Swimmers settle contract dispute

Sigma Swimmers founder and head coach Andrew Ha gives students instructions over technique during a practice session Nov. 9 at the NW pool.
Sigma Swimmers founder and head coach Andrew Ha gives students instructions over technique during a practice session Nov. 9 at the NW pool. Photo by Tom Woessner/The Collegian

By Dylan Bradley/campus editor

The Sigma Swimmers are back in the pool.

After meeting with members of the TCC board of trustees and administrators, the program will pay the same rate it paid during its 2016-17 rental agreement. That rate is effective through December and then will change to a month-to-month contract at the same rate until the board announces a uniform rental cost, head coach Andrew Ha said Nov. 6 in an email to parents of program participants.

“We’re very appreciative,” said Tara Blair, who has two sons in the program. “Getting that resolved has been a tremendous, positive thing.”

In September, the program attempted to renew their rental contract for the 2017-18 year, but the price increased from $44,850 for the 2016-17 year to $557,200. Unable to pay the full contract, Ha signed a temporary rental contract for $46,900 to use the facilities September through December.

Swimmers take to the lanes to practice their technique for Sigma Six Swim Club Nov. 9 on NW Campus.
Swimmers take to the lanes to practice their technique for Sigma Six Swim Club Nov. 9 on NW Campus.
Photo by Tom Woessner/The Collegian

The rate increase was the result of a districtwide assessment of areas available to the community and the timing of the Sigma Swimmers’ contract renewal, TCC’s communication and external affairs vice chancellor Reginald Gates said.

“We’ve been doing assessments across the district, all of our areas that we lease to community partners, and the different costs associated with running those operations,” Gates said. “It was because Northwest was the first for us to start utilizing the new rates. There were no other pending contracts at the other campuses. The other campuses were more on a month-to-month basis, and the renewal for Sigma came up at that time.”

Once the assessment is complete, rental rates will be uniform across the district, Gates said.

Sigma Six Swim Club members work on technique during practice Nov. 9 on NW Campus. Sigma offers both competitive swimming opportunities as well as swimming lessons to those in the community.
Sigma Six Swim Club members work on technique during practice Nov. 9 on NW Campus. Sigma offers both competitive swimming opportunities as well as swimming lessons to those in the community.
Photo by Tom Woessner/The Collegian

“We were told that the board of trustees is going to meet, and they are going to set a standard hourly rate that’s going to be throughout all campuses,” Blair said.

A long-term contract is the goal, she said.

“We want to continue our longstanding working relationship with TCC,” she said. “I would hope that the board would do the proper due diligence and they would gather the necessary data and look at all of the rates being charged not only at TCC campuses but also at area pools, so that they know what is a fair rate.”

Student killed in car crash

Jocelyn Rangel was described as happy, selfless and caring by friends.
Jocelyn Rangel was described as happy, selfless and caring by friends. Photo courtesy Jaqueline Romero

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

A NW and TR student was killed in a traffic accident on her way to work Nov. 8.

Jocelyn Rangel, 21, was driving on NW 28th Street in Fort Worth when she lost control of her car on the rain-slick street and crashed into a dump truck around 8:55 a.m., according to the accident report.

Rosa Maria Cabrera, Rangel’s mother, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram her daughter was on her way to work at Unity One Credit Union at the time of the accident.

According to the report, Rangel was driving east in the 800 block of NW 28th Street in a gray 2001 Mercury Mountaineer.

She appeared to be speeding, the report says, and at some point, the car’s left tire collided with the center median curb causing Rangel to lose control of the vehicle. Her car then crossed the median into the westbound lanes where she collided with a dump truck traveling in the opposite direction.

Rangel was pronounced dead on the scene at 9:10 a.m. The dump truck driver remained on scene and spoke with officials, the report said.

Rangel’s friend, Jaqueline Romero, heard the news when she got home from school that afternoon.

“One of her cousins called me,” she said. “It was unbelievable, and I went into denial.”

NW and TR student Jocelyn Romero poses for a photo with pumpkins Oct. 14.
NW and TR student Jocelyn Romero poses for a photo with pumpkins Oct. 14.
Photo courtesy Jaqueline Romero

The two met their freshman year at Castleberry High School and had celebrated their seven-year “bestfriendaversary” on Halloween. Romero said that last time she saw her.

