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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Beheading the Messenger...
Omar Vega, Photographer, Student/Intern
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 4:27 AM on 12.18.04
->> Hey everybody,

I’m getting kicked out of the SFSU freshmen dorms for documenting underage alcohol abuse and criminal activities that have taken place over the past semester. I’m an example of the SFSU freshmen housing governance moving toward a slippery slope for photojournalism.

The most dangerous is without due process, and I now understand how whistle-blowers feel when they have everything to lose after exposing corruption within their workplace. This is a small price to pay during my academic and professional career, and I do not regret photographing the occurrences; they’re just beheading the messenger not solving the problems.

My only regret is if the housing administration doesn’t wake up to the reality of the living conditions and the illegal activities that take place within the freshmen facilities. They must ensure the safety and maintain a healthy living environment for current/future housing communities by properly training their employees, and my suspension was done as a knee-jerking reaction.

Sent Dec. 17, 2004:

Dear Mr. Vega,

As promised, I am letting you know the outcome decision for your
judicial case.  I am finding you responsible for being an active
participant in the burglary of a fellow resident's vehicle.  Therefore,
I will be revoking your housing license agreement.  

You can contact me or Kate Humphries to make arrangements to come back
after Janaury 10, 2005 to move out your belonging.  You will also be
receiving a formal written notice of this decision and information
regarding the appeal process should you choose to appeal.  Additionally,
I am awaiting information from the vehicle owner as to what expenses and
losses she incurred so the costs may be split between all principals and
reimbursed to her.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this email or the
process, please feel free to contact me via email or phone
(415-338-2722) during the winter break.  Please note that the campus
will be closed from Thursday, December 23rd and will reopen on January
3rd.  

Although this may be difficult, I do hope that you have the chance to
have a good holiday and are able to rest and recoup from the semester.
Best to you.

Respectfully,
DJ Morales, Director of Residential Life
-- email address removed -- [ed.]

Kate Humphries
Mary Park Hall Housing Director
-- email address removed -- [ed.]

Respectfully,

Omar
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Scott Bort, Student/Intern, Photographer
Champaign | Il | USA | Posted: 5:07 AM on 12.18.04
->> First, I met Omar at the Luau and he is a a nice, funny guy who as i seen has a gift for photojournalism.

For those of you who are out of the loop on this, here are th two threads to bring you to up to speed...

http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=12611
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=12633

-"I’m getting kicked out of the SFSU freshmen dorms for documenting underage alcohol abuse and criminal activities that have taken place over the past semester."- According to the letter, the reason for your removal was the stealing incident. This may be a syntax thing but whatever.

Omar, you can appeal and maybe with the interjection of professors who will fight on your behalf and you may be able to remain in the dorms. Or you can make best with what you have. Move into a frat house for a semester to document life there. Show life living off campus or set up living quarters on your Quad/greenspace and see how it works out. Make Lemonade.

The question is, the other particpants, the ones who actually comitted the crime, what is their fate? Although you may not regret taking the pictures, i hope you have learned something from this incident and have a better understanding on your community and the law.

Although i may not agree with your actions, for you may have been an accessory to this crime, i fell that your documenting the alcohol abuse and dorm life is neccesary. Your overzealous coverage of all happenings was your downfall, but that should not deter you in the future.

I am intrested to hear in others comments on the these events. And Omar if you need to blow off steam or just BS about your project, drop me a line 708 908 0609. I would like to hear some of the stories, see what you came out with as a whole.

Scott
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Henry Hsu, Student/Intern, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 8:46 AM on 12.18.04
->> Hey, I remember seeing something like that on SS, must be you then! With BW images of your night's adventure with that car?

I'm curious to know if you published your work? We at the Daily Trojan, USC's newspaper, published a piece on illegal rushing activities in our Greek system, and several other stories on the corruption of their charity systems too. While we recieved positive result from the administration, in that they made the greeks change some of the ways they do things, the direct people involved - one writer (who faked rush) and one photographer (who took photos of illegit things) were kind of blacklisted.

I'm not entirely sure why I just recited that story, I guess its to say that good things can come of overzealous coverage and exposing the bad.
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Matt Miller, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 9:51 AM on 12.18.04
->> omar--

i do not know you very well, so i will try to say this respectfully--

first, it does not sound to me like you are getting kicked out by documenting alcohol in the dorms. it sounds like you are getting kicked out by documenting the burgling of a car. now i realize that is an aspect of the coverage of the story you were doing. however, we always have a choice to take a picture or not take a picture (and i hope you will have many chances to make more desicions in your future). you decided it was important to take those pictures, so i hope you are able to suffer those consequences.

secondly, do they actually have to give you due process? it is a school dorm, not the law. i imagine you could get charged in a criminal court, technically. although i would hate to see that happen.

could you please post the pictures on your site, again? also, what did happen to the other participants? did these pictures get published?

lastly, i do not know you. but it does seem like you find yourself in tight situations quite often. maybe that is just a coincidence. but since you represent a part of an entire community, i urge you to think through your actions fully before acting on them.

good luck, omar.
matt
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Robert Meyer, Student/Intern
Lincoln | NE | United States | Posted: 10:03 AM on 12.18.04
->> Omar-

This is very unfortunate.

Although I do agree with what Matt is saying, I would have made the same decision you did and shot it.

Keep us informed and please repost the photos.

Best of luck!
-Robert
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Sue Jarrett, Photographer
Beaufort | SC | USA | Posted: 12:10 PM on 12.18.04
->> You have to be willing to accept the consequences for your actions. If you feel that your actions (photographing alcohol abuse and criminal activities) are worth the price you have to pay, then go for it.

"Free speech is not free" is something I have heard a lot lately.

I disagree that you are being evicted because you photographed something;I think it is more because of the insinuations in the captions of the car photos that you were a willing participant--and you got caught.Had I been the car owner who later accosted you, I would probably have earned that assault charge (and maybe battery) that you wanted to pursue. I, too, would pay a price for it, but getting a crack at someone who abetted stealing from my car would have felt like sweet revenge.

You are lucky that you weren't also kicked out of school since it happened on school grounds. I know many colleges that would have.

I find it interesting that so far in this post, the only people who have "sided" with you are other students.
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jeff martin, Photographer, Student/Intern
wellington | OH | usa | Posted: 12:21 PM on 12.18.04
->> Omar, the letter states the eviction is the out come of your judicial case. That sounds like The Universities idea of due process. You are the only one here who knows just what happened. Too me it seems like you continually push the envelope. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some of the great shots of history are the result of this type of determination. You are obviously a talented shooter with a knack of being in the right/wrong place to get provacative shots. You need to be aware that this kind of thing is going to keep happening. "Kill the messenger" as you put it is very common. I'm not going to suggest you change your approach. That's up to you. Just be aware of the price you pay for being so aggresive.
Jeff
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Jason Grow, Photographer
Gloucester | MA | USA | Posted: 1:25 PM on 12.18.04
->> Omar --
You got to learn a valuable lesson early in your career -- consider yourself lucky. Owning a camera and brandishing a pen and notebook don't shield you from all the consequences of your actions. Sometimes the end result is worth the risk and sometimes it's not... Someone else pointed out that you seem to find yourself on the sharp end of the stick quite frequently -- I'd take a hard look at that and perhaps indulge in a bit of introspection on why that happens to be -- Pushing the envelope can be a very good thing -- if there is purpose behind it and you're willing to accept the consequences of pushing too far.

Being an aggressive, committed journalist is one thing, and I admire some pretty hardened folks for their continued willingness to push the limits. However, arrogantly charging into every situation believing you're "free" to commit journalism however you choose is going to get you into some serious trouble -- If you're good with that, then that's your choice, but sometimes the envelope pushes back -- hard.

jg
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Chris Machian, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 1:42 PM on 12.18.04
->> I knew some reporters at a good size daily who was doing a story on drug dealing in a neighborhood that the police had supposedly cleaned up(I don’t remember the exact story).
They found an addict and went with him to the neighborhood. They were to ask about deals and try to purchase, but not follow through with it. They ethics prevented them from making the purchase (even though the addict they were with desperately wanted to make a buy). They were able to get their story without doing anything illegal.

