RSSAuthor Archive for Nick Trujillo

TENNIS: Aztecs struggle in early season conference

TENNIS: Aztecs struggle in early season conference


Sophomore Francisco Ton goes for a front hand swing against Mesa CC.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

After a series of scrimmages, the Pima Community College tennis teams played conference meets against Mesa and Glendale to start their season.

“The team adapts really well to play styles they have never seen before,” head coach Ian Esquer said.


March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9

In their third match, the Aztecs (2-2, 1-2 conference) were swept at home by the No. 8 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds.

Aztec freshmen Emma Oropeza and Janine Fernando dropped the No. 1 doubles match 8-2.

Oropeza also dropped her No. 1 singles match, 6-2, 6-3.

Sophomore Ashley Ochoa played a close second set but fell 6-1, 7-5.

March 21: PCC 9, Glendale CC 0

Oropeza led a string of defeats against Glendale in singles, as she defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-2.

Freshmen Jayme Shafer and Elise Rodriguez dominated their No. 3 doubles 8-1.


March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9

The No. 7 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds swept the Aztecs (2-1, 1-1 conference) in a home meet.

Pima sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton played a close doubles match but lost 9-8.

Avalos lost his No. 1 singles match, 6-0, 6-1. Ton lost his No. 2 singles match 6-0, 6-1.

March 21: PCC 8, Glendale CC 1

As the Aztecs dominate Glendale, Ton was able to come away with a big victory in his No. 2 singles in a three-set tie-breaker, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0.



March 23: Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.

March 29: Mesa CC, 11 a.m.


March 23: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.

March 28: Eastern Arizona, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.

March 29: Mesa CC, 1:30 p.m.

FIVE QUESTIONS: A brief conversation with Ashley Goode

FIVE QUESTIONS: A brief conversation with Ashley Goode

Editor’s note: In this ongoing feature, we ask a Pima Community College student some not-so-serious questions.


Sophomore Ashley Goode takes time to chat about varied topics between behavioral health classes at Desert Vista Campus. (Photo Credit: Nicholas Trujillo/ Aztec Press)

Compiled by Nicholas Trujillo

Ashley Goode is a student at PCC and a mother at home. She’s studying behavioral health at Desert Vista Campus and loves to have “Goode” days.

Question 1: What classes are you enjoying most, and why?

Ashley: I like the substance abuse classes. I like learning about why things happen, I like learning about theories. So far, we’re doing the Black Hand. He’s an FBI agent and he basically started the drug war. It talks about how he built a lot of stigmas because of the drug war. I like learning the truth.

Question 2: What color socks are you wearing?

Ashley: I’ve got mismatched on. They’re still the same, but one’s brighter than the other. I like bright color socks. My socks never match but I have to make sure my kid’s socks match.

Question 3: What’s your favorite movie, and why?

Ashley: One of my favorite movies is “Forest Gump.” When I was younger I would watch it every day. I think it’s because people titled him but he overcame a lot of things that they say a person with special needs can’t overcome. It’s kind of inspirational.

Question 4: What is the last song you listened to?

Ashley: “We Know How to Party” by Chris Brown. It keeps me going on the treadmill.

Question 5: What did you eat for breakfast?

Ashley: I had this gross sandwich from downtown that was kind of expensive. It was a Jimmy Dean sausage sandwich but it didn’t taste like that. It just tasted like it was frozen, in my grandma’s refrigerator. For six months.

No curtain call for 'Matt Finish'

No curtain call for ‘Matt Finish’


PCC dance instructor Nolan Kobuta performs in a burlesque show at the Screening Room in downtown Tucson to raise money for nationwide competitions.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

Nolan “Matt Finish” Kubota is a short, well-built, flamboyant man from northwestern California. His journey to Tucson has led him all over the world.

His roles at Pima Community College include director of productions for dance. He teaches advanced ballet and jazz, and runs the student dance ensemble.

On top of all that, he juggles one more responsibility: burlesque dancing.

“I’m amazing. I’ve been doing this forever and I’m not stopping any time soon,” Kubota said.

Burlesque began as a parody of plays in the 1830s, but evolved in the early 1900s into its current art form.


After graduating from high school in 2002, Kubota wanted to apply to the University of Arizona graduate school for dance. After he was denied admission because he needed two years of professional experience, he went to New York to get that experience.

“I had no connections, no job, nobody in the city,” Kubota said. “I was there for four days before I got a job.”

The lucky break came from a comedic all-male parody en travesti ballet company called Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, or “Trocks” for short.

