StudentsReview ™ :: Education News: Financial Aid

-or-
Search for Colleges by Region
 

or within distance of city





  Who's got the Best (variable)?

Perceptual Rankings:
You Make 'Em.
We Post 'Em.
You Vote 'Em Up.
You Vote 'Em Down.
Aww yeah.


Financial Aid News!

Importance
1
Fauci says US might not see 'second wave' of Covid-19 cases
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 13, 2020
“US public health expert said another wave of infections ‘not inevitable ... if you approach it the proper way’Leading US public health expert and White House coronavirus taskforce member Dr Anthony Fauci has said the US may not see a “second wave” of cases of Covid-19.According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, the US has recorded more than 2m cases of Covid-19 and nearly 115,000 deaths.Many experts fear attempts to reopen shuttered state economies and mass protests over police brutality and structural racism could contribute to a second surge in cases.But Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has been sidelined by the White House since April, after breaking with Donald Trump’s position on reopening the economy, told CNN on Friday increases in cases in several states were not necessarily indicative of a “second spike” of infections.“When you start to see increases in hospitalisation, that’s a surefire situation that you’ve got to pay close attention to,” Fauci said.“It is not inevitable that you will have a so-called ‘second wave’ in the fall, or even a massive increase if you approach it in the proper way,” he added, advising people to maintain social distancing and to continue to wear masks in public.According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 80% of Americans self-isolated in the last month and 74% wore face coverings in public either always or often. Residents of New York and Los Angeles did so about 90% of the time.In the past week, 19 states including Texas, South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Oregon, California, Nevada and Florida have reported seven-day rolling average highs for new Covid-19 infections.In Arkansas on Friday, for example, Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, announced a record number of cases in the previous 24 hours. In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, placed a seven-day hold on lifting on loosening social restrictions.In Maryland, Baltimore announced that it would not be moving into phase two of planned reopening.In a statement, the mayor, Bernard Young, said: “Let me be crystal clear with everyone: I, more than almost anyone, would love to see that Baltimore city is open and safe, but that simply is not what the data is telling us at this time.”The CDC said it could it not confirm reports of striking increases in coronavirus hospitalisations but would monitor the numbers “very closely”.Such developments sent stock markets into a tailspin on Thursday, before a slight recovery on Friday.Some experts, meanwhile, have become more optimistic that a vaccine for Covid-19 can be developed swiftly.“I think the science is on our side,” the former CDC director Julie Gerberding told CNN.But she cautioned: “That doesn’t say anything about the speed, the safety and the durability and all of the other criteria that have to come into play before we have something that we can count on to give us that population immunity.”In New York City, mass protests have sparked fears of a resurgence of the virus in the American pandemic center. But new infections are now at the lowest level in the entire US.“We were the No 1 state in terms of infection … and now we are the last state in terms of rate of transmission,” New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said on Friday. “That is because New Yorkers stepped up. They were smart. They were disciplined. They did what they had to do, and we need to stay there.””
respond
 
Importance
1
President Trump will accept the Republican nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, after moving most of the convention out of Charlotte
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
Jun 12, 2020
“See CNN's debut Electoral College map for 2020”
respond
 
Importance
1
Atlanta police officer charged in tasing of college students was named in prior excessive force lawsuit
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
Jun 12, 2020
“One of the six Atlanta police officers charged last week after allegedly using excessive force on two college students was named in a lawsuit over a 2016 shooting during a police raid that killed a mentally ill man.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Opinion: White people are already experts on racism
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
Jun 12, 2020
“When I knew him in the mid-1990s, Nick (as I'll call him here) bore a disconcerting resemblance to Dickie Greenleaf, the character played by Jude Law in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." He came from a wealthy New England family on Boston's North Shore; he'd been expelled from a dozen prep schools and barely graduated from college; he was effortlessly good at all sports and was the center of attention wherever he went.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Why the Electoral College may not be able to save Trump's reelection chances
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 12, 2020
“Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis and the police-brutality protests have all but extinguished his Electoral College firewall.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Gallaudet University suspends fraternity after anti-Semitic photo resurfaces
by Local Education
Jun 12, 2020
“Kappa Gamma Fraternity has long been accused of racist and anti-Semitic actions.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Australian PM draws criticism for 'no slavery in Australia' comment
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 10, 2020
“Australian officials warned Black Lives Matter supporters they could be arrested if they breach coronavirus restrictions to take part in public protests, as debate erupted over the country's own indigenous history. Prime Minister Scott Morrison drew strong criticism on Thursday after he said "there was no slavery in Australia" during a discussion of the early days of British settlement, which he acknowledged was "pretty brutal." "Slavery of indigenous, men, women and children is well documented," said Sharman Stone, a former federal lawmaker and now politics professor at Monash University.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Masks required and fewer parties (allegedly): What college will look like this fall
by Local Education
Jun 10, 2020
“Colleges are rewriting the rules of student life. Some students are skeptical.”
respond
 
Importance
1
‘They set us up’: US police arrested over 10,000 protesters, many non-violent
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 09, 2020
“Over 10,000 people have been arrested around the US, as police regularly use pepper spray, rubber bullets, teargas and batons * George Floyd killing – latest US updates * See all our George Floyd coverageSince George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 25 May, around 140 cities in all 50 states throughout the US have seen protests and demonstrations in response to the killing. More than 10,000 people have been arrested around the US during the protests, as police forces regularly use pepper spray, rubber bullets, teargas and batons on protesters, media and bystanders. Several major US cities have enacted curfews in an attempt to stop demonstrations and curb unrest. Jarah Gibson was arrested while non-violently protesting in Atlanta, Georgia, on 1 June. “The police were there from the jump and literally escorted us the whole march,” said Gibson. She said around 7.30pm, ahead of Atlanta’s 9pm city-wide curfew, police began boxing in protesters. While protesters were attempting to leave, Gibson tried to video record a person on a bicycle who appeared to be hit by a police car and was arrested by police. She was given a citation for “pedestrian in a roadway,” and “refusing to comply when asked to leave”.“The police are instigating everything and they are criminalizing us. Now I have my mugshot taken, my fingerprints taken and my eyes scanned. Now I’m a criminal over an illegal arrest,” added Gibson. “I want to be heard and I want the police to just abide by basic human decency.”Ruby Anderson was arrested while non-violently protesting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 31 May. The police refused to provide a reason for her detention until they were placed in a police van, where they were told the charge was loitering. They were given a wristband that stated “unlawful assembly” and ultimately charged with disorderly conduct. “While I was arrested, I was standing next to two white people who were doing the same thing as me, standing between a group of officers and a group of black teenagers. I was the only one arrested in my group of three, I was the only black person,” Anderson said.Reports of excessive police force throughout the protests have emerged around the US. More than 130 reports of journalists being attacked by police have been recorded since 28 May.On 2 June, six police officers in Atlanta, Georgia, were charged with excessive force during an arrest of two college students on 30 May. A staggering 12,000 complaints against police in Seattle, Washington, were made over the weekend of 30 May in response to excessive force at protests.A Denver, Colorado, police officer was fired for posting on Instagram “let’s start a riot”. In New York City, videos surfaced of NYPD officers pointing a gun at protesters, driving an SUV into a crowd of protesters, swiping a protester with a car door, an officer flashing a white supremacy symbol, and another officer shoving a woman to the ground, which left her hospitalized.Several protesters and bystanders around the US have been left hospitalized from rubber bullet wounds, bean bags, teargas canisters and batons, while police have reportedly torn down medical tents and destroyed water bottles meant for protesters. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dan Rojas was arrested on the morning of May 27. Though there were no protests occurring at the time, Rojas had decided to clean up fragments of rubber bullets, teargas and frag canisters on the public sidewalk in his neighborhood when six police officers confronted him and arrested him. “They put me in handcuffs, took my property off of me, and they shoved a local reporter out of the way. They put me in a squad car and arrested me for rioting at 10.30 in the morning, the day after a peaceful protest,” said Rojas, who wasn’t released until over 48 hours later. “ At the end of it no charges were filed, everything was dropped and I was never told the probable cause they had to arrest me,” Several non-violent protesters arrested during demonstrations requested to remain anonymous for fear of police retaliation as they still face citations and pending charges. The protesters described police tactics of “kettling”, where protesters were surrounded and blocked by police forces from leaving, often until curfews took effect or arrests were made for obstructing a roadway. “The curfews are a way to give police more power, exactly the opposite of what protesters want. These curfews, like most other ‘law and order’ tactics, will disproportionately impact the very same communities that are protesting against state-sponsored violence and brutality,” said Dr LaToya Baldwin Clark, assistant professor of law at UCLA.One protester in Los Angeles, California, told how she was returning to her apartment before the city’s 6pm curfew, while police were blocking protesters and obstructing exits. “I was arrested two streets away from my apartment, it had just turned 6pm,” said the protester. She noted during the arrests, bystanders were protesting the arrests from their apartment balconies, while police were aiming rubber bullets, teargas, and pepper spray at them.“They handcuffed us all with zip tie handcuffs and left us in a police bus for about five hours… I asked for medical assistance and they denied it to me, I was handcuffed for over five hours with a bleeding hand that eventually turned purple until I was finally released.” She was eventually released at 1am on 2 June, with a citation for being out past curfew. “The police set us up to get arrested. They shut off the streets forcing us onto Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Once we were on the bridge, the police blocked both exits in front and behind us,” said a protester in Dallas, Texas, who was arrested on 1 June and later released without charges.She added: “They shot teargas at us and shot a protester with a rubber bullet and it injured her hand. The police made us all get on the ground, proceeded to zip tie our hands together, lined us up on the side of the highway and left us there for hours.”In Cincinnati, Ohio, a resident in a neighborhood where protests were occurring on 31 May saw several protesters were at risk of being caught outside past the city’s curfew at 8pm. “It felt like a trap to me. I felt if I could pick some people up and take them to their cars, I could stop people from getting arrested, so I jumped in my car, drove down the street, saw a group of people hiding, they had their hands up, and they climbed into the car, and shut the doors. We tried to drive, but were stopped,” said the resident. “We were asked to leave the car, zip tied on the side of the road, loaded onto a bus, and they detained us for a few hours doing paperwork.” A protester in Houston, Texas, described police kettling her and other protesters before getting arrested on 31 May for obstructing a roadway. “We weren’t allowed to go home,” she said. “We tried our best to go home and were told ‘no, you’re not leaving.’ From then on, the cops said anyone outside their circle is going to jail and they would push us further from the sidewalk. They had us closed in.””
respond
 
