Homosexuality-A Death Sentence

By: Albert H. Fulcher

Published: Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 2:13 am

As we sit here idly in California to see whether courts decide in favor of same sex marriage, gays and lesbians in other parts of the world are literally fighting for their right to live. In Liberia, Senator Jewel Taylor, former first lady of murderous ex-president Charles Taylor (currently facing United Nation’s charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity) introduced legislation condemning homosexuals to death.

Taylor’s ghastly amendment makes gay sex a first-degree felony punishable from 10 years imprisonment to the death sentence. Uganda is hot on Liberia’s crusade of inhumanity with similar legislation pending. In Uganda, where homosexuality is already punishable by life imprisonment, a bill pending includes the death sentence and criminalizes acts for “aiding or abetting homosexuality.”

Sadly, this is nothing new in Africa or in other parts of the world. Homosexuality carries a death sentence in Mauritania, Sudan, southern Somalia, northern Nigeria, Iran, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Many death sentences are carried out by decapitation, stoning, rape, flogging and fatal mutilation.

In early March, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association reported that Islamic states and Africans walked out on a United Nations gay panel and insisted that protection of homosexuality does not fall under global human rights. Of the U.N.’s 192 members, 76 countries have laws criminalizing homosexual behavior. Oddly enough, several countries in the world only target male gays, and allow woman-to-woman sex.

In Depth Africa, a human rights organization, reports that six African countries now have laws punishing homosexuals with 11 years to life of imprisonment and 14 countries have sentences ranging from one month to 10 years. Five countries have laws calling for imprisonment with no indication of length of sentences. South Africa is the only country on the African continent that recognizes same-sex marriages.

In June 2011 the United Nations issued its first condemnation of discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people in a declaration described as a monumental moment in world history. The only thing monumental about this is that the world allows such tragedies to continue with little or no help at all.

Homophobia is alive and well in the world today, and its roots rest in self-proclaimed moralists that ram their personal religious beliefs and bigoted fears against any person that does not share their convictions they do. Like segregation, the Final Solution, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, slavery and brutality, anti-gay laws are a crime against humanity.

No person, group or government has the right to limit the freedom of people to love the person of their choice. Religious and personal beliefs should be employed to save the oppressed of the world, not beat them down further. Homosexuality is not a crime and whether or not it is a sin is a matter of individual belief, not an issue to be preached or legislated against.

Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are not out to destroy personal religious and moral beliefs that people live their lives by. They only want the same rights as individuals that the majority of the world has, namely, to love whom they love without discrimination and to live their lives to the fullest without fear. Stop the persecution. Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Buddha and the great religious leaders of in the world would not have condoned these atrocities. They all believed in the free will of people. Most importantly they all believed in freedom, peace and unconditional love.


Alioto Central Character In Foundation Investigation

Alioto Central Character In Foundation Investigation

By: Albert Fulcher, Senior Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 11:16 pm

An independent investigation of the Southwestern College Educational Foundation has lifted the curtains on two years of secretive operations by a former vice president, including a mysterious 2010 that mixed fund raising for scholarships with multimillion dollar construction contracts, extravagant gifts and campaign contributions while banning all news media and cameras.


Forensic auditor Scott Seo compiled a 33-page report released to the public by the governing board this week. Much of the carefully-worded report centers on the activities of Nicholas Alioto, SWC’s former vice president of business affairs. Alioto was cited for “inappropriate” activities during his involvement in the planning and management of the 2010 “Havana Nights” gala at the Loews Coronado Resort, including multiple instances of conflict of interest. Alioto solicited sizable donations from future Proposition R contractors and other construction firms who had made bids for contracts.

“It was inappropriate for the Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs to serve in such a direct fundraising capacity for the 2010 Gala, especially considering his responsibilities in the Proposition R contractor selection process,” wrote Seo. “Some of the maximum sponsorships and significant auction prizes were awarded by Proposition R contractors who were already or would eventually be awarded contracts.”

Seo’s investigation had a long list of “concerns” and “inappropriate” behaviors related to Alioto. Among them: nearly $15,000 in uncollected pledges, poor accounting practices, appearances of possible influence peddling, conflicts of interest, lax internal controls, inappropriate involvement of companies bidding for construction and architectural contracts, overpayment of vendors and use of Proposition R funds to pay for Foundation activities.