Kubota called Trocks and asked if they had any upcoming auditions. After grilling Kubota with questions, the company asked him to show up at City Center the next day for auditions to replace a previous dancer.

“So I went in and it was a small audition, there were four guys,” Kubota said. “The first two boys were cut after barre.”

Only one dancer stood in Kubota’s way.

“We were polar opposites,” Kubota said. “I was very short and very thin. He was this big, hairy guy.”

Kubota felt sure his opponent had the advantage, noting the judge “was talking to him a whole lot more than he was talking to me.”

Though Kubota was less popular, he earned the job because his competitor had to leave the audition due to previous commitments.

Just like that, Kubota signed a contract with the Trocks on the night of his 21st birthday, Sept. 20.

“I have that amazing fairytale story, moving to New York and signing with a world-famous company,” he said.

Kubota traveled the world with the Trocks for three years, performing in Australia, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Japan, Turkey, Wales, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.

While in the U.S. on tour, Kubota approached the UA graduate school of dance’s chairman and gave him tickets to see him perform. Soon after, he was invited to enroll in the UA program.

After he graduated in 2011, Kubota applied to Pima Community College and immediately began teaching. While teaching, he has inspired students to be more confident with themselves.

“Matt’s made me more comfortable with saying I don’t like something,” sophomore dancer Catina Corella said.

During the day, classically trained Nolan Kubota, director of production, instructs and scouts dancers at Pima Community College West Cmpus’ dance studio, for the student ensemble.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press


Shortly after, he found his new passion.

At first, Kubota didn’t want to be a part of the burlesque scene.

“The first time I went to a show, I didn’t want to go at all,” he said. “I knew it was ladies taking their clothes off, and I was like, ‘ew, tits.’” After a friend bought him a non-refundable $20 ticket, however, Kubota dragged himself to the show.

“Five minutes into the show I was hooked,” he said. “I leaned over to her and told her, ‘We’re going to do this.’”

Post-show information had details about a burlesque class, and Kubota enrolled.

In his first session, Kubota and his peers were given a task: Come up with a performer name.

“I wanted a pun for my name,” he said. “When it comes to my photographs, I’ve always preferred a matte finish.”

Part of the process involved research to see if anyone else has ever used the name. Kubota learned no other burlesque performer went by his proposed name.

“There was an Australian rock band called Matt Finish,” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t think anyone will get us confused.’”

With his name settled, Kubota started dancing with Black Cherry Burlesque in 2012. He also created his own show, Don’t Blink Burlesque, and performed at a bar called Mint.

“We performed there for almost a year before we got our spot at The Hut,” he said. “We were a weekly there for a year, then we switched to a monthly.”

Switching to a monthly show allowed Kubota more time to gather his audience and fill his roster of performers.

That’s when his burlesque career began to take off.

At first Kubota stayed true to his ballet roots when he danced. After his second act, he decided he needed to be more open artistically.

“That’s what I love about it. It’s very freeing artistically,” he said. “I like that I can be dirty and raunchy on stage.”

At night, “Matt Finish” ditches classic ballet for the creative artistry of burlesque dancing.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

Kubota is always excited to meet new dancers who want to be a part of that community, and will help them jump right in.

DACA: New administration brings uncertainty

DACA: New administration brings uncertainty


Ana, a student at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, came to the United States when she was 2.

She came with her parents and brother, because her parents thought it was the best thing to do for their children.

“It’s not like Mexico had a bad life for us, it’s just there was more opportunity,” Ana said. “Not only economic rights, but education rights for my brother and I.”

Ana, who asked that her last name not be used, works with the UA Immigration Student Resource Center to create a safe environment for those in the same situation.

“I think that it’s crazy, and as dumb as it is, it also strikes fear,” she said. “Not only in yourself but in the family and your community, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA, is an executive order signed by President Obama in June 2012.

The policy allows undocumented immigrants who migrated to the United States before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to be eligible for work permits and protection from deportation for two years, with a renewable application.

Students who take advantage of the policy are referred to as Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAMers.

Those who are eligible pay a $495 fee, an increase from $465 as of December 2016. DACA students must also provide fingerprints and other biometrics for an $85 fee and prove they have not had any criminal convictions.

As of September 2016, over 800,000 DACA applicants have been accepted nationally. Nearly 4,000 of those reside in Pima County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.


The DREAMers were fearful before Obama’s executive order in 2012. The order allowed them to step out of the shadows to continue their education and build a better life in the ‘land of opportunity.’

However, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer began erecting barriers for DACA students as soon as the policy took affect.

Brewer issued a state executive order to deny the DREAMers driver’s licenses they were eligible for in 2012.

In December 2014, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell overturned Brewer’s order, allowing DREAMers to receive their licenses.

Before that, Proposition 300 was passed in 2006. It made undocumented immigrants ineligible for in-state tuition. Children who had grown up in Arizona most of their lives were now required to pay out-of- state tuition.

Maricopa County Community College District challenged this; allowing in-state tuition to DREAMers. Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne took the district to superior court. The court ruled in the college’s favor.

As of Jan. 10, current Attorney General Mark Brnovich has begun the appeal process to block DREAMers from receiving in-state tuition once again.

DACA students at PCC currently receive in-state tuition according to PCC’s website.

After a ruling by Federal Judge Arthur Anderson in 2015, all three state universities have been required to offer in-state tuition for these students.

While DACA students pay in-state tuition they are not eligible for any federal aid, including FAFSA.

Know Your Rights flier provided by UA ISRC


Now that Donald Trump is president,uncertainty fills the air for the DREAMers and all undocumented immigrants alike.

In a press conference, Trump said “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, because you have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases.” He also said he will deal with DACA “with heart.”

However, on Feb. 10, DREAMer Daniel Ramirez Medina was arrested in Seattle.

According to the Los Angeles Times, immigration officials say that Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member” and arrested him for safety reasons.

Ramirez’s attorney disputed that saying he’d never been convicted of a crime and that he was pressed by immigration officers to falsely admit to the accusations.

Protests around Washington State have already begun in solidarity with Ramirez.

Locally, organizations like the University of Arizona’s International Student

Resource Center, are working to protect the rights of DACA students by supplying training to staff.

ISRC also speaks to the Arizona Board of Regents about making the college a sanctuary zone.

ISRC is also working with a Barrett Honors College student to create an app to alert students of where Border Patrol or other officers are seen around the Tucson area.

Advocacy groups like Scholarships A-Z are also helping DACA students, providing them with assistance in finding private scholarships for school and other immigration resources.

Many volunteers for Scholarships A-Z are also DACA students.


Conozca sus derechos folleto proporcionado por UA ISRC

Although the situation is grim, there are helping hands at many institutions, though some are safer than others. That is evident in letters sent out after the proposal to end the DACA program by the Trump administration.

Chancellor Lee Lambert put out a statement Jan. 30, saying, “The College is reviewing action we could take to ensure students and employees feel secure, respected and supported.”

Pima does stand behind their employees; the email also lists links to help, and others to make an informed decision.

Ann Weaver Hart, president of UA, put out a statement, Nov. 24, 2016. With only 70 DACA students, they represent less than one percent of the student population.

“The UA statement publicly stakes out our position on protecting DACA student information,” she said.

“Providing advice and counsel for those students and ensuring any educational aspiration underway at the UA can be successfully completed regardless of events.”

Although the university had good intentions, many DACA students did not think the letter was clear enough on how it would protect them.

“President Hart, who’s president here at the UA, said she would protect DACA students in all her abilities,” Ana said.

“However coming together with other DACA students we thought it was vague, it didn’t really say anything or like actions to protect.”

A student at the UA felt so unsafe that he transferred to Pima.

“One DACA student left UA to transfer to Pima, because there are more opportunities there and it’s a safer environment,” Ana said.

New coach surprises at preseason tourney

New coach surprises at preseason tourney


After a sweep against Imperial College, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s teams played in a preseason tournament in Mesa.

“It went really well,” head coach Ian Esquer said.

Other schools such as Eastern Arizona and Arizona Christian University weren’t expecting the new coach and his team to get as far as they did, Esquer said.

“I was happy everyone played and had fun,” he said.


ACCAC preseason tournament

For doubles, the men’s team got to the finals of the main draw and the semifinals of the back draw.

“Arizona Christian University played and we beat them in the finals, so they were pretty impressed, as was I,” Esquer said.


ACCAC preseason tournament

In singles, freshman Emma Oropeza made her way to the semifinals of the main draw, while freshmen Janine Fernando and Lien Nguyen reached the back draw finals.

In doubles Oropeza and Nguyen made it to the semi’s of the back draw.

Feb. 23: Eastern 8, PCC 1

PCC’s game in Thatcher resulted in just one win, from freshman Elise Rodriguez. She won her No. 6 singles 7-6. The Aztecs lost every other match on the road.