“She was my best friend,” she said. “But she was more like a sister.”

Romero’s favorite memory with Rangel is from early in their friendship when they were pulled over for the first time and given a curfew ticket.

“One of the many things we would always do was drive around, music on blast, especially at night,” Romero said. “We would sing along for hours.”

Romero said she will remember her friend as the loving, caring and happy person she was.

“Jocelyn’s character is something I can assure everyone will remember,” Romero said. “She was the nicest person you could ever meet.”

Rangel was taking classes at both the NW and TR campuses, according to communications, public relations and marketing executive director Suzanne Groves.

She was planning to become a police officer, which Romero said would have been a perfect fit for Rangel.

“She was very respectful and caring regardless of how rude people could be,” Romero said. “She was so selfless, always putting others before herself.”

Romero describes Rangel as the mom friend in their group, but she said Rangel wasn’t only caring and selfless toward family and friends.

“As long as you were in need of help, she was there,” Romero said.

Funeral services for Rangel are still pending. The family has opened a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs. Those looking to donate can do so at http://www.gofundme.com/joselyn-rangel-cabrera.

Fueling minds

NE student worker Lance Lambert sorts and organizes donations at the NE food pantry. Lambert keeps track of the donations and stocks the shelves in NCAB 1136A.
NE student worker Lance Lambert sorts and organizes donations at the NE food pantry. Lambert keeps track of the donations and stocks the shelves in NCAB 1136A. Photo by Gabrielle Saleh/The Collegian

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

Campus pantries fight food insecurity

Thanksgiving is a time for people to be thankful for what they have, but it’s also a time for giving back. The three campus food pantries and the NW food market are well versed in doing just that.

South, NE and SE Campuses have food pantries located on their campus open each week while the NW food market is open on the third Friday of every month unless otherwise specified.

SE Campus opened their food pantry this semester, and it is currently open Thursdays and Fridays 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in EMBD 1104, sociology assistant professor Sharon Wettengel said.

Since opening, the pantry has partnered with Arlington Charities and on average serves between 75 to 100 students each month, she said.

“This includes those in need of grocery bags full of a variety of food items and/or those in need of a snack to get them through a short period of time before they can afford to purchase a more substantial amount of food,” Wettengel said.

Unfortunately, the campus food pantries aren’t open during breaks when campuses are closed, Wettengel said.

“We plan to open Monday and Tuesday 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. the week of Thanksgiving,” she said.

For those in need over the break, the pantry will provide recipients with information about social services available in the Arlington and Tarrant County area, Wettengel said.

“The week before Thanksgiving, Arlington Charities has offered to provide us with ‘holiday bags’ packed with traditional Thanksgiving meal food items,” she said.

SE student Amy Behren, who Wettengel says has been instrumental to the SE food pantry’s success, got involved with the pantry before it opened, Behren said.

“I was invited to join the food pantry committee to help give a student’s perspective,” she said.

Continuing to volunteer at the pantry seemed like a natural path to follow, Behrens said.

“It has been humbling to see students, faculty and staff come together as both givers and receivers,” she said.

Anyone interested in donating to the SE food pantry can bring items to the pantry in EMBD 1104 during open hours or to Wettengel’s office in ESED 2402.

South’s pantry is also new this semester. It opened in September on the same day the campus celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Unlike the SE pantry, it is currently open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in SSTU 1104A-S, student development services director Jared Cobb said.

“During the first month of operation, considered a ‘soft opening,’ the South Campus Food Pantry served approximately 58 unique students with 161 visits,” Cobb said.

Donations are accepted five days a week, and anyone looking to drop off donations can take them directly to the pantry or to the SSTU information center window, Cobb said.

“All dry, good food items and canned items are welcome,” he said.

Cobb said they hope to have a student leadership panel in place by next fall to operate all aspects of the pantry.

“The South Campus Food Pantry is primarily run by students who volunteer their time,” Cobb said.

South student Isaiah Thompson is one of the volunteers.

