Senior journalism student at Pepperdine University.
Managing Editor of the Graphic (pepperdine-graphic.com).
Even thunderstorms couldn’t stop Pepperdine’s fourth annual Relay For Life from “partying with a purpose” Friday, April 13 through Saturday, April 14. Despite having to relocate the event from the Stotsenberg Track to Firestone Fieldhouse, participants succeeded in raising more than $37,000 for the American Cancer Society, according to the Relay For Life (RFL) Committee.
The top three teams in the event, according to RFL’s website, were the DeBell dorm, which raised $4,205; the alumni group for Pepperdine Colleges Against Cancer, which raised $2,890; and the fraternity Psi Upsilon, which raised $2,646. The top three individual fundraisers were freshman Sam Olson, who raised $3,595; senior Tony Demattai of Psi Upsilon, who raised $2,250 relaying for his father; and Associate Dean of Student Stacy Rothberg, herself a cancer survivor, who raised $1,140.
Junior Carly Trixilyn Veneracion, who serves as Online Chair in addition to heading up Accounting and Registration for Pepperdine’s RFL, said the committee decided on Wednesday to move the event indoors to the Firestone Fieldhouse since the forecast predicted an 80 percent chance of rain for Friday.
“It was really a super last minute change of venue, and we really really appreciate Doug Hurley, Matt Kalish and David Foster for allowing us to use the gym at such late notice,” Veneracion said. “Looking back on it, yeah, having it at the track would have been super awesome. But moving the event to the gym was so much better, especially from a logistics point of view. We were able to have music, lights and entertainment all night long, and we really were able to have a 24 hour party.”
Although Veneracion predicts that 250 to 300 people attended the event, 434 registered online to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
Unpredictable weather has now played a role in determining the outcomes of two major campus events this spring, since the Spring Concert at Alumni Park was cancelled due to rain on March 31.
Other than the change in location, all other plans for the event resumed as usual. Participants who fundraised more than $100 received purple wristbands and were treated to free meals throughout the course of the event, which were donated by Howdy’s Mexican Food, Crumbs Cupcakes, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks Coffee among others. Once the participants were registered inside the Fieldhouse, the doors closed and 24 hours of games, music, movies and, of course, “relay” commenced. Instead of outdoor tents, participating teams camped in the upper seating areas of the Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Travis Ganiko, president of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, participated in Relay For Life for the second time this year on the Alpha Kappa Psi team — which raised more than $1,470 this year. Ganiko said he disliked the relocation to the Fieldhouse.
“I know the weather would not permit us to go outside, but last years relay felt a lot more exciting for the Pepperdine community as a whole,” Ganiko said.
Nonetheless, RFL’s student organizers said they are proud of the outcome and fundraising effort.
Last year, Pepperdine Relay For Life raised around $60,000 and had almost 700 participants, according to junior Brendalyn Wilson who serves on the RFL committee. The year prior, RFL fundraised more than $50,000.
“So this year we didn’t quite raise as much as usual, but raising $37,000 for [the American Cancer Society] is a big deal, and worth celebrating,” Wilson said. “This year our club went through a lot of major transitions, so I’m excited to see what things we will accomplish for next year’s Relay now that we have had to a year to re-adjust.”
According to Wilson, students have been working since last year to secure food donations, recruit teams, set up entertainment, find event speakers and complete the other necessary tasks to put on this year’s Relay For Life event on campus.
“There [are] a lot of people involved with organizing this event, and planning really does take place all throughout the year,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, after each Relay For Life event wraps up, a new leadership team (events chair and club president) is selected. This team spends the summer recruiting new members and committee chair positions, including two event chairs, a chair of production, a chair of growth, as well as chairs of subcommittees like team development, recruitment and retention. She encourages students interested in fundraising for cancer research to join.
Wilson’s personal experiences with close friends struggling with cancer inspired her involvement with Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.
“My first Relay for Life was in 2005, after my friend Brittany Hill was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 15,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, Hill has a rare blood type, and because she is biracial, she experienced difficulty finding a bone marrow donor match.