HOWS THAT MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING?: Increase sets social Darwinism in motion

HOWS THAT MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING?: Increase sets social Darwinism in motion


For minimum-wage earners who’ve had a taste of the $1.95 per hour pay raise, I can relate if you are feeling both happy and scared by the change.

My eyes light up when I see the significant increase in my paychecks. However, my face turns gray when I hear that another store has closed or raised prices because it can’t keep up.

In Tucson, the owner of Shlomo and Vito’s Deli blamed the minimum wage when it closed. The move threw 43 employees out of work.

I’m not an economist, but I would argue the closing represents free market principles. It’s not great a local deli closed, but it allows other entrepreneurs an opportunity to open another food store that might be economically stronger.

The ability to adapt and overcome obstacles shows the strength of a business. This life-and-death business cycle is healthy for an area’s economy.

The Metro Chamber of Commerce recently sent an anonymous survey to businesses across Tucson.

About 40 percent of businesses that responded said they are increasing prices to keep up.

Thirty-two percent are reducing employee hours.
I see this happening at my own job, at Frys. Many of my fellow employees are seeing their hours cut because they don’t have seniority and the store has to save money.

The chamber survey said 13 percent of businesses are considering closing for good. This is without a doubt bad for the individual businesses that close. However, a growing customer base will greet those that ride the wave of uncertainty and stay open.

Another 11 percent of the business owners said they would move to automation.

We won’t be having much human interaction at those stores. They’ll be based on machines with one or two people keeping up day-to-day maintenance.

Again, this process eliminates the weak businesses and allows others to come up with fresh ideas to keep their business going. This is good for everyone in the long run.

I understand that finding a new job is scary in the short run, especially when you have a family to feed. It’s also scary to see businesses close.

Focusing on that, however, will only make you close-minded to that fact that other businesses may perform better.

Opportunities are driven by the free market and its ability to make and break businesses.

This is the circle of life in the world of economics. We shouldn’t be afraid to take it on.

Nick Trujillo isn’t a conservative, but he likes a free-functioning market.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima to host Scottsdale in playoffs

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima to host Scottsdale in playoffs


Sophomore Denesia Smith muscles past a Cochise College defender for a layup. Smith finished the game with a team-high 26 points.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

The Pima Community College women’s team will be the No. 2 seed for the NJCAA Region I, Division II tournament, and will host No. 3 Scottsdale Community College on March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Pima finished the regular season with a 22-7 overall record and a 17-5 record in conference play.

Feb. 15: PCC 80, Cochise 81

When the Aztecs faced Cochise College at home for their second game of the season, they met the same fate as in their previous meeting in Douglas.

After a strong first half, PCC fell behind in the second half. A last-second play by sophomore Sydni Stallworth forced overtime.

The Apaches won the game with a last-second layup.

Stallworth finished with 15 points, which she scored solely in the second half and in overtime. Sophomore Denesia Smith finished with a team-high 26 points and fellow sophomore Erin Peterson ended with seven points and seven rebounds.

Feb. 18: PCC 94, Phoenix 71

After recovering from the Apache loss, PCC bounced back to defeat Phoenix College by a double-digit margin.

PCC ended the first half with a 34-31 lead and opened the second half with a 15-6 run. The Aztecs used an 11-0 run to take a 74-50 lead with four minutes left.

Sophomore Bree Cates and Smith both ended with 16 points.

Stallworth finished with 23 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Moana Hala’ufia had 15 rebounds and four points.

Feb. 22: PCC 93, CAC 90

A 93-90 home victory gave the Aztecs their first-ever regularseason sweep of Central Arizona College. In a previous road match, the Aztecs beat the Vaqueras 96-85.

The Aztecs fell behind during the game but continued chipping away. The game was tied at 90-90 with 13.3 seconds left when Cates hit a 3-pointer to secure the win.

“We stayed together and kept fighting,” Cates said in a press release. “It was our time and we were due for sure.” Cates led the team with 23 points, and Stallworth scored 17 points.

Feb. 25: PCC 58, Mesa 60

PCC had a strong first half but quickly derailed. After multiple lead changes in the second half, Mesa used a 6-0 run to take and maintain the lead.

Cates finished the game with 22 points and six rebounds. Smith had 14 points.

Feb. 28: PCC 79, AWC 73 

Head coach Todd Holthaus talks to his team as assistant coaches Jim Rosborough and Chris Klassen look on.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

The Aztecs finished the regular season with a victory over the Arizona Western College Matadors on Sophomore Night.