There is a fine line between good journalism and tabloid. The young sometimes stumble across without thinking twice.
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Matthias Krause, Photographer
Brooklyn | NY | USA | Posted: 1:51 PM on 12.18.04
->> Just a sec, please.
Omar surely wasn't only the messenger but at least a bystander if not a accomplice.
He says: "The most dangerous is without due process, and I now understand how whistle-blowers feel when they have everything to lose after exposing corruption within their workplace. This is a small price to pay during my academic and professional career, and I do not regret photographing the occurrences; they’re just beheading the messenger not solving the problems."
Well, I'm sorry but I don't think you are a mytr and you shouldn't feel sorry for yourself either. In my eyes you clearly made a mistake by misjugding the situation and I still wait for something showing me that you understood that. But only if you do you can learn from it. I think you can count yorself lucky for only being kicked out of the dorm and not out of the school. If your sole purpose would have been to uncover abuse and criminal activities where would have been plenty of other ways to do it.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 2:26 PM on 12.18.04
->> Omar
I learned a lesson hard (it actually took 2 times)when I was your age.

"Sometimes being right isn't good enough." One of the times was in journalism and involved a college administration. You may have been right, (and the information indicates that may or may not have been the case). But even if you were right, you needed more not to end up playing spear catcher.

The lesson here should be clear: You can go to the mat as many times as you want, but if it was me, I'd pick my shot carefully. Not telling you not to, just saying you usually end up paying a price so you want to make sure you've thought it through completely before you pull the trigger on these types of things. When you do this sort of thing over and over you end up on people's radar screens that I generally don't want to be on. College administrations can play hardball a lot better than one may give them credit for. You now know this firsthand.

Now, here's one other thing to consider: Does the dismisal from the dorm have any long term implications for you? Before you say "No" be damn sure of it. If there's ANY chance this could impact your life, then I'd recommend that you immediately consult legal assistance.

Isn't being an adult the pits?
Michael
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Dave Amorde, Photographer
Lake Forest | CA | USA | Posted: 3:04 PM on 12.18.04
->> "Sometimes being right isn't good enough."

Nice thought, but that presumes that Omar was "right" to begin with. In this case, I don't think so. As talented as this young man appears to be, it worries me that he doesn't seem to be able to accept and acknowledge his culpability in this matter. If he can't do that he is ultimately lost, and no amount of talent with either camera or pen can save him.
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Matt Dean, Student/Intern, Photographer
West Palm Beach | FL | USA | Posted: 5:16 PM on 12.18.04
->> I've read through Omar's posts kinda of spottedly, but..it seems to me, maybe omar is having trouble handling the effects photojournalism can have. It seems like he hasn't come to grips with how powerful images can be when put in the right context AND when put in the WRONG context.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned from reading the posts is make sure you explain your story carefully and thoroughly before rushing it into publication. I think the worst thing you could have is a misinterupted story. And thats exactly what omar got. Everyone thought he was part as the car theft/joyride thing. He's has good pictures, and chooses interesting things to cover, but make sure their presented right.

Another thing was, was there a point to showing the images[about the car theft thing]? Was their a statement their that you had. An opinion about the people who took the car. OR something a little more in depth about those particular people. I didn't see exactly what you where trying to show w/ the pictures. On the other hand w/ covering the dorms w/ the drinking and drugs..There is a lot of potential to that..that may prevent a lot of things in the future from happening..OD's, Deaths, fights, etc..but yeah..again make sure eveyrthing is in ti's place before it's put out.

just my $.0.02
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Damon Moritz, Photographer, Photo Editor
Woodbridge | Va. | USA | Posted: 5:18 PM on 12.18.04
->> Omar,
Something to consider. You've just marketed yourself as a potential danger to any future employer. Many of those potential employers visit this website with regularity.
I suggest learning to deal with negative life experiences in privacy rather than broadcasting them to the world if you ever hope to work for large companies. Many employers now do easy search engine queries for names to find out what a potential employee may have said.
Additionally you posted a school administrator's name and e-mail address in a public forum. This can not help you. My guess is that they will receive some e-mail about your post and will come looking.

Slow down and realize the world is not out to get you. Then take a deep breath and go make pictures.

Damon Moritz
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Rick Burnham, Photographer
Enfield | CT | USA | Posted: 10:10 PM on 12.18.04
->> As the author of the original post http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=12611 this answers some of the questions I had and others that were raised by other members of the community. At the Luau I had a chance to not only meet Omar but got to talk to him in depth. Omar is a bright, intelligent, approachable young man and a talented photographer. I think after talking to him that youth and inexperience more than likely got in the way and since I have noticed as have others that Omar has made some wonderful photos. http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=12813

With that being said I also feel that we as citizens are responsible for our actions and I think this will go a long way in defining Omar as not only a photographer and a member of our community but as a member of our society as well. I believe from the conversation I had with him that he knows where he went wrong and he is learning a lesson from it albeit a hard one.
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Mark J. Rebilas, Photographer
Baltimore | MD | USA | Posted: 12:11 AM on 12.19.04
->> Omar, the world may not be out to get you, but sometimes jealous people are. When you come across such a volatile situation you will not please everybody with your decisions but it is your job to document them. Making great images of reality is your primary job. Dealing with the opinions of others in the wake of it is secondary. Taking risks to document real life as it occurs will take you further than sitting behind a desk critiquing the split second decisions of others!
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Liane Rebeka Gersich, Photographer
Naperville | IL | USA | Posted: 1:08 AM on 12.19.04
->> Omar,
I'm not sure how your school's policies function but, when I was in school my understanding was that any arrest or unlawful behavior on, or off campus, could result in dismissal from school completely.

It seems you are creating chaos in the student community and may have many students, faculty, and staff angry with you. Moving out may be the best for you and they sound very firm in their decision.

I utterly disagree with your decision to list the names and email addresses of your housing directors. You are violating their privacy.

From what I've seen, read, and heard, I think you're getting off easy!

So, Happy Holidays, Happy Packing! Moving isn't always a bad thing, and I hope the New Year brings you better luck.

*I sound like a really long fortune cookie. You wanted our thoughts, right?
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Clark Brooks, Photographer, Photo Editor
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:35 AM on 12.19.04
->> Omar:

I am curious . . . did the housing staff interview you and the other students involved? Were you questioned by any law enforcement officials or gave a statement of the events that transpired other than here on SS? It would be interesting to know how the housing administration came to their decision.

From my perspective, it all seems like a knee-jerk response. The fact you documented the crime probably wasn't the issue looking at it from the top down. I think it likely that because the work was published and discussed throughly here on SS as well as probably in other venues that some regent or chancellor thought you should be made an example. The fact that you brought to light something that should have/would have been quietly swept under a dorm shag rug created an embarrassing situation for the school.

The action seems too heavy handed. Having worked a public educational institution I would not think it unlikely that there was pressure from higher up the chain-of-command to release you from your contract not only as punishment but also as a face-saving gesture. At most, logically you should have been put on some sort of probation until you violated some other contractual obligation. Then, you could expect to be kicked to the curb.

However, I wouldn't be so down in the dumps. Every dark cloud gives way to clear blue skies.

Like Liane said 'Moving isn't always a bad thing ...' Unless, they have barred you from the freshman premises (you did not say you were not), the administration has given you a license to continue documenting the behind the scene, backwater trials and tribulations of freshman life at SFSU almost without retribution now other than expulsion.

If you continue to shoot life on campus and the administration continues to seek to punish or curtail you in some way, I think there would be some publisher who willingly put to a book the images and your story in documenting life on campus.

Did you hurt your chances with some potential employer? May be. But it would be someone you wouldn't have wanted to work for in the first place. The people willing to hire you knowning your past, considering your enthusiasum, and impressed by your talent and drive will appreciate your sincere efforts to be the best and tell a story that most not dare risk a hair on their neat, conservative, narrow-minded heads to tell.