“It is not unreasonable to suggest that a potential donor could have been compelled to make a donation based on a solicitation from Mr. Alioto if his/her firm was currently or could potentially be considered for a contract that was under control of Mr. Alioto and his responsibility as the Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs,” read the report.

Alioto was able to insinuate his way into Foundation affairs follow a spring 2008 reorganization of the college by former superintendent Raj K. Chopra and approved by a previous governing board. Chopra fired or transferred Foundation staff, including its director, and transferred control of the Foundation to his office. Gutted, the Foundation lay dormant for nearly two years. Chopra cancelled two of the organization’s annual galas and conducted little visible fund raising.

In 2010, with Proposition R contracts out to bid and a contentious governing board election looming in November, Chopra ordered the gala resurrected. The March event at the Loews Coronado was attended by several contractors involved in the San Diego Country District Attorney investigation, including Seville Construction, Echo Pacific and BCA Architects. Other contractors also bidding for Proposition R funds were solicited for contributions by Alioto. Echo Pacific was the winning bidder for a weekend of wine tasting and golf with Alioto at a Napa resort hotel. Representatives of Echo Pacific joined Alioto on the getaway and three weeks later were awarded a $4 million contract from Alioto which was approved by the board. Incumbent board members Terry Valladolid and Yolanda Salcido later received large campaign contributions from Echo Pacific. Valladolid and Salcido were staunch supporters of Chopra and Alioto.

Alioto’s home was raided by the San Diego County District Attorney in December along with those of Echo Pacific’s Henry Amigable, former SWC director of facilities John Wilson, and four Sweetwater Union High School District trustees. Amigable and three of the trustees have been charged with multiple felonies for bribery and influence peddling. Alioto and Wilson have yet to be charged. Investigators reported they were unable to find Chopra, who may have fled the country. The U.S. State Department has a mutual legal assistance agreement in place with India, Chopra’s native country. San Diego County District Attorney spokespersons were asked if Chopra could face extradition if charged with felonies, but they did not reply before deadline.

Seo, in his report, said he examined several aspects of Alioto’s involvement with the Foundation, including:

Uncollected pledges in excess of $15,000. When an independent auditor requested documents in an attempt to reconcile the discrepancy, Alioto was uncooperative and took nearly four months to respond. Seo wrote that there were also $3,000 in uncollected sponsorships and a $1,047 overpayment to one unidentified vendor.

Fellow Circle sponsorships. Seo wrote that “many of the firms who were awarded Proposition R contracts also contributed…maximum sponsorships” of $15,000. In total, Seo reported, more than $190,000 was pledged for these sponsorships. “To the extent that contributions were made in response to aggressive solicitations made by SWC officials who were in positions of awarding Proposition R contracts would have been inappropriate,” Seo concluded.

Alioto’s involvement. Seo said that Alioto’s active participation in the gala “could have the appearance of a potential conflict.” Seville Construction also participated in the planning of the gala and the 2010 Foundation golf tournament “with the full knowledge and possible direction of Alioto,” Seo concluded. “To the extent that Seville was compensated for these activities from Proposition R funds under their contract with SWC would be inappropriate,” wrote Seo.

Insufficient internal control. Seo agreed with the Foundations auditor that internal controls were lax following Chopra’s dismissal and reassignment of Foundation staff. Governing board member Dr. Jean Roesch, a staunch Chopra supporter, was the board’s liaison to the Foundation in 2010.

Angela Amigable. Seo expressed concern that Alioto hired Henry Amigable’s wife, Angela, to work on the gala and paid her $3,000 without a contract or agreement between her and the Foundation.

Seo concluded that Foundation operations improved substantially for the 2011 gala. Chopra resigned following the November 2010 election. The new board majority of Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader and Nick Aguilar directed Interim Superintendent Denise Whittaker to restore Foundation staff and remove Alioto from Foundation affairs. Alioto resigned in February 2011. Hernandez became the board’s Foundation liaison. Seo said the 2011 gala corrected the problems and was “well-organized and well-managed.”


