Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000

Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000 to Support Youth STEM Network


Motorola Solutions Foundation Gives $30,000

SJSU students collaborate with lead instructors to teach rigorous content modules in after school programs (CommUniverCity San Jose photo).

Motorola Solutions Foundation joins Intel as a lead sponsor of the Youth STEM Network (YSN) program. YSN is a partnership that is substantially increasing opportunities for San Jose’s youth to engage in activities related to disciplines of local significance and projected growth: solar energy and cybersecurity.

The Jay Pinson STEM Education Program is collaborating with the CORAL after school program of the Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, CommUniverCity San Jose, the Department of Communication Studies and the Scientists for Tomorrow and CyberWatch programs to implement the exciting initiative.

Students in the Communication Studies 157 course collaborate with lead instructors to teach rigorous content modules in these critical STEM areas. Program instructors recently participated in a CyberSTEM Program professional development session instructed by the director and senior researcher at CyberWatch.

Starting in early October 2013, 100 youth in CORAL afterschool programs will participate in 25 hours of YSN programming aimed at increasing their content and procedural knowledge and understanding of career opportunities in solar energy and cybersecurity.

Andy Feinstein

Interim Provost Appointed

Andy Feinstein

Andy Feinstein

Media contact:
 Barry Shiller,, 408-924-1748

Deputy Provost Andy Feinstein has been appointed interim provost and vice president of the Division of Academic Affairs, effective January 10. This appointment will continue through the completion of a national search for a permanent successor to Ellen Junn, who leaves San Jose State on January 17 for California State University, Dominguez Hills.

In just months, Andy Feinstein has demonstrated a strong commitment to our faculty and students,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “Please join me in supporting Andy as he assumes this important leadership role.”

The search for a permanent successor to Ellen Junn will begin early next year, with the intention of naming a permanent successor in late spring 2014. Details on the search will be shared after the holidays.

Since joining SJSU this past July as deputy provost, Feinstein has begun to integrate the enrollment management and academic budgets; commenced an examination of space allocation needs for Academic Affairs; and stepped in to lead the College of International and Extended Studies on an interim basis.

Before coming to SJSU, Feinstein was the James A. Collins Distinguished Chair of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona. Previously, he was senior advisor to the president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and associate dean for strategic initiatives at UNLV’s Harrah Hotel College.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hotel administration from UNLV and a doctoral degree from The Pennsylvania State University, where he also held an academic computing fellowship.

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

First and Foremost an Educator

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Women’s water polo Head Coach Lou Tully, BA ’67, MA ’73 Physical Education, passed away Dec. 17 at the age of 70. He was undergoing treatment for cancer, which he had beaten once before and expected to beat again. Coach Tully was looking forward to his 18th season with San Jose State.

Tributes to his life and legacy are pouring in from across the country,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “My heart goes out to all of his players and colleagues, especially those who were looking forward to his return in a few short weeks.”

Lou Tully was first and foremost an educator. He took deep pride in his degrees and teaching credential from San Jose State, encouraging his players to not only excel in class but to compete at the highest levels in athletics. In 1997, his first year as head coach, he took women’s water polo from a club sport to the top 25 nationally. His teams ranked in the top 10 for 12 years, with the 2001 and 2011 teams finishing fifth nationally.

His players understood that he was teaching them far more than how to win in a sport that he described as a combination of ice hockey, basketball, swimming and soccer. In a 2010 Washington Square alumni magazine feature, then co-captain and two-time All-American Adriana Vogt summarized his legacy by saying “what he teaches us as a coach are lessons I’m probably going to keep for the rest of my life.”

A Vietnam veteran, Lou Tully first came to SJSU in 1962 to play on the men’s water polo team. He began his coaching career in 1966 at Menlo Junior College, where he worked with both the water polo and swimming teams. He went on to coach other community college and high school teams, taking Mount Pleasant High School and Leland High School to league championships.

Coach Tully gave generously of his time and talent well beyond the campuses served. He founded San Jose Splash, a club team for junior women’s water polo players, and officiated at just about every level up to the U.S. Senior Men’s and Women’s National Championships.

Services are pending. He is survived by his wife Susan, daughter Megan, son Ian, daughter-in-law Caroline and grandson Chase.

