SMU Alumnus Bill O’Neil Pays Business and Journalism Students a Visit to Discuss the Meaning of Truth in the Economic and Reporting World

November 16, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Lara Mirgorod

On Thursday, Oct. 13, SMU students received a warm visit and lecture from Bill O’ Neil, founder of SMU’s O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom. Students, faculty and O’Neil Center employees were there to hear what the successful entrepreneur and author had to say.

“What O’Neil has given to this school is the center which will help students learn the benefits of free markets, society, and how this can lead to prosperity,” said Research Associate for O’Neil center, Kathryn Shelton

William J. “Bill” O’ Neil established the O’Neil Center at Southern Methodist University in 2008. O’Neil studied at SMU and received a Bachelor’s degree in 1955.

He is a successful entrepreneur, stockbroker and writer who founded the business newspaper Investor’s Business Daily and the stockbrokerage firm William O’Neil + Co Inc.

“I wanted to invest in this building because I felt like I had to make a change in student’s lives and what they are listening to when it comes to the media” said O’Neil.

O’Neil said he gave the money to invest in the O’Neil center because he realized several years ago that the national media is never going to tell the full truth.

“I wanted to tell journalists to be aware of how the business world works. I think a country can get into trouble if the media is not balanced enough no matter what side one prefers when it comes to politics,” says O’Neil.

The center offers education and training for today’s students who are focusing on the future and importance of globalization in the business world.

O’Neil explained to students that the future safety of the country depends on the truth.

“Your job as journalists is to get the truth out,” says O’Neil.

Many students were pleasantly surprised at how passionate O’Neil was about journalism and business students’ futures.

“You always want to have a successful and well known alumni, and it enhances global perception of our degree,” said SMU senior finance and economics major, C.J. Camerato.

O’Neil’s main point was that people can not build businesses without knowing exactly what is going on.

“You must learn both sides of every argument, and you need to separate what is true from what is not,” said O’Neil.

He made a point that in today’s generation, most journalists tend to think one way and one way only.

“No one limits you except yourself. You decide what you are going to be, because the government can not decide that for you. The government needs to get out of the way and let opportunities flow” says O’Neil.

There were about 40 students who attended the lecture, and O’Neil asked questions for them to answer, and tired to spark debate and curiosity.

“I think it is important for us as an entitled generation, in an entitled area, to hear a successful person say don’t be a victim and take responsibility for your actions. If you live your life blaming other people then you aren’t going to get anywhere” said senior SMU Finance and Film Production major Ricky Townsend.

When O’Neil first started his business paper, he hired 40 reporters and only two or three of them were conservatives.

“I had to make a change, because I felt that this was distorting the news” said O’Neil.

O’Neil started to change his newspaper in positive ways to make it successful. He didn’t want young journalists to form opinions that were not really their own.

O’Neil remembered when he heard about Ronald Reagan on the news, and different accusations about Communism, and did not want to see the country fall apart because of what the media was turning into.

“It is easy to get brainwashed by the media these days because of false accusations and what I learned from the news in the past is what made me decide to invest in this joined program at SMU, and it happens to be very successful” says O’Neil.

SMU business major Quentin Major believes that this building is going to help students become educated and more aware of what is going on in the nation’s economy.

“It is a great thing that he has invested this building for SMU, and I know I will benefit from his success. I think students may admire Bill for the goals he has achieved, and what he has done for our wonderful campus,” said Major.

Director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, William Michael Cox believes that O’Neil has brought a free market perspective to this University, where it is very much needed.

“Bill is a successful business man in the newspaper world and what students have to understand and remember is that success in America means you are supplying a product that people willingly buy, because they find it valuable and useful in their lives” says Cox.

Undocumented Students Fight for an Education

November 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment 


By Essete Workneh

Ramiro Luna gives a talk. (Photo courtesy of Ramiro Luna)

Ramiro Luna was seven years old when he immigrated to the United States from Mexico with his parents. As an illegal immigrant, Luna’s pathway to the American dream has been marked with struggle. He graduated from Dallas’ El Centro Community College in 2007 with an Associate’s degree in Education. Currently, Luna, 28, is taking online classes and completing a bachelor’s degree in Bilingual Education from Texas Tech University.

Gov. Ricky Perry’s 2001 decision to sign House Bill 1403, which passed virtually unopposed in the Republican controlled legislature, made Texas the first state in the country to offer in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants. In order to qualify, students have to graduate from a Texas high school and must have maintained at least three years of residency in the state. The law does not apply only to illegal immigrants: All students can receive in-state tuition if they meet the guidelines.

For Luna, the passage of HB 1403 instilled in him a newfound sense of belonging.

“Living in our situation, at least for myself, there’s a subconscious thought of you being seen as an unwanted dissident,” he said. “First, my immediate reaction was, great, I can go to college and I don’t have to lie, but an undertone that I also felt was that there was somebody out there that said ‘it’s OK you’re not that terrible of people’ because there were times where you do feel almost like a pest.”

