UPDATE: California Senator Leland Yee arrested in Sunset District on corruption, weapon trafficking charges

Yee001An FBI agent removes bags of what seems to be evidence after raiding the Ghee Kung Tong temple and Chinese Freemasons building in Chinatown on Wednesday, March 26 following the arrest of Senator Leland Yee earlier this morning. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

California State Senator Leland Yee was arrested at his 24th Ave. home in a large-scale federal investigation this morning on charges that include corruption and conspiracy to illegally import and deal firearms.

Yee and others “were involved in a scheme to defraud the citizens of California of their rights to honest services, and Senator Yee, Lim and Keith Jackson were involved in a conspiracy to traffic firearms,” according to an affidavit of Special Agent Emmanuel V. Pascua, filed by San Francisco’s U.S. District Court.

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UPDATE: Zionist group pushes for legal action against Palestinian student group and its members


GUPSAhmina J. talks with two attendees holding up Palestinian flags at a rally to celebrate the Palestinian Cultural Mural: Honoring Dr. Edward Said on the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The first part of the rally was held at Malcolm X Plaza after which a procession led to the mural North Plaza Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 Photo by Benjamin Kamps / Special to Xpress

Today, San Francisco’s top law enforcement agreed to investigate SF State’s General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and its president, Mohammed Hammad.

The AMCHA Initiative, a self proclaimed Zionist watch dog group, delivered a list of social media posts made by Hammad, which they considered to be violent, to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Chief of Police Greg Suhr. According to AMCHA co-founder, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, they agreed to open an investigation.

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President Wong decides against Tasers at SF State


SF State President Leslie Wong talks with Xpress staff about his decision not to arm University police officers with Tasers Monday, Feb. 10. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

In an exclusive meeting with Xpress, SF State President Leslie E. Wong said that he has decided not to arm University police officers with Tasers.

“There will be no Tasers,” Wong said at the meeting. “I hope the students, when they read your article, know that their input was pretty significant.”

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Potential environmental hazards close Science Building


The Science Building has been closed due to the discovery of potential environmental hazards that were found during a routine environmental health evaluation earlier this week.

UPDATE: Environmental hazards are confirmed to be traces of mercury.

The University closed the rooms this week to conduct further testing and have since identified other potential hazards. The entire building has since been closed since 5:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10.

According to an email from SF State President Leslie E. Wong, the building will be closed until at least Jan. 15, though the reopening date is only speculation at this time.

“The University’s hope is that by making this temporary closure, we can quickly identify any problems that may exist and complete treatments or repairs in time for the start of spring semester,” Wong said in his email.

For the time being, staff who work in the building have been instructed to check with their supervisor for alternative work locations and faculty should consult with their department chair.

Details on the type of potential hazards, have not yet been provided.

Taser debate sparks student protest


Patricia Martinez (left) and Julia Hernandez (right) address the crowd as students protest the use of Tasers on Malcolm X Plaza Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. Photo by / Benjamin Kamps

The escalation of the Taser debate resulted in a rally in Malcolm X Plaza Friday, where students protested against what they see as the silencing of student voice on campus.

Protesters also spoke out against the auxiliary merger between Associated Students, Inc. and the Cesar Chavez Student Center thatthreatens the benefits for some SF State employees.

“We are here for Tasers, but this comes into a bigger context — there is no student voice,” said Mazin Mahgoub, one of the event’s organizers.”This is an attempt to bring these issues to light,” he said.

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Students assemble to discuss Taser-use by police at SF State


A group of more than 50 students organized in Malcolm X Plaza, Thursday night, to speak out against the proposition of SF State University Police Department (UPD) carrying Tasers.

Students organized the event, but the audience was also comprised of ASI representatives and a few University staff members.

“This was organized by a group of students who are concerned about police brutality,” said Donna Olivera, the SF State Student who helped organize the assembly.

Chelesea Slack, a communications and American Indian studies major, explains that she doesn't feel safe at student protests following the events at UC Davis in 2011, during a general assembly regarding the decision to arm University Police at SF State with Tasers, on Thursday, Nov. 14. Photo by Kate O'Neal/ Xpress

Chelesea Slack, a communications and American Indian studies major, explains that she doesn’t feel safe at student protests following the events at UC Davis in 2011, during a general assembly regarding the decision to arm University Police at SF State with Tasers, on Thursday, Nov. 14. Photo by Kate O’Neal/ Xpress

The meeting gave an open platform for students to speak out against Tasers. Some of the major issues presented included the possibility of Taser misuse by UPD, President Wong’s lack of transparency in the decision process and the student opinion that Tasers are an unnecessary answer to campus crime.

The second half of the assembly was an open forum for students to present solutions and alternatives to the ongoing Taser conversation.

Many students agreed that UPD officers should undergo enhanced non-violence training, in addition to improving communications with the student body.

Students at the assembly also voiced their concern that the decision on Tasers would be made during winter break to avoid student backlash.

Although the assembly brought many student concerns forward and presented other ideas, audience members agreed on the need for a campus-wide vote to decide whether the UPD should carry Tasers.

Mazin Mahgoub, another organizer for the event, stressed that students should cooperate with faculty and UPD, to come up with a mutually beneficial solution.

“We have to take the highroad,” Mahgoub said. “We must put aside our hatred for police if we want anything to happen.”

Tweet with #TasersAtSFSU @XpressNews to be a part of the conversation.

Edward Said mural turns 6 years old


 UPDATED: 11/12/2013

The Palestinian national anthem echoed through Jack Adams Hall last Thursday, as SF State hosted its sixth annual celebration of the campus’s mural honoring the late Edward Said, one of the most influential voices for the Palestinian struggle, and a strong advocator for peace in the Middle East.

The Palestinian cultural mural, featuring Said, is the first of its kind at a U.S. university. It incorporates Said along with a mixture of images related to his influence in the Palestinian struggle.

“Edward Said has created a space for us to talk about the rampant Islamaphobia and anti-Palestinian sentiment that happens in the academy and media and we thought he was a perfect person to honor,” said Jackie Husary, an SF State international relations graduate.

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