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NASU members (left to right) Kolton Nephew, Maracea Chase, Josefina Garza and Moakeah Rivera are among the small Native American population at USC. They believe NASU deserves recognition as a cultural presence on campus rather than as a religious group. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan) “I didn’t know how to react with so many different cultures around me or not seeing familiar faces or familiar languages spoken,” Nephew said. “I felt like I needed to at least connect with people who had a similar background as me, if not the same nation as me.” “Back at my high school, we had so much support for different Native American groups,” Chase said. “We would host powwows, ceremonies, all the time. It was such a weird transition coming here to USC when none of that is present. It’s opened my eyes, and it’s made me want to bring that kind of community here.” At its core, NASU membership is a way for students with common experiences to share their culture and build a community, Chase said. Kolton Nephew, a sophomore majoring in political science, grew up on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona’s Four Corners region. After transferring from Fort Worth College, a school with a 27% Native American student body, Nephew said he experienced culture shock. Chase said she also noticed how limited Native American student resources are at USC compared to her high school, which was located near her Navajo reservation. For some, the challenges of their Native American identities began before college. Vice President Moakeah Rivera said that growing up in the affluent community of Encinitas, she was patronized and treated differently from her peers. While acquiring resources and members are high on the group’s agenda, its main goal is to transition as a member of the Interfaith Council — an umbrella organization of religious groups on campus — to a cultural assembly under USG, like the Black and Latinx student assemblies. Vice President Moakeah Rivera (left) and President Maracea Chase (right) table on Trousdale Parkway in Fall 2019. (Photo courtesy of Native American Student Union) “We have been told that we don’t have the numbers to be able to make that transition and make our presence known, which is unfortunate because … it’s not something that we have control over,” Chase said. “Being able to have [the University’s] support would mean so much.” “[We’re] trying to revise this process so that it’s more feasible for smaller communities on campus to become cultural assemblies,” USG Chief Diversity Officer Jeffrey Cho said. “[We’re] thinking about creating this petition system where, potentially, if enough students sign this petition, then [NASU is] allowed to start the process of becoming a cultural assembly.” However, NASU has repeatedly been denied recognition as an Undergraduate Student Government cultural assembly because of a bylaw that requires that a group be affiliated with five recognized student organizations to become an assembly. But this may change following a proposed amendment to the bylaw, allowing organizations to submit a petition of at least 50 signatures to become an assembly under USG. USC is composed of a student body that is 1% Native American, according to a diversity breakdown published by the University in 2016 — a stark difference from Nephew’s first school. The organization is currently categorized as a religious group. As an active member of USC’s Native American Student Union since Fall 2019, Nephew found community in the organization and with its 30 active members, who identify with the club’s goal of establishing a cultural center for Native American students and others interested in Native American issues and culture. “Native Americans are the least funded in their education systems — we’re separated from the rest of the world,” Rivera said. “There’s a lot of things that affect us in our college, in our childhoods that other people can’t understand.” Rivera said tensions between Native American groups and other communities develop when non-Native Americans perceive that Native Americans are receiving special treatment, such as affirmative action. However, she said these policies are necessary to close the gaps in educational opportunities. “We would have a greater voice in how we are represented [if we became an assembly],” Rivera said. “We would also get funding, which would actually help us greatly with advocating and our outreach work … We just want to be treated like every other ethnic group within USG.” “I was raised in a very privileged area where I was a token,” Rivera said. “I was only treated nicely because I was the only [Native American].” “[NASU members are] passionate and determined, and in an institution that still doesn’t really choose to recognize us, we’re limited to a religious center,” Nephew said. “That’s demoralizing to us as Native Americans — saying that what we are is more of a religion than who we are as a lifestyle.” Chase added that Native Americans receive comparatively little recognition in postsecondary education. Chase said she was frustrated with the common argument that NASU’s membership is too small to establish it as a cultural assembly. “I think it’s just the struggle that Native American students face in general when it comes to pursuing a second education,” Chase said. “[You’re] always trying to find a little crack, a sliver through to be able to catch up with everyone else.” “When you look at Native American cultures, we’re so family oriented,” Chase said. “It’s just so hard to be away from that, so when we come here as a group of people, we’re able to create our own little family. We’re able to keep our culture, which is amazing.” read more