Like Luna, Marco Malagon, 29, is an undocumented student. When he was 17 he illegally crossed the Mexican border into Texas in pursuit of an education. He graduated from high school with perfect attendance and received his Associate’s degree in Science from Collin County Community College in 2005. He is now pursuing degrees in Business and Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Luna and Malagon are two of the five founding members of the North Texas Dream Team, an umbrella organization for campus groups lobbying for the passage of the federal DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants brought into the country before the age of 16 and who have graduated from high school or earned a GED, been accepted to a college or university, or served in the U.S. military.

Since Malagon does not meet these provisions he would not benefit if the act were to pass. However, he still continues to fight for students who will profit.

“It’s really painful for me because I’m a really big advocate for the DREAM Act, basically I just give all my time to it,” he said. “But since I know how hard it is to go out there and try to get educated and not having anything at the end, that’s what motivates me to go out there.”

While Texas allows undocumented students to attend university and pay in-state tuition, because of their status, many students find it difficult to find a job once they graduate.

“Even with a degree, you’re still invalid in a lot of ways,” said Luna. “It doesn’t matter if you have a doctorate from an Ivy League school, you wouldn’t be legally able to serve burgers at a McDonalds.”

California adopted its own form of the DREAM Act in October. Gov. Jerry Brown announced the state would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates and receive state aid.

The news comes at a time when many states seem to be implementing stricter immigration reform policies. In September, Alabama passed what is considered to be the toughest state immigration law in the nation; provisions include requiring police to demand proof of legal status if they have “reasonable suspicion” that someone is in the country illegally.

In December of 2010 the DREAM Act failed to advance in the Senate. SMU Political Science Professor James Hollifield, a specialist and scholar on immigration, does not foresee the act passing in the near future.

Marco Malagon takes part in a five day fast for the Dream Act. (Photo courtesy of Lupita Murillo Tinnen)

“As long as you’ve got a strong Republican minority or majority, and this is such a hot button issue for Republican voters, that I think Republicans will block it in the Congress,” he said. “Unless you see a big political shift in the Congress, I’m not optimistic that it will get passed anytime soon.”

Malagon believes much of the contention surrounding the DREAM Act is caused by the many misconceptions people have about illegal immigrants.

“We pay taxes as well. The reality is we pay sales taxes, I live in a house I pay property taxes. I worked, doesn’t matter how I worked, but I paid taxes. I paid social security that I’ll never get back. So education is subsidized by taxes, so we’re all contributing our own share,” he said.

Juan Garcia, Vice-President of SMU’s League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), believes the DREAM Act gives everyone an equal opportunity.

“If you already invest in public school education for these students, you pay for them for high school, middle school, and elementary up to college, you might as well keep them here with a degree and make use of it,” he said.

Chad Cohen, President of SMU College Republicans, shares Garcia’s sentiment.

“Personally, I do support the DREAM Act. I support giving worthy students an opportunity to pursue their education at a higher level,” he said.

Perry’s presidential bid has put the illegal immigration dispute at the forefront of the GOP debates, many conservatives view HB 1403 as a sign of Perry’s lax stance on immigration. His primary rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has heavily criticized Perry’s defense that those who are opposed to the bill don’t “have a heart.”

“I fundamentally don’t believe that we should give a break to illegal aliens to go to college in the United States.” Romney said recently on Fox News’ “The Sean Hannity Show.”

Professor Hollifield believes much of the debate rhetoric is purely symbolic.

“Within the Republican Party most of the candidates are staking out a position that they think will appeal to the core voters. And most of them would be against allowing immigrants,” he said. “You can see that all of the candidates feel they have to [appeal to the right-wing constituency] in order to get the nomination, once they get the nomination, they can moderate their position.”

According to Professor Hollifield, the role candidates take on the issue also depends heavily on the role that immigration plays on the economy and in society. So states that have a long history of immigration, like Texas, and that have economies that are heavily dependent on immigrant labor, are less likely to be anti-immigrant than states where immigration is much more recent.

Despite some setbacks, Luna plans to continue to advocate for students and works hard to put a face to the issue.

“This country is big enough for all of us,” Luna said. “I wish they wouldn’t see us as illegal aliens, I wish they would see us as people.”

SMU’s First Female Sports Writer Shares Her Story

September 28, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Meghan Sikkel

A page from Crumpler’s scrapbook displays clips she wrote as an SMU sports writer in 1950. (Photo by Meghan Sikkel)

It was the fall of 1950, and 17-year-old Jeanette Howeth Crumpler was starting her sophomore year at SMU.

After attending North Texas State College for a year, the journalism major transferred to SMU to write for the university’s student newspaper, known at the time as The SMU Campus.