Students talk with Ken Burns

The San Jose State Department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre Arts sat down with award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who was on campus to accept the 2013 Steinbeck Award.

When students asked how he chooses his subjects, Burns said, “I don’t make films about things I know about; I make films about things I want to know about. If I were given one thousand years to live, I’d never run out of topics.”

While his films range from war to baseball, some common themes present themselves in each, among them race and feminism. With each film, Burns engages in what he calls “emotional archeology,” during which he excavates larger emotional truths beyond dry dates, facts and events.

And how did he get started?

“I am very fortunate, but it is good fortune born in tragedy,” said Burns of his beginnings as a filmmaker. His mother died of cancer when he was 11-years-old. When Burns was up late watching movies with his dad and saw him shed tears, he decided to become filmmaker. “I instantly understood the power of film,” he said.

SJSU/Udacity Update: Spring 2014

SJSU/Udacity: Spring 2014 Update

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – This spring, San Jose State will offer three online courses that were developed with Udacity to SJSU and California State University students.

San Jose State students are registering now for Elementary Statistics, Introduction to Programming and General Psychology. In addition, the programming and statistics courses will be open to all CSU students through the CSU’s CourseMatch program.

SJSU and CSU students who successfully complete the coursework will receive college credit. The cost will be covered by regular tuition. Udacity has made the content open and free to faculty members, and will receive no payments or revenue from this arrangement.

The SJSU instructors who originally developed the programming and psychology courses with Udacity will continue to teach these classes to SJSU and CSU students this spring. The statistics course will be transitioned to a different SJSU instructor in the same department. SJSU will hire and train teaching assistants as needed. All faculty members and students will use SJSU’s learning management system, Canvas.

Enrollment will be capped at 70 students for the statistics class, 150 students for the programming course and 35 students for the general psychology course. At least half of the seats for programming and statistics will go to SJSU students and the rest will go to CSU students.

San Jose State and Udacity established a partnership in spring 2013 to develop three interactive online courses for credit. The following summer, SJSU and Udacity expanded the partnership to include five courses. All five courses remain open and free to anyone through Udacity’s website. Those who finish a course through Udacity will receive a certificate of completion from Udacity.


Jerich piece

Art Department Celebrates Centennial

Art Department Celebrates Centennial

A poster for the campus exhibition featured a photo of the Art Building in the 1960s (SJSU Archives and Digital Collection).

For more information, please contact Jo Farb Hernandez (408-924-4328).

It is as important to mark rites of passage for institutions as for individuals. In each case, stopping to observe a transitional moment has particular importance amid the crush of what has become the new “normal” of our busy daily lives: it motivates us to celebrate growth, honor milestones, or commemorate passings. And, by so doing, it inspires us to take stock, to note the challenges and the successes, the drawbacks and the rewards. It reminds us to take a breath and look back from where we have come, appreciate where we are now, and look forward to what lies ahead.

Foundation in Art

As we have paused to consider one hundred years of the Department of Art at San Jose State University, the view to the past is astonishing. SJSU was inaugurated as a teachers’ or normal school in 1857, and, in 1862, was absorbed by the state of California, becoming not only the first of the state’s teachers’ colleges, but California’s first state-supported institution of higher learning. In 1871, the college was moved from its original San Francisco location after administrators and the legislature decided that rural San Jose would be a safer location for its predominantly young, female and unmarried students. Classes in drawing were among the earliest courses taught and, for a long time, these classes were required for every student, no matter their major or intended career. Classes in additional media and techniques were added quickly, as the administrators at that time understood that the study of the arts were essential in the development of a well-rounded, educated individual. Soon the San Jose Normal School evolved into the San Jose State Teacher’s College, then into San Jose State College, and finally into San Jose State University.

poster for exhibit at the Triton Museum, Dec. 7 to Jan. 26

A series of events have been scheduled to celebrate this important milestone including an exhibit at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, Dec. 7, 2013 – Jan. 26, 2014. This poster features the work of alumna Pilar Aguero-Esparza.