Importance
1
Fired Atlanta officers file suit against mayor, police chief
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 09, 2020
“Two Atlanta police officers who were fired after video showed them using stun guns on two college students pulled from a car in traffic during a large protest against police brutality are looking to get their jobs back. Bottoms and Shields have said they reviewed body camera footage from the May 30 incident and decided to immediately fire the officers and place three others on desk duty. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard brought criminal charges on June 2 against Gardner, Streeter and four other officers involved in the incident.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Falwell apologizes for tweet that included racist photo
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 08, 2020
“Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. apologized Monday for a tweet that included a racist photo that appeared on Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page decades ago. “After listening to African American LU leaders and alumni over the past week and hearing their concerns, I understand that by tweeting an image to remind all of the governor’s racist past I actually refreshed the trauma that image had caused and offended some by using the image to make a political point," he tweeted Monday. Falwell, a stalwart backer of President Donald Trump and the son of the late evangelist the Rev. Jerry Falwell, said he had deleted the tweet and apologized “for any hurt my effort caused, especially within the African American community.””
respond
 
Importance
1
University calls professor's tweets 'vile and inexcusable' following backlash online
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
Jun 07, 2020
“A professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has come under fire for tweets he posted which the school has called "vile and inexcusable," according to a statement the school provided to CNN Saturday.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Irene Triplett, last person to collect an American civil war pension, dies at 90
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 07, 2020
“Daughter of private who fought for both sides and had children in his 80s lived for years in a North Carolina nursing homeThe last person to receive a US government pension from the American civil war has died.Irene Triplett was 90 when she died last Sunday in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Her father, Mose Triplett, fought for the Confederacy and the Union in the civil war, which began in 1861 and ended with the defeat of the slave power in 1865. He applied for his Union pension 20 years after the war and in 1930, when his daughter was born, he was 83.The Wall Street Journal, which spoke to Irene Triplett for a story in 2014, reported that she died “from complications following surgery for injuries from a fall, according to the nursing home where she lived”.Dennis St Andrew, a commander of the North Carolina Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, told the Journal Triplett was “a part of history”.“You’re talking to somebody whose father was in the civil war,” he said. “Which is mind-bending.”But to Stephanie McCurry, a historian of the civil war and Reconstruction era at Columbia University in New York, Triplett’s death acquired a deeper resonance by occurring in the midst of national civil unrest over the killing by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, an African American man.“Just like the Confederate monuments issue, which is blowing up right now, I think this is a reminder of the long reach of slavery, secession and the civil war,” she told the Washington Post. “It reminds you of the battle over slavery and its legitimacy in the United States.”Each month, Triplett collected $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), a total of $877.56 a year. Her father earned the sum by defecting north in 1863 after missing the battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the war.“Pvt Triplett enlisted in the 53rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment in May 1862,” the Journal reported, citing Confederate records which showed he was then 16.And Triplett “transferred to the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment early the following year”, “fell ill as his regiment marched north” then “ran away from the hospital … while his unit suffered devastating losses at Gettysburg”.A deserter, Triplett “made his way to Tennessee and, in 1864, enlisted in … the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry”, Kirk’s Raiders, which “carried out a campaign of sabotage against Confederate targets”.Mose Triplett was unsurprisingly not popular in post-war North Carolina but eventually, in 1924, still childless, he married a second time. He was nearly 80. His new wife, Elida Hall, was 34. As the Journal put it, “such an age difference wasn’t rare, especially during the Great Depression when civil war veterans found themselves with both a pension and a growing need for care.”Triplett and Hall had five children but only two survived: Irene, who like her mother suffered from mental disabilities, and Everette, a son born when Mose Triplett was 87. As the Journal wrote in 2014, “Irene and Everette Triplett were born in tough country during tough times. The forested hills ran with white lightning from illegal stills. Ms Triplett said she didn’t drink moonshine, but she got hooked on tobacco in first grade.”“I dipped snuff in school, and I chewed tobacco in school,” Triplett said then. “I raised homemade tobacco. I chewed that, too. I chewed it all.”In 1938, aged 92, Mose Triplett attended a reunion at Gettysburg. In his remarks, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to the Gettysburg Address, delivered in November 1863: “Lincoln spoke in solace for all who fought upon this field; and the years have laid their balm upon their wounds. Men who wore the blue and men who wore the gray are here together, a fragment spared by time.”Newsreel footage posted to YouTube by CSPAN tells of “2,500 veterans, north and south”, black and white, marking “the 75th anniversary of America’s Armageddon”.Housed in the Confederate camp, Triplett reportedly kept quiet about the double service that placed him in rarefied company. The Victorian journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley, for example, also fought for both sides.Triplett died shortly afterwards. His gravestone, in Wilkes county, says only: “He was a civil war soldier.”In 1943, Irene and her mother moved to the Wilkes county poor house. In 1960, they moved to a care home. Elida Hall died in 1967. Everette Triplett died in 1996. Irene lived on, her care paid for by Medicaid and the civil war pension.The Journal reported that though Irene “saw little of her relatives … a pair of civil war buffs visited and sent her money to spend on Dr Pepper and chewing tobacco”.Jamie Phillips, the home’s activities director, told the Post Triplett liked gospel music, cream cheese cheeseballs and laughing.“A lot of people were interested in her story,” Phillips said, “but she’d always deflect the conversation to something different going on in the news.””
respond
 
