GLBT Job Expo Returns To SMU

April 27, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Praveen Sathianathan
psathianat@smu.edu

In a move to bring diversity to the workplace, the Office of Diversity at SMU’s Cox School of Business is hosting the 2011 GLBT Job Expo.

The Job Expo, organized by the Resource Center Dallas and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, will be from 2 to 6 p.m. on April 27 in the ballroom of Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Free parking is available on Bishop Boulevard.

The expo, in its sixth year, gives LGBT jobseekers an opportunity to meet with gay-friendly employers, and to hone their skills in career-enhancing workshops such as resume writing, interviewing and networking.

For job seekers the expo offers them the chance to look for a better job, re-enter the workforce or look for that first job.

Although, the expo is open to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, Rafael McDonnell, strategic communications and programs manager for Resource Center Dallas, said it was extremely needed for the GLBT community.

“The expo is important for members of the GLBT community to find places where they are allowed to work freely and openly as who they are,” McDonnell said. “These are employers who are interested in doing just that.”

This year the job expo features many new companies including DFW International Airport, United Way of Greater Dallas and Plano and Texas-based apparel retailer J.C.Penney.

Other companies on hand are American Airlines, Bank of America, Capital One, Prudential and Texas Instruments.

Dallas agencies include the City of Dallas, the sheriff and police departments and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

This is the third year the expo will be held at SMU. In 2009 it was held at the Cox School of Business. Last year it was in the atrium of the Meadows School of the Arts.

“The last few years we have had such great demand that we have had to move to larger venues on the SMU campus,” McDonnell said.

The expo is part of the Resource Center’s initiative to build awareness on how by supporting others one can also benefit.

For additional information on the job expo visit the Resource Center’s website at www.rcdallas.org, or call 214-528-0144

Two Dead After Drug Deal Goes Wrong at The Phoenix

February 17, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Praveen Sathianathan and Aida Ahmed
psathianat@smu.edu, aahmed@smu.edu

Police search a car at the scene of the shooting late Wednesday night. (PHOTO BY STUART PALLEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Two suspects are charged with capital murder after a drug-related shooting near Burger Street in the 5600 Block of Mockingbird Lane claimed the lives of two men Wednesday night.

The Dallas Police Department said Jason Greer Frappier, 24, and Chrisitian Avalos, 25, have been charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of Chadwick Daniel Ryan, 27, of Arlington and Robert Manuel Allen, 29, of Dallas.

According to Dallas Police Lt. David Pughes, three men were sitting in a Jaguar and one man was outside the car when the drug deal went awry. Shots were fired and the two suspects ran away on foot toward the Phoenix Midtown apartments. Chadwick Daniel Ryan died at the scene. Allen was taken to Baylor University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Frappier, who was shot in the elbow at the scene, was also taken to Baylor, where he is being treated and guarded by police. Avalos was arrested, taken to Lew Sterrett Justice Center and is refusing to cooperate with police officers.

The incident, which happened next to the Phoenix apartment complex, is suspected to be a drug deal gone awry.

Police found marijuana and money in the Jaguar, and after a search warrant was issued for an apartment in the Phoenix, a total of 30 pounds of marijuana was found. Three weapons were also recovered at the scene.

In a press conference held Thursday afternoon, Lt. Pughes said the two suspects were believed to be living in the apartment.

Management at the Phoenix declined to comment on the incident.

Witnesses nearby, including an off-duty officer who was stationed at the Kroger Grocery store about 50 yards away, came running to the scene.

Police are in the process of contacting 50 witnesses that saw parts of the shooting. There is also a surveillance tape from the nearby Kroger that may have the shooting on tape.

SMU issued a crime alert Thursday morning verifying that no SMU students were involved in the incident.

Disclaimer: The video below may disturb some readers. Watch at your own discretion.

VIDEO: Press Conference, Phoenix Shooting from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Video by Praveen Sathianathan
Still Photography by Stuart Palley
Video Editing by Andy Garcia

Stay tuned to the Daily Mustang as this story develops.

Community Members Fight Against Graffiti Staining Dallas Neighborhoods

December 1, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

bubblelogo 
By Lauren Michaels
lmichaels@smu.edu

On a late morning in November, David Spence is working at a restaurant construction site in the Bishop Arts District. Since 1995, he has been renovating many of the commercial and residential properties in Oak Cliff. Before he can begin any part of the restoration though, he faces another challenge—graffiti.