South student Isaiah Thompson places a bin of dry goods on the shelf at the South food pantry on Nov. 10. The pantry is located in SSTU 1104A-S.
South student Isaiah Thompson places a bin of dry goods on the shelf at the South food pantry on Nov. 10. The pantry is located in SSTU 1104A-S.
Photo by Tiara Gavis/The Collegian

“I chose to volunteer because I’m really big on giving back to the community, and TCC South has now become part of my community,” Thompson said.

Like the other campuses, the South pantry will not be open when the campus is closed. The pantry isn’t doing anything on Thanksgiving this year, Thompson said.

“But we do have forms to direct people to the local area food banks,” he said.

The forms include the food bank’s name, address, contact information and how far away the food bank is from South.

The pantry will also relocate to the middle of campus for a one-day blitz to provide food prior to the break on Nov. 20, Cobb said.

The NW Community Food Market is also new this semester. Having only opened twice so far this semester, the market has already served 568 families, she said.

To provide a relaxed, positive and energetic environment where the community can make a positive impact, the campus opted to call the event a food market rather than a food pantry because of the term’s negative stigma, NW divisional dean Lisa Benedetti said.

The market partners with Community Link Saginaw and Tarrant Area Food Bank but also holds drives on NW for plastic grocery bags and change drives to purchase protein for the market, Benedetti said.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the market will open at 10 a.m. Nov. 17 in the hangar behind the collegiate high school and will finish serving at 1:30 p.m. Grocery bags are not provided, so people are advised to bring their own.

Registration is required and limited to one person per household, but people can register on site the day of the event.

The NE Campus food pantry has been around the longest having opened in spring 2016. It has seen a steady growth in use and served over 1,100 students facing food insecurity last year, sociology instructor Cheryl North said.

The pantry is open Mondays through Thursdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fridays 12:30-3:30 p.m. in NCAB 1136A.

Like the other campuses, the NE pantry will not be open when the campus is closed, but it is accepting donations and coordinates with faculty, staff and the TCC Foundation to arrange seasonal giving projects, North said.

“The NE Food Pantry is supported 100 percent through donations,” she said. “The bulk of our donations come from individuals or from campus clubs/organizations who conduct fundraising drives to benefit the pantry.”

Efforts to establish donation relationships with area grocery stores are in the works, North said. The pantry has three work-study student employees, she said, and NE student Lance Lambert is one of them.

“I hand out food,” he said. “I take donations. I keep accountability of what comes in and out and track food pickups and who comes and volunteers every day.”

Lambert is a single dad on food stamps himself and got involved with the NE food pantry to help others, he said.

“I know it’s hard to be in college and trying to keep a job and take care of your kids and do everything else,” he said.

In addition to helping out with the pantry, Lambert and his daughter go out every year and donate around Christmas and Thanksgiving on their own time, he said.

To donate to the NE pantry, items can be left in the donation box outside the pantry in NCAB 1136-A.

TR does not have a food pantry at this time, but they direct students in need to local area food banks near the campus, administrative assistant Devynn Case said.

Editorial – US gun control need reaffirmed in Texas

Illustration by Aftin Gavin/The Collegian
Illustration by Aftin Gavin/The Collegian

It happened again.

The mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, during a Sunday morning church service Nov. 6 was the deadliest in Texas history.

It occurred just over a month after the Las Vegas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

The shooting in Sutherland Springs was the first time so many lives were lost in a U.S. place of worship, and of the 26 people killed in Sutherland Springs, half of them were children. The youngest was an 18-month-old girl.

Still, no legislation has been passed in an attempt to curb the onslaught of mass shootings American people now frequently endure.

People in Sutherland Springs died while praying, which should point religious people to the scripture that prayer without action is dead. Yet once again, all that has been offered are thoughts and prayers.

What’s worse, though, is mass shootings are only a small part of gun violence in America. And people have become so desensitized to shootings that 58 people can die, and the media forgets about it, and the demands for gun control quiet after barely three weeks pass.

The suffering of children has long been seen as a litmus test for how individuals and cultures prioritize their values. So one would think after Sandy Hook, something would have been done to fight gun violence, but that has not been the case since the shooting occurred almost five years ago.

Sixteen U.S. children are hospitalized with gunshot wounds every day, according to a CNN report published in May. Forbes reported in June that 19 children die or receive emergency treatment for a gunshot wound every day in the U.S.

Death by shooting should not be a side effect of freedom. Senseless, preventable loss of life is not freedom.