It seems that you are gravitating toward that non-glamorous niche that few photographers choose as a tough, gritty, willing to take risk shooter whose talent that only those publications/employers who want to show the world the truth will appreciate. When I was your age I chased fire trucks and rubbed elbows with detectives at crime scenes back in the days when both were front page news. Today, if you find those images in a paper, they tend to be buried back in the second section or on page 12.

Finally, if you come to SS looking for sympathy for your situation are in the wrong place. This is a conservative, by-the-book lot. In a limited capacity you will find few pioneers here, but no cage rattlers as the rest of us are all of the follow the herd not our hearts mentality. Keep in mind SS is primarily here as a tool to help most of us make money and great sports images - not to document, change, or fuel debate about our society through pictures.

Happy holidays and good luck in 2005. I hope that it brings you to the midst of more controversial subject matter to document and share.

Clark
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Chris Doane, Photographer
Saginaw | MI | USA | Posted: 12:14 PM on 12.19.04
->> "In a limited capacity you will find few pioneers here, but no cage rattlers as the rest of us are all of the follow the herd not our hearts mentality."

Clark,

That's more/less stereotyping a couple thousand photographers, editors and assistants in a way that I think few of them would appreciate. Most here follow the herd? Not much out of the box thinking? Are you sure?

Just a thought...

-Chris

(sorry to take this off the original topic)
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Eric Wynne, Photographer
Halifax | NS | Canada | Posted: 12:18 PM on 12.19.04
->> I, too, would be curious to know what happened to those students who actually committed the crime. They should have been dismissed from the college if not criminally charged.

Omar I know you don't want to hear this, but I think the administration noted you did not participate in the activity of the crime, but were involved because you documented it without either intervening or leaving.

This is one of those situations where you should calm down and take your lumps. Then move on.
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Clark Brooks, Photographer, Photo Editor
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 1:02 PM on 12.19.04
->> Chris:

I hope I did not or will offend any one. It wasn't my intent. I am not speaking in terms of creativity or the ability to make great photos . . . more along the lines of social conscious.

The situation begs two questions. One I can answer the other I'm searching for.

It would be interesting how many of the thousands in Omar place would have made the same decision, not on the basis of right or wrong, but on the desire to document or tell the same story. Would I have done the same? Yep. And, probably be in the same boat with same firm rudder in hand.

How could he have accomplished the same goal without drawing the ire of the housing authorities and many fellow SS members? I think of this as a teachable moment not just for Omar and the many student members, but for myself and other SS members who once in a while go out on a limb. This I find, morality aside, is the more difficult question to answer.

Clark
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Dave Amorde, Photographer
Lake Forest | CA | USA | Posted: 2:27 PM on 12.19.04
->> Speaking solely as a non-journalist citizen, here are my answers/suggestions:

1) Yes - I would have also documented the events.

2) I would have chosen to shoot "from a distance", rather than placing myself in the event. Taking photos from inside the car immediately makes you a part of the crime.

3) I would have written all commentary in the third person, further isolating myself from the events.

4) Although I would not name names, I would hope that my published images showed the perps' faces VERY CLEARLY.

5) And finally, if my actions (or lack of) resulted in disiplinary action I would take my lumps like a man, rather than pushing the fault onto others and invading their privacy.

If Omar can't be convinced that the end doesn't always justify the means, then his best chance for employment will likely be with Geraldo Rivera.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Tucson | AZ | USA | Posted: 5:44 PM on 12.19.04
->> I think Omar is getting off lightly. In many jurisdictions, you could be prosecuted for not reporting a crime and actually be accused of aiding. Jail food is not very good from my understanding. Neither is dorm food. College students have a lot of energy. Omar, I would focus my energy on something that will keep your butt out of a sling. Just my two cents.
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Jim Sykes, Photographer
Montgomery Village | Md | | Posted: 7:31 PM on 12.19.04
->> I dont know, I think that those who said they would have done the same thing disappoint me.

There is a big difference between happening on the scene of a crime and recording it and knowing about one IN ADVANCE and going out with those committing it and taking photos.

This is also a little different than a crime such as underage drinking, or even something like drug use or prostitution (both popular subjects at times in the PJ world).

This was a crime against another person that, though might have been just a couple small items, does impact another person.

What if they had stolen the car? What if it had been something like rape?

If you saw someone passed out on some train tracks with a train coming would you let them get killed in order to get photos for the story or would you get them off the tracks if you could?

We often talk about the difference between being human and being a PJ and I think that allowing a crime to be committed against another person when it could have easily been stopped does not fit into the photojournalism excuse to me.

If someone were to break into your car and steal items and you knew that someone was there who could have prevented it but instead decided to take photos and call it photojournalism would you still be feeling the same way?

I'm sorry at what has happened as a result of this, but I think that he is lucky that he is not being prosecuted. If it were me, photojournalism be damned, I would be pressing charges against everyone and would be more mad at the person that ALLOWED it than those that actually committed the crime. In my eyes someone that does that is no better than the criminals themselves.
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Jeyhoun Allebaugh, Student/Intern
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 9:34 PM on 12.19.04
->> this is like philosophy for the photographer, its great.

My question is whether it would be more or less ethical to use your status as a documenter to expose the criminals. If Omar had gone to the authorities afterward and exposed "sources" would that be more or less unethical assuming he had made the decision to shoot first and ask questions later?
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Bradenton | FL | USA | Posted: 11:07 PM on 12.19.04
->> Omar,

How many more times do you intend to post a message on this web site bragging about the latest confrontation that you’ve been involved with or ‘injustice’ that you’ve been forced to endure? You appear to wear these incidents like a badge-of-honor, when in fact; you should be ashamed that you weren’t able to avoid them in the first place.

Has it not occurred to you that perhaps your time might be used more productively if you posted seeking advise on how to AVOID these confrontations rather than BRAG about getting into them?

I can make allowances for your age and for your inexperience but please enough already with the martyrdom. As I’ve said before in another thread, you’re a talented photographer, but that’s only half the game; now you have to work on being a talented journalist. A professional photojournalist knows how to do his/her job while avoiding conflict.

I’m sorry if this post seems a bit harsh but I’d hate to see your talent go to waste because, while you were a student, you lost all credibility in the industry because you couldn’t figure out when NOT to post on this message board.

I really and truly wish you the best of luck, and, while there are people on this site who are more qualified to dispense advice than I am, please feel free to contact me anytime.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Tucson | AZ | USA | Posted: 11:58 PM on 12.19.04
->> I like the way Brian Blanco think on this issue. I had my car burglarized in the summer right in our company parking lot. I was pissed and had got my hands on whoever pulled that stunt, they would have wish the police had caught them instead of me. Worse yet, had I found out a photojournalist was tagging along to capture the action, I would gotten the truth out of him one way or another.

What Omar did was wrong. This was not an admirable act. I hope he learns from it.
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Chris Doane, Photographer
Saginaw | MI | USA | Posted: 12:08 AM on 12.20.04
->> I have to agree with Brians "badge of honor" assessment. You seem to be bragging. I'm not sure what you're hoping to get out of this post. Could you tell us?

Also pretty bad judgment on your part to post the administrators email addresses. Luckily they were deleted.

Thinking back to how my school would've reacted to something like this, I'd say you're lucky you're only losing your housing. I knew a few guys in my freshman/soph. dorms who had a incident or two with the school judiciaries and they were either academically suspended or flat out dismissed.
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Milwaukie (Portland) | OR | USA | Posted: 12:09 AM on 12.20.04
->> no offense Omar, but they are not "beheading the messenger not solving the problems" they are solving problems. They are punishing a person who commited a crime! I remember when I first saw your photos before the original thread ever started, I thought, "who is this guy, I hope the cops see these, what a moron!" The captions alone made it sound like you were out with friends and took some photos you thought were funny, not something you happen to come across and "document". I am glad you were punished and hope the other people were as well. Brian said it perfectly, "You appear to wear these incidents like a badge-of-honor, when in fact; you should be ashamed that you weren’t able to avoid them in the first place."

