Editor’s note: This regular column explores topics covered in past editions of Aztec Press.
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Some people celebrate Valentine’s Day, while others see the holiday end in conflict. Relationships require patience, communication and, in many cases, an unbiased referee.
In 1976, an Aztec Press reporter interviewed two women who had recently been divorced. At the time, divorce procedures were becoming almost as common as weddings.
One of the women interviewed had married at 19. Initially, she viewed marriage as a “declaration of freedom from her parents.”
Eventually, she saw the union as damaging to her livelihood and decided to part ways with her husband of eight years.
“The divorce procedure was like an appointment,” she said. “It lasted a couple of minutes with others waiting in line.”
She said their two daughters spent each summer with their father.
“My own personal experience with him has nothing to do with the girls,” she explained. “Our feelings are stored up, but we don’t let them out.”
The other woman spoke of her ex-husband’s violent behavior, which was linked to his drinking habit.
“I hated him … now I feel sorry for him,” she said. “I really don’t blame him. His father was just like him. He would beat his wife, was a heavy drinker, adulterer and he never talked to his kid.”
In 1992, the Aztec Press spoke with Karen Jaskar, a program assistant at the Brewster Center, a local shelter for battered women and their children.
Jaskar provided guidelines on how to identify and avoid abusive relationships:
- Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
- Maintain a healthy support system. Keep your job, your friends and your focus on studies even if your partner encourages you to sacrifice these values.
- Listen to the honest opinions of friends and family that you trust. Often when we are smitten with someone, it is difficult to see hazardous behavior clearly.
- Work on strengthening your self-esteem by spending time with people that make you feel good about yourself. Also factor time in for solitude and self-reflection.
- Do not depend on your partner to “cure” you. In times of stress or confusion, avoid seeking solace in drugs or alcohol. Try instead to engage in physical activity that will help your mind and body feel better, such as hiking or a new yoga class.
- Do not be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help.
“Domestic violence can occur in married, unmarried, straight or gay relationships, in the foothills or in the barrio,” Jaskar said.
She explained that batterers are typically jealous and possessive, and can switch from charming to furious without warning.
They rarely accept responsibility for any faults, instead placing blame on others. They tend to undermine their partner’s accomplishments and attempt to control their actions.
As the relationship progresses, abusers tries to isolate their mate from friends and family, criticizing anyone who might voice concerns that the relationship is unhealthy and dangerous.
“Abusers put up a good false front and want to be seen as an upstanding person in the community,” Jaskar said. “Batterers have a great interest in keeping the abuse a secret.”
Due to such denial and secrecy, the abuser rarely seeks help for his or her violent behavior.
“It is the victim who is most likely to break the cycle of abuse by asking for outside help,” Jaskar said.
Domestic violence rarely ends without some type of outside intervention, she added.
“Remember, taking care of yourself is your responsibility. So is keeping your eyes open. That way, when Mr. Right does come along, you won’t be busy fielding punches from Mr. Wrong.”
The Brewster Center is still in operation today. More information can be found at brewstercenter.org or by calling 520-881-3063.
Another Tucson shelter that offers help and guidance is the Emerge Center, emergecenter.org. It has a 24 hour hotline: 1-888-428-0101.
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
As another semester begins, students are faced with an onslaught of challenging tasks and looming deadlines that can lead to overwhelming anxiety.
To help students with all that stress, Aztec Press has covered various techniques to combat fatigue and frustration over the years.
In an article from 1982, Cindy Arem, a counselor at Pima Community College, wrote about the six stages that often lead to “student burn-out syndrome.”
1) High Excitement – motivation, energy and enthusiasm
2) Energy Drain – constant challenges result in frustration, apathy or restlessness
3) Energy Shortage – fatigue, stress that may result in insomnia, possibly seeking escape through drugs and/or alcohol
4) Energy Depletion – constant exhaustion, frequent illnesses, irritability and depression
5) Panic – feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, severe test anxiety
6) Disaster – cheating, failing, dropping out, deep depression and in severe cases, suicide
Arem reminded readers that although most problems seem complicated, they are often remedied with simple solutions.
She advised to be aware of time management and particular sources of stress, as well as maintain the basics of a healthy diet and consistent exercise.
“While drugs are often used to alleviate stress,” Arem said, “They may only be masking the underlying problems, resulting in aggravation of the stress.”
