November 26, 2018

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Sharon Jones Speaking at 50th Anniversary Celebration

Activists look back on a turbulent time

The College of Ethnic Studies marked the anniversary of the 1968-69 Black Student Union/Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) strike with three days of events featuring strike veterans, including a keynote address by activist and actor Danny Glover. The event, held at the Towers Conference Center Nov. 8 through 10 and livestreamed on Facebook to 15,000 viewers, included panels of women strikers, discussions about the strike’s influence on ethnic studies, open dialogue sessions with faculty and current students and archival footage of the strike. Panelists told their personal stories and offered advice for today’s student activists.

“The reach of the strike and the struggle we participated in was a long one, and we must remember that,” said veteran striker and panelist Penny Nakatsu, who got involved in the student protests because she was disturbed by the University’s reluctance at the time to support ethnic studies. “The strike was motivated in part by the recognition that the school should serve the community. The [College of Ethnic Studies] is testament to the fact that to some extent we were successful in getting the institution to change its values. But we must remember that no institution should remain static.”

Sharon Jones (pictured above) was also on the front lines as a freshman at San Francisco State. She said the strike changed her life, and like the other veteran strikers she continues to work actively for social justice today. “We still have a long way to go,” she said. “Things are supposed to be different now, but we’re still going through the same things. We have to continue what we started 50 years ago.”

The College of Ethnic Studies is planning more anniversary celebrations for March 21–23, 2019.

Somone filling out a ballot

Study: ranked-choice elections don’t reduce polarized voting

A slew of new politicians in office wasn’t the only change to come from this month’s election day. More than 10 cities around the country used ranked-choice voting (RCV), a system where voters rank their preferences instead of casting their ballots for one candidate. Proponents of RCV say it’s less racially polarizing than the standard two-round primary because candidates have to appeal to voters from different racial backgrounds to win a majority. But a recent San Francisco State University study suggests that RCV doesn’t live up to its campaign promises.

The research, from San Francisco State Associate Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel, was published in the California Journal of Politics and Policy last month. The study concludes that RCV does not cause reductions in racially polarized voting.

McDaniel, who has taught political science at SF State since 2009 and previously published research linking RCV to a drop in voter turnout rates, began delving into the effect of RCV on racial voting blocs five years ago. Taking precinct-level estimates of voting data in San Francisco and Oakland mayoral elections from 1995 to 2015, McDaniel calculated voting preferences between black, white, Latino and Asian voters, comparing elections before and after the implementation of RCV in both cities to calculate the voting divide. McDaniel’s initial research suggested that RCV could sometimes reduce the vote divide between racial groups. But in order to get a better grasp of what was going on, McDaniel compared his findings from RCV cities with cities using a traditional primary system. In terms of the racial voting divides, McDaniel saw no difference.

“Any reduction in racially polarized voting that we’ve seen was caused by other factors, not by ranked-choice voting,” he said.

To read more about McDaniel’s research, visit this page.

Holiday Presents

Support the Gators while you hunt for bargains

Sign up for AmazonSmile — the online retail giant’s charity fundraising program — and your holiday shopping will support scholarships, facility improvements and more for University athletics. Amazon will donate .5 percent of your spending on the site to the Gators as long as you register for the program and designate SF State athletics for your support. Interested? Click here and start shopping -- and giving -- today!

Public meetings on physical Master Plan

Next month the University will hold three public meetings devoted to discussion of the Future State 2035 Campus Master Plan. All members of the SF State community, including residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, are invited to attend. The meetings will be held:

  • Sunday, Dec. 2, from 1-3 p.m. in LIB 121
  • Monday, Dec. 3, from 7-9 p.m. at the Junipero Serra Playground & Clubhouse, 300 Stonecrest Drive, San Francisco)
  • Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 5-7 p.m. in the Presidio Room of the Towers Conference Center

For more information on the meetings and opportunities to comment on the plan, go to

Reminder: faculty/staff celebration coming up Dec. 6

Don’t forget to mark your calendar: This year’s faculty and staff holiday reception is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6. The fun-filled celebration of the University community will be held at the Seven Hills Conference Center from 2 to 5 p.m. Guests are invited to bring canned goods for donation to individuals and families in need.