When she joined the newspaper staff, the independent blonde-haired, blue-eyed student knew exactly what she wanted to do: She wanted to write feature stories about “girly” topics, like gardening and fashion, and she wanted to write about women, their lives and their social breakthroughs.

So, when one of the newspaper’s editors, whom Crumpler remembers as “Buzz,” told her she was going to be writing about women’s sports, her reaction was not quite what he had hoped for.

“I laughed,” she said. “I didn’t want to write about sports.”

No matter how much Crumpler, now 78, begged to write about anything other than sports, Buzz refused to compromise.

Female sports were offered solely to intramural sorority teams and included golf, tennis and field hockey. The teams were new to SMU, and Buzz thought it would be “a unique thing” for a woman to write about them, Crumpler said.

So, with some words of encouragement from Buzz, who often reminded her that she was doing something “groundbreaking,” and a list of about 30 sporty verbs, like “trounced” and “swept,” which served as a reference for the less-than-experienced sports reporter, Crumpler became the first female sports writer at SMU.

“I didn’t know what in the world I was doing,” she said. “I just focused on learning those verbs.”

She wrote a weekly column called “Gals in Sports,” as well as a piece on SMU professors titled “Tops in My Book.” But then, family problems intervened, and Crumpler had to withdraw from SMU in December that same year. She left in part to take care of her 90-year-old grandmother, whom Crumpler said had “more or less raised” her.

She added that she was never able to finish her journalism degree. After her sophomore semester at SMU, Crumpler moved to Houston and married. She had two sons, who are both deceased.

Today, Crumpler sits in the delightfully cluttered living room of the Lakewood home she has lived in for the past 60 years. Flowers and brightly colored vases line the windows, books fill the overflowing bookshelves and historic photos of Dallas landmarks crowd the walls.

As she flips through a bursting scrapbook, loose magazine articles and newspaper clips, many of which are about the local “celebrity,” spill out onto the floor.

“For some reason, people keep writing about me,” Crumpler said. “I don’t think I’m interesting at all.”

A page from Crumpler’s scrapbook displays clips she wrote as an SMU sports writer in 1950. (Photo by Meghan Sikkel)

Some would beg to differ.

Dr. Camille Kraeplin, associate professor of journalism at SMU and researcher in female issues, said the journalism field has not always been so “female-friendly.”

According to Kraeplin, until the 1960s, old-time newsrooms had the reputation of being like old boys’ networks with very rough atmospheres, so it was difficult for women to break into any type of journalism, especially in sports.

However, as an interest in media and media-related occupations became increasingly prevalent among women, Kraeplin said females began to work their way into the “very male-dominated field.”

Greater accessibility to sports and, thus, increased female athletic participation, further propelled women into the world of sports journalism, Kraeplin said.

“There are some remarkable examples of women who have broken through the barriers,” she said.

Aside from holding the title of SMU’s first female sports writer, Crumpler is a history buff and gardening enthusiast and has worked as an author, a freelance writer, a publicist and an interpreter for the deaf. She has written six books, two church histories and countless articles on topics ranging from the history of Dallas to what kind of tomatoes grow best in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

Crumpler, who served on the National Gardening Association Test Panel for several years, is perhaps best known today for her work as “The Tomato Lady,” a title she received for her vast knowledge of tomato growing.

After thumbing through pages of gardening articles and family photos, Crumpler finally finds the page she has been searching for.

In the middle of four newspaper clippings from The SMU Campus, a handwritten note says, “I was the first female sports writer at SMU 1950.”

According to Crumpler, female staff members were rare at that time, regardless of whether or not they were writing about sports. In fact, as far as Crumpler could tell, she was the only female on the entire staff.

“I’m supposing there surely would have been others [females] on the staff, but I never saw any,” Crumpler said. “It was such a fairly new field for females to be writing on the paper at all.”

Today, the situation is much different. Of the two sports editors for The Daily Campus, both of them are female.

SMU senior E’Lyn Taylor, sports editor for The Daily Campus, thinks it’s an “honor” and a “privilege” to hold the historically male-occupied title.

“The field of journalism is evolving,” Taylor said. “Women are starting to get the respect they deserve in this profession.”

Like Crumpler, Taylor has also broken a glass ceiling at SMU. She is the university’s first African American sports editor.

“We hear about women breaking barriers all the time,” she said. “I think it’s great and inspiring that barriers still can be broken in this century.”

While she believes there are still some barriers to be broken, Crumpler says it is “wonderful” to know women today have a better range than they did in the ‘50s.

“I’m big on personal rights, period, for everybody,” Crumpler said. “I believe it is wonderful to give people, anybody, those opportunities.”

Associate sports editor Erica Peñuñuri, a junior at SMU, said she doesn’t think twice about being a female sports writer.

“You either know your sports or you don’t,” Peñuñuri said. “It’s about who knows what, no matter the gender.”

