frequency identification, locks on every dorm entrance. But what the institution has yet to fully recognize is the safety that comes with awareness.

To keep students and staff informed, the University employs two systems: e2Campus, which sends out a campus-wide alert via phone and email during a current and life-threatening emergency, and a campus incident alert sent through Stu Info that is supposed to inform students and staff about non-active incidents within a timely manner. The email alerts are supposed to be in accordance with the timely warning requirement of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act of 1990.

“This federal law requires a general communication to the campus community of all crimes reported to campus or local police departments that may pose a threat to the campus community.

Such reports shall be provided to students and employees in a manner that is timely and that may aid in the prevention of similar occurrences,” the email said.

However, there are multiple problems with the campus alert emails, including timeliness and the fact that students receive the emails separate from faculty.

Recently, the campus alerts have not been emailed in a timely manner. For example, on March 8 the Stu Info email reported a strong-arm robbery that occurred in the Circle K parking lot. A female student was approached by an unknown male who stole her iPad and fled. Upon further investigation by the Campus Times and confirmation from the La Verne Police Department, it was found the incident actually took place Feb. 21.

Not only were students notified 15 days late, but the incident was reported to have happened at 9:30 a.m. the day of the email. Students cannot be expected to be on alert for suspicious activity when they are not even aware of the correct time and date of an incident.

On April 20, the campus incident alert email reported a strong arm robbery/snatch and run that happened the day before, April 19, at 11:46 p.m.

Although this email was sent to the campus in a more timely manner, faculty received the email over three hours before students. Faculty received the email at 10:52 a.m. and students received the email at 1:56 p.m.

There is no reason to alert faculty before students when the alerts are about past incidents. The system separates students and staff in the database and emails them separately. This needs to be fixed so that the campus incident alerts treat students and staff equally with important safety information.

Professors are not on campus as often as students. They may have classes or office hours only a couple days a week. Students have the option to live on campus, therefore spending more time here than any other professor does, and should be wary of possible dangers.

With many Campus Activity Board and Associated Students of the University of La Verne events beginning at 10 p.m., students could be walking around campus late at night. For example, the CAB-ASULV Destination Procrastination ended at 1 a.m. Friday morning.

If students are walking on campus so late at night, they deserve to be informed of safety concerns. Students deserve to be alerted at the same time as professors, if not before, especially after school hours.


The material above was originally published by University of La Verne’s Campus Times. Although written and drawn by me, the cartoon and article are the property of the Campus Times. 

Zambronies ice over Cronies

The Zambronies beat the Crossbar Cronies in a grueling match ending 8-4 April 8 at The Rinks Anaheim’s NHL Rink.

The adult rookie league game could not have been won without the Zambronies’ forward Thomas Yeandle, who scored five goals and was voted the most valuable player of the game.

Yeandle’s biggest challenge was the Crossbar Cronies’ center Jonathan Hernandez, who completed the game with one goal, multiple assists and over 10 penalty minutes.

Here is how the game unfolded:

Two minutes into the first period, Zambronies’ forward Julian Ness scored the first goal.

Before the excitement in the crowd could quelled, center Eric Hegner scored for the Crossbar Cronies.

Immediately, the Zambronies proved they came to win with five quick turnaround goals, ending the first period with a hefty 6-1 lead.

The period was full of goals from Yeandle, including a hat trick. Yeandle was named most valuable player of the game.

“By the end of first period I already had about six points and four goals,” Yeandle said.

Points are accumulated by making goals or assisting teammates in making a goal.

With almost five minutes left in the second period, Zambronies’ right wing Philip Dawson removed his gloves and swung at Hernandez, yelling obscenities from his side of the home right faceoff circle.

“I had the puck and he just slammed me into the boards. The refs didn’t call his hooking earlier so I took it into my own hands,” Dawson said.

Hernandez admitted the boarding to the referees, but fought them on the penalty.

“I’m defending at any cost,” Hernandez said.

Both Dawson and Hernandez served three and a half minutes in the penalty box for fighting, it was the first of what would be multiple penalties for Hernandez.

With eight minutes left in the game, Zambronies’ forward James Riley came barreling down the ice toward the Crossbar Cronies’ goalie. As he dribbled the puck, defenders came from every angle, their navy jerseys creating an undefined blur of blue with a single speck of orange in the center.

Riley managed to pass the puck between the skates of the defenders to right-wing Phillip Dawson, distracting the goalie as Dawson returned the puck to Riley. Riley scored with seven minutes and twelve seconds left on the clock in what would be the final goal of the game.

“It was exhilarating. I just maneuvered my stick around four guys and the puck went right through them. They had no clue what was happening,” Riley said.

With 24 seconds left in the game, an angry Jonathan Hernandez cross-checked Riley. The thud of Riley’s back hitting the ice echoed in the sub-freezing rink.

Both referees blew their whistles with a powerful shrill lasting longer than the usual short blast.

