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Torero Hours: Hoops Havoc, Majors/Minors Fair, Colorism, Dia de los Muertos, Bias

It was a busy first day of November on Thursday afternoon on the University of San Diego campus. Once again, the wide range of ways the community can spend their Torero Hours, or "dead hours" between noon and 2 p.m. is a clear signal that there's always something to see or do here.

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Hoops Havoc

Torero Hours began with a visual reminder that the countdown to the start of the USD men and women's basketball seasons is only days away. The USD Athletics Department hosted Hoops Havoc in front of the Student Life Pavilion. The festive space had USD-colored balloons, the USD Spirit and Cheer teams, Torero Pep Band, DJ Swish, Diego Torero, basketball poster schedules and rally towels, an inflated dual basketball hoops area and all players on the 2018-19 basketball teams along with head coaches Sam Scholl (men's) and Cindy Fisher (women's) and their respective staffs.

The young women's basketball team, which has only one senior on its roster, has seven games on its schedule in November, beginning with an exhibition this Saturday at 2 p.m. against Cal State San Marcos in the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros’ regular season starts at Southern Utah Nov. 7, followed by their home opener Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. against Hawaii. Other November games are at Minnesota (Nov. 17), the USD Thanksgiving Tournament (Nov. 23-24) with Cal, Cleveland State and Tulane, and a 6 p.m. home game Nov. 28 against San Diego State.

The men's team, which returns a significant number of players responsible for 81 percent of its scoring last season, are poised to take their game to another level this year. The men’s schedule has them playing seven November games, opening at home with Weber State at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros play at UC Davis (Nov. 9) and at Washington (Nov. 12) before three home games against San Diego Christian (Nov. 15), Colorado (Nov. 20) and Jackson State (Nov. 24) and a road game Nov. 28 game at Ole Miss.

What Do You Want to Study?

Students, particularly freshmen and sophomores who are still undecided on their academic majors and curious about subjects in which to potentially minor in, had the chance to dive deeper for information as the Career Development Center hosted its annual Majors and Minors Fair in the Hahn University Center Forums. Schools and departments all across campus were represented to speak with students about required classes, examples of what activities are available and to give them an accurate feel for what is often a life-changing path for student success at USD.

Important Discussions, Reflections

From there, in two different places on campus, the Humanities Center (Serra Hall 200) and the United Front Multicultural Commons (SLP 418), hosted engaging and enlightening discussions for students on a pair of socially important topics.

The UFMC, in conjunction with the Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization (FUSO) and as part of Filipino American History Month, welcomed all students into the Student Life Pavilion's fourth-floor Commons to learn and discuss Colorism in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities. Part of a Commons series called Collective Conversations, the program on Thursday utilized dialogue, storytelling and media to explore social implications of skin tone in AAPI communities. The 90-minute event drew a diverse and inclusive community to listen, discuss and reflect in both a small group and general group setting. The discussion included personal observations by students in terms of how their skin color affected how they're treated in public settings as well as questions about how skin color reflects on character portrayal in the entertainment world and through media advertising, among other related topics.

The Humanities Center opened its space for discussion and self-reflection in the wake of multiple violent and potentially violent acts across the country. Among them, a reported 14 mailed pipe bombs, the shooting of two black men in a Kentucky grocery store and last Saturday's violent shooting attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 and injured six others. The latter, especially, saw an outpouring of national mourning and prayers for the afflicted. USD President James Harris encouraged the campus community to attend a vigil in La Jolla Monday. University Ministry's Mass for Peace on Wednesday night in Founders Chapel offered prayers for the victims. On Thursday, a discussion, "From Micro-aggressions to Hate Speech: An Uncomfortable Conversation About Bias," was held. It was facilitated by USD Theology and Religious Studies professors Susie Paulik Babka, PhD and Rabbi Shai Cherry, PhD. Attended by students, staff and faculty, it was considered "important for all of us to take a personal inventory of our own biases and examine ways in which we all can improve our discourse." It was noted that often the most insidious forms of bias and prejudice remain outside the level of conscious awareness. Every marginalized group in society can be a target of this prejudice: people of color, LGBTQ+ persons, those with disabilities, women, Jews, Muslims, undocumented persons and immigrants.

This was an opportunity to delve into recognizing and taking responsibility for harmful attitudes, speech and actions that create a climate where hatred and violence is possible. Babka and Cherry sought the audience's responsive feelings on the topic. Many offered personal reflections or questioned the latest examples of violent behavior and to not dismiss it as other people's problems, a theory that contributes to a perceived divisiveness in American society. This "uncomfortable conversation" was to deepen the level of everyone's understanding.

Honoring Loved Ones, Respecting and Understanding Culture

The last stop during Thursday's Torero Hours was a visit to a spectacular shrine in recognition of Dia de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead) set up in the Hahn University Center's Exhibit Hall. The display, which offers a valuable look at the rich culture and expresses beautiful reminders of loved ones lost, includes colorful skulls, marigolds, small trinket treasures, candles, bread, poetry and other symbolic gestures. The display went up on Oct. 31. It will remain in the Exhibit Hall through Nov. 3 until 5 p.m. A program and celebration was co-hosted on Nov. 2 by Theology and Religious Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Peter Mena and Communication Studies Assistant Professor Jillian Tullis, PhD.

— Ryan T. Blystone            

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