Although sports journalism positions continue to be largely occupied by men, Peñuñuri said the number of female sports writers is increasing because, “like [in] most careers today, gender isn’t an issue.”

“I think the fact that both sports editors at SMU are females says a lot about the field of journalism today,” she said.

Sports anchor and host for Dallas-Fort Worth television station TXA21 Gina Miller shares that opinion.

“I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal to be a woman doing this job anymore,” Miller, who also co-hosts CBS 11 Sports’ pre- and post-game shows for the Dallas Mavericks, Cowboys and Stars, said.

When Miller, 37, began her sports reporting career in Guam 15 years ago, she was the island’s only female sports reporter. She was also the first woman in Knoxville, Tenn. to report on sports.

“It was really sort of an envelope-pushing thing,” she said.

Now, things are different, Miller said. Although she continues to be one of the few women in the locker room, she says the respect of her colleagues, as well as of athletes, demonstrates how far women have come in the sports journalism field.

“There has been such growth in this industry,” Miller said. “All the guys in this market know all of the women in the market. They know that we’re professional and that we are there to do our job.”

Although she no longer follows SMU sports, Crumpler was “delighted” to learn both sports editors for The Daily Campus are female.

“It’s high time,” she said.

Deep Ellum: The Neighborhood that Refuses to Die

May 15, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

By Fernando Valdes

Barry Annino, president of The Deep Ellum Foundation, moved to Deep Ellum during its heydays in the 1990s. Annino saw Deep Ellum thrive. He remembers having a Deep Ellum MasterCard, starting the Deep Ellum Film Festival and driving through a graffiti covered tunnel to enter the neighborhood.

Today, none of those things exist.

Deep Ellum was once one of the most vibrant entertainment districts in Texas, known for its rich history, live music venues and restaurants. Today, after having survived a major downfall, Deep Ellum is once again transforming into an integral piece of Dallas city life.

During the mid 2000s, Deep Ellum became plagued with crime and saw many tenants go out of business. The decline of Deep Ellum led to the abandonment of the neighborhood. Empty streets and vacant buildings filled the landscape.

Many residents and loyal visitors knew the community had gone through this before and would once again revive itself. Today, community residents and organizations, such as The Deep Ellum Foundation, are working hard to give the streets of Deep Ellum new life.

“It’s booming now and thriving and going on its own,” said Kayce Phy, a Deep Ellum resident for more than 12 years.

The green line of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has helped improve the neighborhood by connecting Deep Ellum to Downtown and other parts of the city. This has alleviated parking issues and brought more visitors to the area.

According to Paula Ramirez, a Deep Ellum resident and a member of the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project (DEEP), the streets are no longer desolate during the day. Ramirez has seen an influx of people walking in the streets and enjoying the neighborhood.

During the past year, many new businesses have sprung up in Deep Ellum. Several iconic restaurants, bars and music venues, such as Trees and Club Dada, have also reopened.

Mike Turley, co-owner of Serious Pizza, is one of many business owners who decided to open their new restaurants in Deep Ellum. After searching around the country for the perfect location, the Orlando native and his business partner, Andrew Phillips, discovered Deep Ellum and immediately knew they had found the perfect location.

According to Turley, the culture of the neighborhood combined with the cheap rent sold them on the neighborhood.

“Deep Ellum has been a great time,” said Turley. “The community is awesome.”

According to Annino, restaurants, bars and music venues are opening in Deep Ellum because the rent is cheap and it is conveniently located close to downtown, Baylor Medical Hospital and a major police department center.

Additionally, Annino said venues will benefit from the plans the City of Dallas has to improve Deep Ellum. The city has proposed making all streets two-way streets, widening all of the sidewalks and adding more benches and trees around the neighborhood. This will allow restaurants and bars to have patios on sidewalks. It will also make streets pedestrian friendly and slow traffic down exponentially.

Although Deep Ellum is well known for its nightlife and restaurants, visitors sometimes overlook another aspect of the neighborhood.

“People are going to realize people actually live here,” said Ramirez. “It’s not just bars. There is a community.”

Members of the community have been putting in the work necessary to revive Deep Ellum and make it a unique and vibrant place to be.

“People talk about Brooklyn, they talk of these neighborhoods, like cities it reminds them of, but they can’t say they have the closeness of their neighbors like they have right here,” said Phy.

The 170-acre community, which houses nearly 2,000 residents, is mostly comprised of people in their 20s and 30s who are looking for an inexpensive, diverse neighborhood near downtown Dallas.

Inside the walls of Deep Ellum, you will find people brimming with creativity. The neighborhood has always been known for its diverse and eclectic artists.

“There’s a lot of talent here,” Annino said. “It’s not a sophisticated talent in that it’s not a rich group; there’s not a lot of money necessarily… but they do what they do special. You can see it in the art, the pillars, the music.”