“He got what he deserved. He’s lucky I didn’t take my gloves off,” Hernandez screamed at the referees.

Fans cheered from the wooden stands as Hernandez, the Crossbar Cronies’ highest scorer and most brutal player, skated his way to the penalty box for the four-minute punishment he would serve less than 30 seconds of.

The game ended with a fruitless Zambronies powerplay.

The game would not have been a win for the Zambronies without Yeandle, who returned to the ice after a two-week medical leave.

“If Yeandle was still broken, we probably would’ve had a chance,” Crossbar Cronies defenseman Mark Zeko said.

Yeandle’s left rotator cuff was injured in a squabble with Hernandez after the last Zambronies game against the Crossbar Cronies on March 18.

“He should be removed from the ice,” Yeandle said. “He hooked, he cross-checked, he fought, he boarded; he did just about everything you could do to get a penalty. And that’s just in this game alone.”

However, the Crossbar Cronies unanimously voted Hernandez their most valuable player of the game.

“He comes to win every time, I’m sure he’ll be our MVP of the year,” Zeko said.

Zeko said aside from being a center, Hernandez is the team’s enforcer.

“I do what it takes to win, my team recognizes and appreciates it. That’s what matters,” Hernandez said.

The Zambronies and Crossbar Cronies face off again at 9:05 p.m. April 29 in The Rinks Anaheim’s NHL rink.

“We’re ready to destroy them again. They can expect an even bigger sweep, it’ll be 8-0 next time. Hernandez isn’t going to get the drop on our players again,” Riley said.

The story above was written as an assignment for my Journalism 300 class. Information and quotes should not all be taken as fact.

Freshmen weigh in on freshman 15

The “freshman 15” is the 15 pounds freshman are expected to gain – in theory or reality – in college due to stress, dining hall food, drinking and lack of exercise. Students here, however, debate whether it’s really a thing.

In a recent informal survey, 15 freshman were asked to weigh in on it.

Ten said they believe the weight gain is real, two said they do not and three didn’t know. Six of those surveyed said they actually gained 15 pounds freshman year.

Participants cited independence, boredom, stress, party culture, budget constrains and the ULV meal plans as the main reasons for weight gain.

Despite not gaining the 15 pounds himself, freshman computer science major Dylan Villanueva said he still believes the freshman 15 is real.

Isaac Gomez, freshman business administration major, said that although he eats healthy most of the time, he only exercises about one time a week and has gained the freshman 15.

“There’s a lack of nutrition structure that comes with being independent,” freshman psychology major Jamie Finegan said. “The main reason people gain the freshman 15 is because you get to college and you start drinking beer and partying.”

Freshman sociology major Briana Villarreal said the freshman 15 is not inevitable, but rather an excuse to not take care of oneself.

“People … see it as normal to gain 15 pounds, so they eat unhealthy,” Villareal said.

Freshman business administration major Caroline Zanteson does not think she gained weight.

“It depends on the person and whether they know how to control themselves,” Zanteson said. “Some people don’t have self control, so they learn it over time.”

Freshman computer science major Jussy Bi said many students gain the freshman 15 because they eat out of boredom rather than to maintain their health.

“Usually when you have classes all day and there’s a gap where you have nothing to do, you search for food,” Bi said.

Freshman psychology major Alexa Withers said the freshman 15 is caused by college tensions.

“People eat a lot when they’re stressed,” Withers said.

Freshman chemistry major Itzel Jauregui, who commutes to ULV, attributed the freshman 15 to the lack of affordable healthy options off-campus.

“I think it’s because of our budget,” Jauregui said. “Am I going to get a $4.99 salad or a $1.69 bag of chips and an 89 cent drink from Circle K?”

Three students said they believe students who live on campus are more susceptible to the freshman 15.

“I think dormers gain it because they have the meal passes,” freshman kinesiology major Sabrina Hernandez said. “For us commuters, we have what we can make from home.”

In a 2008 study of 131 students who live on campus in at private colleges, the Journal of American College Health found the average weight gain after the first year of college was 2.7 pounds.

Half of students gained weight and 15 percent lost weight with men gaining more than women, the study found.

“(Still) people who dorm can eat all they want, three times a day, every day of the week,” said Freshman business administration major Evan Monterroso. Monterroso, a water polo player, said he eats healthy about half the time, but works out four to five times a week.

“In my experience, the freshman 15 only applies to people who don’t play sports,” Monterroso said.

Jauregui added: “In my spare time or when I’m not studying, I go to the gym and get 30 minutes of cardio. I drink water all day and before I go to bed.”

Other students said that they naturally did not gain weight during their freshman year.

“I’ve seen it happen to other people, but I haven’t gained… It’s just my metabolism,” freshman Karla Lucarelli said.

Freshman math major Taylor Francis said she did not gain the freshman 15 because of her eating habits.

“I actually like healthy food and I enjoy eating it because it makes me feel better,” Francis said.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

Cabaret opens up to diverse artists

Strings of light twinkled against black curtains. The sound of hula music and thirty people clapping to the beat filled the room as 7-year-old Lola Sanchez’s hips swayed rhythmically.