While some people associate graffiti as a form of artistic expression and even art, others like Spence, believe it is nothing but a nuisance.

“Art is something you do when you have permission to paint on someone’s building,” Spence said.

For Spence and other Dallas residents, graffiti is an issue around the city. Both city officials and the Dallas Police Department say that many of Oak Cliff’s property walls have become a popular canvas for graffiti. Trashcans, stop signs, commercial and private properties are constantly hit with an explosion of colors and lettering designs.

A stop sign in North Oak Cliff has been tagged with graffiti. (PHOTO BY LAUREN MICHAELS / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Police officials say that taggers, who paint their names or initials for artistic exposure, are responsible for most of the graffiti seen in Dallas. They have identified well-over 200 taggers around the city. With the growth of graffiti in movies and video games, the culture of tagging is becoming more embedded within society.

“We have had an explosion, especially in Oak Cliff, of these young guys, 10 to 15 years of age, doing graffiti,” said Detective Bradley Dirks of the DPD Gang Unit.

Last year, Dallas’ Code Compliance sent out Graffiti Abatement Crews to work on 1,623 locations around Dallas. Of these locations, 580 were in North Oak Cliff.

While Code Compliance addresses private property, other city departments are working to remove graffiti on public property, including city parks, buildings, streets, bridges and traffic signals. Last year, Code Compliance responded to 5,619 calls for graffiti on public and private property. For every three or four calls it received, the city sent a crew out to clean-up graffiti.

While some government resources are limited to prevention and clean-up programs, the city of Dallas has taken a zero tolerance policy on graffiti.

Delia Jasso, Dallas District 1 Councilmember, held the first annual graffiti wipeout conference in Dallas last spring. Since her election in June 2009, Jasso has been working to education parents and their children about graffiti. This fall, Jasso and her mascot, Gina the Giraffe, have been hosting assemblies for elementary students around North Oak Cliff.

James Childers, Dallas’ Assistant Director for Nuisance Abatement, and other Dallas officials feel Jasso is heading in the right direction.

“I think its great what she has been doing,” Childers said. “She understands that you have to work through the schools.”

In the early 80s, graffiti served as a source of gang intelligence to help investigators identify their location. Today, most people who spray paint see themselves as artists and are looking to further their career by exposing their artwork around the city. Since Dirks’ spends most of his time in Oak Cliff, he has seen an influx of young Hispanic youth becoming involved with graffiti. However, Dirks said that graffiti is all over the city.

When Dirks worked on his first case in 1997, graffiti was seen as a criminal mischief. Graffiti is still a crime that is punishable by either a misdemeanor or felony. Both Dirks and DPD Lieutenant Edwin Ruiz-Diaz are confident in the department’s efforts to continue to implement graffiti laws.

“We do what we can, we don’t spend as much money as other cities but were not necessarily doing worse than they are,” Lt. Ruiz-Diaz said. “They cover it up quickly but the taggers are still out there.”

Police officials have issued curfew ordinances for the younger taggers, prohibited ordinances and actively filed cases. While catching taggers in the act is unlikely, Dirks said some taggers paint in broad daylight.

“It’s the luck of the draw,” Dirks said. “I’ve only caught two people in ten years and I do this eight hours a day.”

Spence leaves his properties closed every day to eliminate graffiti taggers from marking on his property.

“They are looking for a billboard and if I deprive them of that billboard then they will go elsewhere, ” Spence said.

Childers is also working to help remove graffiti in an effort to help keep neighborhoods clean.

“Even though the city will take care of the graffiti on your property, its still the property owners responsibility,” said Childers.

The city of Dallas provides free graffiti abatement for property owners with a consent form. When the case is reported through 3-1-1, the owner can either purchase paint for the city or have supplies dropped-off for them to abate as needed.

When Spence first started working in Oak Cliff with the Jefferson Areas Association, many property owners did not clean their sidewalks. With paint thinner, steel wool and chemical solutions, Spence has removed many of the graffiti letterings near his property. Now, Spence has noticed many shopkeepers losing their sense of personal responsibility. If a property is not maintained, he often sees more graffiti surrounding that area.