The residents of Deep Ellum know their neighborhood has a history of ups and downs. During the 1920s, Deep Ellum was known as one of the premier areas for jazz and blues musicians in the South. Several iconic artists, such as Blind Lemmon Jefferson and Bessie Smith, played in clubs all over the neighborhood.

By the time World War II ended, the city had expanded and Deep Ellum had lost many iconic music venues and nightclubs. Slowly, the residents moved out of the neighborhood and Deep Ellum became a warehouse district.

Deep Ellum came roaring back to life in the 1990s, when it became known as Dallas’ liveliest entertainment district. By 1991, the neighborhood had 57 bars and nightclubs. Artists from all over the country started to book performances in the area.

But once again, crime, zoning restrictions and the rise of other entertainment districts led to the decline of Deep Ellum.

History seems to be repeating itself. Residents and enthusiasts say Deep Ellum has a bright future.

“The city is making a lot of changes,” said Phy. “I think it would be hard to tear apart the love that this community has for the actual history and for what we all together see as the future.”

VIDEO: Will Dallas Follow Other Cities by Issuing a Smoking Ban in Public Parks?

May 11, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Video and editing by Meredith Carlton

For decades, smoking has been a controversial issue and the subject of a number of laws throughout the country.

In Texas, smoking has been prohibited in a number of places since 1997 from elevators to hospitals. But in 2008, Dallas County passed their own set of smoking bans extending them into all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

After the new mayoral election on May 14, Dallas County could see a new smoking ban in place for public parks.

“A park is by definition a public place,” Joe Kobylka, SMU political science professor, said. “You have a right to be in a park and you don’t have to be licensed to be in a park…so it’s a different kettle of fish.”

Although this ban might seem strange to residents of Dallas, a number of other cities have issued the bans in parks. Raleigh, North Carolina and New York City are just two cities in the United States that passed the measure.

However, smokers in Dallas are not fond of the possibility.

“I’d probably smoke anyways,” Daniel Garza, Dallas resident, said. “I don’t think that (the bans) would stop people from smoking, it would just make controversy.”

If the new Mayor of Dallas does try to implement the ban, officials said it would be hard to monitor it. Currently, Dallas County already has an ordinance that is said to be difficult to enforce—drinking in public parks.

“Finding a way to percent anyone from smoking or drinking in our parks just isn’t going to happen,” Dave Strueber assistant director of the West region for Dallas Park and Recreation Dept. said.

In addition to enforcing the law, many are skeptical if a smoking ban in parks would have any effect at all.

“If people do continue to smoke in parks, they will realize it’s largely a toothless law and more of a symbolic statement than anything else,” Kobylka said.

Some believe the new ban would be beneficial and the new mayor should consider the possible ban.

“Parks are suppose to be clean, fresh air, a chance to run around and that sort of a thing,” Mandy Trexel, SMU freshman, said. “If you go over there (to a park) and someone’s smoking it kind of ruins it for you.”

Garza disagrees.

“I feel that as Americans we have the right to smoke,” he said. “I believe it’s one of our freedoms and it’s upsetting to me the government is trying to hold us back from our rights and what we want to do.”

Dallas County residents will not know if the ban is a possibility until the new mayor is elected.

Dalai Lama Visits SMU, Receives Honorary Degree

May 9, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Praveen Sathianathan

His Holiness the Dalai Lama told an audience of 2,000 high school and college students Monday afternoon at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium, that they are the ones who can shape the future.

“Young people belong to the 21st century, you can make this century, peaceful and democratic,” the Dalai Lama said.

Wearing a traditional maroon and saffron monk’s robe and at times a red SMU baseball hat with a Mustang on it, the revered head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet, spoke about democracy, responsibility and his optimism for a free Tibet as part of university’s 10th Hart Global Leaders Forum. He also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from SMU.

“Basically we are the same human being. Different faith, different race, different language, even different culture,” he said. “Everyone has the right to achieve happiness.”

He advised the audience to celebrate their commonalities and unify.

“When we come from mother’s womb, no difference of nationality, no difference of religion, no difference of culture,” he said.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for using non-violent methods in his opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet.

“The world belongs to humanity, not to kings or spiritual leaders,” he said. “Each country belongs to the people of that country.”

He said the U.S. belongs to 300 million people and not to any one political party.

His Holiness then praised the country for being a champion of democracy, freedom and liberty, but later said, “Democracy is not an American possession, it is universal,” citing India and Japan.

Acknowledging Laura Bush, who was seated in the front row, he then talked about George W. Bush’s policies as sometimes giving him “reservations,” but that the former president’s motivations were “excellent.”

He also stressed the importance of education to the students, who represented 45 Dallas schools.

“Education must be broad and holistic,” he said. “Your mind must be calm. Too much emotion and you can’t see the reality.”