How can responsible gun owners continue to stand in the way of legislation proven to have the potential to save lives?

Reducing the number of guns significantly reduces the number of shootings. The statistical data is there. Other countries have responded to gun violence, and it has impacted the number of shootings they have faced.

And yet, nothing has been done in the U.S. The argument that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun persists despite repeatedly being proven wrong. The Sutherland Springs shooting proved the argument wrong again when 26 people died before the good guy with a gun took out the bad guy with a gun.

If the shooter was stopped by an armed citizen, then gun control opponents, who use him as an example of this theory are saying 26 deaths is a successful example of the argument. Any loss of life should be viewed as a terrible argument.

So, where do the American people go from here when the National Rifle Association’s blood money dictates how legislators create and vote on gun control legislation?

Americans should keep fighting and vote in the coming elections to unseat politicians still unconvinced about America’s need for gun control. They should also consider a public health approach to the issue, similar to what has been done to regulate cars, as suggested by The New York Times.

The way cars are regulated provides a solid plan for regulating guns. It would allow gun owners to keep their guns for hunting and protection but limit access to them, reducing the death toll the same way car safety measures have reduced the death rate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At the very least, it’s something to try because gun control is no longer be up for debate. Americans need gun control, and they need it fast before another preventable mass shooting is carried out and more lives are lost.

Viewpoint – For change, local voter turnout must improve

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The Collegian Logo

By Tabitha Redder/reporter

Tarrant County held local elections last week, and the turnout was disappointing, as usual.

Noting this problematic presidential administration (has it really only been 10 months…?) and its horrific amount of cringeworthy scandals, many hoped this would be the catalyst citizens needed to finally engage in and change local and national politics.

In many places on Election Day, it was.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City won a second term as did Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston.

More surprising were elections in Virginia where voters elected Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam as governor and Democrat Danica Roem to serve as the first openly transgender person on the Virginia legislature.

The movement continued in Charlotte, North Carolina, where voters elected Democrat Vi Lykes as its first female African-American mayor, and in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Melvin Carter became its first African American mayor as well.

Elections nationwide echoed this progression. Virginia analysts said the elections “represent the purest test of grass-roots anger at the president,” according to The New York Times. 

If red and blue cities all over the country can vote, why didn’t Tarrant County?

Over 1 million Tarrant County residents were eligible to vote in Tuesday’s elections, but only a pathetically miniscule 53,975 people exercised the right. That’s just under 5 percent.

In a state where lawmakers have introduced disturbing legislation recently, including the infamous “bathroom bill,” the “rape insurance” bill and a bill cutting the cost of a firearm license, it’s imperative that citizens voice their opinions to lawmakers if there is any hope for remedying the sickness in this country’s political system.

So, Tarrant County, let’s take an “L” this time but pledge to show up in numbers for next year’s elections in March.

Mark your calendars now for Feb. 5, 2018 as it’s the last day to register. The primary election is March 5.

Diversity and inclusivity won across the country this local election season. And, hopefully, Tarrant County can join in next season.

Viewpoint – Retailers should stay closed on Turkey Day

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The Collegian Logo

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

As the air grows crisper and the sweet smells of holiday-scented candles fill the air, the best time of the year is finally upon us. And so is the worst – Black Friday.

Although many Americans believe Thanksgiving is a day to spend at home, many look forward to getting a head start on holiday shopping.

A trend began in 2010 where some retailers started their Black Friday sales on the night of Thanksgiving and stayed open all night. The trend has led to multiple retailers opening as early as noon on Thanksgiving Day.

However, Thanksgiving Day shoppers may be disappointed this year. Major stores including Costco, Guitar Center, H&M and 60-plus others opted to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving Day this year, and some even the day after.

A survey conducted by BestBlackFriday.com found that of roughly 500 Americans in 2017, 57 percent of respondents didn’t like the idea of stores opening on Thanksgiving.

“Black Friday” got its name originally because it was the day retailers began to turn a profit or move from “the red” to “the black.” Since websites like Amazon provide year-round deals to those equivalent on Black Friday, the profit that retailers once earned had lowered over the years.

Unfortunately for thrill-seeking shoppers, not only is Black Friday losing its zest statistic-wise, it is also losing popularity because of how insane it has become.