That said,

Hopefully you will move on, not think the world is out to get you and use your aggressiveness for something good. I look forward to seeing your work in the future.
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Rick Rickman, Photographer
Laguna Niguel | CA | USA | Posted: 8:45 AM on 12.20.04
->> Omar:

It seems to me that you have your own agenda in life and sometimes that's a great way to succeed. What that agenda is in this case I'm not sure but, I think that you find some kind of strange fascination in writing about what many would see as personal mistakes and misjudgements.

Purging one's soul is often very theraputic and a positive way to reeaxamine ones choices and assess the value of the lessons learned. Most times this purging is useful when done with very close frineds or sage, and experienced associates.

Parading your short comings around in public is never a good way to promote yourself and certainly less than an effective way to further a cause. In this case the cause being you.

You've been the topic of several long and controversial posts here at Sports Shooter and have been the recipient of some pretty good advice in reference to your career. My suggestion is for you to go back and re-read some of that advice and considerate it carefully.

My father used to say; taking the same road, after finding the road leads no-where, is an example of shear stupidity. Maybe it's time to find another route to success.

Rick
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Mike Ullery, Photographer
Troy | OH | USA | Posted: 9:00 AM on 12.20.04
->> I've been debating about how to respond to Omar's latest whining. I've voiced my opinion about his choices on previous threads. As for this thread, Rick Rickman, you've once again said what needs to be said, and done it very well. I agree with Rick.

Mike
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Jason Orth, Photographer
Lincoln | NE | USA | Posted: 10:16 AM on 12.20.04
->> Omar,

There’s an old saying about “picking your battles,” deciding what’s worth fighting for and what isn’t. Nearly all young adults feel that this advice is telling them they have to give in to “the man,” or some group is trying to keep them down. The problem with this absolutist attitude is it clouds one’s vision of the future.

When you enrolled at SFSU, and chose Photojournalism as your career path, what kind of goals did you have as a photojournalist? Did you want to enlighten people as to events in the world the average person doesn’t know about? Were you looking to add information to the things people did know?

Those photos didn’t do either. College parking lots are notorious for break-ins, hit-and-run accidents, and other various transgressions. I would also assume that the average person feels that the break-ins are just kids getting their jollies being “bad.” This wasn't even as if they stole their way through school. In fact, I feel your photos just reinforced the initial assumption, and the captions gave me the impression that you were not a “maverick,” but in fact enjoyed being part of the crime. Most people wouldn’t view you any different than the person in the group who videotaped the crime.

You’ve been punished for your acts. That’s life. I’m still amazed at how you’re still in school. Be thankful you are. There's a lot of opportunities available for you to reach greater heights. This particular incident isn’t worth fighting for. If you continue to push, you not only put your education at risk, but also put your GOALS at risk – goals that will allow you to use your talents for something far greater. What do you want to be known for? So far, you're best known for pictures of kids being punks. Other people have vouched for you and your resume and pictures show that you're more than that.

I hope you'll be able to share more of the work you're capable of with us.
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Chris Machian, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 12:26 PM on 12.20.04
->> I guess everyone has been so negative, including me. I think it is maybe time to quit beating a dead horse. If he hasn’t learned now, 32 more posts saying the same thing won’t make a difference (although I think they all make a good point).
So what now?
Well, Omar, I think you need to turn the page and keep shooting. I wouldn’t avoid covering controversial subjects, but remember the code of ethics (I think from SPJ or NPPA) that says “minimize harm”.
Don’t dwell on the incident any more Omar, as it won’t change anything. Go out and shoot some more and amaze us with something else. Also use the SS community, if you are having doubts about a new idea or worried about getting into more trouble, ASK US. That is one of the great things about Sports Shooter, you have several thousand (I think) friends in bizz you can get a second opinion from.
Good luck and happy shooting.
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Dirk Dewachter, Photographer
Playa Del Rey | CA | USA | Posted: 5:10 PM on 12.20.04
->> Deal with it!
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 6:05 PM on 12.20.04
->> Omar,
If you are smart,(which is debateable) You should be glad that all that has happened is that you were kicked out of the dorm, as far as the housing directors are concerned they have solved the problem, your gone at least from their facility.
By posting this again I would think you are inviting someone who may feel you should have been prosecuted to press the issue. You have demonstrated quite well your inability to just accept your responsibilty in taking part in the crime and possibly enabling the others who took part as they now had to follow through for the "news photographer" documenting it. As posted by others and summed up by Dirk, Deal With It!!!!
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David A. Cantor, Photo Editor, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 6:42 PM on 12.20.04
->> If you are smart,(which is debateable)

sic

glass houses
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 12:37 AM on 12.21.04
->> debatable,
David Cantor,
"smart" I was not referring to IQ directly, I was referring to the concept of weighing options or making good decisions or leaving well enough alone.
My typing and spelling leave somthing to be desired, yet with all the posts on this thread, my spelling is what your concerned with? Please.
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Craig Peterson, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | US | Posted: 11:10 AM on 12.21.04
->> It seems to me that this kid just loves the attention he's getting on this message board.....He knew he was going to get a reaction by starting this thread, and it's pretty obvious he's not concerned about repercussions at this point......If this shows his true personality, I feel sorry for the people in his life that have to listen to his whining.

You screwed up. Get over it and move on, dude.
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Jack Howard, Photographer
Somerville | NJ | USA | Posted: 2:13 PM on 12.21.04
->> Random thoughts and comments on this thread and other Omar Vega-related threads...

Omar: You state you are being ejected from the dorms 'without due process.'

The letter you cite begins with this paragraph: As promised, I am letting you know the outcome decision for your
judicial case.  I am finding you responsible for being an active
participant in the burglary of a fellow resident's vehicle.  Therefore,
I will be revoking your housing license agreement.

Hmmm...this mentions a 'judicial case' and a housing license agreement.

Seems to me like a process was followed, and furthermore, that you signed an agreement involving your actions and code of conduct that you AGREED TO ABIDE BY in order to live in the dormitories. If the housing department finds you to be in violation of this AGREEMENT/CONTRACT as they have, they are within their rights to revoke your privilege to reside on-campus.

As others have mentioned, you are lucky that you have not been suspended or expelled totally from the University for your actions, even if under the purported guise of "Photojournalism." I have already spoken in great length in the initial thread on this subject on my feelings about your lack of judgment surrounding this incident, so you or anyone may refer back to the thread that Mr. Bort references in an above post.

____________________________________

I asked you in a previous thread relating to the robbery photographs that you posted to provide a link if and when your photographs were published in any University publication for your 'story' on the documentation of life on campus. I've not yet seen you post a link to your photojournalism surrounding this episode. Am I correct in thinking that the SFSU paper has not published these images from your 'project?'

_____________________________________

Did your 'student editor' who stated so professionally that 'it was only about twenty dollars.' offer to intervene in your judicial case with the Housing authority?

What about your newspaper's Faculty Advisor or your Photojournalism professor, where do they stand on your 'photojournalism/vandalism?'
______________________________________

Why do you post these threads here, and then offer little or no follow-up on them?

______________________________________

You are certainly making a name for yourself in the world of photojournalism, but what sort of name are you making?

There are times when pugnacity, tenacity, and bit of 'cojones' are necessary in this business, but there are also times when you will need to be compassionate, level-headed, and intelligent about the situation you are in. Most every member here has been in tough situations from time to time, and many of us have had fewer major incident over the several years of our careers than you seem to have been involved with in your first term as a 'student photojournalist.'

A photo editor wants to know that when they send you on an assignment, ANY ASSIGNMENT, you will have the combination of skills and talents, both with the camera, and with your personality, to read the situation and react in a manner that results in solid photography, and does not lead to an incident very often.