Dallas’ first Graffiti Abatement Coordinator, Lisa Fullerton, began conducting small graffiti clean-ups in August of 2006. With the support of Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, Fullerton and almost 700 volunteers participated in the city’s first graffiti wipeout. While Fullerton spent most of her days responding to resident calls and developing the city’s abatement website, she was also researching the psychology behind graffiti artists.

“Your fence, house, whatever, are a billboard and artists want to throw up tags because it is an artist’s signation,” Fullerton said. “The longer the tag is up there, the more prominent they are in the tagging community…more people are going to see it and it’s going to be difficult to remove.”

For Jasso, prevention and education are keys to stopping graffiti.

“If we can affect [K-6th grade] by letting them know in a fun and educational way, then we have at least begun to change the pattern,” Jasso said.

Jasso’s anti-graffiti program has recently been nominated to receive a National League of Cities Award. Results for Jasso and her six nominees will be released in December.

The Daily Mustang: Monday, Nov 8

November 8, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Monday, Nov 8 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

You might be surprised how many people are driving drowsy, the National Sleep Foundation is trying to put a stop to it, and find out which of your Mustang sports teams came home with a win.

Dallas Area Rape Center Works To Counsel Growing Number of Victims

October 26, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Beyond the Bubble
By Jefferson Johnson
jwjohnson@smu.edu

The building is almost inconspicuous among neighboring shops and boutiques. A simple door stencil, DARCC, is its only identifying mark.

Upon entering through, the waiting area is reminiscent of a home, with two sofas, end tables and scented candles. The walls are decorated with photos of survivors and their personal tales of rape and healing and other inspirational motifs. The environment feels intimate and safe.

Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, affectionately called “Darcy,” opened its doors earlier this year as a pilot program. The center offers help from trained counselors, volunteers and interns to sexual assault survivors, according to Jana Barker, executive director of DARCC.

Jana Barker sits at her deck at the DARCC. (PHOTO BY JEFFERSON JOHNSON / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

“We provide counseling,” said Barker. “It doesn’t matter when the rape occurred.”

Elizabeth Hays, a new counseling intern at the center in Richardson, knew she wanted to work with sexual assault survivors. Since starting her internship, Hays has begun aiding sexual assault survivors and shadowing trained volunteers and staff to help provide advocacy to survivors.

“You have to have a passion for the issue itself,” Hays said.

There are numerous rape victim services in Dallas, but none quite like the DARCC. DARCC is the only independent comprehensive rape crisis in the area, according to Barker. After the first rape crisis center program joined Parkland Hospital, there was no longer a 24-hour hotline for sexual assault survivors. Barker said Parkland uses physicians to perform the forensic exams and the advocates are actually employed by Parkland.

DARCC, on the other hand, uses trained volunteers and staff to provide advocacy at the new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, she said. And from the Richardson center, DARCC offers additional personal resources and aids survivors through their recovery and legal avenues.

“We are for the victim,” Barker said.

The DARCC program began in March as a way to provide quality sexual assault survivor’s service in the north east sector of Dallas, said Barker. The program is funded by a Sexual Assault Services Grant through the Governor’s office. DARCC also receives funding from the Dallas Women’s Foundation and another private foundations.

“If things proceed successfully, as they appear to be doing, the program will be opened up to the entire county,” Barker said.

This year so far, 377 sexual assault offenses have been reported in Dallas, up from 316 last year. The 25 percent increase comes after a six-year overall decline of sexual assault reports and other crimes in Dallas, said Patrick Welsh, sergeant of the Dallas Police Department’s crimes against persons division.

“By the numbers, one center in the entire county can’t possibly provide assistance to all those that need such services,” Barker said. “Additional services have been needed in Dallas for a long time.”

Dallas police say they are also taking no chances in helping prevent rape.

They are stepping up patrols, focusing on entertainment districts and spreading preventative tips and information through community meetings and social networks, according to Welsh.

Welsh speculated that the increase in sexual assaults could be due to victims being more comfortable with coming forward and seeking treatment through rape victim centers and better prepared officers.

“The more advocacies, the more survivors,” said Welsh, of centers like DARCC. “When survivors use the rape victim services it benefits them in the future for a more successful prosecution of the perpetrator, which is not always an easy task.”

Statistics show that with the proper treatment, victims are more likely to have normal lives.

“Without treatment they are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, suffer depression and commit suicide,” Barker said. “DARCC is about making a difference to sexual assault survivors and helping the victim get back to their life.”