PCC opened the first half with a 12-0 run and ended the first quarter 10 points ahead, 26-16. The second quarter saw a revamped Arizona Western College score seven points ahead of the Aztecs.

The teams went into halftime with PCC still in the lead, 37-34.

The second half of the game was no different.

The Aztecs were up in the third quarter, only to see the Matadors come back in the fourth. The game ended with AWC falling short of the win.

Stallworth was just short of a triple-double with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Cates finished with 17 points, and Smith finished with 13.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima riding wave to postseason

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima riding wave to postseason

Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics Sophomore Sydni Stallworth goes in for a layup against South Mountain.


The Pima Community College women’s basketball team is currently averaging 83.2 points per game, an improvement from the previous seasons 72.6 points per game average.

The Aztecs have also improved their three-point accuracy, hitting 30.7 percent as opposed to 21.9 percent last season. Their overall field goal percentage has also seen a bump, an 8.3% percent increase from last season.

“We are right where we want to be, coming down the stretch in a good position,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “In my ten years, this is probably the best offensive team I’ve ever had.”

Feb. 4: PCC 87, Eastern Arizona 92

After maintaining a slight lead for three quarters, the Aztecs ended up with a loss against the Gila Monsters.

Pima held a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Then Eastern Arizona outscored PCC 31-19 in the fourth. The Gila Monsters out rebounded the Aztecs, 51-36, and shot 25 for 30 at the free throw line.

Sophomore Denesia Smith, lead the team with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists. Fellow sophomore Sydni Stallworth had 18 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Feb. 8: PCC 83, South Mountain 53

After their second loss to Eastern Arizona, the Aztecs bounced back and beat the South Mountain Cougars.

PCC started out the second half with a 17-point lead and steamrolled it into a 30-point lead by the end of the game.

Stallworth led her team with 27 points and shot 62 percent from the field. Freshman Alliyah Bryant had 13 points, hitting half of her shots.

The win allowed for a sweep of the Cougars, with the Aztec’s having defeated South Mountain 68-54 earlier in the season.

Feb. 11: PCC 71, Scottsdale 58

The Aztecs took the win against the Artichokes after sophomore Bree Cates dropped 24 points.

The game began as a neck and neck affair, until the fourth quarter. The Aztecs stretched their lead to double digits in the fourth, and closed out the game with a 13-point lead.

Cates also shot for 44 percent and had six rebounds. Stallworth finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

“We got a tough part of our schedule coming up leading into playoffs,” Holthaus said. “That’ll be the focus leading into playoffs, tighten up the defence. Knowing that the old cliché ‘defense wins championships’ is true.”

Feb. 15: PCC vs. Cochise

The game took place after the Aztec Press went to press.


Feb. 18: at Phoenix College, 2p.m.

Feb. 22: Cetral Arizona, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: at Mesa CC, 2p.m.

Feb. 28: Arizona Western, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

TENNIS: Team's sweep openers

TENNIS: Team’s sweep openers

By: Nicholas Trujillo

With a new coach at the helm for both Pima Community College tennis teams, Ian Esquer starts off his season 1-0, for the men’s and women’s teams.


Feb. 4: PCC 9, Imperial Valley 0

The men’s team earned a 9-0 sweep against Imperial Valley College. Fresman Francisco Sotelo swept his No. 4 singles match 6-0, 6-0.

Sophomores Jesus Lopez and Raj Singh Kaila also swept their opponents, No. 5 and No. 6 singles respectively, 6-0, 6-0.

In the doubles competition Sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton won their No. 1 doubles 6-1, 6-1.


Feb. 4: PCC 7, Imperial Valley 2

The Aztecs took their win against Imperial Valley, with a 7-2 take over.

In singles, freshman Elise Rodriguez defeated her No. 6 singles, 6-0, 61.

In doubles, Rodriguez and freshman Jayme Shafer swept their No. 3 doubles 8-0.




Feb. 20-21: Scottsdale CC, Invitational, Sun City, 11 a.m.


Feb. 27-28: Estella Mountain CC Invitational, Goodyear, 10 a.m.

Anti-censorship bill moves to state Senate

Anti-censorship bill moves to state Senate

Nicholas Trujillo/Aztec Press Republican Senator Kimberly Yee, District 20, reintroduces the bill after 25 years.


An anti-censorship bill that could effectively nullify a famous court case that allows educational institutions the last word on student publications is working through the state Senate after passing unanimously at a hearing before the Senate Education Committee Feb. 2 in Phoenix.