Her black and white striped dress made a dizzying blur as she spun and shook.

“I’ve been doing hula maybe two months, I think I’m a great Hawaiian dancer,” Sanchez said.

When Sanchez left the stage, senior psychology major James Trejo walked to the microphone.

Trejo performed a freestyle rap, with only a beat blasting through the speakers to accompany him.

He rapped about being a senior, unsure of his future, and his love for music.

“Music is my food,” Trejo said.

After Trejo performed, freshman international studies and studio art double major Lily “North” Meza brought her guitar decorated with stickers to the microphone.

She performed three original songs, “Desire Line,” “Good Morning,” and a song that remains untitled.

Before she began, Meza apologized for some of the language in her songs, but the crowd seemed unphased by the cussing.

When her raspy, earthy voice didn’t fill the room, her skilled acoustic guitar solos did.

To end the night, senior music major Annie Johnson and sophomore music major Lorali Mossaver-Rahmani, together known as the Companions, took to the microphone.

The pair supplied their own background with banjos and a ukulele.

The Companions wrapped up the night with five songs, including covers and original songs the duo wrote together.

The two sang an original song, in both Spanish and English, that seemed to resonate with the audience, as they received a long applause when it was over.

“This song is inspired by my trip to Peru last summer,” Mossaver-Rahmani said.

She described the song as a story that describes her time with an intriguing guide in Peru.

The performances were a part of Cabaret Student Productions’ event, “The Creativity Thing,” held Tuesday night in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theater.

Cabaret invited all kinds of performers, including dancers, singers, guitarists, rappers and artists.

By the end of the night, seven artists performed.

“La Verne isn’t known as a very artistic school, so we are happy to provide this space for that,” sophomore theater major and Cabaret Student Productions President Courtney Clark said.

Aside from the performances, on display was a community art project painted at Cabaret’s last event, “Appreciation not Appropriation.”

When creating the piece, participants painted for 20 minutes and then moved five steps to the right and finished whatever ended up in front of them.

Projected onto a screen was some of Clark’s photography.

The slideshow also included photography by Clark’s sister.

Displayed on tables along the walls were handmade jewelry, models, and paintings.

Freshman theater major Jordan Nelson had some of her paintings on display.

On display was an elaborate canvas painting of a red dragon against a black background.

Nelson said she painted the dragon years ago.

She thought to share the piece when she was asked if she had any art to display at the event by sophomore theater major and Cabaret Student Productions Vice President Ashley Weaver.

Another one of Nelson’s pieces on display was an astronaut floating in space, holding the planets on strings like balloons.

“The astronaut was made at an art acoustic night last semester,” Nelson said.

“They were having performers as well as three easels set up so we could paint live. We had about an hour, and I came up with that.”

Cabaret Student Production’s will be holding Youth Art Night 7:30 p.m. May 9 in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theatre as its final event of the semester.

“It’s very important to have our youth have a foundation and know where they could possibly end up one day,” Weaver said.

The crowd snapped in agreement.

“Maybe they could end up be here at this university,” Weaver said.

Cabaret Student Productions has invited local high schools’ art departments to showcase their art and talent.

“We know, and other artists know, it can sometimes be daunting as a high school student to continue your artistic endeavor, and we’re really trying to support that,” Clark said.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

photo by Breanna Ulsh

Free tuition plan is positive step

On April 9, New York’s state legislature approved Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to provide free college tuition to New York residents who are full-time students and earn less than $100,000 annually. In 2018, the cap will increase to $110,000 and then $125,000 in 2019.

The plan is projected to help approximately 80 percent of New York families, according to However, the scholarship that was created to make college more accessible to the middle class may exclude the very people it was designed to aid, strict requirements should become more lenient to aid those it currently excludes.

In March, more than 30 members of the state’s Assembly signed a budget letter agreeing that the proposal should focus on the middle-class and suggested the scholarship should be available to students whose household income is $175,000 or less. According to the Assembly, with the current requirements, the project would benefit only 32,000 students, less than 5 percent of undergraduates, once fully implemented in fiscal year 2019-20.

Multiple income families, despite meeting the cut-off, may not be able to afford tuition due to the high cost of living in New York. This is a reality many middle-class Californian families can relate to.

The scholarship also requires students to take 30 units per year. However, this requirement does not take into account students who may work full-time. Also, the scholarship could be lost if a student takes a leave of absence of medical leave. This strict requirement needs to be changed to include students who may need special accommodations to continue their higher learning.

In the United States, 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt, a whopping $1.3 trillion in total. The average student loan borrower will graduate with at least a $26,000 debt. For college graduates ages 20 to 30, the average monthly payment on their student loans is $351, according to

New York has taken a step to provide options for its millions of college students, and as wonderful as that may be, the program should aim higher. Other states should look to New York as an example, an implement a similar program themselves.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.