Apple Award winners

Apple Award winners

Posted on March 20, 2012

Pictured above is Aaron Edwards, the editor-in-chief of The Ithacan at Ithaca College in upstate New York. His staff entered him in our annual Apple Awards for Best Student Media Leader.

He didn’t win.

Edwards didn’t even place or show. So why are we mentioning him? Because he came in fourth – and the margin between first and fourth was so razor-thin, we didn’t want him to go unnoticed.

This was our first year for the category of Best Student Media Leader, and we had no idea how to pick a winner. The sad fact is, we couldn’t find another contest in the country that recognizes a college newsroom leader. When we asked around, we heard from other journalism organizations, “How would you even do that?”

So we required a letter signed by at least three staff members, or a YouTube video featuring at least three staffers, attesting to the greatness of their EIC or station manager. Then our judges used those documents to decide the finalists. They interviewed them via Google Hangout and voted.

But if you want to see how good a fourth-place entry looked, watch this video that Edwards’ staff assembled. He didn’t win an Apple, but he’s won something much more crucial – the loyalty of his peers.

So who beat out Edwards? This guy, Albert Fulcher. His story is one of disease, certain death, endurance, censorship, and triumph. Really compelling stuff. Read what Fulcher’s staff wrote about him and weep (literally). Makes you wonder why no one else has done a best Student Media Leader award.

Then again, that’s what the Apple Awards are all about – rewarding college media efforts no one else does. Hence, Best Tweet, Best Sex Column, and Best Newspaper Under 5,000 Circulation, just to name a few.

Thus endeth the sermon for today. Here are your winners…

Best  Facebook  Page

  1. The Daily Collegian, Penn State University
  2. The Pendulum, Elon University
  3. The Lewis Flyer, Lewis University

Best  Tweet

  1. Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech
  2. The Oklahoma Daily/OUDaily.com,
    University of Oklahoma
  3. Distraction Magazine,
    University of Miami

Best  Homepage

  1. The Chronicle, Duke University
  2. Lake Front, Our Lady of the Lake University
  3. Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech

Best  Multimedia  Package

  1. Indiana University Student Media, Indiana University
  2. The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech
  3. The Baylor Lariat, Baylor University

Best  Entertainment  Broadcast

  1. Texas Student Television, The University of Texas at Austin
  2. Mayhem Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University
  3. Henderson Television (HTV), Henderson State University

Best  Sex  Column

  1. The Chronicle, Duke University
  2. Golden Gate Xpress, San Francisco State University
  3. The Daily Titan, California State University, Fullerton

Best  Newspaper  (5,000  to  10,000  Students)

  1. The Ithacan, Ithaca College
  2. The Sentinel, North Idaho College
  3. The Creightonian, Creighton University

Best  Newspaper  (Under  5,000  Students)

  1. The Rice Thresher, Rice University
  2. RWU Hawks’ Herald, Roger Williams University
  3. The Mirror, Fairfield University

Best  Newspaper  (Over  10,000  Students)

  1. Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University
  2. Golden Gate Xpress, San Francisco State University
  3. InsideVandy, Vanderbilt University

Best  Yearbook  Cover

  1. The Kentuckian, University of Kentucky
  2. The Tower, Northwest Missouri State
  3. Ibis Yearbook, University of Miami

Best  Yearbook  Spread

  1. The Baylor Lariat, Baylor University
  2. The Tower, Northwest Missouri State
  3. Ibis Yearbook, University of Miami

Best  Magazine  Cover

  1. The Minaret, The University of Tampa
  2. Minero, The University of Texas at El Paso
  3. Echo Magazine, Columbia College Chicago

Best  Magazine  Spread

  1. The Connector & SCAN Magazine, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta
  2. Tempo Magazine, Coastal Carolina University
  3. Indiana University Student Media, Indiana University

Best  Print  Ad

  1. The College VOICE, Mercer County Community College
  2. The Daily Titan, California State University, Fullerton
  3. Indiana University Student Media, Indiana University

Best  Student  Media  Leader

  • Albert Fulcher, Southwestern College Sun, Southwestern College
  • Matthew Parrino, The Spectrum, University at Buffalo
Zach Crizer, Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech
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