President Visits Cuba

On March 20, 2016, President Barack Obama became the first sitting President to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in January of 1928. During his two day visit, President Obama met with Cuban President, Raul Castro.

` President Obama gave a speech on Cuban television in which he said that it was time for the two neighboring countries, who have not been on friendly terms dating back since the beginning of the Cold War, finally rekindle their relationship with one another and embrace the future together side by side.

Junior, Joey Chan, believes that President Obama visiting Cuba can be a huge step forward for both countries.

“It’s about time that the United States and Cuba try and fix their relationship. You’d figure, from an outsider’s point of view, that two countries that are so close to each other would get along better than they actually do. If anything, they should at least just makeup and each country continue to do their own separate thing. We don’t want to start a war and I’m pretty sure they don’t want to either,” said Junior Chan 

Although many people welcomed President Obama with open arms, one person who was not as ecstatic about his visit was Fidel Castro. Castro, who was President of Cuba from 1976 to 2008, penned a letter to President Obama in which he said that Cuba does not need anything from theempire, in reference to the United States of America.

Sophomore, Juan Pascual, said that Fidel Castros comments were unnecessary and that he needs to move on.

“Fidel Castro is stuck in the past and still thinks that we’re in the Cold War. Obama just wants this tension between the United States and Cuba to go away. He doesn’t want to take over Cuba, nor does he really want to do anything to Cuba. Obama just wants to make sure that both countries understand that whatever problems we had in the past stay in the past and he wants to make sure we’re on friendly terms.”

Many people also criticized President Obama for attending a baseball game, between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays, on Tuesday, March 22. This was the same day that Brussels was victim to a terrorist attack that was orchestrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In regards to the backlash that President Obama is receiving from the public and the media, Junior, Sean Bowen thinks that the criticism is unfair.

“I think that the President just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. No one can never tell when there is going to be another terrorist attack. I saw a film where President Bush was reading a book with first graders while the September 11 attacks were going on. He was also at the wrong place at the wrong time, but it was not his fault,” said Junior Bowen 

President Obamas response to the criticism, reported by the Guardian, was very defensive and carefully worded.

“It’s always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world. You want to be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation, but the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives.”

President Obama visiting Cuba is seen as a significant event due to the fact that he is the first President to visit Cuba in nearly 85 years. However, this visit has also allowed the Cuban population to witness and be reminded of the possibilities that may or may not lie ahead of them. It also gave Cubans hope that one day, they can live in a place where they have just as many rights as a citizen of the United States.

Turn On The Lights

These past few years, NDNU’s athletic field, Koret Field, has been unpleasing to athletes, coaches, and spectators. There are some issues that disrupt the overall experience of the Koret field, such as the lack of lights on the field. Lights would be an ideal asset to several of the people who use the field, but this is merely an issue with the Belmont City Counsel, who disapproves of the idea of putting stadium lights on Koret field.

The Conditional Use Permit, also known as the CUP, is a constitution that sets rules on specific times that the field can be used. Currently, the CUP says that the field cannot be used after dusk. But essentially, if there were lights, then this rule could be changed. There are rules implanted amongst the athletic teams that they can only practice at certain times; this ties into the initial ideal field that would be equipped with field lights so that there can be later games, practices, and even school events.

“Consent through the city would be extremely difficult. They are against it (which were regarding noise and neighbors aren’t supportive of the addition of lights on the field) – but it would help out the school tremendously.” Said Josh Doody, NDNU’s head of the athletic department.

If the Koret Field had lights, then the CUP could be modified, but the field does not even have lights therefor nothing can be fixed about the matter as of now. There is a lack of lights due to Belmont’s city council. Josh Doody also provided information that he city of Belmont does not approve of the idea of the field having lights. It was understood that the Belmont community believes that the lights will be disruptive in Belmont.

Many of the athletes that use the field would prefer to have lights. If there were lights, then there could be evening games, which could potentially result in many more students coming to sports games. If the field did have lights, then there is a possible opportunity to receive more recognition from people who don’t even know NDNU exists.

“As a student athlete, it would only be beneficial to have evening games so students aren’t consistently missing classes periodically through the day.” Said Macee Broer, junior student athlete of NDNU.

It has been understood that if the city of Belmont allowed lights on the field, then the entire view of the field and the games would be much more ideal for school sports teams – weather wise as well as making it at more of an available time for students and teachers to come out to sporting events.