In a 1984 issue, contributing writer Linda Phillips focused on test anxiety. She noted that high levels of test anxiety are often linked to students’ inner dialogue as they imagine the consequences of failing.
“Worry is addictive,” Phillips said. “It is extremely hard to give up and it intensifies when not dealt with positively and overcome.”
An article from 1981 suggested a unique method of dealing with stress, a sensory deprivation tank. At the time, there were two flotation tank companies in Tucson, Samadhi and Oasis Tank Co.
Celebrities such as Lily Tomlin reportedly visited Samadhi, and Oasis Tank received guests ranging from musicians to circus jugglers who claimed the experience helped them with vision and coordination.
For anyone interested in trying this approach, Still Waters Massage, located at 3125 E. Kleindale Road, offers sessions for $65 for an hour. More information can be found at orangetucson.com/stillwaters/index.html or by calling 808-6916.
As for those who prefer the more conventional methods, heed the advice of PCC counselor James Yaple.
“Although there are many things around you, many events, many people, many situations that may prove to be demanding or trying to some extent, you have the control, the power to manage yourself in those situations,” he said.
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
The Aztec Press has covered consequences resulting from nuclear threats and conventional weapons from a variety of angles over the years.
A 1977 issue described experiments that demonstrated possible hazards to the environment and residents surrounding nuclear power plants.
The staff writer believed that the greatest danger the American people faced was their “vulnerability to the half-truths and profit-at-the-expense-of-safety attitudes fouling government and the nuclear industry.”
Many people built fallout shelters in the ‘60s due to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. By the late ‘70s, many of the shelters still standing lacked sufficient supplies.
In 1975, Tucson was selected as part of a pilot program for relocating populations in the event of a severe emergency such as a nuclear strike.
Richard Casanova, then director of Pima County Emergency Services, said the plan was based on the possibility that there would be enough warning before a strike to allow people to seek shelter in designated areas.
At the time, some residents worried that Tucson would be a possible strategic strike site because of Titan missiles stored in area silos.
Casanova said that targets would most likely be more densely populated areas.
A 1982 article explained that even those who survive a nuclear attack may later fall victim to the lingering effects of lethal radiation.
“Surviving a nuclear attack really is a matter of percentages,” Casanova said. “The only real answer is stopping nuclear war.”
A year later, activists held a non-violent protest at a cruise missile training site. One organizer, Rhea Miller, encouraged demonstrators to communicate with security forces in a peaceful manner.
“Sing to them, talk to them, let them know we are people,” Miller said.
In 1986, the Newman Center near the University of Arizona hosted a panel discussion about world-wide peace efforts. The keynote speaker was Patricia Mische who founded the Global Education Associates with her husband in 1974.
The organization’s aim was to create a more harmonious world through education and communication.
Mische said it was especially important to teach children how to avoid conflicts both on a personal and a grand scale.
Key components of such education include teaching children the value of their self-worth, and a deep respect for the links we share with other cultures and the entire world.
“It is possible to remove the threat of war,” Mische said. “We can turn the world balance and the nature of things through non-violent actions.”
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
In 1975, Pima Community College had the highest enrollment of veterans in the state. The Vietnam War was ending, unemployment rates were high and many veterans were searching for a new direction in life.
The influx of veteran students required policies to be updated in order to match the growing number of students relying on the GI Bill to finance their studies.
There were concerns that some veterans would receive financial aid, then fail to attend classes or take courses that weren’t required for their degree. This caused the Veteran’s Administration to set stricter guidelines, which ultimately made it more difficult for veteran students seeking aid.
At a Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee hearing in 1982, Sen. Dennis DeConcini spoke about his efforts to balance a tight budget.
“I believe that veterans are a very special category of citizens,” DeConcini said. “They served their country with every expectation that promised benefits and services would be honored.”
In the hearing, there were complaints that the VA was understaffed and under-funded, and that facilities were in dire need of expansion.
A related article from 1982 featured an interview with Bob Caldwell, a Vietnam veteran and counselor at Tucson’s Vietnam Vet Center.
“In Vietnam, tactics collapsed into an exhaustingly futile sequence,” Caldwell said. “Take it by day, lose it by night, fight to the death for a patch of incomprehensible land, then call in the slippery figures in the black body bags.”
Caldwell said that Vietnam vets had an especially hard time coping because they had been fighting a losing war and did not receive a warm welcome home when they returned.