A series of exhibitions, projects, and programs were scheduled to celebrate this important milestone of the art department. Sponsors include Adobe Systems, Cisco and Lathrop Construction, which gave $5,000 each. In the Thompson Art Gallery, we focused on a small number of our most illustrious alumni from the middle years of our history – including Jay DeFeo, Wayne Thiebaud, Mel Ramos, Robert Graham, Mark Tansey and Tim Hawkinson. Complementary exhibitions on campus took place in Gallery 3 (Nov. 12-22, 2013), with a very special exhibition of the work of three generations of the Amyx family: the grandfather, father, and son all received their art degrees at San Jose State; and there was also an exhibition of department-produced posters at King Library. Off-campus, the community is helping celebrate, as well: there were or will be broad displays featuring dozens of our alumni at the new gallery at San Jose City College (curated by Eve Mathias, Nov. 14 – Dec. 12, 2013), at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara (curated by Jo Farb Hernandez, Dec. 7, 2013 – Jan. 26, 2014), and at San Jose City Hall (curated by Robin Treen, February – May 2014).

Commemorative Book

A hardcover book documenting the past hundred years, and including images by or narratives about more than 160 alumni, as well as faculty, staff, and programs, has been produced by the gallery and is available for purchase ($30 for students, faculty, staff and alumni; $50 for the general public). In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, a special panel discussion was moderated by Professor of Art History Christy Junkerman and included illustrated presentations by the art history alumni who wrote the substantive narrative essays in the book—Kathleen Kenyon, who spoke on the period 1911-1945; Marianne Kennedy McGrath, who discussed 1946-1970; and Betsy Vaca, who focused on the more recent past 1971-2013—providing an overview of the project and the astonishing changes that have taken place over the past 100 years.



Provost Resigns to Accept Position at CSU Dominguez Hills

Provost Resigns, Accepts New CSU Position

Ellen Junn

Ellen Junn

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Ellen Junn has accepted an offer to become provost at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Her last day at SJSU will be Jan. 17.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone in the SJSU community,” Junn said.

It has been a joy getting to know and work with so many wonderful colleagues and students here. The opportunity to return to Southern California to be near my family has been a critical factor in my decision.”

“While I am very saddened to leave this remarkable campus, I know San Jose State has the strength and integrity to flourish,” she continued. “I will miss you all and send you my warmest wishes for a continued and bright future.”

Prior to coming to San Jose, Junn served at CSU Fresno, where she established a center for the advancement of teaching and learning, reconfigured academic technology, and secured WASC accreditation and approval for a variety of new graduate, doctoral, international and online degree programs.

“San Jose State has gained much from Ellen’s passion for fostering student success,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said.

Arriving at SJSU in January 2012, Junn re-energized SJSU’s graduation rate initiative, developed the university’s academic plan through 2017, and established departmental grants designed to improve retention and graduation rates while supporting new methods of teaching and learning.

Qayoumi has begun seeking input on a succession plan, and will name an interim provost prior to Junn’s departure.


San Jose Mercury News: Filmmaker Ken Burns Teaches Class at San Jose State

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 7, 2013.

By Bruce Newman

SAN JOSE — We see a small man sitting in a large, overstuffed chair, and the chair seems to be winning. Often described as elfin, the man is 60 now but still possesses the most totally awesome set of bangs in show business. For an hour, he sits and talks, hardly moving. And yet our perspective of him constantly changes — panning left, panning right, zooming in and out — in a way that is vaguely annoying. We hear an actor’s voice, one we sort of recognize and sort of don’t — maybe F. Murray Abraham, somebody like that.

“My mother died of cancer when I was 11. There wasn’t a moment when I was growing up that I didn’t know she was dying. But it wasn’t until later, when I went to the movies with my father, that I saw him cry for the first time. Movies had an emotional power that allowed him to do that. I decided then and there that I would become a filmmaker. What I wanted was to be Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford or Howard Hawks.”

Who he became, instead, was Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker acclaimed for such PBS blockbusters as “The Civil War,” “Baseball” and “Jazz.” In town to receive the Steinbeck Award at San Jose State University Friday evening, Burns conducted a master class for students and alums of the school’s Television, Radio, Film and Theater Department — or what department chairman David Kahn described as an “intimate conversation” — on a campus stage at the Hal Todd Studio Theater.

Read the full story. 