Meal deal: 10 meals for $88

For a limited time, Sodexo Dining Services is offering a dining loyalty card for faculty and staff. Purchase an Edu’gator’ loyalty card for $88 for 10 meals at any of the three Sodexo Dining Services locations:

  • City Eats: an all-you-care-to-eat buffet-style dining common
  • Bricks: pizza and pastas
  • Café in the Park: pastries, sandwiches, salads and Starbucks coffee

The Edu’gator’ Loyalty Card is valid until Dec. 19, 2018, and can be purchased online or in person at City Eats.

MATLAB 2018b now available for all staff, faculty

SF State now has a site license for the programming platform MATLAB, which includes the latest release of MATLAB 2018b, Simulink and all available toolboxes. Students, faculty and staff are eligible to download individual stand-alone copies of the software for each of the machines on which they are the sole MATLAB user (includes University-owned and personal machines).

Find out how to access MATLAB at

Academic Senate report

The Academic Senate met Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Nob Hill Room of the Seven Hills Conference Center. Among the meeting highlights:

  • Chair Nancy Gerber gave a report about the fires in California and the importance of universities to teach critical thinking and understanding of scientific information.
  • The Senate approved a recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee on proposed revision of #S17-277, Standardized Time Blocks for Use in Course Scheduling Policy
  • The Senate approved a recommendation from the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee on a proposed revision of the minor in German.

A complete list of action items from the meeting is available online.

Mashouf Wellness Center discounts and hours

The Mashouf Wellness Center is pleased to offer 50 percent off non-student semester memberships starting Friday, Nov. 16. Instead of paying the full semester membership price of $213, faculty and staff would pay $106. With your membership to the Mashouf Wellness Center you gain full access to the facility, which includes group fitness classes, small group training, a climbing wall, a natatorium (pool), locker and towel service and much more. To purchase your membership, visit the member portal website or speak with a Mashouf Wellness Center front desk staff member. For more information go to

The Mashouf Wellness Center will have special hours and periodic closures in November and December. For the latest listing of hours, go to

Holocaust Across the Disciplines series, Nov. 29

The next lecture in the Department of Jewish Studies’ Holocaust Across the Disciplines series will be held Thursday, Nov. 29, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in HUM 415. In “Holocaust Testimony and Maya Testimony in Post-Genocide Guatemala,” Estelle Tarica will discuss the circulation and reception of Holocaust testimony in Latin America. The author of “The Inner Life of Mestizo Nationalism,” Tarica is associate professor of Latin American literatures and cultures chair of the Latin American Studies Program at UC Berkeley. Go here to learn more.

Rescheduled critical reflection workshop, Nov. 30

Faculty and lecturers are invited to join the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) for a critical reflection workshop from 10 a.m. to noon in ADM 460 on Friday, Nov. 30. The workshop was originally to be held Friday, Nov. 16, but had to be rescheduled due to the recent smoke-related campus closing. Participants will learn the benefits of using critical reflection in Community Service Learning (CSL) course design and implementation. The workshop is open to faculty who currently teach (or plan to teach) CSL courses and will cover how ICCE can assist in adding critical reflection to course design; the value of reflection as a theory and ways to implement it as a practice; and examples of reflection in specific courses and how it enhanced student learning outcomes. There will also be opportunities for idea and resource sharing as well as collaboration amongst colleagues. Light refreshments will be served started at 9:30 a.m. Register here. For more information, contact ICCE Faculty Director Nina Roberts at or ext. 8-6473.

In Memoriam: Eric Solomon

The San Francisco State University community is mourning the loss of Professor Emeritus of English Eric Solomon, who passed away Nov. 11 at the age of 90. Solomon taught at San Francisco State for more than four decades and was pivotal in a number of important roles, including chair of the Academic Senate, acting provost, assistant to the president, and acting University librarian. 