There are days when compassion and a calm demeanour is the most important character trait in your mental journalism bag. There will be times when you may have to photograph a mother who just lost her child, either in the field as it happens, or in an interview situation in the days following such a tragic event. In either case, a bit of compassion and discretion are much more valuable tools to employ than any tenacity or pugnacity in this sort of situation.

A photo editor wants to know that almost without exception, they can rely on you to make solid images and to represent their publication in an upstanding manner. If you are at the center of controversy too frequently, it very well may be perceived that your actions in the field are part of the problem. No photo editor wants to employ a person who is a liability. No photo editor that I know would hire someone who is constantly at the center of a maelstrom of events that have a negative impact on the paper's credibility and reputation in the community it serves.

There are times when a situation does develop that is beyond your control, and you should still react professionally as a representative of whatever paper you are shooting for. In instances such as this, the DOP would probably stand behind you; however, if there is a ruckus involving you and you alone of all the shooters for an organization on a regular basis, it speaks more to the actions of a lone photographer, than to the treatment of journalists in general.

There are enough solid student photographers out there making a name for themselves in a positive way, and you will be competing with these fellow students for coveted internship opportunities. If I were a SS.com member/viewer in the position to be offering internships, I would be hard-pressed to consider you a serious candidate for an internship, based on the situations you have posted on this board.

_____________________________________________

I don't know if this makes me a 'by the books' 'play it safe' member of this board, but Omar, THINK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR ACTIONS AND ATTITUDE if you expect to have a future in this industry.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Columbia | MO | USA | Posted: 3:07 PM on 12.21.04
->> "I don't know if this makes me a 'by the books' 'play it safe' member of this board ..."

Well no, not necessarily, but at 885 words I would say you are a 'had a lot of free time on my hands' member ...

The points many of you have gotten across have been dually made and dually noted —— now let's channel all this energy into making some great pictures today, eh?

Respectfully,

- gerry -
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Tony Sirgedas, Photographer
Eatonville | WA | USA | Posted: 5:02 PM on 12.21.04
->> I'm just wondering if in all this that perhaps we missed the part somewhere where Omar may have violated the "code of conduct" that is given to most students attending universities. Just because you are in a journalism class and write for the student newspaper does not release you from abiding by the rules for students.
It's sometimes a slippery floor we walk on when first learning about rights and the limits that are placed on what we perceive are rights we have.
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Michael Myers, Photographer
Miami Beach | FL | USA | Posted: 6:56 AM on 12.22.04
->> I've never met Omar, and knew nothing about him until I found this topic. The title was "beheading the messenger". I think many people here are being a little too hard on him.

If he knew of things going on, and tried to cover them photographically, trying to show what was going on in their minds, is that really so wrong?


I don't have it all sorted out in my mind, but where do you draw the line between being a photojournalist first, or a citizen first? If you suspect something "bad" is going to happen, and your first instinct is to get there with your camera to document it, is that *always* the wrong thing to do? Sure, acting as a citizen first, you could call the authorities, and prevent the one instance you know of from taking place, but suppose your photos and stories prevent hundreds of other similar incidents from taking place. Doesn't that make it OK to have remained a photojournalist first?

There's a "line" that separates one from the other. It's not all that defined. Still, it's there. If a person was laying on the train tracks, unconscious, and a train was coming, it is "obviously" better to save the person than to take the photo. On the other hand, if there is rioting going on, and you have a choice of photographing looters ransacking a store, or jumping in and trying to keep them out, what then? Keeping them out might "save" one store, but the story and photos might lead to better conditions that prevent the kinds of riots that lead to looting and so on. In the long run, maybe that's the better answer, if you're really a photojournalist. (Of course, if you're a policeman, not a photojournalist, then the heck with the photos, it's your first job to go after the looters.)

I'm not sure where/how to draw the line, and I never did see all of Omar's photos and commentary, but the fact that he wants to cover controversial situations isn't something I'd hold against him, even if I wouldn't do the same thing.
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Omar Vega, Photographer, Student/Intern
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 6:09 AM on 01.05.05
->> Hey everybody,

Well, this is for my parents, my mother a self-employed businesswoman, my dad who is a 21-year-old army infantry vet and for my brother a resent Army Iraq veteran, who did not deserve to be attacked for my silence about the vehicle incident. In about 7 hours I will be flying out to Colombo, Sri Lanka as part of my photojournalism internship.
The university received many demands that I and the other students be prosecuted from as far as Korea. The University has given out many pounds of flesh with out the presumption of innocence and the right to cross-examine our accusers. Friends from across the oceans, these two concepts are what separate our judicial societies. I have always wondered what is more powerful, a well-written essay or a well-taken photo?

There has been many questions asked over the photos of the apparent theft that occurred which I documented. I took those photos of the students in those compromising positions true, but they still deserve fair treatment under the law. Their right to be heard about their involvement. No I am not a martyr, nor do I want to ever be one. I want to die of old age, unknown and of happiness. I did not want to be kicked out of the dorms. However, for those of you who believe that I was kicked out only for pictures of the theft or burglary of the vehicle. I am surprised you do not believe that in this University I and other students have not been allowed to take pictures of newsworthy effects of public funerals of student peers, faulty equipment accidents, not being allowed to take pictures of Christmas decorations in our dinning facilities which are visible through windows, comedy event nights, and yes alcohol abuse. This is our problem, and I never wanted our problems to impose on the Sportshooter Community. Yet, many freshmen have complained about their right to a quality of life has gone unheard. Your complaints about my photos have given a forum for other freshmen and their parents to be given the safe atmosphere they expected their children receive from the University Administration. Your complaints will push this University for a better quality of life at this University.

I thank you all for your advice. I have learned much from your criticisms. I have followed your advice and made lemon juice from this episode. I will have to live off campus in order to have fewer restrictions on my photos. I hope I can use your tips and experience on this trip to Colombo, Sri Lanka. I feel that I must share with this community my side of the car theft/burglary photos. I received much e-mail and asked what the University defined as “Judicial” findings and your questions was the basis of my appeal. The following is a copy of my appeal. There are some typos. If I had more time I would have shortened the appeal.


I Omar Vega, resident of Mary Park Hall 536 A, San Francisco, CA give notice that this writing will serve as my appeal as procedures set forth in your “JUDICIAL OUTCOME LETTER” to my request for my appeal to reference to Notice to quit letter, received December 24, 2003 and labeling me a “Persona Non-Grata”.
1. The need here to clarify that the language used by your office claims to be Judicial. I have asked your office to define “JUDICIAL” till this date your office has not given me the definition of JUDICIAL. The authority I am using to define JUDICIAL is a college dictionary. Judicial: pertaining to judgment in courts of justice, pertaining to courts of law or even inflicted by god as a judgment or punishment.

2. I have been subjectively found guilty of breaching my contract with your facility not by the Judicial body as defined above but as subjective hearsay accusations against me. I am appealing the findings of Ms. DJ Morales, Director of Resident Life.
A. The incident/activity in question was not a violation of the Student Housing License Agreement, the University’s student Code of Conduct, the Welcome Home Handbook, or any other University rule or regulation.
STUDENT HOUSING LICENSE AGREEMENT PART 3- facility Regulations 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS 1.06 CONDUCT EXPECTATIONS… Licensees may be held responsible, under the current License Agreement, for policy violations occurring during prior license periods. As a member of the student living community, Licensees are held responsible for their own actions and for soliciting or assisting another’s involvement in any residence community or University policy violations.
1.27 Roommate and Community Expectations: In accordance with Resident Hall Community Policies, all licensees are expected to consistently demonstrate the ability and willingness to maintain reasonable relationships with their roommates and neighbors. Licensees who anticipate or observe violations of the Resident Hall Community policies are expected to remove themselves from participation and are encouraged to report the violation to staff. Licensee and/or their guests who are present during any Resident Halls Community policy violation are considered condoning, supporting, and/or encouraging the policy violation, and will be held responsible for the violation.
As per the Welcome Home Guide to living in the SFSU Resident Community: Examples of Policy Violations:
5) Unauthorized entry into unauthorized use of misuse, abuse, theft, dismantling, or destruction of state property or another’s personal property within the Resident Community;
6) Soliciting or assisting another to be involved in any act that would subject a Student Housing Licensee Agreement to termination;
11) Violation of the University’s Student Rights and Responsibilities (Section 41301 of Title V, California Administrative Code) will result in termination of Student Housing License agreement.
41301. Expulsions, Suspension, and Probation of Students. The following procedures consonant with the due process established pursuant to Section 41304, any student of a campus may be expelled, suspended, placed on probation or given a lesser sanction for one or more of the following causes, which must be campus, related:
f. Theft of, or non-accidental damage to, campus property, or property in the possession of, or owned by, a member of the community.
m. Soliciting or assistant another to do any act which would subject a student to expulsion, suspension, or probation pursuant to this Section.