Senate Bill 1384 was sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Yee (R, District 20) and was passed on to the senate floor. If it passes there, it will be sent to Gov. Doug Ducey, who can either sign or veto the bill.

SB 1384 is a response to the three-decade old Hazelwood v. Khuliemer case, where a St. Louis high school newspaper attempted to publish stories about divorce and teen pregnancy. The administration said that the stories would be inappropriate.

The case was taken to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in the students favor. However, after being taken to the Supreme Court, it was found that the school did have the power to censor the paper under certain circumstances.

At the hearing before the education committee, six students and two instructors gave testimony, and many more journalists attended.

“If it actually passes into law it’ll have significant implications for us,” said Sam Gross, editor in chief of the Daily Wildcat. “Basically the bill makes it harder to argue against us.”

Outlined in the bill are nine amendments to be added. One stipulates student journalists and media outlets will not be subject to prior restraint, even if they are supported financially by an educational facility.

If passed, SB 1384 would effectively overrule Hazelwood v. Khuliemer by freeing students of censorship by a school’s administration, even if the material were deemed taboo.

The bill does enforce four instances where students will not be protected: libel, unwarranted invasion of privacy, violating federal or state law or inciting students to break the law.

Specifically, if any of the four instances occur, the bill states, “the public school, community college or university has the burden of providing lawful justification without unique delay.”

Though passed unanimously, the bill did meet some criticism. Sen. Steve Smith (R, District 11) had a problem with SB 1384’s intention. Smith raised the possibility of a student falling at a stadium during a football game and the paper publishing a cartoon of it.

“We just want to make sure we are not green lighting any inappropriate stuff for high school kids,” Smith said. “A problem for some is not a problem for all.”

Smith pointed out that the potential cartoon would not be libelous or slanderous, but it would be inappropriate.

Yee countered, saying “we need to rely on the professionalism of our advisers. They’ve been journalism advisers for years and years and they wouldn’t have gotten there with inappropriate cartoons.”

While SB 1384 grants protection from censorship it also grants protection from disciplining a student-journalist for acting in accordance with the bill.

James Bourland, adviser for Tucson High Magnet School’s Cactus Chronicle, would be affected along with his student-journalists.

The bill grants protection to the adviser from being fired, reassigned or transferred if the adviser is acting to protect the student in accordance with the bill.

“What this would do is basically give the reporters the right to do their jobs, which is report the actual news,” Bourland said. “It would skip over those puff pieces, now we can actually be journalists.”
In the end, Bourland contends the spirit of SB 1384 is a long time coming. “It seems like, it’s pretty good that student journalist will be given the rights they should already have.”

TENNIS: Ticket to nationals guaranteed for women's team

TENNIS: Ticket to nationals guaranteed for women’s team


Going to the ACCAC nationals will be as easy as showing up, for the women’s tennis team.

“The girls are excited because they’re going to play nationals for sure,” head coach Ian Esquer said.

The same can’t be said for the men’s team, as it will have to qualify in the top three at the regional competition.

Last season, the men’s tennis squad ended its run at the Region I championships. The women’s team ended with sophomore Noelle Karp losing in the No. 3 singles.

After coaches Brian Ramirez and Gretchen Schantz stepped down from their positions at season’s end, PCC hired former student Esquer to coach both teams.

Esquer played at the college from 2006-2008 and went to nationals both times. As coach, he hopes to bring out that same energy in his student-athletes.

“This year is going to be really interesting,” he said. “I got both teams with just four players last semester, and I thought it was going to be tough to fill up.”

He thinks his players will enjoy a good season.

“Both teams are improving a lot more since the semester started,” he said.

The number of players represent a major change since his time at PCC. In 2006, both teams had nine players. Esquer has six players on his teams now.

“It’s more even this time, compared to when I played,” he said. “You want a team that can play at the same level and at all positions and seeds.”

The women’s team will have its first game on Feb. 23 in Thatcher against Eastern Arizona College.

The men’s team begins play by hosting Mesa Community College on Feb. 28 at the West Campus tennis courts.

Sophomore Emma Oropeza serves ball in pre-season practice.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press


Wage bill makes small ripples for PCC

Wage bill makes small ripples for PCC



Federal work-study helps many Pima Community College students earn income while balancing their school work. Alex Velarde is one of those students.

After Arizona voters passed Proposition 206 last year, Velarde and other minimum wage workers saw their pay increase from $8.05 to $10 an hour on Jan. 1. The minimum wage will continue to increase in increments, reaching $12 by the year 2020.