Importance
1
Analysis: The Electoral College won't save Trump if this keeps up
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
Jun 06, 2020
“We've learned the lesson multiple times in the last few decades: There is no national presidential election. Candidates can get fewer votes and win, if they win enough states containing a majority of electoral votes. That's something President Donald Trump may hope happens again, because the national polls have had him trailing all year.”
respond
 
Importance
1
AstraZeneca now has capacity to make 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
Jun 06, 2020
“AstraZeneca says it has secured capacity to produce 2 billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed in partnership with researchers at Oxford University.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Cops Are Finally Being Disciplined—but Is Anybody Buying It?
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 05, 2020
“Nearly two weeks into protests against the killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis police custody, a slew of different cities across the country have been forced to confront the brutal methods used by their own police officers as videos emerged of harrowing incident after harrowing incident. And on Friday, it seemed a reckoning of sorts was in the air: Police officers in multiple cities were suspended, hit with charges, or stripped of their powers after they were caught on camera treating peaceful protesters like combatants. In New York City, where earlier this week authorities had praised the police department’s “restraint” amid protests despite video evidence to the contrary, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced that two officers involved in violent encounters with protesters—including one woman who was violently pushed to the ground and a man who was pepper sprayed after his mask was pulled down—have been suspended without pay.New York Cops Beat Protesters for Crime of Being ThereIn Philadelphia, the District Attorney’s office filed aggravated assault charges against police inspector Joseph Bologna after a video showed him hitting a demonstrator with a metal baton. The demonstrator, a Temple University student who was also arrested and detained for 24 hours, needed ten staples and sutures in his head following Monday's incident in Center City. Several states away, two Chicago police officers caught on video pulling a woman from a car by her hair before placing a knee on her neck have been stripped of their police powers pending an investigation, authorities said in a Friday statement. But before the night was even halfway over, the illusion of change began to unravel. NYPD officers rushed dozens of demonstrators in Manhattan that were out past the 8 p.m. curfew, arresting people in droves and hitting several with batons. At least 10 protesters were arrested after the peaceful protest—several of whom chanted “black lives matter” while they were awaiting transport, according to City & State NY.“This is outrageous. We were engaged in a non-violent protest. Stop arresting New Yorkers for no reason,” NYC Council Member Ben Kallos tweeted.Across the river in Brooklyn, one protester told The Daily Beast he was pushed over by authorities—prompting other residents to shout and swear at officers pushing them to go home past curfew. After a tense stand-off in which cops yelled at reporters and pushed people who had been peacefully protesting onto the sidewalks, at least a dozen were arrested and directed into NYPD vans. And in Buffalo, while there was a sense of accountability after the officers who shoved down 75-year-old Martin Gugino on Thursday night were suspended without pay, there was another sign of the rift between peaceful protesters and police officers as 57 fellow members of the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team resigned in solidarity with the suspended officers.In Minneapolis, where protesters continued to express outrage over the death of Floyd on Friday, demonstrators were skeptical of police being held accountable. Zeque Davies, a 29-year-old whose parents emigrated to Minneapolis from Liberia, said the cities that have disciplined officers in recent days are “trying to prove a point through the media.” “I don’t think they’re actually holding cops accountable,” Davies told The Daily Beast. “A slap on the wrist and a paid vacation is not holding a cop accountable. Trying him, arresting him and giving him a charge, that’s holding a cop accountable.”Demonstrators in other cities weren't convinced that a simple suspension would solve any problems. “I'm sure there are professional police officers. But what we're seeing is that unlike other departments or other services, when a police officer goes rogue, they kill people,” Tara Smith, 30, told The Daily Beast at a vigil held at Union Square in Manhattan. “A city clerk is not going to do the same kind of damage, so you can't tell me that they should not be held to a higher standard than other industries and other departments and services.” Others pointed out that all the recent acts of brutality by police were happening even while people were filming them—raising the question of what happens when the cameras stop rolling. Carolina Martinez, a bartender in Buffalo taking part in a peaceful protest on Friday, said it only took four hours for video of police officers shoving down a peaceful protester to garner worldwide attention a day earlier. “The only thing we can do now is just continue to just broadcast it,” she said. Residents still came out in droves on Friday to protest. In Washington, D.C., the mayor’s office commissioned “Black Lives Matter” to be painted across a street leading to the White House.Cops Reclaim New York in Massive Show of Force In New York, thousands of residents across the five boroughs took to the streets despite the rain. Upstate, in Buffalo, protesters gathered in Niagara Square demanding police reform one day after an elderly activist was shoved to the ground by officers.The nation-wide demonstrations on Friday also focused on Breonna Taylor, the Kentucky EMT worker fatally shot in her home during a botched March police raid. On Friday, Taylor would have been 27-years-old. From New York to Portland to Miami, thousands of protesters sang Happy Birthday in Taylor’s honor. In Kentucky, dozens of demonstrators gathered in Jefferson Square Park in Kentucky to honor her memory, many writing birthday cards that will be sent to Taylor’s family.In Miami, hundreds of residents took to the streets in a Black Lives Matter protest, forcing officials to shut down several highways and the mayor to change the city-wide curfew. The Miami Police Department closed Interstate 95 in both directions to allow space for the continued protesters chanting “say their names” near Wynwood. “I think the protests are finally getting politicians and police departments to finally listen. Everyday it's a step forward,”  Ashlynn Lee, 20, told The Daily Beast. Her friend, Tanisha Brown, 20, added: “They are definitely listening to what these protests are about. We are taking not only over the streets in the 50 states and different countries, but also social media. All you see when you scroll down is black lives matter. People are starting to shout it is definitely happening. Everybody is fighting for black lives.”About an hour later, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giminez moved the curfew to 10 p.m., after it was pushed back to midnight earlier this week. Alan, one protester who attended the Miami protests, called the mayor’s decision to bump up the curfew due to “unrest” a “bullshit move.”“If it wasn't about Black Lives Matter and police reform, the protestors would be treated differently. There was no unrest,” Alan said. In Minneapolis, the intersection where Floyd was killed has turned into a constant block party—complete with a stage that hosts speakers, spoken word artists, and rappers. Robin Jackson, 27-year-who lives down the street, told The Daily Beast things are peaceful in the downtown Minneapolis neighborhood, for now. He added that while some Americans are reeling from Floyd’s tragic death, the black community is simply witnessing what they have known for years.“I feel like this is just the acknowledgment among people other than Black people, where they can say, “Ok, maybe they have a point,” Jackson said. “They’re at least acknowledging that something is happening.”The ongoing protests have already sparked police reform in two states. City officials in Minneapolis have agreed to ban police chokeholds while detaining suspects and require officers to intervene when they see unauthorized force used by a colleague. Every Buffalo Cop in Elite Unit Quits to Back Officers Who Shoved Elderly Man to GroundIn California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday ordered the “carotid hold,” a neck restraint move that blocks blood flow to the brain, be removed from police training. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Friday announced a ban on the police use of tear gas for 30 days as protests are expected to continue in the city. The ban came just hours after three civilian police watchdog groups urged Seattle leaders to ban the violent tactic that public health officials believe may potentially increase the COVID-19 spread. A federal judge in Denver Friday also ruled that police must limit their use of “chemical weapons or projectiles” and a number of other measures of force against protesters, calling the past actions of law enforcement nation-wide “disgusting.”As demonstrators have continued to take to the streets, one medical worker in New York acknowledged that the health care community is concerned about how the protests will ultimately impact the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Obviously it worries us because we’re afraid of a spike in coronavirus cases. We all work at a hospital and we know what that means when that happens,” Sushmitha Echt, an attending physician at Northwell Health, told The Daily Beast. “At the same time, we’re wearing our masks... there are certain things we just have to take a stand for. This is one of those things.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.”
respond
 