“My youth pastor started up a team for our youth group to support her,” Wilson said. “The following year he intended to lead our youth group in Relay again but passed away before the event and so I stepped up to be the Team Captain and continued to be involved with Relay ever since.”
“I’m glad to say that I get to relay for Brittany, a seven-year survivor,” Wilson continued. “But I now also relay in memory of Virda Stevens, a woman who was my preschool teacher, fifth and sixth grade bible school teacher, drama coach and mentor. She taught me what it meant to live for God both as a servant and a leader.”
Like many other “relayers,” Wilson and Veneracion’s experience with loved ones having cancer motivates them to fundraise for a cure.
“I honestly love what Relay stands for, and the fact that my maternal grandparents both died from cancer makes the event even more special for me,” Veneracion said. “I think that Relay is so touching to many students simply because everyone knows at least one person in their life who has been personally affected by the cancer. One of the themes that Relay has is ‘more birthdays,’ and I sincerely believe that one day a medical miracle can be found to eradicate the world of cancer. Just imagine how amazing it would be to have a world with more birthdays.”
The Malibu City Council will welcome two newcomers, 27-year-old Pepperdine alumnus Skylar Peak and longtime Malibu resident Joan House, as well as incumbent John Sibert who has secured another term since the polls closed last night. Peak will be the youngest person to hold a seat on the Malibu City Council.
Residents took to the polls starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 10 and voting continued until 8 p.m. at seven different precincts around the city. At least 779 absentee ballots were also submitted, as of April 2, according to City Clerk Lisa Pope. The final count was announced around 10:30 p.m.
Peak led the winning votes with a total of 1,644, followed by John Sibert with 1,288 votes and Joan House with 1,142 votes. The remainder of the candidates trailed far behind with fewer than 740 votes each. Hans Laetz received 740, Hamish Patterson had 702 votes, Andy Lyon had 671 votes and Missy Zeitsoff had 586 votes, according to the most recent count of the votes — which includes all except 22 provisional ballots, according to Malibu Patch.
The winning candidates also led in fundraising, with Peak leading the pack by raising $29,905 and spending $15,837. Both Sibert and House raised and spent over $10,000 throughout the course of the campaigning season.
Lyon, Patterson and Zeitsoff continued to voice support for their decision not to fundraise or accept donations for their campaigns, even after falling to Peak, Sibert and House. Laetz stated that he is pleased with the outcome of the election, as his goal was to raise awareness of his position on the Malibu Lagoon Restoration project, according to Malibu Patch.
Voter turnout peaked at 27.65 percent, with 8,672 registered voters in Malibu according to the city clerk’s office, while Malibu Patch reports 30.7 percent voter turnout.
The City Council will adopt the final outcome of the election at its meeting on Monday, April 23. While Sibert will maintain his seat as an incumbent, Peak and House will replace Pamela Conley Ulich, who is term-limited, and Jefferson Wagner, who did not run for reelection.
On election say, several candidates, including Peak, Patterson and Lyon, stood at the corner of Civic Center Way supporting each other and voters. Addressing Peak and Patterson, Lyon said: “I can’t wait to see you both on city council.”
After the votes were counted Tuesday evening, Peak celebrated his victory with family, friends and supporters at the Malibu Inn, where in a speech he thanked volunteers to his campaign and his fellow candidates — including his “two best friends in the world, Andy Lyon and Hamish Patterson.” The winning candidates also celebrated at a reception at Taverna Tony.
The Inter-Club Council (ICC) has delayed the selection of next year’s president after the slated nominee, junior Sunny Patel, rejected his bid for the position yesterday after allegations surfaced that Patel had made racist, sexist and homophobic remarks on Twitter.
The ICC oversees funding requests from all approved Pepperdine clubs and handled a budget of $190,000 for the 2011-2012 school year — up $40,000 since last school year, according to ICC’s website.
All ICC e-board members and delegates received an anonymous email Wednesday, March 28 at 12:34 a.m., sent under the pseudonym “Danny Deever” — alluding to a Rudyard Kipling poem. The email included a list of Patel’s alleged offensive tweets as well as screen shots Patel’s Twitter page (“@sunnyfratel”). The account has since been deleted by Patel, which the ICC indicated was by the organization’s request.