“Get help,” Barker advises sexual assault survivors. DARCC’s services are free of charge.

“If you are suffering from a past or a recent sexual assault, you owe it to yourself to get counseling,” Barker said.

VIDEO: DPD Adjusts to Stress of Economy

May 11, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Meredith Crawford
mcrawford@smu.edu

Read more

SMU Alumni Fights For Dallas County Rape Victims

February 18, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Hayley Nelson
henelson@smu.edu

For decades rape victims in Dallas County were told they could only go to one hospital to get the rape kit necessary to provide DNA evidence that would be admissible in a trial. That will change at the beginning of next month because of a SMU alumni whose been fighting for victims since her days on The Hilltop.

Courtney Underwood, 27, was raped at 15-years-old, inspiring her 7-year crusade for women’s rights. She spoke to SMU students and faculty about how she fought the legal system and won for the sake of women at SMU and throughout Dallas County at Heroy Lecture Hall Wednesday evening.

“It’s great for me to have done this, but even greater to share it with people who will listen,” said Underwood.

She began her journey by completing a 48-hour training course at Parkland’s Rape Crisis Center and volunteered there the following six months.

“I thought I couldn’t advocate against this system unless I worked in it,” Underwood explained.

Rape victims often waited anywhere from three to eight hours for a rape kit, still sitting in the clothes they were wearing when they were assaulted Underwood said.

“Waiting there had to have been a terrible experience,” said Underwood. “And at that point evidence may no longer be valid.”

After her volunteer service at Parkland, she began a frustrating multi-year search to change the system. Underwood met with hospital administrators, the Dallas Police Department, and county officials which finally led to her conversation with Craig Watkins, Dallas County’s District Attorney.

“He has a strong interest in the victims, which was something new for Dallas,” said Underwood. “It was nice to see someone in the city that finally cared for this issue.”

Watkins found a deal made between Parkland Hospital and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office signed in the 1970s. Therefore, Parkland was the only hospital with trained nurses who will collect the evidence and appear in court.

“It gave [Parkland] a monopoly in Dallas where they could basically do what they wanted because there was no other place for [rape victims] to go,” said Underwood. “The victims suffer for it.”

After government agencies recognized deficiencies in the system, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program was developed.

“Courtney is an inspiring example of a system she found a problem with, and changed it,” said Beth Newman, Director of Women’s Studies at SMU.

The ER department of Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas has certified two nurses and four are currently going through training. The hospital will begin rape kit testing March 1 in Dallas, and are currently administrated at their Plano hospital.

Currently only 20 percent of rapes are reporting, a statistics Underwood hopes to change. She anticipates more victims will report the crime by giving more places where they can do that.

Dallas was the largest city in the country without a freestanding rape crisis center. Underwood co-founded the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, and currently serves as the president of the board. Counseling services are now available.

“It’s been a long 7 years,” said Underwood. “But [rape] conviction rates are appallingly low. How can you give up on that?”

“She got things done when everyone else had given up,” said Jessica Andrewartha, co-president of SMU’s Woman’s Interest Network. “It is inspiring to see how one of are alumni started this while she was still a student here.”

Big D Blog: Crime Comes Knocking on Knox-Henderson

October 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Christina Murphy

Many of us Dallasites love the unique and happening neighborhood of Knox-Henderson. The energy this neighborhood possesses is warm and peaceful yet spits high energy when it comes to night life. I have never questioned my safety in this adorable area that is endlessly humanized.

It wasn’t until Tuesday night that I have ever been frightened to be in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood. I was awoken in the middle of the night by the neighbor dogs barking. It didn’t seem like the dogs were at all suffering or restricted but I felt their panic and knew something was wrong. I ignored their alarming barks and kept sleeping.

The following day, a neighbor, Jorge, approached my front door. He described the scene of his home as chaotic. A two by four was thrown threw his front window where intruders shed blood they accumulated while entering the small home.

I immediately felt fear that Jorge might be lying. With no mention of what was missing or no interest in eye contact, I was not convinced Jorge was telling the truth. I immediately went inside and questioned my safety.

The crime rate in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood is high and currently racking in all the attention. Recently, a few women have escaped rape by a man in the middle of the night, all at different times. The local news has covered these events and has residents living in the “M” streets on guard.

For more information on your neighborhoods crime rate, be sure to read and watch the news. You can also find more information on the Dallas Police Department website.