Tag: Jeffrey Cook

September 25, 2017 Article Published

It’s starting to feel like I’m going to build myself a “breaks apart federal documents” niche the way this semester has been going.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR – not to be confused with the Orange County Register, since I did get that question during deadline night) announced Friday that they are withdrawing two documents that contain statements about policies and guidance for handling Title IX.

The documents, a Dear Colleague Letter from 2011 about sexual violence and a follow-up Q&A regarding the same subjects from 2014, received legal criticism and were apparently imposed “without affording notice and the opportunity for public comment” according to a Dear Colleague Letter put out by the OCR.

I go more in-depth into exactly what the original documents talked about in the article, as well as some finer details like what is still considered in place as far as policy goes, but it took long enough to get something together that was simplified down for print, so I think it’s really just worth pointing right to that for anything too intricate.

The other part of this story that was important involved the California State University system. Because part of the OCR’s message talked about how they’ll be starting a process to create new guidelines with more public input, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White’s statement in response to the Title IX changes mentioned that the school system will be a strong participant in the process.

So, of course, we reached out to CSUF to see if they specifically would be a part of that effort, or whether it was something better left to the systemwide representatives. Our answer from the university’s Chief Communications Officer was essentially the latter, with a hefty agreement to the Chancellor’s message to boot.

Honestly that just about sums up the whole thing, and it wasn’t necessarily much of an exciting development process to get there. We waited for a bit to get the CSUF response, but otherwise everything relied on information from the OCR and the CSU statements, so it was more a matter of taking a couple hours to scour out the wording and pull it all together. It felt good to pull this kind of an information-heavy story in such a quick manner, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just not proclaiming any sort of fireworks were going off as it happened.

At least I got to show off my document scrubbing skills, like I said. Plus I didn’t have to do it while sitting in Downtown Disney like I did for that DACA article earlier this month, so I certainly can’t find any reason to complain.

If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full breadth of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

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September 11, 2017 Article Published

Pulling this story together was arguably one of the more interesting reporting experiences I’ve ever had.

Over the weekend, the University of California Office of the President announced that they had filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA last week.

As soon as we heard about that (though we heard about it a little late, admittedly) I jumped on the story. The CSU system and the UC system are totally different entities, but together they comprise a large majority of the higher education in California, so what one does tends to affect the other. Thus, even if the CSU didn’t make the decision to file a lawsuit, it was imperative to get an idea of just what the lawsuit was and whether or not our school system would follow suit.

Pun not necessarily intended.

Of course, as it turned out, the day that we found out about the lawsuit and I began to work on the article was also the day I had pre-arranged plans to spend time with a family friend. We were all having lunch out in Anaheim at Downtown Disney as both a way for my Dad to catch up and for me to network with some journalists.

Thus, I spent all day reading through and translating the text of the UC system’s lawsuit off of my phone while wandering Downtown Disney and trying to talk with people all at the same time. It was, frankly, a mess. The fact that I was wearing a black shirt in the blazing heat didn’t help either… But it was a mess that wound up working out really well.

I’m pretty proud of how I took the lawsuit apart bit-by-bit to really elaborate out the reasons why it was being filed. I think it turned out pretty comprehensive in that respect, despite the majority of the piece just being that discussion of the lawsuit itself.

In terms of the localizing details, that was a little trickier simply for getting information together than it was for translating legal jargon. Something was wonky with our news desk email, and that made us miss the message from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer until yesterday afternoon before we published. We also weren’t able to hear back from the larger CSU Office of the Chancellor over the weekend, which meant we were essentially running off of our University’s perspective of what was happening.

And our University’s perspective was that it would be something handled at the systemwide level by the Chancellor’s office.

Ironically enough, in the midst of me writing this blog post we did get a response from the Office of the Chancellor. I was able to update the story accordingly, so now the text available online reflects that addition.

It wasn’t much of an addition considering the Office of the Chancellor essentially mimicked what our school’s representative said, but I suppose I wouldn’t have expected much more than that. If nothing else it served as a good argument for the magic of the Internet as a means of updating things as they go along.

If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!



Though the DACA-related article was the only one I wrote for our paper today, I did also want to point out that I actually took photos for a separate story running on our page.