In 2008, a Wal-Mart worker was killed in a Black Friday stampede. As the store doors prepared to open at 5 a.m., the employee was pushed to the ground and trampled as shoppers fought their way through the entrance.

The federal government has even created regulations for improving Black Friday because dozens of injuries occur each year from the crazed and eager crowds. Lines start farther from the door, and items that can be used as battering rams are removed.

Even though the trend seems to be ending, Black Friday shopping is not and will never be an excuse to leave one with bruises, sprained ankles, broken bones and concussions just because they took the last discounted smart TV.

Americans have become a little too consumed with, well, consumerism.

Thanksgiving, the holiday meant for celebrating what we are thankful for, should not take a back seat to what new, popular toy we can get our greedy hands on.

Speaker teaches students to think critically

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The Collegian Logo

By Alisha Thompson/reporter

The director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s teaching and learning center challenged students to connect, analyze, evaluate and extend their critical thinking skills Nov. 6 in the SE Campus ballroom.

“The first step to thinking critically is to begin from within, to think about your own thinking and how to strategically act,” Enoch Hale said.

Many times, students cram for exams and regurgitate material without thinking critically about it or taking it seriously so they can check the completed box. Truth is creative people, who think critically, communicate effectively and have a list of big concepts, Hale said.

Critical thinkers gather and assess relevant information, come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, think open-mindedly and recognize, assess and raise vital questions to problems and formulate them clearly and precisely, he said.

Hale used the metaphor “walking is to thinking as ballet is to discipline.”

“The do-what-you-are-told mentality is like walking while the critically thinking mentality is wanting to understand why and explore it further which takes discipline, studying and years of practice,” he said.

Students were asked to work together and fill out a small group instructional diagnosis sheet with their own answers. They learned sometimes things such as hunger, exhaustion, not asking questions and stress can hinder learning while proper nutrition, getting enough rest, showing up to class and asking questions helps them learn.

“I take pride in my work and build my own individual thoughts, SE student Jon Gomez said. “Thinking critically and asking questions is how you learn.”

Students were told to use their critical thinking skills, make a short checklist and ask themselves, “Can I explain this to someone else so they understand it, and how can I connect the issue to my own experience?” Hale said doing so ensures the material they are studying sticks.

“Learning is a process,” SE career and technology education advisor Charles Smith said. “You implement it and learn from it. College is not an end to learning. You can always improve the process of learning. No one has all the answers. Collectively, we can improve.”

Hale showed students three ways to use critical thinking. Students should try and connect ideas they learn in the classroom to their own experiences, extend their thinking in a new direction, and embrace the challenge or confusion while forming questions.

“Our goal is to make critical thinking more explicit in the classroom and to create transformative changes within classes across the institution,” SE quality enhancement plan coordinator Gracie Williams said.

Veterans celebrated on campus

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The Collegian Logo

By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

NE career cervices and student activities hosted a Veterans Day celebration to honor military Nov. 10.

Veterans were treated to lunch and informed about programs on the campus that could benefit them.

Academic advisor Marjenna Burge said the event was important to veteran students, and showed them that their time in the military is appreciated.

“It’s good for our veteran students to be acknowledged, and especially the ones trying to transfer back into civilian life,” she said.

Burge also spoke about the importance of veteran students and faculty connecting so if a veteran student needs support they know where to go and who to talk to.

“Having these events that show veterans that they’re not alone and have the opportunity to interact with veterans, faculty or students,” she said. “It’s people on campus that care and help do what we can to make them feel more connected to the campus.”

NE Veterans Club president Jimmy Cutler informed veterans about the club and compared the event to real-life social media.

“This event is comparable to a real-life Facebook, and it’s a good opportunity to meet similar people,” he said. “You see someone who you never saw before or see every day on campus and didn’t know they were a veteran.”

Tables were set up for Operations Cards for The Troops to send greeting cards to military personnel who are deployed out of the country or are in basic training.

Burge also announced a future opportunity for veteran students, the S.A.L.U.T.E. Veterans National Honor program that honors former service members for academic excellence.

“Since the program is nationwide, it’s a tremendous opportunity for veterans who qualify for it to enter the program,” she said. “The program can help with scholarships here at TCC or when the student transfers to a four-year college.”