“Lights would be ideal to an athletic environment; Having usage of the lights would change a lot.” Said BJ Noble, head coach of NDNU’s Men’s and Women’s soccer teams.

Attempts to Stifle Students’ Voice (Opinion)

The board meeting on March 23rd, 2016 goes differently than planned when the meeting, originally scheduled as an open meeting, was closed at the last minute. Student leaders showed up early to  the meeting, excited to share in the conversation about unionization, when they were met by several public safety officers. Officers first asked the students about the possibility of them carrying weapons (specifically guns), and attempted to stop the students from  reaching the front of Taube Hall (where board members, president, deans, and provosts gathered before the meeting). Students, confused by such aggressive measures, walked to the front parking lot anyway where they were told the meeting had been closed, and they would no longer be allowed to enter the building.

In response to such actions, student leaders began Facebooking, texting, and calling students to get their support in the parking lot of Taube. Soon, what started as a party of two grew into a group of almost 20 students holding signs and chanting in support of their faculty. Despite efforts to keep student voices from being heard, students gathered in the parking lot for the duration of the board meeting, and met board members as they exited from the meeting. Several board members approached students to show their support for student activism and creating better conditions for NDNU faculty.

The University’s President, Judith Greig, did come out and meet students in the parking lot, as an attempt to hear student voices [videos of which can be found online]. Students announced several concerns including, upholding NDNU Hallmarks and mission, honoring our faculty, quality of education, where tuition dollars are going, and how the Administration is going to address these concerns. As one of the students at the event on Wednesday, I must say it was unbelievable that a school founded on social activism would respond so aggressively towards students peacefully supporting their faculty. We can only hope that our voices will be better received in the future.

Author: Melinda Jones

Edited By: Johanna Anaya

Published By: Felicia Oakmon

Bon Appetit Possible Remodel

March 14, 2016- At the beginning of this year, NDNU renewed their contract with Bon Appetite for 25 years. There is talk that Bon Appetite will plan to remodel the cafeteria in the summer of 2017, in order to keep a section opened later for both students and staff to access food.

One of the primary concerns for students has been operational hours of the cafeteria. What general manager Katie Simmons explains that in order to extend hours this means that NDNU must increase the cost of meal plans in order to cover wages of Bon Appetite workers.

“We have to pay the cooks for more hours and if we are paying the cooks more hours than that means more money comes out of the student’s pocket. To extend the hours will cause us and the students more money, and we know it’s expensive to go to school so we want to keep it reasonable as possible.” Said Simmons

She is right many of the student’s do agree that the cafeteria should be opened later but are not willing to pay for an increase in meal plans: Standard meal plan here at NDNU is $1,360.00 which is seven meals and $100.00 flex.

“There are times that I have practice and cannot make it to the cafeteria on time, leaving me hungry for the night, but if this means they would have to increase meal plans then I say we leave it the way it is, school is already expensive as it is” said senior Cory Spears.

Some other students disagree and say the hours are fine but agree they are not willing to pay the increase in meal plans.

The hours are perfect for me because I can go straight from class to eat and then go straight home or I can just take my food to go and only purchase my box for 50 cents. Despite the long lines at times I am happy with Bon Appetite. As far as for adding money to meal plan wouldn’t be a good idea, school is already hard to pay for as it is.” Says Junior, Katie Anderson, a commuter.

Since the remodel has not be finalized and at the earliest will occur next summer, one possible suggestion that the Argonaut probed was allowing students to use their flex dollars on vending machines around campus.

 Coming from practice and finding out the cafeteria is closed hurts me because I don’t have money to spend. If we could use our flex dollars on the machine then that would help us a lot more because we won’t be hungry at night. “Lamented Sophomore resident Chad Winters”

When commenting on the feasibility of this idea, Simmons was unable to comment, however The Argonaut did learn from her that the Vending Machine contracts are separate one from Bon Appetite, and again at the heart of the issue comes down to the funding.

Students and Staff can look forward to possible renovations of the Café in the summer of 2017.

9 Places You Didn’t Know Existed

Avery's Pictures Pt. Reyes Shipwreck (1) Martins Beach Abandoned School Abandoned Roundhouse Abandoned Factory 1989 Abandoned Davenport Pier Abandoned Bowling Alley

Deep within the magnificent city of San Francisco are a number of abandoned buildings. This is the inside an abandoned factory shut down due to the 1989 earthquake. Deemed unsafe to operate in the factory closed and has since become an underground gallery for local street artists and photographers to explore and play in. Be careful though it’s full of rust and you might want a tetanus shot.