As part of my Multimedia Journalism class I have a multimedia kit checked out for the whole semester. Though it has become a hell of a nuisance to carry that thing, my backpack and a tripod around campus whenever I have class, it turns out that having a professional camera available to me is a pretty useful thing.

When I went with our new assistant news editor to cover the Humanities and Social Sciences Inter-Club Council meeting (since SQE was presenting to them hoping to argue against Milo Yiannopoulos coming to campus), we realized we had forgotten to call a photographer to come. Luckily I had my multimedia kit so I could work on another assignment, as it let me take the pictures for that event.

Though I got some complaints about my camera shutter being too distracting (which at a public meeting did not mean much… But I still apologized), I think it wound up being good practice for my homework later and I was able to get credit in the paper for taking photos.

I really haven’t taken photos for anything beyond the Homeless Investigation last semester, so having the extra experience was kind of fun for someone so print-and-word oriented. I’m thinking I might try to take photos more often in fact, and if I do I might even try to reflect that here on the blog archives.

Guess we’ll just have to see.

If you want to check out the photo I took to represent the story, you can look over here. It is our first follow-up on the Milo Yiannopoulos stuff before getting the official confirmation of his coming by the College Republicans club president, so it’s probably worth reading for that too if you’re interested in following through.

July 18, 2017 Article Published

Bet you weren’t expecting to see this in your feeds in the middle of the summer, were you? Well news never sleeps for the Daily Titan, so here we are.

Okay that’s not totally true, things have been fairly dormant for a while, but when there’s big enough news we jump on it to be online content at least.

In this case the news relates back to Eric Canin, who you’ll likely remember as that guy I wrote a billion stories about with my co-editor Sarah last semester. An extraordinary moment of serendipity presented itself yesterday as the news desk got an email early in the day with an update from CSUF’s Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook. He was making good on his word from before the spring semester ended to keep us up to date on the latest happenings in the Canin case.

He gave us early access to the university’s official statement on the outcome of the arbitration that settled the debate between the school, who apparently looked to terminate Canin after the altercation in February, and the California Faculty Association (CFA), the union looking to fight back and have Canin keep his job based on their collective bargaining agreement.

Because I’ve been working on this story for so long – I still call it my baby in friendly company – I just about immediately jumped on the scoop when I had it in my hand. It was admittedly a little bittersweet working on it without Sarah, as she graduated from CSUF last semester, but the show must go on as they say.

Knowing who were the big players in the case leading up to this point, I did a fairly quick interview with Cook over email to clarify some points about this leg of the investigation before hitting up Tyler McMillen, a representative of the CFA, and members of the College Republicans club (Who we’d hoped to get a statement from for this initial breaking news… But since we didn’t get a response had to pass on in favor of, well, breaking the news. We’ll inevitably get a response article out, I’m sure).

However, arguably the biggest success of this piece was getting comments from Eric Canin himself. That’s right, Ashlyn – a reporter (also now graduated from CSUF) and friend of mine from the editorial board – had access to Canin’s cell phone number because she helped him out a little after the initial incident. Because she was so on the ball that day, we were able to stay in touch with him up until the investigation really heated up and he wasn’t able to talk anymore.

Now that the investigation is over, I figured it would only be right to hit him up and ask for his statement, especially given the fact that Cook suggested he intended to return this semester to teach at Fullerton. Thanks to the good standing he had with Ashlyn, I was able to get some comments over text and was eternally grateful for it.

Seriously, you would not believe how gleeful I was when he actually responded favorably. I was quite literally over the moon about getting that first-hand comment in the story.

Given the fact that the investigation’s results only came out yesterday, it seems like I had one of the more comprehensive pieces on the update given my advanced notice, which just goes to show you how important connections are in this line of work.

If you want to check out the story in its entirety (and for this one I definitely recommend you do as I’m honestly really proud of this piece), you can see it here. You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over at the link on the right, where you can get completely up to date on the Canin saga!

A saga which I can only imagine will be entering another stretch as we get into the reactions to him returning to campus. Hoo boy I’m sure there are going to be some reactions.

Thus, I leave off with that old cliché – don’t touch your remote. I’m sure it’s going to keep being interesting, and you’ll find more updates here in the future. Same bat time, same bat channel.