Like many soldiers, Caldwell joined the military at a young age and was prepared to continue his education after serving. He attended the University of Arizona and earned his master’s degree, yet he struggled with feelings of alienation.
“When I first returned to school, I felt like a foreigner,” Caldwell said, adding that he was often accused of being “morally bankrupt” for serving in the military.
At the Tucson Vietnam Vet Center, Caldwell helped counsel others who were struggling with similar issues.
Post-traumatic stress disorder had recently been identified by the American Psychiatric Association and was previously termed “shell shock” by many doctors who thought it was linked to artillery concussions.
Some of the symptoms include depression, hallucinations, recurring nightmares and withdrawal from personal contact.
The Vet Center helped counsel veterans who were experiencing “survivor guilt,” the notion that it should have been them who perished instead of their comrades.
The center also worked with friends, relatives and wives of veterans. The counselors helped them deal with common frustrations and misunderstandings.
“Right or wrong, the vets did it for us,” Caldwell said. “Veterans are the responsibility of all Americans.”
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
The health care industry has received lots of media coverage in recent months, but a 1976 Aztec Press article explored the “death care industry.”
The student newspaper wrote about the costs of funerals, burials and cremation.
At the time, full-service funerals ranged from $500 to $4,000. Today, the average cost of a funeral and burial costs between $7,000 and $10,000, according to the website funeral-tips.com.
Both in 1976 and today, cremation services cost considerably less. In the mid-1970s, a cremation service could be purchased for less than $300. The current price is approximately $1,600 for a cremation and basic memorial service. The 1976 article warned about additional fees that might be tacked on, such as staff services, preparation, facilities and supplies. The additions might easily double the cost.
“It’s the extra things they add on,” Beatriz Rivera said after attending a funeral. “The little things you don’t stop to think about.”
At the time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had filed an anti-trust lawsuit against all Tucson funeral homes.
An assistant U.S. attorney said the suit involved industry collusion in price fixing for county-contracted burials, and price fixing by the industry in its dealings with the public.
Tucson mortician Jay McCaffery denied the allegations.
“I’ve embalmed 10,000 people since I’ve been in business and I’ve never worried my customers about money,” he said.
“I don’t believe anyone should have to worry about that.”
Health articles encourage research, education
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Second of a two-part series
Providing effective health care has been a greatly debated topic for decades.
An Aztec Press article from 1975 described health insurance as an “expensive solution and not a total one, but it brings about a certain degree of peace of mind and reassurance.”
Readers were encouraged to visit the public library to research insurance companies by using publications such as Best Insurance Report and Dunnes Insurance Report.
Today, it has become easier to research insurance companies. Both reports can be found online at ambest.com and dunnes.com.
An October 1981 article covered an annual exercise, “Well Aware about Health,” offered to Pima Community College faculty and students.
The program’s aim was to educate people about detecting problems and treating them before they became more serious.
“The hospitals are full of people who are sorry they didn’t do something about health problems sooner,” program coordinator Christine Scharf said.
A 1983 article examined the use of homeopathic alternatives in medicine. Judy Saber from the New Life Health Center outlined several natural remedies that have been used for years.
Research has shown that garlic has an effect on controlling blood pressure and acts as a natural antibiotic, she said. Aloe juice can help to settle a stomach or relieve ulcers in some cases.
Saber also suggested boosting health by replacing foods high in sugar, salt and white flour with raw foods.
“Raw foods are easier to digest,” she said. “They also add enzymes needed for proper digestion, as well as supply us with a greater variety of usable vitamins and minerals.”
A spring health fair held at the West Campus in 1993 covered topics such as prenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases and substance abuse.
“Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to be a maniac about it,” fitness expert Jackie Nichols assured students. “Ride a bike. Go for a walk. Move your arms and legs.”
Nursing students provided blood pressure checks and information on breast self-exams. They also conducted demonstrations on latex mock breasts.
“We need to get past the embarrassment,” nursing instructor Sue Eavy said. “Your partner can be your first line of defense against breast cancer.”
Eavy noted that 95 percent of breast tumors are detected by a woman’s partner.
Other organizations represented at the fair included the Arizona Lung Association, Ask a Nurse, La Frontera and the Arizona Organ and Tissue Bank.
Mary Tindall, a West Campus counselor and the fair coordinator, said the community had come together to help make the fair a success.
“Without health, it’s hard to take advantage of all the opportunities in life,” she said.