San Jose Mercury News Editorial: LaDoris Cordell a Good Choice for San Jose State Task Force

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 6, 2013.

If San Jose State University President Mo Qayoumi wanted a task force that would sweep racial conflicts under the dormitory rug, he made a huge mistake in appointing retired Judge LaDoris Cordell to head it.

Cordell’s outspoken nature is of legendary proportion. Most recently, she authored a column on these pages urging felony charges against the white freshmen accused of hate crimes for tormenting their African-American roommate — the incident that prompted Qayoumi to create the task force. And she has dealt with university challenges as vice provost at Stanford. By naming her, Qayoumi signals a determination to confront and overcome this trauma. It’s a very good choice.

students on computers

SJSU Appoints Director of the Cybersecurity and Big Data Initiative

Professor Sigurd Meldal (photo by Robert Bain)

Professor Sigurd Meldal (photo by Robert Bain)

Professor of Computer Engineering Sigurd Meldal has been appointed director of the San Jose State University Cybersecurity and Big Data Initiative.

SJSU’s goal is to develop a premiere, interdisciplinary institute in the heart of Silicon Valley focusing on the challenges of cybersecurity and big data.

Meldal is the first full-time director of this two-year-old effort, composed of academic and pre-professional work for students, teaching and research by SJSU faculty members, and outreach to industry leaders.

In alignment with all of these efforts, SJSU has hosted and organized events, symposia and summer schools such as the annual Symposium on Curriculum Development in Security and Information Assurance (CDSIA) for the past six years and the U.S. Cyber Challenge for the past two years.

Interdisciplinary programs

Meldal’s work will include coordinating the efforts of five SJSU colleges and over 30 faculty members contributing to this endeavor. This will involve nurturing the development of new courses and certificates for SJSU students, academic enrichment opportunities for K-12 students and educators, and government and corporate partnerships including an advisory council.

Meldal received a doctorate from the University of Oslo, and taught at the University of Bergen, Stanford University and California Polytechnic State University before joining San Jose State in 2002 to serve as chair of the then new Department of Computer Engineering. Meldal also serves as a co-director at the National Science and Technology Center for Ubiquitous Secure Technology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Security, privacy, and public policy

He describes his research interests to include “the many aspects of concurrent processing, with an emphasis on its formalization by means of programming, prototyping and specification formalisms with supporting tools such as language frameworks for prototyping of distributed architectures and the abstraction mechanisms necessary for large-scale conformance checking.”

Professor Meldal has long been interested in the interplay of security and computing, contributing to the design of support systems for the surveillance of nuclear arms treaty compliance. In particular, he is interested in the security aspects of ubiquitous computing and mobile devices, as well as the interplay of security with privacy and public policy.


President’s Update: An Independent Review of the Facts

President Qayoumi names Judge LaDoris H. Cordell to lead a task force that will review all the facts and propose recommendations for nurturing a safe, welcoming, tolerant community. (Photo: Christina Olivas)

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,
I’m touching base to share additional information about the efforts to move the campus forward toward healing and recovery from the alleged race-related incident that occurred this fall in one of our residence halls.

Last week, I promised to initiate an independent review of the facts.  I’m pleased to report that Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (retired) has agreed to lead a special task force that will have two goals:

  1. Review all of the facts.
  2. Propose recommendations for ensuring that San Jose State is a safe, welcoming, tolerant community.

Judge Cordell served the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, for 19 years before becoming the independent police auditor for the City of San Jose in 2010. Throughout her career, Judge Cordell has sought to give a voice to the unheard. I am grateful that she is willing and available to serve in this critical role.

The work of the special task force will be informed by an independent fact-finding effort. Myron “Mike” D. Moye, a partner at law firm Hanson Bridgett LLP, has been retained to conduct the fact-finding effort and produce a report that will be presented to the special task force. Moye has extensive experience in cases involving harassment, discrimination, ethics and regulatory compliance.

The fact finding will begin immediately and seeks to:

  1. Determine, to the extent possible, what happened, when it happened, and who the alleged perpetrators are.
  2. Determine when and how the campus knew of the alleged incident, or should have known of it.
  3. Determine how and when the campus administration responded to the alleged incident.
  4. Determine whether the campus or any of its employees violated any existing campus or systemwide policies in responding to the alleged incident.  Determine the extent to which such policies, procedures and practices were followed.