Kapua Kauhane, ICC adviser, emailed the ICC delegation in response to the anonymous email on Wednesday morning, stating: “It has come to my attention that an email was sent to all of you as of midnight or 1 am this morning regarding the slated ICC President. We are investigating the information presented in the email as the sender was not a reputable Pepperdine address and thus cannot be identified or authenticated. We of course do not support the sentiments that were presented to be Sunny’s words and these words should not represent the ICC.”
In light of the allegations against him, Patel decided to drop his application for the presidency.
“I’m not accepting the nomination,” Patel said less than two hours before the ICC General Meeting planned to confirm him as the president-elect.
At the ICC’s meeting at 8 p.m. in the Fireside Room, current President Danielle Byrd announced that the nominee who had been slated for confirmation withdrew from the race.
In an email sent to ICC, Patel stated: “Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue forth with elections for ICC President. Regretfully, I will be committed to school and other obligations.”
Patel was selected by ICC e-board members, Byrd, Devon Walker and Gabbi Wilson based on “merit and his interview.”
“We thought he was the best candidate after the interview process,” Byrd said.
Juniors Geoff Plourde, who currently serves on e-board but did not participate in the selection process, and CJ Terral also applied for the position.
According to Byrd, the allegations made against Patel were “dealt with administratively” by adviser Kapua Kauhane “without the e-board’s input.”
In response to the email, “ICC asked Sunny to take down the offensive tweets,” Byrd said.
Byrd declined to comment as to whether ICC asked Sunny to step down from the nomination.
Byrd indicated that the e-board selection process will resume next week and applications will be open to new candidates. According to Byrd, applicants will be considered based on GPA, good standing with the university and interview performance. Interviews for the other e-board positions will also be conducted, but only the president must undergo confirmation by the general ICC body of delegates after recommendation from the e-board, according to ICC’s constitution.
This selection process is one of the changes made to the ICC Constitution when it was amended at the start of the spring semester. The funding request approval process also changed, moving from a general delegate vote to a vote by a special funding committee with rotating members.
In addition to his involvement with ICC, Patel serves as vice president of Recruitment and Risk Management for the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) on campus.
“Sunny is one of the most well-spoken, intelligent and forward-thinking people I’ve met at Pepperdine. I’ve only heard words of positivity from him. I’m sure it will blow over soon,” junior ICC delegate Josette Barsano said.
According to Byrd, the ICC has never received allegations of racism in the past.
The ICC is currently working with the Student Activities Office and the University to “follow the correct procedures in responding to the allegations,” Kauhane said.
Thursday, March 29, Dean of Students Mark Davis released a statement in regards to the allegations, which was emailed to the ICC delegation via Kauhane.
In the email, Davis stated: “I want to assure you that we take this matter very seriously, and we have launched an investigation to thoroughly review the situation and take appropriate action. In the meantime, I invite you to share any questions and concerns. I’m happy to meet with you, or you can email me.”
Any individuals interested in meeting with Davis to discuss the matter may contact Michele Rihovsky to make an appointment, according to the email.
Although the ICC has reached out to “Danny Deever” via email and encouraged the “whistleblower” to reveal his or her identity, they have yet to garner any more information about the anonymous emailer, according to Kauhane.
“The Interclub Council speaks on behalf of clubs on campus, and thus a diverse student population,” Kauhane wrote to the Graphic. “The ICC does in no way endorse the sentiments shared in the email and of course want to represent all students in their best interests and do not condone derogatory sentiments presented about any group or individual.”
Forty-one year-old skater, surfer, self-described “hippie” environmentalist and candidate for Malibu City Council Hamish Patterson wears a uniform consisting of a floral buttoned shirt, an enormous belt buckle, striped tube socks and skate shoes. He says that, in regards to the media attention his campaign bolstered as of late (ESPN, Malibu Times, Malibu Patch), he is “just telling it as a straight shooter.”
“I don’t need to edit myself — I’m going for it,” Patterson said.