Importance
1
New York police take seconds to restore reputation for brutality
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 05, 2020
“Driving vehicles into protesters demanding justice for George Floyd earned the backing of the mayor, but of few others * George Floyd killing – latest US updates * See all our George Floyd coverageIt doesn’t take long to blow up a reputation. In the case of the New York police department, an institution with an already troubled history, the clip lasted all of 27 seconds.It showed an NYPD vehicle in Brooklyn lined up against a metal barricade behind which protesters were chanting during Saturday’s demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd. Projectiles were thrown on to the roof of the car, then suddenly a second police SUV drew up alongside and instead of stopping continued to plough straight into the crowd.Seconds later the first vehicle lurched forward, knocking the barrier over and with it propelling several protesters to the ground amid a harrowing chorus of shrieking.A 27-second video, now viewed more than 30m times, had quickly shredded years of effort to repair the deeply tarnished image of the NYPD. New York’s “finest” were firmly cast in a role normally reserved for the security corps of petty dictators.The shocking video was compounded hours later when the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, spoke about the incident. A politician who won election in 2013 largely on a promise to reform the NYPD and scrap its racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk policy, astounded even his closest supporters when he defended the police.De Blasio said: “I do believe the NYPD has acted appropriately.”Social media lit up. Was it appropriate to drive those two SUVs into the crowd? Was it appropriate for an NYPD officer forcibly to remove the coronavirus mask of a black protester whose arms were raised in the air, then pepper-spray his face?Was it appropriate for another officer to tell a protester to get off the street, then physically shove her several feet towards the curb where she landed on her head? Or that the police officers involved in the pepper spray incident had covered their badge numbers, presumably to avoid having to answer for their actions. Or to beat a nurse walking home from a shift at a hospital?The clashes between New York’s police and its protesters have reverberated around the city. The largest police force in the US, with its $5.6bn annual budget and 36,000 uniformed officers under the leadership of one of the most progressive mayors in the country, has responded to demonstrations about police brutality with more police brutality.The Black, Latino and Asian Caucus of the city council, which makes up more than half of the legislative body, was swift and devastating in its criticism. In a statement, it said that the NYPD had acted “with aggression towards New Yorkers who vigorously and vociferously but nonetheless peacefully advocated for justice”.Adrienne Adams, co-chair of the caucus, told the Guardian the NYPD had tried to suppress legitimate anger felt by African American and other minority communities following years of police abuse. “We cannot allow people who have kept people of color down for decades to say now that we don’t have the right to display our outrage,” she said.Though that sentiment applies nationwide, Adams believes New York stands out as having a “horrible history of police brutality”. It was the NYPD that set the tone, she said, when Daniel Pantaleo, the officer implicated in the 2014 death by chokehold of Eric Garner in Staten Island, avoided prosecution.“When nothing happened to the police officers who were responsible for the death of Eric Garner, New York set the blueprint for what happened to George Floyd,” she said. “There’s no penalty, no consequence, so it’s OK.”Adams’s framing of the Garner killing could equally be applied to a long string of notorious episodes of police misconduct that preceded it. In 1997, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima was handcuffed by an NYPD officer and sexually assaulted with a broken broomstick.Two years later, Amadou Diallo was shot near his home in a hail of 41 bullets after officers mistook his wallet for a gun. In an echo of that event, an unarmed Sean Bell was shot 50 times in Queens on the morning of his wedding in 2006 – it took six years for the NYPD detective who opened the fusillade to be chucked off the force while nobody has ever been convicted of any crime.In the policing of protest, the NYPD also has a contentious track record. In 2004 it rounded up more than 1,800 peaceful protesters rallying outside the Republican National Convention during the re-election bid of George W Bush and herded them into overcrowded pens on Pier 57 in Manhattan. In 2011 it was similarly criticized for heavy-handed tactics during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.Cutting across all this, the force has consistently targeted its efforts on neighborhoods of the city with majority black or Latino populations, straying at times into overt racial profiling. Though stop and frisk has been reined back in recent years, the NYPD continues to heavily and disproportionately police those communities despite a historically low homicide rate.Despite this long legacy of overreach, the force continues to be systemically resistant to public oversight. Under Section 50-A of New York state law, the disciplinary files of police officers are largely held in secret, making the task of holding them accountable almost impossible.Jennvine Wong, a staff attorney at the Cop Accountability Project (CAP) within the Legal Aid Society, told the Guardian that there were currently more than 200 police officers still being employed by the NYPD on full pay who should have been considered for termination following reports of misconduct.Data collected by CAP shows that where cases of misconduct arise they often involve escalation of low-level encounters into aggressive confrontations – something officers are supposed to be trained not to do. The project is currently litigating the case of Tomas Medina who was put in a chokehold and Tasered in 2018 after police were called to a complaint about loud music being played.Eric Garner’s fatal arrest was triggered by him allegedly selling single cigarettes.Although the use of chokeholds has been banned in New York, the project has found that between 2015 and 2018 the city settled 30 lawsuits involving NYPD use of the potentially lethal maneuver.Wong believes such endemic deployment of excessive force has spilled over into the NYPD’s handling of the George Floyd protests. She was present at a peaceful protest in Brooklyn that suddenly turned volatile not because of the behavior of protesters but by a sudden change of tack on the part of the police.“In a split second, the NYPD snapped and engaged in over-aggressive enforcement. They escalated it from 0 to 10 out of nowhere, arresting people and wielding their batons.”If there has been unrestrained use of batons in the city, it would be with the full approval of Ed Mullins, the provocative president of one of the main police unions, the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA). He wrote to members urging “each and every one of you to report for duty with your helmet and baton and do not hesitate to utilize that equipment in securing your personal safety”.The sister Police Benevolent Association of New York City has also spoken to its members in inflammatory terms about them being “under attack by violent, organized terrorists while New York City council and other politicians sit at home demanding we ‘de-escalate’”.There is no denying that the NYPD faces difficult challenges in the policing of mass protests, especially late at night when violent outbreaks have erupted as they did on Monday in Manhattan and the Bronx. Fires were started in the street and stores looted.For Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD officer and prosecutor in Brooklyn and Queens who is now a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Monday night’s spectacle of looting along Fifth Avenue amounted to a collapse of policing in the city.“This weekend, the job of police officer in New York became officially impossible when the police abolitionists won. They have created a model of zero tolerance towards force being used and any injuries being inflicted, and that’s absurd.”O’Donnell said the same pattern is repeating itself across America. “In city after city, the police were abolished this weekend. They stood back and watched as damage was inflicted that was irreversible.””
respond
 