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
First of a two-part series
Debates about health care date back to early editions of the Aztec Press. The December 1976 issue covered a range of health concerns, with a primary focus on costs.
One article featured an interview with a representative from the Arizona Department of Insurance, an organization that helps patients understand details of their insurance policies.
The office is still available to answer questions today. Information is posted here.
T.E. Morales Jr., then-deputy director of the Tucson branch, said in the 1976 article that many policy holders do not completely understand their coverage.
“When claim time comes around, they find out that they do not have the coverage they thought,” Morales said.
Many coverage conflicts arose from pre-existing conditions, he added.
Another 1976 article examined the benefits and drawbacks of going to Mexico for medical care.
At the time, the estimated cost of delivering a baby at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson ranged between $500 and $600. In Nogales at the Del Socorro hospital, the estimated cost was 2,500 pesos or $127.
Current charges for a conventional delivery run about $9,775, according to the International Federation of Health Plans. A cesarean section averages about $15,041.
The 1976 article quoted Connie Showalter, a Head Start social worker in Nogales.
“Expectant mothers of Nogales, Arizona, use the Nogales, Sonora, facilities because it is twice as inexpensive and the hospital has insurance that allows a person to pay a little at a time,” Showalter said.
Some ‘70s students considered Mexico a more affordable route to earning a medical degree.
“A number of my friends who could not enter the college of medicine at the U of A attended medical school in Mexico,” Pima Community College medical student Roxanne Nowicki said.
Nowicki was satisfied with the treatment she and her family received from their doctor in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.
“Ninety per cent of his patients are American,” Nowicki said. “And he prescribes an unknown drug that is not sold in America, but works miracles.”
New drugs that were typically tested in the United States for 10 years before they were put on the market only had to undergo tests for one year in Mexico, she added.
Some Mexican patients traveled to the United States to receive treatment. The U.S. facilities were better equipped for complicated procedures such as heart surgery and transplants.
“A great many persons who live in Sonora come to Tucson to receive their medical care,” Tucson surgeon James Klein said.
“In addition, many Mexican physicians come to our country for specialized post-graduate education and training,” Klein added. “Those who return to Mexico to practice are as fully competent as an American physician in the same branch of medicine.”
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Early issues of the Aztec Press covered topics that remain relevant today, including the stress of finding a parking space, the price of textbooks and the general hassles of registration.
Today it may be a challenge to find a parking spot that is somewhat close to an entrance, especially during the first week of classes. Before parking lot expansions were made, however, even the most remote spots found today did not exist.
A 1974 article noted during the first couple of weeks of classes that there were more vehicles than the 1,950 parking spaces allotted on West Campus. After the initial surge, the parking lot was sufficient but expansion plans were already in progress.
Traffic added to the frustration of limited parking spaces. At the time, there was no campus entrance from Anklam Road and the roadway had not yet been widened.
Once students found a parking space, they still had to register with valid identification at a security office.
This amounted to a lot of time waiting, just to park.
Articles from fall semesters in the ‘70s and ‘80s featured photos of students waiting in long lines to register, add or drop classes. Before online registration, all one could do was wait in line with papers in hand.
In 1991, Follett College Bookstores became the sole provider of textbooks at PCC.
During this transition, some students could not pay for their books with the amount of money that personal finances, scholarships or the veteran’s affairs office allowed.
Some students bought used textbooks that were missing pages or even chapters, yet could not re-sell the books at a reasonable price.
Barbara Ganz, then dean of student affairs at the Downtown Campus, spoke with the Aztec Press. “I have had complaints from each of the campuses,” Ganz said. “They have come from students, administrators and faculty.”
Today, we may still seek the reasons behind high prices for textbooks. We may still battle for a decent parking space and wrangle for a place in our most sought-after class.
Still, the lines are much shorter than they were a few decades ago.
Gay and lesbian students at Pima Community College have struggled for decades to raise awareness and promote understanding. A variety of viewpoints have been printed in the Aztec Press.
A 1991 editorial expressed contempt for a recommendation to the Tucson Police Department by the Citizens Police Advisory Committee to begin “actively recruiting” homosexual officers.
“If homosexuals are to be recognized as a group whose interests merit special attention, why not grant the same status to alcoholics or necrophiliacs?” the unsigned editorial asked.
The following edition printed three letters to the editor. Two said it was a crime to be gay and therefore homosexuals had no place in law enforcement.