Additionally, these policy violations are outlined in the Welcome Home Guide on page 47 under the heading of The Big Six. This section specifically outlines a list of behaviors, which may result in eviction on the first offense.
2) Stealing (to commit or practice theft)

Here I or any one else does not dispute that keys were found to a vehicle that belong to some one else other than ourselves. There is no dispute I was aloud to accompany the students on the fifth floor and all parties knew that I was taking my camera to photograph what everyone thought was to find the vehicle of the keys that were found. The students’ intention was to find the vehicle as Ms. Morales indicates. Not once does any student or does Ms. Morales find that anyone had any specific intent to commit a larceny or a burglary of the vehicle if fund. Only that everyone’s intention was to find if possible the vehicle that the keys belong to. Lastly there is no dispute by any of the students or any findings by Ms. Morales’s investigation that there was any specific intent to commit a larceny or a burglary if the vehicle was found by any of the students. However I have been charge and convicted by your office of the following crimes without any findings with any Mens Rea (Is the specific mental state to specifically intend to commit the following crimes 6 crimes):
1. Soliciting
2. Conspiracy
3. Vicarious Culpability
4. Attempt
5. Theft
6. Stealing (is theft)
7. Burglary
8. Breach of contract
9. Invasion of privacy in a multiple personnel use restroom open to all male resident and their guest (parents and children) in a Specifically Substance free floor.

SOLICITATION A solicitation occurs where the defendant deliberately urges, entices, request, or advises another to undertake, or join in the commission of, a felony or misdemeanor involving a breach of the peace, with the specific intention that the latter undertake, or join in the commission of, that crime.

Here under solicitation I nor anyone else in the group had the specific intentions to commit a burglary of that vehicle if the car was found, and also because Ms. DJ Morales in her own investigations indicated that the students who found those keys only intended from the beginning and even when I was allowed to go with them with my camera to hunt for the vehicle in all her investigations not once does she mention any intent from anyone to go find the car and specifically intend to commit a theft or a burglary of the vehicle once found. Therefore finding no specific intent to commit a crime of larceny or burglary of the vehicle I or the other students were not involved in solicitation. I therefore or the other students did not violate 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS for Solicitation.

CONSPIRACY A conspiracy occurs where there is an actual agreement amongst two or more persons, for the purpose with the specific intention of committing an illegal act or an overt act.


Here, there was no conspiracy, because, no one had any specific intent to conspired to do any illegal act or an overt act and also because Ms. DJ Morales in her own investigations indicated that the students who found those keys only intended from the beginning and even when I was allowed to go with them with my camera to hunt for the vehicle in all her investigations not once does she mention any intent from anyone to go find the car and specifically intend to commit a theft or a burglary of the vehicle if found. Therefore finding no specific intent to commit a crime of larceny or burglary of the vehicle I or the other students were not involved in conspiracy. Therefore I or the other students did not violate 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS based on Solicitation or Conspiracy.


VICARIOUS CULPABILITY Vicarious culpability for the criminal acts of another whom he aided or abetted. Where the defendant aids or assists, in any tangible manner, another in the commission of a crime with the specific intention that the crime, and any offenses which are a reasonably foreseeable outgrowth of target crime.

Here I am not liable for the criminal act of whoever committed the act of burglary or larceny. Because to be guilty as an accomplice requires active aiding, abetting and/or encouraging the other to commit with the specific intention to commit a crime. I am also not guilty of vicarious culpability for whoever committed a larceny or a burglary of the vehicle because in the findings of Ms. DJ Morales in her own investigations indicated that the students who found those keys only intended from the beginning to “ hunt for the car” and even when I was allowed to go with them with my camera to” hunt for the vehicle” there was not any specific intention to commit any theft or burglary to the vehicle. In all her investigation not once does she mention any specific intent from anyone to go find the car and specifically intend to commit a theft or a burglary of the vehicle if found. Therefore finding no specific intent to commit a crime of larceny or burglary of the vehicle I or the other students were not involved in solicitation, conspiracy and I could not be Vicarious Culpability because no one knows who had the specific intent or when the person formed the specific intend to commit the larceny or burglary of the vehicle. Therefore some of the other students and I did not violate 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS for Solicitation, Conspiracy and therefore cannot be liable for Vicarious Culpability for the criminal acts of another without the specific intention to commit a target crime.

ATTEMPT: An attempt occurs where (1.) The defendant has deliberately engaged in conduct for the specific purpose of perpetrating a crime. (i.e., target offense) and (2.) Such conduct represents a substantial step (Rather than mere preparation) toward culmination of the target crime.

Here, I did not commit a criminal act of attempt because there was no specific intent to commit a target crime of larceny or burglary of the vehicle if the vehicle was found. Nor did any of the students have a specific intent to attempt to commit a larceny or burglary to the car if the car was found. Nor did any of the students at the time who found the keys nor while looking for the vehicle express any specific intent to attempt to commit a larceny or burglary to the vehicle if the vehicle was found and here there was not an attempt from any one involved, and also because in the findings of Ms. DJ Morales in her own investigations not once did she indicate that any of the students who found the keys attempted to specifically find the car to commit a larceny or burglary of the vehicle if found. Ms. Morales only states clearly that the students from the beginning who found those keys intended only to find the vehicle but not to commit a larceny or burglary if the vehicle was found. Ms. Morales did not indicate that the students had any specific intent to commit a larceny or burglary of the vehicle but only intended from the beginning to “ hunt for the car”. Ms. Morales’ findings even when I was allowed to go with them with my camera to” hunt for the vehicle” there was not an attempt of any specific intention to commit an attempt to do any theft or burglary to the vehicle therein. In all her investigation not once does she mention any specific intent from anyone to go find the car and specifically intend to attempt to commit a theft or a burglary of the vehicle if found. Therefore finding no specific intent to attempt to commit a crime of larceny or burglary of the vehicle if the vehicle was found I or the other students were not involved in solicitation, conspiracy, Vicarious culpability, or attempt because no one knows who had the specific intent or when the person formed the specific intend to commit the larceny or burglary of the vehicle. Therefore some of the other students and I did not violate 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS for Solicitation, Conspiracy, Vicarious culpability, or attempt of specific intent to attempt to commit a target crime of larceny or burglary of the vehicle if found.


THEFT/STEALING In a trespassory manner, takes and carries away the personal property of another, with the specific intention to permanently deprive the latter of it.

Here I did not commit a theft nor did I help any one commit a theft because I nor any one of those students ever communicated any specific intent form the begging to the time whoever did commit the crime of larceny or burglary and also because Ms. DJ Morales in her own investigations indicated that the students from the beginning upon finding the keys only intended to hunt for the car. Even when the students allowed me to go with them with my camera no one specifically intended to commit a larceny or a burglary of the vehicle if found. In all in all her investigations not once does she mention any specific intention from anyone to go find the car and break in and commit a theft of the vehicle once found. Therefore, Ms. Morales found no specific intent to commit the depriving of other person’s property. I and some of the students cannot be found guilty of theft/stealing and here once more no One here falls within any violation of solicitation, conspiracy, vicarious capability, steeling/theft and I was not the one that committed a larceny. Some of those students and I did not violate any section of 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS for any violation of solicitation, conspiracy, and vicarious cupidity, steeling/theft


BURGLARY Burglar occurs where the defendant the act of entering or remaining illegally in a movable or immovable structure, vehicle or dwelling with the specific intention of committing a felony or theft offense therein.