Importance
1
George Washington University Law School Faculty Tried To Get Bill Barr’s Honorary Degree Revoked
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 04, 2020
“Faculty members at George Washington University Law School pushed this week for the school to rescind the honorary degree it had bestowed upon alumnus Bill Barr following the Attorney General’s efforts to clamp down on protests in the nation’s capital, sources tell The Daily Beast. The push, which one source described as “serious,” was met by opposition from other members who argued that Barr’s actions—while aggressive and controversial—did not merit such a punishment from the university. For now, it appears Barr will keep his degree, amid warnings that it could send the university down a slippery slope of politically motivated degree-rescinding.Nevertheless, the angst among the law school’s faculty is yet another data point underscoring how much of a pariah Barr has become in establishment circles and how appalled those circles, and others well beyond it, have been with the Trump administration’s handling of the protests. A spokesperson for the law school confirmed the conversations around Barr’s degree. The office of the law school’s interim dean, Christopher A. Bracey, declined to comment. However, in a letter to students, Bracey wrote, “We cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening within our country, its impact upon our community members, or its connection to the multi-generational arc of justice that shaped our nation’s history. We must take this moment to engage–if not in protest, then in solidarity with the notion that we must preserve and protect the right to protest as an essential constitutional right that dates back to the founding of our nation.”Barr took credit for the decision on Monday night to have a variety of law enforcement officials forcibly move protesters who had gathered near the White House to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and systemic racism in the criminal justice system writ large. The result was a chaotic scene, in which chemical irritants and flash-bang grenades were launched into the crowd and police used bicycles and horses to push back protesters. Later in the night, military helicopters were flown low over the remaining protesters as another means of dispersing them. Bill Barr Takes Charge of Trump’s Crackdown as the Military Tries to Back AwayBarr, who stood outside the White House surveying the scene right before police moved in on the crowd, has defended his order. On Thursday, he told reporters that he had wanted to extend the security perimeter one more block around the White House and that the protesters had grown “unruly” and had been asked “three times” to move back. But the preponderance of evidence—from real time video, to on-the-ground-reporting, to contemporaneous recollections from the protesters themselves—shows a peaceful crowd, there before the city-wide curfew began, being subjected to physical harm for the purposes of clearing a path for President Donald Trump to have a photo op at a nearby church. Since that photo op, several prominent political figures and retired military officials have condemned the administration for resorting to a proto-military state posture in order to trample on constitutionally-protected rights to assemble. Among some members of the faculty at George Washington Law School, the anger was particularly acute owing to Barr’s ties to the institution. Barr received his JD from the school in 1977 and was awarded an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws in 1992, during his first stint as Attorney General. Additionally, there is a “William P. Barr Dean’s Suite” at the school that, according to the alumni magazine, “welcomes students and visitors into” one of its buildings on 20th street in Northwest Washington, D.C.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Share Your 2020 College Application Essays
by NYT > Education
Jun 04, 2020
“Did you apply for undergraduate admission for the fall 2020 semester? Did you write an essay about money, work or social class? We’d like to read it and perhaps publish it.”
respond
 
Importance
1
What Will College Be Like in the Fall?
by NYT > Education
Jun 04, 2020
“Administrators, professors, a union representative and students consider the new realities of life on campus in the midst of a pandemic.”
respond
 
Importance
1
How to Normalize the College Search Process for Juniors
by NYT > Education
Jun 03, 2020
“The class of 2021 is missing spring grades, ACT and SAT scores and the chance to take campus tours. Here’s expert advice on what to do.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Fears grow of US coronavirus surge from George Floyd protests
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 02, 2020
“* Demonstrators in close proximity, many without masks * Trump under fire as violence flares across America * George Floyd protests: live coverageEven as all US states continue further phased reopening of businesses and social movement amid the coronavirus pandemic, governors, mayors and public health officials across the US are raising fears of a surge in cases of Covid-19 arising from escalating protests over the death of George Floyd.Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis a week ago, on Memorial Day, during an arrest by four police officers. The killing focused a fierce light on police brutality towards African Americans, and stoked protest and violence in most major cities.According to figures from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, the US has seen nearly 1.8m infections and surpassed 105,000 deaths  in the Covid-19 pandemic. In a country that does not have universal healthcare, the crisis has disproportionately affected minorities, particularly those who live in crowded urban areas.Images of demonstrators in close proximity, many without masks, have therefore alarmed leaders – to the point where some are pleading with those on the streets to protest “the right way”, in order to better protect themselves.On Monday, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, expressed concern about “super spreaders” in the crowds of protesters seen across the state, but especially among throngs in New York City. New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, also urged protesters to maintain social distancing and wear masks.“Obviously we don’t want people in close proximity to each other, we don’t want people out there where they might catch this disease or spread this disease,” he said.Police outside the White House fired teargas at protesters on Monday evening while Donald Trump was holding a press conference inside. Substances such as teargas make people cough, which can spread viruses more easily.“I’m concerned that we had mass gatherings on our streets when we just lifted a stay-at-home order and what that could mean for spikes in coronavirus cases later,” Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington DC, had said on Sunday.“I’m so concerned about it that I’m urging everybody to consider their exposure, if they need to isolate from their family members when they go home and if they need to be tested … because we have worked very hard to blunt the curve.”Bowser said protests in her city, which has seen violence several days in a row at the White House and other areas, were a mixed bag.“While I saw some people with masks last night, others didn’t,” she said. “I saw some people social distancing, other people were right on top of each other. So we don’t want to compound this deadly virus and the impact it’s had on our community.“We’ve been working hard to not have mass gatherings. As a nation, we have to be concerned about rebound.”Bowser’s message was echoed by Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland, and by Keisha Lance-Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, who said she was “extremely concerned” about Covid-19 spreading, and that protests had distracted her from dealing with the pandemic.On Saturday, Bottoms said at a press conference: “If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a Covid test this week.”On Sunday, she told CNN’s State of the Union: “I realised that I hadn’t looked at our coronavirus numbers in two days. And that’s frightening, because it’s a pandemic, and people of color are getting hit harder.“We know what’s already happening in our community with this virus. We’re going to see the other side of this in a couple of weeks.”According to the Georgia health department, more African Americans have contracted Covid-19 in the state than any other race.“The question is: how do we do protesting safely?” Dr Ashish Jha, the director of the global health institute at Harvard’s TH Chan school of public health, told CNN. “I think masks are a critical part of it.”In New York, De Blasio said he supported the public’s right to demonstrate peacefully but added that the protests meant an uncertain future.“You have all the frustrations about injustice, combined with the frustrations about the injustice within the pandemic, because the pandemic displayed immense disparity combined with the fact that people spent two months cooped up indoors,” he said.“We don’t know what the summer brings.”Dr Theodore Long, leading the city’s contact tracing strategy, offered advice.“We strongly encourage anybody who is out in the protests to wear a mask, practice proper hand hygiene and to the extent possible, socially distance, though we know that’s not always going to be feasible,” he said.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Iranian 'spy' scientist flies home after release from US prison, raising hopes of prisoner swap
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
Jun 02, 2020
“The families of British dual nationals imprisoned by Iran today criticised the Foreign Office for “complete inaction” in trying to secure their release, as an Iranian scientist previously jailed by the US was allowed to fly home. A plane carrying Sirous Asgari took off early this morning and was on its way back to Tehran to bring him home, Iran’s foreign minister announced, raising hopes of a potential prisoner swap for Western dual nationals in Iran. Mr Asgari was accused by a US court in 2016 of stealing trade secrets while on an academic visit to Ohio, where he visited a university working on projects for the US Navy. However, the 59-year-old scientist from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, was acquitted in November when an American judge dismissed the case against him. Several British, US and other dual nationals remain imprisoned or on temporary release in Iran, typically on controversial charges of espionage. They include British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, jailed in 2016, and retired engineer Anoosheh Ashoori, 66, who has been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since August 2017. Both the US Department of Homeland Security and the Iranian Foreign Ministry today denied reports that Mr Asgari’s release was part of a prisoner swap, but such arrangements have been made in the past, despite the breakdown in diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran.”
respond
 
Importance
1
2 Atlanta police officers were fired and 3 were placed on desk duty for their use of force in arresting 2 college students during a Saturday night protest
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 31, 2020
“Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who were both members of the department's fugitive unit, were terminated from the Atlanta Police Department.”
respond
 