He also told the audience that he became the 14th spiritual leader at age 2 by recognizing and reciting scriptures of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. He described the search process and then discussed the optimism he felt toward his country.

He said in the last two years more than 1000 articles were written by the Chinese on Tibet “all supporting our way” and criticizing the government.

The Dalai Lama took over political leadership of Tibet in 1950, after China’s attack on the Himalayan nation, but was forced into exile nine years later.

Since his exile, his Holiness has visited more than 62 countries spreading his message of peace. He is the recipient of 84 awards and honorary degrees and has authored more than 70 books.

In mid-March, the 75-year-old leader said that he will retire as head of state for the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Dallas resident Poonam Shah said the Dalai Lama’s message of peace and compassion is easy to follow, but sometimes lost by people’s daily lives.

“The beauty of what he said is that these things are so simple, they are right there in front of us, but a lot of us are so engrossed in out lives that we don’t realize that it is just that simple as that,” she said. “All we need is to be a friend and develop trust in yourself and others and vice versa and just be nice.”

Jasmin Roman, graduate student in engineering management who attended the forum, said she has the pocket Dalai Lama book at work and reads it when she is having a tough day.

“This has been one of my life dreams. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “Being in his presence, his holiness and his spirit touches you in a way. I have a final tomorrow and I knew this would re-center me and re-energize me and the good karma would come back in and I feel that now. I’m ready to study for another 12 hours!”

The stop at SMU was part of the Dalai Lama’s five-state U.S. visit. According to his website the next stop on his itinerary is the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

The Hart Global Leaders Forum is dedicated to turning younger generations into accountable, ethical beings, is sponsored by gifts from Mitch and Linda Hart.

Linda Hart, an aluma of SMU Dedman School of Law, said the forum may have “reached a pinnacle in global leaders by bringing his Holiness to SMU.”

Previous speakers for the Leaders program have included former Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Video By Fernando Valdes

McDonald’s Corp. Holds National Hiring Day

May 9, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Meredith Carlton

Juan Hernandez seems like a typical McDonald’s employee. He knows the fast paced environment of the company, interacts well with others and has memorized the regulars’ orders. However, this wasn’t always the case.

“I’m not a fast food person,” Hernandez, who works for a McDonald’s in Irving, said. “I just knew the basics, McDonald’s and the happy meal.”

Hernandez applied for a job at the fast food giant in Irving in July 2010, but within four months, he had worked his way up to a crew trainer position. Now thousands of other people may get the same shot.

McDonald’s Corp. held its first national hiring day on April 19, hoping to hire 50,000 new employees across the United States. In an effort to keep up with increased business and new menu additions that require more employees, they felt this was the perfect opportunity.

Behind the counter at McDonald's. (PHOTO BY MEREDITH CARLTON / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

“The reason we’re doing this is because we want to staff our restaurants,” Mike Ray, the director of operations for the greater Southwest and Houston regions, said. “To be able to continue to grow the business, we need great people in our restaurants.”

The Dallas/Fort-Worth area McDonald’s were hoping to hire between 1,200-1,400 new employees, officials said. Although specific numbers on the area are not yet available, Nicole Neal, McDonald’s communications manager for the Greater Southwest Region, said the region, comprised of North Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and parts of Northwest Arkansas, received more than 31,000 applications, conducted more than 23,000 interviews and hired 2,979 new managers and crew.

However, the number of hires per store would be based on each store’s staffing needs analysis, which tells owners how many employees they need to hire based on their turnover and the current number of staff members.

Ray started his employment at McDonald’s 25 years ago as a security manager for the Southeast United States and the Caribbean. Since then, he’s had the opportunity to go into an accelerated management program and ended in the position he holds today.

The McDonald’s at 8435 North Belt Line Road in Irving was just one of many McDonald’s across the country that held a special hiring day.

Hernandez, a crew trainer at the restaurant, and his black-shirted counterparts across the nation are responsible for making sure new crewmembers know the proper protocol and procedures of the restaurant. These positions are vital to McDonald’s success, teaching employees things such as how to keep the kitchen clean and deliver a fresh meal in less than 90 seconds.

As summer approaches, Hernandez and other crew trainers typically have a handful of employees to take under their wing. This usually happens at different times throughout the country, but this year things have changed because of the hiring day.

Texas has kept its unemployment rate at or below the national rate for the last few years, during the worst of the recession, and the economy appears to be slowly recovering. In March, the state’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, down .1 percent from February and .7 percent below the national rate. Because of this, McDonald’s jobs are believed to be beneficial to the area.

“We have such a diverse and competent work force,” Herbert Gears, mayor of Irving, said in an interview. He visited the Irving McDonalds on the national hiring day to promote the hiring and to give the restaurant an award. “We’re known for that, which is part of the reason why we’re the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country.”

However, according to Dr. Dale Boisso, SMU adjunct economics professor, unemployment is especially high for persons with less than a college education and those older (40+) who have been laid off. He believes the jobs are a double-edged sword.

