More fixes needed for HSU student housing insecurity

By Maddy Harvey
Flapjack staff

College can be one of the most stressful time in a person’s life due to all the deadlines, classes, debt, and everything in between. However, many students have another thing to add to the stress of college, and that’s being homeless.

Cynthia Paredes, a former HSU student, was homeless for a few months her second year attributed this experience to her eventual decision to leave HSU and go back home and transfer.

“My mental health was at it’s worst when I was going through this,” Paredes said, “I was completely empty and didn’t know who I was. I couldn’t be happy in Humboldt anymore. I go to school in SoCal now and I’ve been working on myself and am doing so much better.”

Humboldt State University has quite a bit of a homeless student problem. In fact, 15 percent of students surveyed at HSU have reported to have experienced housing insecurity, according to a report done by Jennifer Macguire of HSU.

This number is concerning considering that the rate of homeless students in the CSU system, that spans 23 universities, averages about 10 percent, as reported by a detailed report on homeless students in the CSU system by Rashida Crutchfield from CSU Long Beach.

Homelessness can have an influence on a  student’s mental well being that can negatively impact how they perform in school and their ability to focus due to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and other distressing disorders, according to a study done by the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

HSU has taken some steps to address the issue and offer some help to students, including hosting housing nights where students can become familiar with how to go about places up for rent and how to fill out the applications, but many agree that there is always more that can be done.

Chanté Catt of the Homeless Student Advocate Alliance, a group on campus that works with and for homeless students, has some simple advice for the school on what they can do about the crisis.

“Quit enrolling people and not matching the available housing to the area,” Catt said, “This is the biggest issue.”

Unfortunately, HSU has not been too responsive to this since they continue to admit a greater number students that they cannot fully support, and has led to a “housing lottery” and long waitlist being used the last couple years since there isn’t enough supply for the demand.

HSU housing administrators were contacted multiple times to respond to these criticism but did not offer comments.

“Honestly I don’t know much of what they’re doing, but I’m sure they know the problem is up in the air,” Catt said, “Individual staff, faculty and professors are helping in many ways and are very supportive.”

For Paredes they didn’t seem to do much when she was put on the waitlist for housing, and didn’t offer her much information on what her situation would be until the school year had already begun.

“They eventually put me in this, like, big room where they put new transfers and overflow housing in the Hill, and they didn’t even give me that option until a week or so into the semester when I had been crashing on the small couch in my friend’s dorm since I had no place else to go,” Paredes said.

On top of that the housing they do offer on campus can be too expensive for many, which is the major reason so many non-freshman students choose to live off campus, even when that can become a greater hassle since the housing market in Arcata is so competitive, and the rent for off campus places just keeps getting raised as well.

Kira Hudson, a graduating senior has been homeless for quite a while and has just accepted that this has become a part of her life.

“They just kept raising my rent and I couldn’t do it anymore and I just became so frustrated,” Hudson said, “I finally just moved out of where I was and ended up living in my car for a few months and now I’m just staying with some friends.”

Hudson’s experience is a great example of how the community members here are so willing to help out their neighbors, but also shows the greater issue of the area taking advantage of the student population and charging them so much for housing and getting away with it because they need a roof over our heads and don’t want to have to travel too far from campus.

This community based effort is something that Humboldt is known for, and it’s really great, since sometimes the only thing that can be done in the moment is to just to help out your neighbor.

It should also be noted that the students have more power than they know to make a change and demand better resources and options, there is strength in numbers.

“It’s up to the students to make the changes. That’s what really matters,” Catt said.



Michelle Cartier buzzes around racetrack, classrooms













By Maddy Harvey
Flapjack staff

It’s a Saturday night in March at a roller derby match at Redwood Acres in Eureka, in all the commotion of the excited fans and intense athletes, a small figure runs around the action carrying a camera that’s bigger than them, completely focused on the game and getting the best footage.

“Roller derby pushes my physical limits and mental thinking in a completely different way than I’ve ever come across before,” HSU film lecturer Michelle Cartier said.

Cartier is one of the coaches for Humboldt Roller Derby. She first got involved with the sport not by playing but by being part of a video crew just to get footage to help the team with training. When the rest of the crew stopped doing it, she just kept on doing this on her own because it challenged her. Eventually she finally joined the sport and completely fell in love with it.

“It’s just a completely democratic body of women, all volunteer, and by the skater for the skater,” Cartier said.

Her involvement in roller derby has allowed for her to gain international as well as commercial opportunities, such as working for ESPN, where she has been traveling to tournaments and creating promo videos for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, which is just another thing to add to her resume.

When she’s not whizzing around the derby track, Cartier teaches film at Humboldt State University.