Importance
1
UK taxpayers may be funding research for China’s defence project
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 31, 2020
“Experts fear British taxpayers could inadvertently be contributing to funding the Chinese defence programme, after millions of pounds of public funds were poured into technology research undertaken in collaboration with controversial Chinese universities known for their military links. The UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council distributed more than £6.5 million to British universities including Manchester for technology studies that were undertaken with these controversial Chinese institutions, according to disclosures on academic papers. While the research programmes focused on technologies that could be used for civilian purposes, experts have warned that they also have the potential to be used for military applications, prompting fears that taxpayer-funded research by British universities could be exploited by Beijing. In two cases, researchers even stated on their grant application forms that the technologies they were looking at could have “both civilian and military applications” or be used for “military controlling”. The disclosure comes days after The Telegraph revealed that Huawei has also backed a string of research projects linking British universities with Chinese defence institutions, which focused on these so-called “dual use” technologies. Huawei denies any wrongdoing. Experts have now warned that the studies funded by the EPSRC may be part of a worrying pattern of partnerships between British universities and Chinese universities that are known for their strong military ties – and that they could be used to fuel both China’s controversial surveillance regime and its declared ambition to become the world’s most powerful military force by 2049. On Sunday night, Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith said the collaborations were “tantamount to transfer of technologies to the Chinese government” and accused the EPSRC and British universities of “living in a naïve world”. “You cannot say that there is any [Chinese] institution that is safe from the reach of that government… If they take technology as part of a market position, they can use it for other things.” His warning comes as Beijing faces growing international hostility over its handling of the coronavirus crisis and attempts to crush dissent in Hong Kong. The EPSRC defended the payments. Executive chairwoman Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: “These grants were fully consistent with government policy. All UK funding was directed to fund research by UK universities.” A spokesman added that it allocates funding to research projects rather than individual papers “through the lens of the quality of academic research”, and that it is for individual universities to decide who they work with as long as there is no legal breach and the other universities cover their own costs. A Telegraph investigation identified seven papers that were undertaken by British institutions in partnership with Chinese universities, as part of research programmes that accessed EPSRC grants totalling £6,637,875. The funding body is one of nine organisations that make up UK Research and Innovation, which states on its website that it is “principally funded” by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Two of the papers were co-authored by researchers at China's so-called "Seven Sons of National Defence", universities tasked with developing China's defence programme, and six were undertaken with the in-house academy for the People's Liberation Army. Of the money dished out by the EPSRC, £305,891 went to the University of Manchester for research it undertook with Beihang University – an institution sanctioned by America for its work on rockets and drones. The grant application to EPSRC boasted that it would could be used for “environmental monitoring or military controlling". A spokesman for the University of Manchester said: “We carry out due diligence on all research collaborations and we have clear ethical and intellectual property polices and guidelines which all our researchers, overseas and domestic, must adhere to as part of their professional contracts.” Six of the papers were also funded by Huawei, and the remaining one was worked on by its researchers. The company has insisted that they all focused on “common areas of research for telecoms equipment suppliers”, and that it has strict rules to ensure the research it backs is not used for military purposes. “We do not conduct military research either directly, or indirectly, nor do we work on military or intelligence projects for the Chinese government or any other government,” a spokesman said.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Thousands of Complaints Do Little to Change Police Ways
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 31, 2020
“In nearly two decades with the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin faced at least 17 misconduct complaints, none of which derailed his career.Over the years, civilian review boards came and went, and a federal review recommended that the troubled department improve its system for flagging problematic officers.All the while, Chauvin tussled with a man before firing two shots, critically wounding him. He was admonished for using derogatory language and a demeaning tone with the public. He was named in a brutality lawsuit. But he received no discipline other than two letters of reprimand.It was not until Chauvin, 44, was seen in a video with his left knee pinned to the neck of a black man, prone for nearly nine minutes and pleading for relief, that the officer, who is white, was suspended, fired and then, on Friday, charged with murder.His case is not unusual. Critics say the department, despite its long history of accusations of abuse, never fully put in place federal recommendations to overhaul the way in which it tracks complaints and punishes officers -- with just a handful over the years facing termination or severe punishment.Even as outrage has mounted over deaths at the hands of the police, it remains notoriously difficult in the United States to hold officers accountable, in part because of the political clout of police unions, the reluctance of investigators, prosecutors and juries to second-guess an officer's split-second decision and the wide latitude the law gives police officers to use force.Police departments themselves have often resisted civilian review or dragged their feet when it comes to overhauling officer disciplinary practices. And even change-oriented police chiefs in cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia -- which over the last few years have been the sites of high-profile deaths of black men by white officers -- have struggled to punish or remove bad actors.The challenge has played out against and reinforced racial divisions in America, with largely white police forces accused of bias and brutality in black, Latino and other minority communities. Floyd's death came just weeks after Ahmaud Arbery, a black man in southeast Georgia, was pursued by three white men and killed, and after Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was fatally shot by police in Kentucky.Their deaths have unleashed a wave of tremendous protests across the country, extending far beyond Minneapolis on Friday, with protesters destroying police vehicles in Atlanta and New York, and blocking major streets in San Jose, California, and Detroit -- all cities that have wrestled with accusations of police misconduct.In Minneapolis, authorities took quick action against Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd's death, firing them one day after a graphic video emerged of the encounter. But that does not mean the officers are gone for good. Public employees can appeal their dismissals -- and in scores of cases across the country, the officers often win.The St. Paul Pioneer Press analyzed five years' worth of such appeals and found that between 2014 and 2019, Minnesota arbitrators -- a group that hears a range of public service complaints -- ruled in favor of terminated law enforcement and correction officers 46% of the time, reinstating them.In three terminations involving law enforcement officers that were reviewed this year, two were overturned.Dave Bicking, a board member of Communities United Against Police Brutality, a Twin Cities advocacy group, said many disciplinary actions are overturned because they are compared to previous cases, making it hard for departments to reverse a history of leniency or respond to changing community expectations."Because the department has never disciplined anybody, for anything, when they try to do it now, it's considered arbitrary and capricious," he said.Bicking described a history of attempts to clean up the Minneapolis police force, which is overwhelmingly white and for decades has faced accusations of excessive force, especially by African American residents.In Minneapolis, a city heralded for its progressive politics, pretty parks and robust employment, the racial divide runs deep. From education to wages, African Americans are at a disadvantage, graduating at much lower rates and earning about one-third less than white residents.And while black residents account for about 20% of the city's population, police department data shows they are more likely to be pulled over, arrested and have force used against them than white residents. And black people accounted for more than 60% of the victims in Minneapolis police shootings from late 2009 through May 2019, data shows.When there was a civilian review board to field the complaints, it would recommend discipline, but the police chief at the time would often refuse to impose it, said Bicking, who served on the board.Across the country, civilian review boards -- generally composed of members of the public -- have been notoriously weak. They gather accounts, but cannot enforce any recommendations.In 2008, the Police Executive Research Forum issued a report on disciplinary procedures in Minneapolis, at the department's behest. It recommended resetting expectations with a new, matrix specifying violations and consequences. But Bicking said the department soon fell back to old ways.In 2012, the civilian board in Minneapolis was replaced by an agency called the Office of Police Conduct Review. Since then, more than 2,600 misconduct complaints have been filed by members of the public, but only 12 have resulted in an officer being disciplined, Bicking said. The most severe censure has been a 40-hour suspension, he said."When we say there's a failure of accountability and discipline in this city, it is extreme," he said, adding that the City Council had promised to review the board, but has yet to do so.Any member of the public may file a complaint, and experts say that the volume of complaints may reflect a host of issues other than actual misconduct, such as the level of trust the community has in its department.Maria Haberfeld, an expert on police training and discipline at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said Chauvin's complaint tally averaged to less than one a year, not unusual for a street officer, and probably not high enough to trigger an early warning system.But the patchwork nature of the city's disciplinary tracking was clear in Chauvin's case. The city released an Internal Affairs summary with 17 complaints. The city's police conduct database listed only 12, some of which did not appear to be included in the summary, and Communities United Against Police Brutality, which also maintains a database, had yet more complaint numbers not included in the first two sources.The nature of the complaints was not disclosed.Chauvin was one of four officers who responded to a call on Memorial Day that a man had tried buying cigarettes with a fake $20 bill. The other officers, identified by authorities as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, also were fired and remain under investigation. The county attorney said he expected to bring charges, but offered no further details.Neither Lane nor Kueng had misconduct complaints filed against them, according to the department. But Thao faced six in his career and also was the subject of a lawsuit that claimed he and another officer punched, kicked and kneed an African American man, leaving the man with broken teeth and bruises.According to the lawsuit, the incident occurred in early October 2014, when the man, Lamar Ferguson, then 26, was walking home with his girlfriend. A police car approached and Ferguson's girlfriend kept walking.The lawsuit states that Thao asked Ferguson to put his hands on the roof of the car and then handcuffed him. The complaint said that the other officer then "falsely stated there was a warrant out" for Ferguson's arrest regarding an incident involving family members. Ferguson told the officers he had no information to tell them.During the encounter, "Officer Thao then threw" Ferguson, "handcuffed, to the ground and began hitting him."Patrick R. Burns, one of the lawyers who represented Ferguson, said in an interview Friday that the city settled the case for $25,000."What I learned from that case and several others I have handled against the department is that some of the officers think they don't have to abide by their own training and rules when dealing with the public," he said.The head of the police union, Lt. Bob Kroll, is himself the subject of at least 29 complaints. Three resulted in discipline, The Star Tribune reported in 2015. Kroll was accused of using excessive force and racial slurs, in a case that was dismissed, and was named in a racial discrimination lawsuit brought in 2007 by several officers, including the man who is now the police chief.Teresa Nelson, legal director for the ACLU of Minnesota, said attempts by the city's police leaders to reform the department's culture have been undermined by Kroll, who she said downplays complaints and works to reinstate officers who are fired, no matter the reason.She said that in a 2015 meeting after a fatal police shooting, Kroll told her that he views community complaints like fouls in basketball. "He told me, 'If you're not getting any fouls, you're not working hard enough,'" she said.Kroll did not return several messages seeking comment this week.Changing department policies and culture can take years, even when there is a will to do so.In 2009, the Minneapolis department instituted an Early Intervention System to track red flags such as misconduct allegations, vehicle pursuits, use of force and discharge of weapons. Such systems are supposed to identify "potential personnel problems" before they become threats to public trust or generate costly civil rights lawsuits.In a case similar to the death of Floyd, David Cornelius Smith, a black man with mental illness, died in 2010 after two officers trying to subdue him held him prone for nearly four minutes. The chief at the time defended the officers, and they were never disciplined, said Robert Bennett, a lawyer who represented Smith's family.In 2013, the police chief at the time, Janee Harteau, asked the Department of Justice to review the department's warning system. A federal report found that it had "systemic challenges" and questioned its ability to "create sustainable behavior change."Early warning systems are considered a key part of righting troubled departments, criminologists say. Most cities that have been found to have a pattern of civil rights violations and placed under a federal consent decree, or improvement plan, are required to have one.Harteau, who left the top post in the wake of a 2017 fatal police shooting, said she took many steps to reform the department, including training officers on implicit bias and mandating the use of body cameras. But the police union, she said, fought her at every turn.In 2016, the department updated its use of force policy to hold officers accountable for intervening if they see their fellow officers using excessive force, Nelson said.The new policy, made in the wake of previous fatal shootings, was part of an effort to reform police culture in the city."It's why you saw four officers fired," in Floyd's case, she said.It's not clear whether an improved early warning system would have flagged Chauvin, who also had been involved in at least three shootings in his career, or the other officers involved in Floyd's death. Departments choose from a number of bench marks, and from a range of responses when they are exceeded.Haberfeld, the training expert, said police departments will not change until they invest significantly more in recruitment and training, areas where the U.S. lags far behind other democracies.Otherwise, she said, "There is a scandal, there is a call for reform -- committees and commissions and nothing happens. Nothing."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company”
respond
 