Here I cannot be convicted of burglary without the specific intention to commit any crime or did any of the students identified have any specific intention to commit a crime because Ms. DJ Morales in her own investigations indicated that the students from the beginning upon finding the keys only intended to hunt for the car. Even when the students allowed me to go with them with my camera no one specifically intended to commit a larceny or a burglary of the vehicle if found. In all in all her investigations not once does she mention any specific intention from anyone to go find the car and break in and commit a theft of the vehicle once found. Therefore, Ms. Morales found no specific intent to commit the depriving of other person’s property. I and some of the students cannot be found guilty of burglary without specific intent to commit a crime once inside the vehicle if the vehicle was found. Here once more some of the students and I here did not commit any violation of solicitation, conspiracy, vicarious capability, steeling/theft, or burglary. I was not the one that committed a larceny. Therefore, some of hose students and I did not violate any section of 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS for any violation of solicitation, conspiracy, and vicarious cupidity, steeling/theft and or burglary.

BREACH OF CONTRACT

Here SFSU Housing (institution) which is not a religious institution and I entered into a legal binding contract in which I was to obey their legal rules and they were to furnish me a safe living quarters in a Substance Abuse Free Dorm.

A breach of contract of an enforceable contract arises when one party Materially does not render a substantial benefit to the other party for which both parties are legally bound (Not a moral bound).

Here, unless I am being punish by the definition used in the dictionary as stated above for your “Judicial “ hearing I am to receive “punishment by God,” if not, I did not commit a breach of contract due to a legal duty I owed by which a Court would find that I had such legal duty. I had no moral contract. Here, there was no legal duty to act as you are alleging. A duty owed must be a legal duty not a moral duty. In all human activity there is a general legal duty to act as an ordinary reasonable prudent person. Here I acted as the ordinary reasonable prudent person would act because I acted with in the reasonable man standard of conduct, which is that a person must act with the amount of care that a reasonably careful and prudent adult would use under similar circumstances. What you have accused me of breaching is your subjective values of how human activity should be and you have no written policy to guide those student of how they should have acted. Those students did not violate any statute of what they should have done with those keys when they found them. It was not foreseeable for me to reasonably believe that any of those students on my floor which found the car keys should have the specific intent to find the car and commit a burglary if the vehicle was found. It is reasonable for people who find items to be curious and want to investigate who would be the rightful owner. When the reasonable person finds a brief case, purse, suitcase they would reasonably open and try to find a rightful owner and not everyone who finds items belonging to an another forms the specific intent to deprive the real owner of his or her property. Nor does the reasonable person who finds an item immediately go to the police to turn them in. As a photojournalist I thought this was a newsworthy story. I become a part of this story because there was no communications to me or among themselves of specifically intending to find the car and burglarize it “ We found these keys and we’re going to go find the car.” Was their only intention. None on these students ever gave me any reasonable believe they were specifically intending to commit a theft of the vehicle or burglary of the vehicle if it was found. I also know I did not breach my contract with the University because all of Ms. DJ Morales own investigations indicated that the students from the beginning upon finding the keys only “intended to hunt for the car.” Even when the students allowed me to go with them with my camera no one specifically intended to commit a larceny or a burglary of the vehicle if found. In all in all her investigations not once does she mention any specific intention from anyone to go find the car and break in and commit a theft of the vehicle once found. Therefore, Ms. Morales found no specific intent to commit the depriving of other person’s property. Some of those students and I cannot be found guilty of burglary without specific intent to commit a crime once inside the vehicle if the vehicle was to be found. Here once more some of the students and I did not commit any violation of solicitation, conspiracy, vicarious capability, steeling/theft, burglary. I was not the one that committed a larceny. Some of those and I did not violate any section the 1.0 STUDENT CONDUCT REGULATIONS for any violation of solicitation, conspiracy, and vicarious cupidity, steeling/theft and or burglary and therefore did not breach my contract by committing any crime against the University housing Department or of the community. Here, it was my photo that proved to be newsworthy in depicting events that need attention by the Housing Personnel. On the other hand has the SFSU breached their contract with me for not giving what I bargained for, a Safe and Substance Abuse Free Dorm Here, with all the use of illegal use alcohol in the dorm SFSU has materially breached there legal obligation to me.

INVASION OF PRIVACY In a multiple personnel use restroom open to all male residents and their guest (parents, children and boyfriends) in a specifically substance free floor how much level of privacy one can expect after drinking excessive to the point that he is vomiting for hours and the Resident in charge decides not to call for medical attention?


Here, as a resident of the dorm I understand within in my close room I am allowed of high degree of a high level of expectancy of privacy. I did not violate any one’s privacy because the bathroom in question is a multiple use facility that is freely open to any male and his/her guests (parents, children and boyfriends of the Co-Eds). Here the individual I photographed had been vomiting for several hours due to alcohol intoxication. The individual stall was open and there was a female inside the male bathroom even though I understand that this is a Co-Ed dorm, but I do not believe that this is a Co-Ed restroom. This individual was left unattended by his friends, and he told me to get his friends back, and he told me to get the Resident Assistant and ask for medical attention. I then proceeded to call his friends back and find the Resident Assistant. Once the Resident Assistant came I told the Resident Assistant to call for medical help because the person vomiting had been vomiting for several hours because of alcohol poisoning. I did take pictures of this event. For several years I HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVE PARTICIPENT in Anti Tobacco/Alcohol abuse and his signs of the result of alcohol abuse was newsworthy information to try to have other students to see what happens to us if we abuse alcohol. The school newspaper editor called and spoke to this individual to review the photo personally and the student gave his consent to publish the photo. Therefore I cannot understand how I invaded someone’s privacy when he intentionally and volitionally drank alcohol beverages knowing ahead of time that if he abused alcohol and he would have to vomit in the restroom known to him to be open to all guest (parents, children) and fellow students that his level of expectancy of privacy is not that privacy of his own room had he chosen to vomit in his trash can as other students who want their privacy when they abuse alcohol. Here, like many other students under the legal age of 21 are not allowed the buying of alcohol we contracted for a Substance Abuse Free Dorm to avoid the putting up with violence and unnecessary vomiting of students due to alcohol abuse.