Moye has been asked to produce his report by January 31, 2014. The special task force will receive the report and begin its work in February, and issue a final public report by April 30. Task force members will include a diverse mixture of SJSU students, faculty and staff members and alumni; subject-matter experts within the California State University; and community members.  Its membership will be finalized by January 15.

Let me also update you on two related matters.

As many of you know, San Jose State has undertaken previous efforts to make diversity an intentional, holistic element of our teaching and learning mission. In spring 2013, we solicited nominations for a Commission on Diversity. Its members were appointed in August 2013 and the group met for the first time this fall. The commission will meet again this month and will have the opportunity to consider the recommendations of the special task force in its work going forward.

In an earlier message to you, I outlined plans for a forum on racial intolerance to be held on campus in the first two weeks of December. After consultation with student groups, we are postponing this event to early next year in order to maximize participation. We need students to play a prominent role in planning the gathering, and there is insufficient time to do this now as they are preparing for final exams.

I appreciate the many ways our community has responded in the last two weeks.  Much work lies ahead.  A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established. Please continue to reach out to me, and to one another.

Mohammad Qayoumi


The Power of Gratitude: Practicing Compassion

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

ThanhThuy Luu, ’13 Nutritional Science, ’16 MA Public Health

When donors help students achieve their goals, they are practicing compassion.”

Just three months after ThanhThuy Luu, ’13 Nutritional Science, ’16 MA Public Health, arrived in San Jose from Saigon, Vietnam, in 2008, she started her first semester at San Jose State. “I worked in the food industry in Vietnam and I burned out. I fell in love with nutrition,” says Luu. A first-generation college student, Luu already held a two-year degree in chemistry from a university in Vietnam when she decided to follow her heart into nutrition science.

In no time, she was excelling. In 2011, Luu was named a President’s Scholar, and this year she received an Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. “It is financial support but, more importantly, it is great motivation,” she says. “I came here not long ago and it is great to be recognized. I feel accepted into the academic community.”

Now enrolled in the master’s in public health program, Luu’s goal is to work as a health educator with English- and Vietnamese-speaking adults and seniors and ultimately teach as a university professor. “I am grateful for the cultural diversity at San Jose State,” she says. “The traditions, beliefs and values here are from all over the world. I enjoy that because it helps me prepare for my career.”

“I grew up in a Buddhist family; compassion is what I was taught as a child,” says Luu, who was nine years old in 1975 when Saigon was captured by the North Vietnamese forces and her brother, a soldier fighting for South Vietnam, was imprisoned. “Public health is more than nutrition. My passion for public health is built on the compassion I have cultivated in my life. When donors help students achieve their goals, they are practicing compassion.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.


President’s Update: Holding Ourselves Accountable

University Housing Campus Village

“We will re-examine our diversity programs and safety measures within campus housing and throughout the university.” —President Qayoumi (Photo: Christina Olivas)

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,

When I expressed outrage last Thursday at the race-based abuse and mistreatment of an African-American SJSU freshman by several suite mates, I did not clearly express our accountability for what he endured.

By failing to recognize the meaning of a Confederate flag, intervene earlier to stop the abuse, or impose sanctions as soon as the gravity of the behavior became clear, we failed him. I failed him.

How such abuse could have gone unchecked or undetected for weeks is being methodically untangled, as it must. An independent expert will soon be named to lead a task force that will examine the facts, our policies and practices, and propose reforms.

Some anger is being directed toward residence hall advisers (RAs) for failing to recognize or act on warning signs of abuse. It is our job as professional educators to help them recognize these signs. Their failures are our failures. We must do a better job of training them, and we will.

If our housing and student disciplinary policies and processes are inadequate or not followed, it is up to us as administrators to ensure that they work, or fix them.

Now, let me update you on specifically what we have done and are doing:

  • Sunday night, SJSU faculty leaders and administrators, including housing staff, met with students in the Dining Commons. I heard plenty of pain, anger and confusion, questions about our commitment to diversity, and pleas to be included in future decisions.
  • As I shared on Friday, the San Jose/Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP will be on campus at noon today in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture to express dissatisfaction with pending criminal charges and ask for a full examination of this incident.