“Some jobs are better than none,” he said. “However, it is unfortunate our economy seems to be generating low-skill work, regression into a service-oriented verses a manufacturing economy.”

Others believe the jobs are marketed to a certain group of people.

“Most of these jobs will go to people who are just starting in the labor force,” Dr. Nathan Balke, SMU professor of economics, said. “This is a very important time in their labor market careers.”

According to, the average salary for these 50,000 jobs is $8.30, a little above the federal minimum wage of $7.25. If all 50,000 people were hired as fulltime positions, it would put about $863 million into the hands of people that may be currently making less or, nothing at all.

“Just based on those raw numbers, that’s an additional billion dollars into the economy on an annual basis, and that’s just McDonald’s,” said Simon Mak, SMU adjunct lecturer and assoc. director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship.

“I anticipate that employment growth will start picking up,” Balke said. “Maybe this is a signal of what’s happening.”

Stories like Ray’s and Hernandez’s of working up the hiring ladder aren’t uncommon. Officials said 75 percent of managers and 50 percent of all owner/operators at McDonald’s started as crew members. Even Jan Fields, McDonald’s own president, started as a crewmember.

Critics have said hiring 50,000 people in one day could only mean one thing—a publicity stunt—but Jeffrey Smith, owner and operator of four Texas locations, said the sales tell it all.

“Our sales dictate that for us to be able to meet the needs of our customers, we have to hire more people.”

Although some might believe a potential job for these 50,000 people, will be just that, Hernandez knows it ends up to be more.

“Some people think I do it just because I need the money,” he said. “But I just like it.”

VIDEO: Is Yoga Straying Too Far From its Origins?

May 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Wesleigh Ogle

Hot yoga, prenatal yoga, laughing yoga, even mouth yoga. Some Hindus are concerned that this ancient religious practice is straying too far from its origins.

Yoga is a Sanskrit term meaning, “to unite” the body with the mind, or the individual with the godhead. However, modern yoga is transforming into something different.

“It’s the time of the day when I can take all of my focus and take it from the outside and put it on myself,” said yoga student Lauren Mishoe.

Yoga became a secular workout in the 19th century when British presence in India put an emphasis on strong, vigorous bodies.

“Yoga transformed itself in the popular consciousness as being a practice of health and well being, and started to become in that way less religious,” said SMU religious studies professor Steven Lindquist.

Although both forms share values of healthier bodies and minds, they differ in their end goals. Westerners seek reduced stress, flexibility and muscle strength, while Hindus are looking for ultimate realization.

“It’s a way to get closer to God, it’s a way to understand your position in the universe,” said Lindquist.

However, some Hindus are concerned that modern yoga is straying too far from its traditional form.

“For some, it’s an issue of cultural pride, it’s an issue of maintaining their cultural heritage,” said Lindquist.

But secular yoga students, like Lauren, don’t see it that way.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem, I think it’s a different kind of experience. I’m not a very spiritual person, so, for me, this is a different kind of spirituality,” she said.

“I think we’ve come a long way as far as knowing what exercises are good for your body. I think that I can create stuff that’s good or better than it was done a hundred years ago,” said yoga instructor Bryan Robbins.

Some Hindus are also concerned about charging a fee for yoga, because they say spirituality should not be sold. But Lindquist says it’s not a problem unless the motivation is solely profit and greed.

VIDEO: Federal Student Aid Takes Major Cuts in Fall 2011

May 5, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Jefferson Johnson

In 1998 the federal government amended the higher education act of 1965.

Allowing lower-income students an opportunity to an education through financial aid.

“The purpose of financial aid is to provide a means for students to attend college if they don’t have the funds to pay for it,” said Marcia Miller from SMU’s Enrollment Services Financial Aid.

According to Miller, of the 10,000 students enrolled at SMU around 75 percent receive financial aid this includes scholarships and grants

“For the students that are on financial aid, it’s invaluable without it there are students that will not be here,” Miller said.

Students like SMU junior Samira Abderahman need aid.

“I receive a lot of grants we have also taken some loans, luckily they haven’t been anything outrageous,” Abderahman said.

But as Spring 2011 ends incoming and undergraduate students are faced with tough financial decisions as recent state and federal budget cuts cut into Fall 2011 financial aid funding…

“Some students are going to have to make some hard choices,” Miller said. “Which means, students that might desire to go to SMU are going to end up at a state school somewhere.”

But with a yearly $37,000 price tag, SMU isn’t so cheap.

Miller said it’s the students in the middle whose parents and themselves will have to take on more of the financial burden.

“I won’t be here should my financial aid be significantly reduced,” Abderahman said.

Miller said in the coming semesters it will be first come first served.

Students can avoid being cut out by keeping financial aid deadlines and staying up-to-date on paperwork and changes.