With a diverse work history that includes, most recently, being a carpenter and a Youtube star, Patterson has decided to give local politics a go.
“For a long time I was just mad, then I started to work on myself spiritually, then I started to be of service.”
Patterson said that if not for him and candidates like Skylar Peak, Andy Lyon and Missy Zeitsoff, who he supports in the election, the city council debates would be about soccer field lights.
“By default, we changed the whole conversation of the campaign,” Patterson said.
Social media “sensation” to campaign cred
Patterson’s widespread success as a Youtube personality, “The Illusion,” has given him an appeal with younger audiences this election season, with even ESPN taking notice.
“I realized right off the bat I can’t compete with money,” Patterson said of his social media campaign strategy. “I’m not a politician, so I have to think outside the box.”
Instead of asking for monetary contributions to his campaign, Patterson asked his supporters, via Youtube video, to promote him on social media platforms and to have conversations about city issues.
“I’m a big campaign finance reform guy,” he said. “I’ve pledged not to put money into this campaign. I wouldn’t owe favors [in exchange] for $250.”
Patterson believes his straightforward approach has garnered the appropriate attention for success in this campaign.
“They all underestimated me. They thought I was some skater. I realized I could attract my own energy through Facebook and Youtube and through calling a spade a spade.”
Instead of joining the often monotonous dialogue of council discussions, Patterson suggests looking for solutions to city issues within the community.
“The community has the answers. We’re living in a community with some of the smartest, wealthiest, most well-connected people.”
An avid environmentalist: on the Malibu Lagoon Restoration
With a background in environmental chemistry from Northern Arizona University and experience protecting the municipal water supply of Portland, Ore, Patterson’s approach to local hot-buttons like the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and the proposed Broad Beach sand replenishment are rooted in his environmentalism.
“[They] want to make the lagoon nine feet deep, which is more of a lake,” Patterson said. “They’re using the lagoon restoration project as a reason to build a sewage plant in Malibu.”
But Patterson says residential septic systems are not to blame for the lagoon’s contamination.
“It’s not sewage — it’s dirty from bird feces, nitrates, the Tapia sewage plant,” Patterson said. “It’s not the homeowners, it’s the birds in the lagoon.”
Patterson and his supporters oppose the manner in which the city has handled the restoration project.
“Why we’re fighting the lagoon so adamantly is that it doesn’t need to happen that way. We’re taking the brunt of the blame for a problem that’s been proven to not be ours.”
Due to Malibu’s building moratorium, according to Patterson, residents can update their properties with a state-of-the-art septic system, but they are prevented from recouping the cost by adding new fixtures that would add financial value to their property.
Patterson expressed concern about the possibility of a lawsuit should the city continue to pursue the restoration project. He strongly objects to the project’s proposed starting date, June, when he says the project will block the busiest intersection in Malibu as tourists travel to the beach — exacerbating traffic on Pacific Coast Highway.
“I’m a hippie down in my heart. You’re bumping into the wrong thing to do.”
Underneath the mud of the lagoon, Patterson said, is run-off from old gas stations.
“They’re opening a pandora’s box,” he said about the possibility of restoring the lagoon.
Patterson underlined the importance of sound decisions that maintain the integrity of Malibu’s environment, mentioning one proposed solution for the water issue:
“They wanted to inject [water] 150 feet under the Civic Center… [the location of a] fault line.”
Patterson describes himself as a “conspiracy guy,” alluding to his own theories about everything from the commercial development of the city to the proposed sewer system to connections between city council members and third parties with vested interests in the city’s politics.
“These guys will sell us out for chump change,” Patterson said.
Patterson also had concerns about who really has control in local politics: “The commercial developers are running the city because the city council isn’t running the city; the city manager and the attorney are running the city.”
Pepperdine & the surrounding community
Patterson spoke openly about his desire to engage the Pepperdine community more often in city affairs, complaining that city government currently fails to address the obvious connection between Pepperdine and Malibu.
“The City is inept… It never wants to come up to Pepperdine. I don’t have any issues with Pepperdine,” Patterson said.