I will participate in this event, and encourage you to attend if you can. The abusive conduct that occurred in this case should be punished, to the fullest extent that the law allows.

  • We will continue listening. More sessions with students are in the works and an open campus forum will take place during the first two weeks of December.
  • Additional training for RAs is being planned. Details will follow soon.
  • We have begun reaching out to candidates to serve on the external task force. If you have suggestions, please send them to

Mohammad Qayoumi


Power of Gratitude: A Winning Attitude

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

David Fales, ’13 Psychology

I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here. It’s something I’ll remember forever. It’s been a great time.”

“If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship,” says David Fales, ’13 Psychology, “I probably wouldn’t be going to school here.” Which would be too bad for the Spartans. Since the quarterback came to San José State on a football scholarship in December 2011, he has become a single-season record holder in seven categories. In the 2012 season, Fales led the Spartans to an 11-2 record—throwing more than 4100 yards and 33 touchdowns with a pass completion rate of more than 72 percent—that culminated in a Military Bowl win and a move to the Mountain West Conference. Fales has not disappointed this season either: the Spartans are once again bowl-eligable following their last win, during which Fales threw for a school-record 547 yards and six touchdowns to spoil the Fresno Bulldogs’ perfect season.

“I always tell everybody that I don’t know what exactly I would be doing without the scholarship,” says Fales, who transferred from a junior college where he shouldered the cost of his education. “I’m very fortunate. Life is a lot easier now.”

Right now Fales is focused on football, but he has other plans in the works following his graduation in December. “I want to see how long I can play football and hopefully ride it out for a little bit longer. After that, I want to get involved in sports psychology.” Fales was first exposed to the profession during a brief semester at Wyoming. “They had a sports psychologist there and he really got me interested in working with teams.”

“I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here,” says Fales. “Being with the football team, the different experiences we’ve had, the relationships I’ve built in the two years I’ve been here. It’s something I’ll remember forever, and the relationships I have now I’ll have for the rest of my life. It’s been a great time.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.


Power of Gratitude: Being Inspired

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Gary Ortega, ’12, ’14 MA Jazz Studies

“Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”

“The music department is close-knit,” says Gary Ortega, ’12, ’14 MA Jazz Studies. “You are dependent on each other for ensembles; your music and your livelihood are reliant on it. It’s a community—a music family.”

Ortega has the opportunity to study, work and play with this family in part due to the Katherine Peterson Alumni Association Scholarship. Awarded on the basis of academic achievement, need and community service, this scholarship has allowed Ortega to say goodbye to the days of waiting tables so he can focus on more important things, like running his music lessons business, teaching instrumental music to third through eighth graders at St. Leo the Great School and staying involved with the nonprofit organization, San Jose Jazz.

“This award will be contributing to the success and completion of my master’s degree this spring with a lighter financial burden,” says Ortega, who is currently teaching jazz improvisation at SJSU. He plans to continue teaching to children and adults after he graduates. “Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others. And you get to help other people be better. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”

Brandon Crew Photo

NAACP: News Conference Nov. 25 at SJSU

Photo: Brandon Chew, ’15 Photojournalism

San Jose State is sharing the following on behalf of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP. Media inquiries should be directed to Rick Callender,

On Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, at noon in front of the Tommie Smith and John Carlos sculpture on the San Jose State campus, the San Jose/Silicon Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will be joined by the California/Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP, the National Office of the NAACP, San Jose State University leadership, Bay Area community leaders and civil rights activists in a press conference condemning the actions of the three San Jose State students accused of racially harassing and terrorizing a black student.

The NAACP will be calling for the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office to increase the misdemeanor charges against the three accused SJSU students to felony charges, and also to add the charges of false imprisonment to the charges that the students currently face.

Reverend Jethroe Moore II, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP said, “The community will not stand idly by and allow for any student of color to be terrorized simply due to the color of his skin. This is not simple hazing or bullying, this is obviously racially based terrorism targeted at their African American roommate. The behavior of these three students warrants nothing less than felony charges.”