High Price

May 3, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Kyle Spencer

It has been like an episode of “The Jerry Springer Show” inside The Dallas Commissioner Court for the last few weeks. Between the alleged racial slurs, angry protesters and a commissioner telling white participants to “go to hell” one would only need to pull up a chair with a drink and some popcorn to enjoy the entertainment.

For the last month the drama over the resignation of Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet has been the topic around the water cooler. Almost certainly if you’re discussing Sherbet you will hear another name accompany it—John Wiley Price.

The 26-year Dallas County Commissioner of District 3 is one of the most controversial and talked about public officials in the city.

The controversy surrounding Price and Sherbet started back in January when newly elected County Judge Clay Jenkins beat out the incumbent Republican.
Sherbet alleges in an open letters in the Dallas Morning News that Commissioner Price was able to persuade Jenkins to “review” his performance.

“I resigned because of pressure from Commissioner John Wiley Price and Judge Clay Jenkins. I feel certain that the election commission meeting that Jenkins called was for the purpose of termination,” Sherbet writes.

When confronted with these allegations Price has only two words to say, “Bull Shit.”

Price alleges that the reason Bruce resigned was because we was aware of the numerous complaints made against him over the course several years. Price also alleges it was Bruce’s decision to resign because he did not want his flaws as a election administrator to become public.

“I have countless emails in regards to Bruce’s performance, and some are very serious. Polling clerks alleging voting fraud, along with percents in minority areas allegedly that Bruce sent inexperienced people to help out, which delayed the voting process all together,” Price said.

Price of course is unyielding with the pleas of voters to give Bruce his job back along with three of the other commissioners. On Feb. 8 Commissioner’s Court was packed full of Sherbet supporters, many of whom were allowed to give three minutes speeches.

Supporters had plenty of accusations including alleged “back room deals” and “Chicago-style politics” in regards to the “forced resignation” of Sherbet.

One Dallasite said, “I can’t believe we can give a key to the city to a convicted felon, but we got rid of a upstanding man like Bruce Sherbet.”

Roars of applause came from the courtroom. Price, unfazed, set comfortably leaned back in his chair half paying attention and even texting on his cell phone.

“Frankly I don’t give a damn what people think of me. I’ve been commissioner for twenty-six years and there is a reason for that,” Price said. “Did you notice all these speaker were white? Did they even live in my district? They like to use those buzz words because they can’t call me by name in the courtroom or they’ll be dismissed. But if someone has something to say to me I’ll always invite them to step outside”

Price has always been prideful when it came to his ethnicity, the 60 year old commissioner and political activist grew up in rural Forney, Texas. His mother was a maid, and his father a tow-truck driver. Price spent his youth picking cotton while he watched white children go off to school.

“I knew it wasn’t right how I had to stay behind and do hard work while some white kid got his education, but that was how it was,” Price said.

Price’s adolescence helped to shape his views on race in his adult life. Price has aroused local controversy through his efforts to challenge what he perceives to be the status quo of Dallas city politics.

During the 90s, Price and two cohorts white washed the faces on cigarettes and liquor ads in predominately black and Latino neighborhoods. Price’s motives behind the vandalism were the alleged marketing to only minorities by the tobacco and alcohol companies. He struck a deal without the District Attorney and received 75 days in jail. According to terms of the deal the other two gentleman were let off

Another incident involved Price and a windshield wiper. Price and a group of Dallas citizens had organized a protest over the recent killing of a African-American woman who Dallas Police Department alleged was waving a gun on her front porch.

An investigation later determined that not to be true. Price’s group held signs that read “DPD = A White Plantation.” A barricade was set up to guard the protesters, but when a women driving a van decided to go around the barricade Price stood in front of her vehicle and prevented her from going any further. He then proceeded to break her windshield wiper

“That lady saw the barricade and went around anyway, so I confronted her.” Price said. “Was I supposed to let her run me over?”

Over the decades Price’s reputation has made many enemies in Dallas. Price does not hold his tongue when dealing with race related issues. This brazen attitude has lead some people to believe that the commissioner may in fact be a racist.

Daphney Fain, executive assistant to Price, said this a gross mischaracterization.

” I’ve worked with him for eleven years. In that time I have seen the differences he’s made in the community as a whole,” Fain said. “This man would give you the shirt off his back, but to portray him as some sort of hot-headed monster sales papers and makes for good television.”

Fain is not alone in her loyalty to Price, his constituents have supported him through his twenty-six year tenure.

It seems wherever he goes in Dallas entertainment follows. His passion is becoming a rarity in politics. Love him or hate him, his service to Dallas has helped highlight the inequities and injustices in the county. His methods may seem strange but he offers no apologies for anything he’s done or said.

“At the end of the day, I’m fighting for my people. I have a job to do. As long as I get my job done I can go home and sleep. And I do that like a baby,” he said.

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