3. MY RESIDENT’S STUDENT RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

1. MY RIGHT TO BE HEARD with the presumption of innocent before proven guilty
a. meeting lasted about 45 minutes with Ms. Morales. 20 minutes of that was spent on her journalist views. I was forced to listen to her undergrad journalism major values and views on journalism.
b. I spoke for about 10-15 minutes of those 45 minutes and I was continually interrupted by her journalism views. Her attention was more on that I am not always a photojournalist. Is a police officer not a police officer off duty? Is a Dr. not a Dr. at home?
c. When I tried to explain my side she continually told me “ I know more than you think I know.” She continued throughout our meeting stating that I ratted out on my friends implying that I should have covered up. She insisted that the fellow students and I were friends and that I ratted out on my friends. She insisted only to be interested in the privacy issues of the people committing the crimes.
d. Even though she knew no one formed the specific intent to commit a burglary or larceny within the vehicle when those keys were found. She did not know who committed any larceny if any and she constantly said that her own investigations from the beginning to the actual larceny no one ever specifically indented to commit a crime. We only know that the intention was to find the vehicle but not to commit any crime. There was no premeditation to commit a solicitation, conspiracy that specifically indented to cause a theft or a burglary of the vehicle if found.
e. At no time did she explain the hearing process and how it would impact me.
f. She did not show me what charges or allegations against me in writing during our meeting. I was not able to state my case because of her continuous interruptions and her values about journalism. In her prejudice about my photojournalist reviews made me guilty. And no matter what I said her remarks were “ I know more than you think I know.” Her sympathy for the victim was the basis for my guilt.
g. Prior to our meeting I did not receive any written notification for which I was being held accountable.
h. During the hearing I was not explained of which specific incident/conduct was being reviewed.
i. I was not provided the freedom or given a reasonable opportunity to present my own version to my response to the incident in question because Ms. Morales continually interrupted me. She said “ I know more than you think I know.” She had made her prejudgment to believe another individual that supposedly had walked over to the incident when I had photos with time sequence of that individual in the car while trying to locate the car in question. Her prejudice and anger toward me was more because of many emails to her from individuals who had noticed the photo on a website. Her anger was because I would not admit to her that some of those students and I committed a crime and therefore I was not a photojournalist instead of a criminal.
j. I was denied my right to have witnesses in person or written statements from them.
k. No right to cross-examination any of witnesses against me. In the so-called Judicial hearing my right to face my accusers was denied. One’s constitutional right to face his accusers is what sets our American Judicial system apart from other countries and yet here in this “Judicial” hearing my fundamental right to face my accusers was denied.
l. Hearsay is evidence of an out-of- court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted was used against me were the probative value was very prejudicial to me. In a Judicial proceeding hearsay evidence will not be admitted if not allowed by exception to hearsay rule and yet in this “ Judicial” hearing allowed all the hearsay evidence of Ms. Morales undergrad journalism major values and views on journalism and hearsay evidence a witness said walked over to the crime seen but in reality was in the car that drove us where we found the vehicle. I was not in any privilege to know about what was used to find guilt even though there was no specific intent to commit a crime of theft leading up to finding of the vehicle.
m. Character Evidence: Character evidence of a person’s character may not be introduced to show that a person acted in conformity therewith on a particular occasion my character was brought into this matter to show that I have the propensity to subjectively even though no intentions of ever specifically intention to commit any theft or burglary if the car was found. In a Judicial proceeding character evidence would have not been admitted because I did not raise a character issue, and yet and this “ Judicial” proceedings my character was used against me without me making an issue out of my character.
n. Relevance ; Relevance its probative value is substantially outweighed by undue prejudice. During, this so call Judicial hearing the majority of items discussed was not relevant to the specific intent of all parties involvement and the probative value was too prejudicial and provided undo prejudice against me. In a Judicial hearing my objection would have prevailed over Ms. Morales bias “ I know more than you think I know”


3. THE FINDINGS WAS UNSUBSTANTIATED.
a. In all of Ms. Morales investigations results she clearly states that when the students found the keys the students were discussing the status of the car keys. Ms. DJ Morales states “ their intent to hunt for the vehicle and I was allowed to go with them” their intent was to go find the car ” also Ms. Morales investigations finds that even while in the vehicle that we drove in all the students were “ just in the hunt for the vehicle” even language for being “excited and eager to find the vehicle” there was never any intent to specifically intend to commit a larceny or a burglary of the vehicle.
b. Other than the caption on my photo that was related to me by one of the individuals at the scene that someone had taken certain items did I become aware of a larceny or burglary had taken place. Again, based on Ms. Morales findings none of the students nor I had any specific intent to have a larceny or burglary of the vehicle.
c. Her “Judicial” process did not investigate which of the students committed the larceny or burglary by having the specific intent of doing the larceny once the vehicle was open or unlocked. Her findings never dealt with the element needed to prove of crime or theft or burglary and without the specific intent to deprive the owner of his/her property required to complete a crime of theft or burglary.

4. THE SANCTIONS OR OUTCOME WAS IS CONSISTANT WITH PRESCRIBED SANCTIONS/OUTCOMES FOR SIMILAR CASES.
a. Violation of my Eighth Amendment right. The Eight Amendment prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment precludes punishment which is (1) “inherently cruel and unusual,” or (2) grossly disproportionate to the crime. Here the conclusion to me being given a notice to quit and be made a Persona Non-Grata violates my right to be protected from “ inherently cruel and unusual” punishment because there was no specific intent proven to commit any crime of theft and because this subjective imaginary right to privacy. In a multiple personnel restroom open to all male residents and their guests (parents and children) in a Specifically substance Abuse free floor after a person by his own intentional and volitional acts abuses alcohol knows that the restroom holds a very, very little privacy and decides to enter into that restroom open to all males and their guest. The stall he decides to use is to remain open. This event is newsworthy because this floor is a Substance free floor , and the majority of students are not of legal age to drink alcohol. This individual after reviewing the photos’ gave his well inform consent to my editor to have his photo published. Your punishment is the functional equivalent of an unconstitutional taking from me. Also under the Eight Amendment my punishments received from you are unwarranted because I and some of those individuals did not commit any crime. Your own findings show that none of those individuals or I from beginning to whoever unlocked that car and entered formulated any intent to specifically intend to commit a larceny from within that car. In similar circumstances where incidents happen and people have been shown to have no criminal activity they receive no punishment. I have been made Persona Non-Grata and been given a notice to quit my housing license agreement for crimes I did not commit.
5. ADDITIONAL RELEVANT INFORMATION HAS BECOME AVAILABLE SINCE THE HEARING THAT IS SUFFICANT TO ALTER THE HEARING DECISION.
a. Information to prove that Ms. Morales’s information received about the individual walked over to the car was a lie.
b. Information that all of those individuals were not all my friends.
c. Information of time sequence to prove that the hearsay evidence used against me was improper.
d. Information of Malicious Prosecution initialing or continuing a criminal prosecution out of malice, has been used to punish me.
e. Information of Abuse of Process: starting either a criminal or civil action for a wrongful or malicious purpose. Has been used to have me removed from the dorms.

Respectfully,

Omar Vega
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 6:37 AM on 01.05.05
->> Be safe and have a good flight.
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Michael Proebsting, Photographer
Barrington | IL | USA | Posted: 9:46 AM on 01.05.05
->> Thanks for the update, it had been awhile since I've read War and Peace.
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:51 AM on 01.05.05
->> Does Sri Lanka have an extradition treaty with the United States? (I'm kidding of course, thought you could use a giggle after all you've been through)

Univeristy "judicial boards" do not always get it right. A buddy of mine in the dorms when I was in college was smoking a cigar, but the resident assistant on his floor reported it to the campus police as marijuana (non-smoking floor). My friend took a drug test (negative) and the police did NOT charge my friend with use, possession, or any other crime (room was searched, too).

The university, however, kicked my friend out of the dorm for smoking marijuana in his room. The lesson I learned from that is that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and even quacks like a duck it is realy a very large gerbil if the people who have power over you say it is. Tough lesson to be sure, but a useful one.

If you think that "due process" is lacking in the university environment in America think VERY seriously about how lacking (read "nonexistent") it might be in Sri Lanka and or other places to which you might travel. If you have any question about the legality of something over there, do err on the side of caution.

Come back safe and post photos whenever possible.
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Jason Grow, Photographer
Gloucester | MA | USA | Posted: 9:56 AM on 01.05.05
->> Violation of your 8th Amendment rights? Me thinks you doth protest too much... You've got a lot of maturing to do dude... You may think you're fighting the good fight on this, but when you start shaking all the branches at once you simply look the fool... Maybe the trip to Sri Lanka will shake some of the juvenile cobwebs from your head and give you a bit of perspective on what constitutes real world problems...
FFS
jason grow
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Jeffrey Haderthauer, Photographer, Assistant
Norman | OK | USA | Posted: 10:06 AM on 01.05.05
->> "my dad who is a 21-year-old army infantry vet"

So he was what, 2 when you were born? Have a good trip, don't get cholera.
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Clark Brooks, Photographer, Photo Editor
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:08 AM on 01.05.05
->> Have a safe trip, Omar. I hope you will have some great photos to post to your SS gallery when you get back.

Cheers
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Ed J. Szalajeski, Photographer
Portland | ME | USA | Posted: 11:47 AM on 01.05.05
->> Be safe, and take the opportunity to grow out of your current status.

You have to take an honest look in the mirror because the man looking back at you will not lie.

I hope this thread rests:
Ed
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