Importance
1
Double murder suspect arrested after multistate manhunt
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 29, 2020
“The manhunt for the 23-year-old college senior had spanned Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Falling Into the Gap Year
by NYT > Education
May 29, 2020
“With next semester a question mark, more graduating high school seniors are considering deferring college. But what will they do instead?”
respond
 
Importance
1
Home by Thanksgiving: An emerging strategy to reopen college campuses in the fall
by Local Education
May 28, 2020
“Some schools are pushing aggressive plans to bring students back. Others are taking it more slowly.”
respond
 
Importance
1
College students count on their schools for mental-health help, but now many can’t get it
by Local Education
May 28, 2020
“Cross-state licensing and other issues make accessing therapy hard for students stuck at home.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Cheered by Private Schools, DeVos Demands Public Education Shares Pandemic Aid
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 27, 2020
“WASHINGTON -- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, defiant amid criticism that she is using the coronavirus pandemic to pursue a long-sought agenda, said she will force public school districts to share a large portion of federal rescue funding with private school students, regardless of income.DeVos announced the measure in a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents state education chiefs, defending her position on how education funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, should be spent."The CARES Act is a special, pandemic-related appropriation to benefit all American students, teachers and families," DeVos wrote in the letter Friday. "There is nothing in the act suggesting Congress intended to discriminate between children based on public or nonpublic school attendance, as you seem to do. The virus affects everyone."A range of education officials say DeVos' guidance would divert millions of dollars away from disadvantaged students and force districts starved of tax revenues during an economic crisis to support even the wealthiest private schools. The association representing the nation's schools superintendents told districts to ignore the guidance, and at least two states -- Indiana and Maine -- said they would.DeVos accused the state education chiefs of having a "reflex to share as little as possible with students and teachers outside of their control" and said she would draft a rule codifying her position to "resolve any issues in plenty of time for the next school year." The proposed rule would need to go through a public comment process before it could take effect.Private school leaders​​​, who serve about 5.7 million of the nation's children, say they too are in crisis. Enrollment and tuition revenues are plunging along with philanthropic donations and church collections that help some religious schools operate. Many of those schools serve low-income students whose parents have fled failing public schools. Private school groups say 30% of ​the​ families​ they serve have​ annual incomes below $75,000, and those families are most at risk without federal aid. ​"I don't understand why we have to pick winners and losers when everything we're asking for is targeted at helping children and families," said Jennifer Daniels, associate director for public policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.Under federal education law, school districts are required to use funding intended for their poorest students to provide "equitable services," such as tutoring and transportation, for low-income students attending private schools in their districts. But DeVos maintains the coronavirus rescue law does not limit funding to just poor students, and her guidance would award private schools more services than the law would normally require.Last week, leaders from education committees in the House and Senate, including Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said DeVos' interpretation was flawed.Democratic leaders called on DeVos to revise her guidance, which they said would "repurpose hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars intended for public school students to provide services for private school students, in contravention of both the plain reading of the statute and the intent of Congress."Carissa Moffat Miller, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said the organization believed the secretary's guidance "could significantly harm the vulnerable students who were intended to benefit the most from the critical federal COVID-19 education relief funds Congress has provided."DeVos has been unabashed in her use of coronavirus funding to further her decadeslong effort to divert public dollars to private and parochial schools. In a radio interview last week, first reported by Chalkbeat, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, asked DeVos if she was "utilizing this particular crisis to ensure that justice is finally done to our kids and the parents who choose to send them to faith-based schools." She responded, "Absolutely."In her letter, DeVos said "a growing list of nonpublic schools have announced they will not be able to reopen, and these school closures are concentrated in low-income and middle-class communities."At least 26 schools, the vast majority of them Catholic, have announced closures caused by or attributed to the pandemic, according to the Cato Institute, a libertarian research organization that is tracking such announcements. The National Catholic Educational Association said that at least 100 of its member schools are at risk of not reopening. More than 40 groups that support private schools wrote to House and Senate leaders this month asking for tuition aid, tax credits for families and other measures to prevent "massive nonpublic school closures."Leaders in some religious communities say they cannot fall back on public education."It is unthinkable for us not to give our children a Jewish education, in the same way it is unthinkable for us not to keep the Sabbath or the kosher dietary laws -- it is fundamental to Jewish life," said Rabbi Abba Cohen, vice president for federal affairs at Agudath Israel of America, one of the groups that signed the letter.Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, announced it would close 10 schools. ​While the organization said a plan to consolidate had already been underway, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, ​wrote in a letter to the community that​ "this historical moment presents crucial challenges to the sustainability and ongoing success of our schools."Among the closed schools was Cristo Rey Newark High School, part of a network of 37 Catholic college-preparatory schools across the country that exclusively serves low-income students."My concern is that people are painting this with a very large brush stroke that's based on an assumption that Catholic and private means fancy and expensive, and that is not the case," said Elizabeth Goettl, president of the Cristo Rey Network.Ninety-eight percent of the network's 12,000 students are students of color, and all of them are from financially disadvantaged families, Goettl said. Only 10% of the schools' operational revenue comes from tuition, and every family pays what they can on a sliding scale, on average about $900 a year, though some pay as little as $20 a month.Fifty percent of the school's operational revenue comes from a corporate work-study program that could be affected by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Companies employ students in entry-level jobs, and students assign their wages to their tuition."They're literally earning their education at age 14, which is remarkable in itself," she said. "For the federal government to say we're not going to help your kids sanitize, or do whatever COVID-related things that need to be done, seems reprehensible."A recently passed House bill would limit private schools from accessing any new emergency relief funding, including equitable services. But private school leaders have launched an aggressive campaign to lobby Congress and the White House."When all is said and done, people are going to try to do the right thing and not try to pick which students we're not going to keep safe," said Michael Schuttloffel, executive director of the Council for American Private Education.Private school groups lobbying Congress say that mass closures would also hurt public schools. If 20% of private school students have to be absorbed into the public school system, it would cost the public system roughly $15 billion, according to estimates from those groups.Public school groups said that the argument proves their point."I think it's more proof that we need to be focused on public education, because if public education is not fully funded, there is no fallback," said Maggie Garrett, co-chairwoman of the National Coalition for Public Education, which represents more than 50 national organizations that oppose private school vouchers.Ruth Arias, an Amazon warehouse worker and single mother of five in New York City, said moving her children back to their neighborhood school would mean taking them "out of a place where they feel their best and putting them into a school system where they fall apart."With the help of an organization called the Children's Scholarship Fund, Arias said she enrolled her children in a private Christian school to "believe in something better."Arias was battling the coronavirus last month when she saw that the city's Department of Education would help students get iPads for remote learning.Having only one computer and a cellphone for her children to share, she was relieved -- until she was told her children's private schooling made them ineligible."I honestly had one thought," she said, "which I had a lot when I was dealing with the public school system: Are you kidding me?"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company”
respond
 