Tim Wernette, a PCC human sexuality instructor, wrote that the editorial stance revealed homophobia.
“Comparing homosexuality to alcoholism or necrophilia perpetuates the fear, hatred, discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians that all of us who value justice and respect for individual liberties should abhor,” Wernette said.
The next edition explained that views expressed in unsigned editorials reflect the position of the Aztec Press editorial board, and the opinion about gay police officers was no exception.
Four months later, PCC student Randy Reeves began gathering signatures to support a gay, lesbian and bisexual organization for students and staff.
“I think there are a lot of gay people who have nowhere to go,” Reeves said. “Especially if you have no support in your home life.”
Student Robin Whitmore helped Reeves lay a foundation for the group, eventually called Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Dignity, or GLAD.
“I had an instructor last semester who used to slam gay people left and right, and nobody stood up to challenge this person,” Whitmore said.
“That’s when I first started looking around, thinking, ‘Where is the gay club?’ I need a little support here if I’m going to confront this person. I need to know there are at least two or three people standing behind me, and there weren’t.”
David Gallagher, then head of the psychology and sociology department, said homosexuality was considered a form of mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973 and is still considered taboo by many in American society.
“Approximately 7-12 percent of the world population is homosexual,” Gallagher said. “That’s a significant portion of our students.”
Aztec Press published another editorial months after the initial GLAD meetings.
“The real American way is liberty and tolerance for diversity,” it read. “We don’t have to like homosexuality or atheism (or socialism or feminism, etc.) but if we are to preserve the ideals of this country, we must respect the rights of others to engage in such practices.”
The controversial editorials continued for a few more semesters. Gradually, the tone shifted from contempt to tolerance to support.
In a 1993 letter to the editor, Heather McMichael of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance wrote about the harmful effects of homophobia.
“As with racism and sexism, intolerance of our differences has no place in this world, where our very survival depends on working together,” she said.
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Within the past 50 years, steps have been taken to maintain clean water and to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation.
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to determine contaminant levels in public water supply.
A 1982 Aztec Press comic strip by Andy Mosier, who currently works for the Tucson Weekly, makes light of a water contaminant, trichlorethylene or TCE. According to Pima county records, this industrial solvent was improperly disposed of in southern Tucson.
This resulted in dangerous contamination of many water wells, leading to multiple cases of cancer, lawsuits and major efforts to cleanse the water supply.
A 1974 Aztec Press Earth Day issue dealt with courses offered at the Arizona State Environmental Technical Training Center at East Campus.
Russ Davis, a program instructor, voiced concerns about the changes that the Central Arizona Project would bring.
The main aim of the project was to pipe water from the Colorado River throughout most of the major cities in the Southwest.
“Here in Tucson, we use well water that needs very little treatment,” Davis said.
The water from the Colorado River would require further treatment and would not be sustainable enough to suit the needs of the rapidly growing cities of its region, Davis added.
“It’s hard to tell what treatment will be needed,” he said. “The water will be cloudy and will need to be disinfected because of animals along the way that can put bacteria into the water.”
Similar concerns were voiced in a 1981 article, when local realtor Andrew Laurie spoke to PCC students at a World Future Society meeting.
“Water is the main issue for the growth of Tucson,” Laurie said.
Laurie believed the Central Arizona Project would not provide sufficient water supply and said city planners should invest time and thought into smaller projects.
Elizabeth Zandee-Buser, editor in chief for the Aztec Press at the time, wrote about the issue in 1990.
“People who live in the desert should act like they live in the desert,” she wrote. “Water is a very precious commodity; we need to conserve it in every way.”
Second in a two-part series
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
The roles of women have changed considerably within the past 50 years.
In a 1977 Aztec Press interview, a young woman shared her experiences as a biker, a stripper and a prostitute. She joined a local biker gang at age 17 and left the group after she had been raped and suffered a broken jaw.
“Women meant nothing to them,” she said. “I wasn’t a person.”
The woman used a pseudonym, although she said she wasn’t ashamed to use her real name. She said she’d seen a dark side of men that is not revealed to everyone and planned to spend the rest of her life helping to protect others from such darkness.
An article from the late ‘70s discussed sexist attitudes in the classroom.
A female majoring in mechanical engineering said many of her instructors assumed she was having difficulty grasping the material and displayed paternal behavior.
Ironically, she said, “Many male instructors try so hard to avoid being sexist that they become even more sexist.”