On an abandoned naval base island rests an abandoned school. Very difficult to enter and guarded by security this school is filled with incredible street art you would only be able to see if you gained entry to this secret location.

On a beach hidden among the many “Half Moon Bay” beaches is, Martins Beach. A locally private beach with local pedestrian access only, sits an incredible pyramid rock in the ocean perfect for any sunset or long exposure photography. Don’t go without permission from the locals because it is technically a private beach.

The once beloved Point Reyes Shipwreck recently burned due to irresponsible photography done by a street photographer. Up until then a shipwrecked boat laid stuck in the ground in Point Reyes, CA. Once a beautifully wrecked ship perfect for photography is now half burnt down.

Sam Abdul, a community college student from San Bruno said, “I like to do steel wool photography, but I am smart enough to know where and when to do it.”

Driving down the Cabrillo Highway you can find a man made Skate Park on the side of the highway in Davenport, CA. Filled with ever-changing graffiti and new ramp additions it is unknown who built this beauty, but it is hidden along the highway for anyone to skate or hangout in. It also has beautiful views of the coast with new beautiful graffiti.

If you were unaware that Davenport, CA once had a pier its probably because it doesn’t exist anymore and there are only ruins of the supports that remain in the water. Very difficult to get down to people have taken it upon themselves to spray paint the supports and even go as far to add a swing. Although photographed here without a swing, either locals or city officials often cover up the abandoned piers graffiti.

Ted Peterson, a local Carlmont High student said, “It is difficult to get down to the pier, there is no legit walkway, but I’ve done it before without sustaining any injuries.”

Hidden away in the streets of San Francisco hides a abandoned bowling alley sitting

right next to a Fire Department. Very difficult to gain access to because it is constantly boarded up by local police this is a must find for any true urban explorer. Illegal to enter and very difficult this is somewhere you don’t want to get caught entering.

On a fairly empty Bay Area Island are identical roundhouse buildings that once housed the families of local military. Set to be torn down and renovated these buildings have been used as an underground gallery for local street artists and photographer for the past two years.

Deep in the Bay Area hides an abandoned warehouse filled with some of the bay areas most famous street artists and taggers. A popular spot for local photographers this warehouse is filled with incredible artwork you would never be able to see anywhere else. Illegal and difficult to enter this warehouse is often boarded up and watched by local law enforcement.

Flask Mob

Every month photographers take over the streets of San Francisco as a group known as flask mob. You can find them blasting music while fireworks and smoke bombs are taking over downtown. They gather by the hundreds, with people of all ages from teens to adults. They gather from all over the area, getting there anyway they can. When the hundreds of people gather up, the mob begins to move as if it was a riot forming.

The event first started in San Francisco as a monthly nighttime photo walk in 2013. However, with the help of social media this small intimate gathering blew up and became a photography meet up that turned into an overnight sensation for urban adventurers and photographers. Since the start, flask mob has gained a thousands of followers making it possible to host events in Los Angeles. The event is built around the idea of giving photographers a new way to create and collaborate together. Flask mob is similar to a flash mob, which is a public gathering where people perform unusual or random acts. The main difference is this event just involves photographers, with the goal of taking over areas of the city to do crazy things such as, fire breathing, and fireworks.

 “After attending my first flask mob I have been dreaming of the next! I have learned so much about creativity through this event, and have met some great friends along the way,” said Sam Byer, a Bay Area photographer.

 This event happens once a month, sometimes every other month depending on how much police react to the previous event. The whole idea behind how it takes place is people gather in a certain area of the city, and then later roam the streets as a large group. The first official event had close to a hundred attendees, it has grown bigger and bigger since then, thanks to socials media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

 “For me, flask mob is more than just an event that gets people together. I think of flask mob as a family of people who all share the same passion of creating art,” said Richard Sampson a photographer from the Bay Area

 The event grew so much attention on the Internet since the start that people would drive all the way from Los Angeles just for that nighttime experience. After a few meetups in San Francisco, the event started happening in Los Angeles every other month.

 “After hearing about this event it definitely seems like something I would like to attend. I think this would be a great opportunity for me to network with people who are also into photography,” said Kevin Yeh a senior at NDNU