Velarde has worked since 2014 as a student assistant on the Help Desk in the Computer Commons at West Campus. He helps students and staff with technical problems involving computers and printers.

He was pleased when Proposition 206 passed. “I thought, ‘Well great, it’s more money,’” he said.

Jose Chavez, a student assistant in the West Campus Learning Center, is also excited about the raise.

“I think it’s better, ‘cause we get paid more,” Chavez said. “They cut my hours a bit though, from 19 to 16 hours.”

Chavez said fewer work hours allow more time for his other obligations.

“With school and everything going on, I don’t complain too much about the hours,” he said.

PCC has 13 job classifications that pay minimum wage. Positions such as courier driver, residential assistance and Help Desk student assistant all saw a 24.2 percent increase in their pay grade.

Other PCC jobs did not see a raise because they already paid well over the previous $8.05 minimum wage.

“The impact has been pretty small,” PCC spokeswoman Libby Howell said in an email. “None of our regular employees were affected, because the lowest hourly wage PCC pays to a regular employee is $13.54.”

College documents say funding sources “will be allocated for appropriate budget adjustments for the remainder of this fiscal year.”

Allocated sources include grant-funded programs. Many personnel expenses will come from the college’s general fund.

The general fund gets revenue from three main sources: property tax levies, tuition and fees, and college equities.


Student Assistant Solomon Kebede is part of a small group of Pima Community College employees affected by the new minimum wage bill. Photo by Nicholas Trujillo.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Winter break provides no slack for the Aztecs

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Winter break provides no slack for the Aztecs



While many students finally got a good night’s sleep, the Pima Community College women’s basketball team took no breaks over the winter holiday.

“The whole concern is that we need to beat the teams in our divisions,” assistant coach Jim Rosborough said. “We need to be sure that we’re top seed out of the Division II schools.”

The No. 2-ranked Aztecs won against South Mountain Community College, Dawson Community College, Scottsdale Community College and Phoenix College during the break.

The third loss in the Aztecs’ calendar came Jan. 7 against Cochise College, 57-44, in Douglas.

Even with three losses, the Aztecs had small victories that overshadowed the missteps.

Sophomore Sydni Stallworth was named ACCAC player of the week three times and won national honors as NJCAA Division II player of the week. She’s averaging 15.3 points, 7.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Jan. 14: PCC 96, Central Arizona College 85

The Aztecs hosted the Vaqueras and took control of the game from the start. The team lead 47-45 at halftime, and went up by 76-65in the third quarter.

“Amazing team win and I’m super proud,” head coach Todd Holthaus said in a press release.

Sophomores led the game as Stallworth finished with 34 points, followed by Denesia Smith and Bree Cates with 17 points each.

Jan. 18: PCC 81, Mesa CC 84

When PCC last played Mesa Community College in the Region I, Division II finals, the Aztecs won 78-54.

However, history did not repeat on Jan. 18. Pima lost to a buzzer beater.

“We weren’t as sharp defensively as we should’ve been, and it ended up costing us the game,” Rosborough said.

Stallworth had 22 points, followed by Cates with 17 points and six rebounds.

Jan. 21: PCC 91, Arizona Western 73

The Aztecs quickly recovered after the Mesa loss and pulled a double-digit win against Arizona Western College.

The No. 2 Aztecs took the lead in the first quarter, 20-19. By the third quarter, they held a 61-51 lead.

Stallworth ended the game with 28 points and Cates had 19.

Freshman Alliyah Bryant made her first six 3-pointers in a row and finished the game with 19 points shooting for 66 percent beyond the arc.

“We played pretty hard as a team,” Bryant said. “It was probably one of my best games so far.”

Jan. 25: PCC 71, Tohono O’odham 25

The second half of the season saw a replay of the ending to the Native American Classic. The Aztecs earned their second win of the season against the Jegos.

From the start, the Aztecs held on to a lead that increased as the quarters went on. They did not let Tohono O’odahm score more than 16 points per quarter.

Stallworth lead the team with 24 points, followed by Cates with 13 points.

Jan. 28: PCC 98, Chandler-Gilbert 43

The No.3 Aztecs beat Chandler-Gilbert for the team’s 16th consecutive win.

The first quarter ended with the Aztecs up by 18 points and then by 29 points when the second quarter ended, more than doubling Chandler-Gilbert’s score, 51-22.

Cates shot for 69 percent, scoring 16 points. Smith finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Feb. 1: PCC versus Glendale CC

The game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.



Feb. 4: at Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 8: South Mountain CC, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 11: at Scottsdale CC, 7 p.m.