The NAACP will also be calling on the San Jose State University administration to conduct a thorough investigation into University Housing to determine how this situation continued for so long and why no immediate action to rectify the situation was taken.


President’s Update: Listening, Learning

President Qayoumi’s update to the campus community following the alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

“This deeply disturbing incident reaffirms that we must protect and steward our values. I am proud of all who marched in support of them.” —President Qayoumi (Photo: Brandon Chew)

Dear Spartans,

I want to update you on our actions since yesterday (Thursday, Nov. 21) when criminal arrest warrants were issued for several SJSU students accused of racially-motivated hate crimes against a fellow student and residence hall suite-mate.

First, a fourth SJSU student has been suspended in connection with this incident. His actions came to light recently in the course of several ongoing investigations.

Second, I met Friday morning with the Reverend Jethroe Moore, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP. Reverend Moore and I agreed to several actions:

• Appearing together at a noon press conference on Mon., Nov. 25, in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture to discuss pending criminal charges.

• Co-hosting a campus forum during the first two weeks of December, inviting community input about racial tolerance at SJSU and beginning a dialogue on how to heal rifts.

• Offering a spring 2014 lecture series on issues of diversity and tolerance.

While these efforts move forward, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of SJSU’s student code of conduct. Our goal is including race-based misconduct in existing zero-tolerance student conduct policies.

Third, we will review all of our practices and policies related to preserving and protecting the well being of students. This work has already begun. I have asked for a report by Dec. 15, and we will share it with you.

I will continue to keep you updated.


Mohammad Qayoumi


President’s Update: Racial Intolerance

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex.A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,

As many of you know, the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office has filed criminal charges against three San Jose State students accused of recurrent abusive behavior toward a fellow student in their residence hall suite this fall.

Let me be clear: I am outraged and saddened by these allegations. They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility. The three students suspected of this conduct have been suspended, effective today.

The misdemeanor battery charges include a hate-crime enhancement based on indications that the victim, an African-American freshman, was targeted based on race. I want you to know how San Jose State has responded thus far, and our intentions moving forward.

Our paramount initial concern was the safety of the victimized student. The day our housing staff learned of the situation, the University Police Department launched an investigation. Also that day, two of the accused students were relocated to separate residence halls and not placed with roommates.

A third suite-mate, originally believed to be a bystander, was identified yesterday as an offender. We regret he was not removed from the victim’s suite before today.

Parallel internal inquiries, one based on university student conduct policies and another focused on federal anti-discrimination regulations, are ongoing.

We speak very directly to all freshmen about discrimination and harassment during orientation and at hall meetings. We will re-examine our diversity programs and safety measures within campus housing and throughout the university.

Diversity and a commitment to social justice are in SJSU’s institutional DNA. Our library is named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; many of us pass daily by the sculpture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos or under the Cesar E. Chavez Arch. This deeply disturbing incident reaffirms that we must protect and steward our values. I am proud of all who marched today in support of them.

I know many of you will have questions and concerns. Please feel free to
contact my office


Mohammad Qayoumi


The Power of Gratitude: Shooting High

Ta’Rea Cunnigan in uniform and basketball in-hand.

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Ta’Rea Cunnigan, ’15 Psychology

Basketball is only temporary but the relationships you make with people can last a lifetime!”

Ta’Rea Cunnigan, ’15 Psychology, is known for her skills on the basketball court, where she’s been helping lead the Spartans to victory. But the 5’9” guard is far from being all brawn and no brains. She has made the most of her San Jose State Athletics scholarship, as a Dean’s Scholar, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, Capital One Academic All-District VIII honoree and Academic All-WAC honoree for two years running.

As a psychology major with a kinesiology minor, Cunnigan has big plans for her future. She is shooting for a career in sports psychology, working with children and collegiate athletes to help them develop the mental stamina to balance the demands of being a student-athlete. “Through my scholarship, I’ve had the chance to inspire and work with young girls who want to play collegiate sports and get a college education,” she says. “I understand and can help them reach success, not only in academics, but in their sport as well.”

“I am most grateful for the friends and relationships I have made while being at San Jose State,” says Cunnigan. “Basketball is only temporary but the relationships you make with people can last a lifetime!”

View The Power of Gratitude series.