In an interview from 1981, KOLD news anchor Kathy Randall said women in broadcasting often faced harsh criticism.
Randall cited a recent example when a TV critic had compared Jane Pauley’s I.Q. to that of a cantaloupe. Another critic speculated that Jessica Savitch was too attractive to be an effective reporter.
“There is a negative image attached to women television news reporters and anchors,” she said. “You are the target of many people even though you are just doing your job.”
In 1980, an article about the Every Wo-man’s Center at Pima Community College encouraged both men and women to seek personal support and advice in the office.
A few of the topics that were covered through workshops and film included “Living alone and liking it” and “Sexuality and communication.”
Programs geared toward helping female students increased throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s.
An article from 1992 focused on a “Women in Progress” program, which offered guidance to single mothers and housewives who wanted to further their education and find a career.
Program coordinator Minnie Montez said, “In an initial intensive interview, we try to get a good feel for where they are, where they are going and if they are ready to start.”
The program accepted approximately 90 students each semester and offered help with financial aid, childcare and job placement.
“We’re all about building self-esteem,” Montez said, “so these students can pick up the ball and be self-sufficient.”
BY SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Gradually, however, safe-sex awareness emerged.
In a 1975 article, a county health educator said venereal diseases do not always have noticeable symptoms, allowing them to spread from one unsuspecting host to the next.
Much like today, one of the most frightening exams for a student to face took place at a doctor’s office. Fear and procrastination often resulted in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Toni Benson, then coordinator for a STD hotline, said the hotline tried to “share basic health information, insights and provide people with possible alternatives and possible consequences of their behavior.”
In the ‘80s, the outbreak of AIDS ignited increasing concern about sexual precautions.
National Condom Week, which originated at the University of California- Berkeley in 1978, gained popularity at college campuses across the nation.
At Tulane University in Louisiana, “safe sex kits” were distributed in lunch bags with “condom sense” printed on the outside.
Rev. Fred Tondalo, head of a Florida AIDS center, asked hotels to provide condoms to students checking in for spring break.
As part of the awareness effort, Pima Community College permitted the distribution of 6,000 condoms in 1988. The condoms were provided by the Pima County Health Department and distributed by the Aztec Press.
The prophylactics were included in each copy of the December issue. Although some recipients were offended, many students and faculty expressed appreciation and support.
A 1991 spring issue covered a “condom art” contest. Students were encouraged to create flowers and other arrangements from condoms provided by the Tucson AIDS Project and the Pima County Health Department.
El Rio Health Center and Planned Parenthood sponsored the 1992 National Condom Week, which began on Valentine’s Day. Representatives on campus handed out free condoms, lubricants and informational pamphlets.
Planned Parenthood representative Claudia Vanatta Skocpol said a frequently asked question dealt with lubricants. She encouraged the use of water-based lubricants rather than oil-based ones such as Vaseline, which can cause a condom to break.
Magdalena Velasco, an El Rio volunteer, stressed the importance of knowing how to properly use protection.
“We have information on how to use the condom, which is more important than the condom itself,” Velasco said.
BY SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Black history month was established in the ‘70s and is upheld today as a time of reflection. A variety of articles from early issues of the Aztec Press featured key speakers at cultural events in the region.
Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” spoke in Phoenix in 1977. He discussed the various reactions the book had caused.
“It shocked people so much, while on the other hand it was a cosmetic version of what really did happen,” Haley said.
He explained that he chose to omit some of the more gruesome details because he didn’t deem them necessary for readers to feel the weight of the story.
“I try very consciously to write with the five senses,” Haley said. “But I would no more try to portray what it was really like on a slave ship than I would try to really portray what happened in Nazi Germany.”
One of the most positive reactions that Haley observed was a renewed interest in genealogy. At the time, the national archives had reported an increase of 50 per cent of people interested in their heritage.
He also noted a clarity that often results from examining a time that sparks fierce emotions.
“There seems to be a rather wholesome thing that happens when we have been told the truth,” Haley said. “Particularly when we have dealt previously with mirages, half-truths and myths about an evil.”
Other cultural festivities from the same year took place at both the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. The schools had joined efforts along with Davis Monthan Air Force Base to unify and organize events.
Johnny Bowens, then advisor of the Black Student Alliance, said that one of his main aims was to strengthen the lines of communication between African-Americans and the community.