Feb. 15: Cochise College, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

Sudanese-born student helps a world in need

Sudanese-born student helps a world in need

Ibrahim Younis gives a community talk to share his worldwide experiences working for the Doctors Without Borders organization. (David Pujol/Aztec Press)


Ibrahim Younis, a 44-year-old Sudanese-born Tucsonan, has worked as a coordinator for Doctors Without Borders since 1997.

“To save a life, to feed people, to be able to make this change, it’s addictive,” Younis said during a Pima Community College presentation that drew students, faculty and community members. “When you’re back home, you’ll want to do it again.”

Younis grew up in the United Kingdom and in Belgium. He holds citizenship with three countries: Sudan, Belgium and the United States.

After obtaining his primary school education in Sudan and attending school in Europe, Younis enrolled at PCC two years ago. He hopes to transfer to the University of Arizona to continue studying political science.

Younis worked in the early ‘90s with a United Nations consortium called Operation Lifeline Sudan, handling and managing the food distribution logistics.

He then moved to Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its European name of Médecins Sans Frontières.

He started with MSF as a logistician, and later became a logistics coordinator and then a program coordinator. He’s now worked as a manager in MSF’s European headquarters and has also traveled to more than 50 countries.

Much of his early MSF work focused on conflicts in Islamic countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia. He worked on the front lines in African areas where Boko Haram extremists were active.

His non-medical work with emergency units made him an emergency specialist, so he now concentrates on emergency preparedness and response for both human-caused and natural disasters.

“I find it sad that the kind of work he is doing is necessary, but I appreciate the work that he does,” said Elizabeth Moisin, a PCC nursing student who attended Younis’ presentation.

“I think it’s heartwarming that there are people who have the courage to go out there and do this kind of work,” she said.

Lizette Durazo, another PCC student who attended his talk, said she will consider working with a relief program like MSF in the future.

“To hear that there are people who risk their lives to save lives is miraculous, especially in the face of danger on the front lines,” she said.

Younis said 60 percent of his job involves gaining access and developing strategies. He must deal with politics, security and diplomacy while working with local authorities.

He has seen tragedy and loss throughout his time working with MSF, but said he continues to return because of its potential for good. When patients recover and start smiling, Younis said he knows MSF has made a difference.

“There are a lot of sad and happy memories, but in general the fact that you save lives gives you so much consciousness of the situation and the work you do,” he said. “And we do save lives, especially for children, pregnant women, the elderly and the wounded.”

He supports MSF’s belief in staying neutral, and said aide workers can’t differentiate by color, gender, age, religion or creed.

“Whatever comes on the table, you treat,” he said. “That, for me, is fundamental if you want to provide humanitarian assistance, especially in conflicts.”

Younis met his physician wife about five years ago through MSF. They now both live in Tucson with their two children.

He sees himself doing what is right no matter the danger. “I get to have that pleasure of making a difference in somebody’s life,” he said.

Believing in the power, not the institution

Believing in the power, not the institution


I am a person of faith. I believe in a higher power. I believe in God. But I disagree with most of what the church has to say.

Sunday has been church day ever since I was a little kid.

I grew up with a Christian mom who came from a very devoted family. My granddad was a pastor for most of his life and many of my relatives are involved in the church as well.

My dad, on the other hand, was raised Catholic but rarely goes to Mass.

I was taught in church that we must follow the rules to go to heaven. If I did not behave correctly, God would punish me.

But as I started to grow up, things the church said did not make sense to me anymore.

We live in a society that is more liberal than in the past but still people use their religious beliefs to discriminate against others.

Churches are becoming places where you can judge others who don’t agree with you.

Not all churches are bad but not all of them work for all people.

There are so many religions and each has aspects different from the others. One thing they have in common is that each religion feels it is the right one.

A quote in the movie “Spotlight” stuck with me: “The church is an institution of men and that’s passing. My faith is in the eternal. I try to separate the two.”

That made a lot of sense to me. I don’t need to go to church to have a relationship with God or to believe in something.

If you don’t go church or identify yourself with a specific religion, people automatically think you are an atheist.

There is nothing wrong with being an atheist but I disagree with the assumption that anyone who stops attending church is a non-believer.

I don’t need someone to be an intermediary for me. I don’t need an institution to know that I have a relationship with a higher power.

We should believe in whatever we need. Belief is something people look to for comfort.

What may work for you may not work for somebody else.

Maria Angulo is a journalism major at Pima Community College. She hopes to transfer and graduate from one of the three state universities.