Cartier first began her journey into the world of film at a pretty young age. She had always been fascinated by films and would play around with cameras in high school.

“When I graduated high school my dad bought me one of those old school video cameras,” Cartier said. “It, like, blew my mind to be able to make things and create things,”

It took a while for Cartier to realize that film could be a possible career choice though.

When she first came to Humboldt State she was a zoology major, only thinking a career in science would be a viable option for her, even though one of the reasons she picked this school was because of the fact that it had its very own film festival.

That was until she took a screenwriting class her first year here, and realized it was something she could do.

Cartier became completely in love with film and loved the DIY and experimental aspects of it that were encouraged to her by her mentor and first cinematography professor, Margaret Kelso.

While Cartier was getting her graduate degrees overseas, she became heavily involved with the study of film and explored critical writing of it as well, this would lead to her later involvement in the world of teaching when she would later return to Humboldt.

After she had received her doctorate in fine arts, Cartier came back to Humboldt and applied to teach at College of the Redwoods, after realizing this would be a way for her to just talk, write about, and screen films all the time. She also loved the fact that at CR film was put into the humanities department, so she was able to explore film in a larger scope of human interaction as well. It was a way for all of her interests to be tied together into one.

After some urging from her mentor, she moved on to teaching at Humboldt State, and while she’s only been teaching her for two years she’s made quite the impact already, having students who change their majors after taking a class of hers or just causing them to realize that there’s more to explore in film than just the technical aspects.

“I enjoy their honesty with opinions and having the students be the real thinker,” transfer student and film major Marvin Cardenas said of Cartier.

If you go to one of her classes you see this right off the bat. Cartier always brings her in depth analysis of that day’s topics to the start of the class and always makes time for students to share their own thoughts and ask any questions they may have, and makes it an environment where group discussion is completely encouraged and always is open to each individual’s ideas.

Third year film major Cameron Rodriguez has taken a few classes with Cartier and doesn’t feel like there’s any class he hasn’t enjoyed.

“She’s just really genuine in her passion for the topics and takes her time with the class, you can tell she’s really there for us,” Rodriguez said.

Cartier views teaching as a new way for her to be able to have a new way of critically analyzing and exploring film and hearing different aspects from others that can broaden her view of not only the art, but the world and her community as well.

Her love of learning has been a constant throughout her existence and with teaching she has been able to continue that in depth and expansive learning process for herself, as well as the given ability to pass on those passions to her students.

However, Cartier isn’t quite sure if she will be teaching here for much longer.

“I’m about to approach more of like a writing phase again,” Cartier said. “I’ll be really focused on writing and presenting these ideas.”

During this upcoming new chapter in her life, Cartier will probably begin travelling and getting back in touch with her mentors again, and maybe getting around to making a feature film of her own at age 50.

Though she may not be completely aware of it, Michelle has become a total mentor for nearly all of her students.

“I think Michelle is an absolutely extraordinary person,” Cardenas said. “At the end of the day they just really give you a lot of fuckin’ heart.”


HSU Downtown generates excitement from students

By Maddy Harvey
Flapjack staff

ARCATA– A line of eager college students wraps down and around the perimeter of the Minor Theater, despite the rain and wind. When the doors are finally opened, it’s like well organized chaos of everyone scrambling into hopefully get a seat to the advertised free film.

On Wednesday night, the HSU alumni group, Humboldt Forever, continued their ongoing program HSU Downtown with a free showing of “La La Land” at the Minor Theater for current students as a way to get students out and become more integrated with the local community.

The HSU Downtown program began last fall. One of the heads behind it, Stephanie Lane, who is the outreach lead of the HSU alumni association, is optimistic that this will be something that will be something to be continued within the university, especially with the benefit that it comes from funds from the alumni.

“It creates a circle of giving,” said Lane.

This core belief in the community values is not only what makes these events, such as free movies at the theater and dance nights at off campus venues, but it is what keeps them going and receiving positive support from not just the students who say they are “stoked” for these opportunities. With the Minor’s still recent reopening this year, these events have introduced a new group of consumers and fans to their venue, as well as benefiting the local businesses that provide food to the theater, and on top of that the coordination with the police also allows for a safer and more controlled environment not only for the students attending, but for the surrounding community members.

Wednesday night’s event appeared to be the most popular event that they’ve had thus far.Leah Nostrand, a 22-year-old wildlife major, was one of the eager students waiting in the rain just to get in.

“I think it’s great that HSU and the theater are coming together,” she said. “Plus movie prices are too high!”

Isaiah Jefferson, a math major working on his second year here, has had trouble getting out and connecting with the community since he lives on campus and feels a bit separated from everything.

“It’s a good opportunity to meet new people and explore Arcata’s nightlife,” he said.