“People react on the basis of pre-conceived notions,” Bowens said. “We want to break down myths so we can move forward as human beings.”
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
The holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. has been in place as long as most young students can remember. Yet others may recall the controversy that accompanied its origins.
Months after the civil rights activist was assassinated in 1968, Congress introduced legislation to make King’s Jan. 15 birthday a federal holiday.
The bill did not become law until 1983. Most states observed the holiday for the first time in 1986.
Arizona was one of a few states to resist the law, and possibly the most publicized.
In the early ‘90s, a number of people, including King’s widow and singer Stevie Wonder, encouraged a boycott of Arizona until the holiday was made official.
Super Bowl XXVII was originally planned to take place in Tempe. The 1993 game was moved to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in support of the boycott.
Rap group Public Enemy released a song titled “By the Time I Get to Arizona” with a music video that targeted politicians who opposed the holiday.
An Aztec Press article from January 1992 reads, “The issue has become so distorted that if the holiday passes, there will always be the question of whether we passed it simply to get the rest of the country off of our backs.”
The anonymously written editorial continues: “If it fails, we will wonder how many votes were cast against it simply as a hostile reaction to the country’s attempts to make us conform.”
The state’s holdout finally gave way when citizens voted in 1992 to enact the holiday. Arizona observed its first official MLK Day on the third Monday in January 1993.
An Aztec Press article covered a PCC commemoration at East Campus and described how harsh winter weather seemed to add to the power of the ceremony.
Several speakers and musicians scheduled to perform were unable to attend due to the weather conditions.
Nonetheless, Regina Mims, leader of the Prince Chapel’s Voices of Praise choir, was “nonplussed by the lack of instruments and explained that the origins of African American music were rooted in song.”
She led the gathered crowd in songs such as “We Shall Overcome” and “Amazing Grace.”
Johnny Bowens, sociology instructor, spoke about keeping King’s dream going.
“This is a time for all of us to reflect on the man, his message and what he tried to accomplish,” Bowens said. “We must realize that most of the issues which King addressed are still with us today.”
By SIERRA J. RUSSELL
Student interest in politics has waxed and waned over the years at Pima Community College.
Numerous articles from previous issues of the Aztec Press focused on apathy toward student government.
Students generally expressed greater interest in national or city elections, especially in close races or when political scandals were reported.
In February 1974, when president Richard Nixon was being questioned about his involvement in the Watergate scandal, the student newspaper surveyed more than 30 students.
PCC students expressed a wide range of opinions when asked whether Nixon’s resignation would make the country stronger.
“The U.S. will be in just as bad shape whether Nixon resigns or not,” Bob Swanson said. “The problems the country faces will not disappear overnight and neither will Mr. Nixon.”
A few students said resignation would only hide the issue and that Nixon needed to be tried and impeached for his crimes. Others said his resignation would damage the American people’s faith in government.
Student Mike Casetta said the resignation would strengthen the country because it would show that “the people have come together as a majority to force this issue of justice and honesty.”
An October 1974 issue covered the lack of participation in student elections. The most recent election had seen the lowest turnout in PCC history, with 3 percent of the student body voting.
Slightly more than 400 students voted in the 1974 election, compared to 800 voters the previous year.
Newly elected student representatives offered ideas to increase interest and involvement, such as creating an open forum to allow better communication with the board of governors.
A 1975 cartoon commented on a bruising campaign for Tucson mayor. The race featured “a hard-fought, bitter contrast of political, economic and personal philosophies” between incumbent Republican Lewis Murphy and former Democratic mayor James Corbett.
The struggle to capture student attention continued to surface over the decades. A 1990 article encouraged students to become a part of the PCC political process by casting a vote or applying for a position on the governing board.
At the time, there were 36 positions available and just 20 applicants.
Efforts to increase participation included a campaign called Students Are Voting Everywhere 1990, or S.A.V.E. 90. The effort included voter registration drives and “Voice on the Mall” meetings that let students talk with candidates and elected officials.
In 1993, the West Campus student government secretary, Laura Engle, said, “We want to see more activities for the students, more involvement. Mostly, we want to know what the students want.”
A 1994 editorial remarked on the effectiveness of campaigns such as MTV’s Rock the Vote, which helped to raise awareness among younger voters.
An anonymous Aztec Press staff writer summarized the situation: “The fragile world we live in is deeply affected by our government, and so it makes sense that we make a pivotal stance in choosing our future leaders.”