A native of Boston, Solomon graduated from Roxbury Latin School and earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at Harvard. He began his academic career at Ohio State University in Columbus, where he also completed his first book: a study of American writer Stephen Crane. While there he also served as president of the Central Ohio ACLU, and he continued to fight for academic freedom throughout his career.

In 1964, Solomon came to SF State, where he taught British and American fiction. He was particularly interested in the relation between politics and literature and issues involving immigration and outsider perspectives on American life. His publications included Stephen Crane: From Parody to Realism (1967); an edited anthology, The Faded Banners: A Treasury of Nineteenth Century Civil War Fiction (1960); and a long list of essays in academic journals and anthologies. In addition to teaching at SF State, Solomon also offered graduate seminars at Stanford for a time. 

A lifelong baseball fan, Solomon saw baseball as a major assimilating force in American life. The literature of baseball, especially works by Jewish authors, was a special passion of his. At the time of his death, he was working on a collection of essays on baseball. He and the late history professor Jules Tygiel co-taught a popular course on the history and literature of baseball.

An important leader at SF State, Solomon was on the faculty union's negotiating committee at the time of the 1968-69 strike. He served as chair of the Academic Senate for two terms, assistant to President Paul Romberg, acting provost under President Robert Corrigan and twice in what may have been his favorite administrative position, interim University librarian. He served on innumerable committees, ranging from Presidential Scholars to Athletics. 

Solomon entered the early retirement program in 1998, was named an emeritus professor in 2003, and continued teaching until 2009. A memorial event in his honor is being planned.


Ryan talks conversion therapy

Director of SF State’s Family Acceptance Project Caitlin Ryan discussed her study on the negative effects of controversial LGTBQ “conversion therapy” in a widely reprinted article. “Although parents and religious leaders who try to change a child’s LGBT identity may be motivated by attempts to ‘protect’ their children, these rejecting behaviors instead undermine an LGBT child’s sense of self-worth, contribute to self-destructive behaviors that significantly increase risk and inhibit self-care, which includes constricting their ability to make a living,” Ryan said. “That’s why we developed a family support model to help diverse families learn to support their LGBT children that we’re integrating in behavioral health, out-of-home care, primary care and pastoral care in communities across the country.”

Standing ovation for Tsuruta

Professor of Africana Studies Dorothy Tsuruta was the invited “inspirational speaker” at the 19th annual ceremony of the Berry and Vera Lee Clanton Scholarship Award on Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Seven Hills Conference Center. A full house of attendees from throughout the Bay Area heard her talk, “A Proud Past, A Proud Present, A Proud Future as Inspired by ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’” and the joyful affirmation of the courage, determination and dignity of African Americans received a standing ovation. Several organizations extended invitations to Tsuruta to bring her talk to other venues, and she expressed being honored to do so.

Lee presents paper in Taiwan

Earlier this month, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies Jonathan Lee presented a paper at the 2018 International Conference on Interdisciplinary and Transnational Hakka and Ethnic Studies at National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Lee’s topic was “Discovering and Reclaiming Hakka History in Monterey Bay, California.”

McDaniel unpacks election learnings

Associate Professor of Political Science Jason McDaniel spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about the results of San Francisco’s 2018 elections. The article analyzes the new mix of members on the Board of Supervisors and how it could affect Mayor London Breed. “It will be up to them [the board] on an issue-by-issue basis to decide where they want to govern,” McDaniel said. “It becomes more about alliances and coalition building. ... If you think of it in terms of left versus right, it gets very, very confusing.”

Peel examines appeal of Frankenstein

Department of Comparative and World Literature/Department of English Professor Ellen Peel has made several presentations recently that were inspired by the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein.” In October, Peel presented “Frankenstein at the Ballet: Mary Shelley and Her ‘Hideous Progeny’” at an American Society for Bioethics and Humanities conference in Anaheim. She also gave the talk “Adoption, Tragedy, and the Failed Search for Origins in ‘Frankenstein’” at an Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture conference in Oakland. And earlier this month she spoke on the topic “Imagining the Constructed Body: From Statues to Cyborgs” as part of the Leonardo Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) Talks series at USF.