DES MOINES, Iowa – Landlords of larger apartment complexes in Iowa would have to disclose monthly utility costs to potential renters, in a bill now in the state Legislature.The proposal has already cleared the Iowa Senate with bipartisan support and is now up for consideration in the House. It would require owners of buildings with at least 12 units to provide a monthly estimate for all utilities before a lease is finalized.Republican Sen. Zach Nunn of Polk County supports the measure. He says renters are often focused on just how much the rent will cost, and are sometimes caught off guard when utility bills arrive.“A lot of individuals might find themselves paying rent that is either affordable, or right at their cap,” says Nunn, “only later to discover – once they’re locked into a lease – that there’s a very expensive utility bill associated with it because the property is not well maintained.”Nunn says if a prospective renter knows if the utilities are costly, they might seek better options.But the bill is opposed by several groups, including the Iowa Landlord Association, which says it would place too much of a burden on landlords when renters can get that information from the utility companies.Nunn counters that landlords can get the information just as easily. He adds that providing it could also be beneficial to building owners, because it give them ‘points’ for transparency.“Truth and transparency in a monthly cost for a renter is actually good for good landlords,” says Nunn. “And it’s good for the energy efficiency of the state. ”The Iowa Environmental Council is throwing its support behind the bill, saying it would convince more landlords to make upgrades that would reduce the carbon footprints of their properties. read more
In this April 2, 2009 file photo, Boxing legend Joe Frazier poses for a portrait in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File)PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joe Frazier was humbled, and had to find the right symbolic gift to present to Nelson Mandela.Smokin’ Joe wanted Mandela to know he was a true champion.No autographed picture, no robe, no gloves. Those wouldn’t be good enough for this. Frazier, instead, picked the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship belt he was awarded after defeating Muhammad Ali in 1971.Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95.“I said, ‘Are you talking about THAT belt,’” Frazier’s former manager, Burt Watson, said. “He wouldn’t let anyone touch that belt. It was his pride and joy.”When Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison, he wanted to meet Frazier and Ali during a tour of the United States. Mandela’s representative reached out to Watson about Frazier coming to New York for a meeting before the South African leader’s speech at the United Nations building.“When I mentioned to Joe that they wanted him and Nelson Mandela personally requested to meet him, he was in awe,” Watson said. “Joe wasn’t in awe of a lot of things, but he was of that. He said he wouldn’t miss it. He was honored. He knew of Mandela, knew of the struggles, knew what was going on.”Frazier, who died in 2011 after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67, was “awe-struck” by Mandela.Frazier and Watson were ushered into a room to convene with Mandela. The only other people there was a Mandela associate and two members of the NYPD.“Joe Frazier’s face lit up,” the 65-year-old Watson said. “They hugged and spoke to each other. He told Joe how much he respected him, how much he appreciated what he did to the world. Joe presented him with the belt and said, ‘I want you to have this.’”For his little slice of history, Watson took the belt and snapped it around Mandela’s waist.“It was a little awkward, because I didn’t know to put it on him so it would stay,” Watson said, laughing. “It was heavy.”Mandela and Frazier posed for a picture, then it was time for the speech. Frazier left after Mandela’s talk and the two never met again.Watson, a Philadelphia native, managed the former champ from the early 1980s until the late 1990s. He is the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s site coordinator, and has worked for the mixed martial arts company since 2001.Watson saw Mandela again about 10 years after their 1990 meeting and mentioned he was there with Frazier at the United Nations.“When I mentioned the belt, he lit up like a Christmas tree,” Watson said by phone from the UFC’s weekend show in Brisbane, Australia.Watson said it was no surprise that Frazier was at ease around Mandela.“Joe was a person of the people,” he said. “He was so comfortable being around people.” read more