Importance
1
Parents of a UConn student suspected in killings plead his surrender
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
May 26, 2020
“Connecticut State Police had a message Tuesday for a college student suspected of killing two people four days ago before fleeing the state.”
respond
 
Importance
1
13-year-old boy earns 4 associate's degrees
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
May 26, 2020
“A 13-year-old boy in California has graduated from college with four associate's degrees.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Iranian Tankers Arrive in Venezuela Despite the U.S. Navy
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 26, 2020
“The Iranian oil tanker Fortune slipped into Venezuelan waters in the pre-dawn dark of Monday morning, the first of five tankers from the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) bringing vitally needed gasoline to a regime the Trump administration has, for years, tried and failed to bring down. Four days before the Fortune arrived in Venezuelan waters, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that sanctions slapped on Iran’s shipping lines last December will take effect on June 8. The message seemed to get through. The tankers speeded up.While the Fortune was still unloading  280,000 barrels of the precious fuel,  maritime live tracking websites showed three other tankers arrived in Venezuelan waters ahead of schedule.  At approximately 1 am EDT Tuesday morning, the Faxom reached its final destination, three days earlier than its posted ETA.  The Forest and the Petunia were close behind, also ahead of their scheduled arrival date.  The last tanker, the Clavel, was still listed as arriving June 2.According to the petroleum industry news site Argus Media, the Fortune’s cargo was being distributed under “a tightly rationed system, with some of the gasoline transported by pipeline to other points for truck distribution.” It also cited an unnamed Defense Ministry official saying “some of the supply” could be transhipped to Cuba.The total cargo on the ships is an estimated 1.5 million barrels, barely enough to last two to three weeks, to make up for lost production from Venezuela’s largest refinery complex that needs serious repair.Trump Just Inspired the Dumbest Damned Coup Plot in LatAm History, Complete with a QAnon CrazyThe fact that Venezuela is starved for gasoline—even though it has the world’s largest proven reserves of petroleum—is testimony to the corruption and mismanagement that plague the country. In fact, the state-owned oil giant, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has crumbled.  At the same time, an avalanche of U.S. sanctions intended to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro has left the country effectively bankrupt. Much of the world, led by the Trump administration, recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela despited a record that as proved both feckless and reckless. So Maduro has built a byzantine network of allies—notably Iran and Russia, but also shady gold traders and sympathetic shipping tycoons, to come to his rescue.On Venezuela’s Government television channel, Venezolana de Television, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino announced the Iranian tankers would receive a royal welcome, even if they have to play tag with the U.S. Navy on the high seas: “When those ships enter our exclusive economic zone, they will be escorted by FANB [Venezuelan navy] vessels and  planes to welcome them and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation amid the difficulties caused by COVID-19.”But for all the fanfare surrounding the tankers’ arrival, the stark reality is that Venezuela had to go half way around the world to get refined fuel, underlining the desperation of the Maduro regime—and a risky count-down has begun. The Trump administration keeps feinting toward military action with an increased naval presence in the Caribbean. It gave covert—but not very secret—aid to a failed coup a year ago, and it recently offered huge rewards for the arrest of Maduro and his top lieutenants, inspiring an operation by disastrously incompetent adventurers organized by a former U.S. Green Beret. Most were killed or captured by Maduro's forces—and by a few Venezuelan fishermen. But it's the sanctions that really continue to bite. Even with today’s very low prices, how can cash-strapped Venezuela afford the $45 million purchase price for Iran's refined product?According to Bloomberg News, Maduro turned to Alex Nain Saab Moran, a Colombian national indicted in the U.S. last July on federal money-laundering charges involving a $900 million shipment of Venezuelan gold to Turkey. Bloomberg reported Saab traveled to Tehran last April with senior executives from PDVSA and negotiated the Iran gasoline deal in exchange for crude oil.  According to Bloomberg,  Venezuelan officials sent about nine tons of gold—equivalent to US$ 500 million—to Iran on jets owned by Mahan Air, a Tehran-based carrier. In addition to the oil deal, Iran was also sending equipment to repair Venezuela’s decaying refineries and broken gas pumps. Since then, Mahan Air has been placed on the growing U.S Treasury sanction list.But Venezuela still has to find ways to to get income from its crude oil, which accounts for about 95 percent of the nation’s export revenues. In January 2019, the U.S. cut off Venezuela’s main client, which was the United States itself. Venezuela lost the market for one third of its oil exports and production dropped to its lowest levels in 75 years.  Russia’s oil giant Rosneft stepped in, lending over US$ 6 billion to PDVSA.  Through it’s Swiss-based affiliate, Rosneft Trading, Rosneft tankers began transporting 80 percent of Venezuela’s crude oil exports in a loan repayment deal.  The U.S. slapped sanctions on Rosneft Trading.  Rosneft itself, the mother company and the crown jewel in Russia’s economy, was not targeted by Treasury. It shut down its operations in Venezuela immediately nonetheless—but only after transferring its Venezuelan crude oil exporting to another Rosneft unit, TNK Trading.  Meanwhile, the image of Iranian tankers arriving in the backyard of the United States  is a far departure from what one of Trump’s short-lived cabinet members had envisioned.  In February 2018, on the eve of his first whirlwind tour of South America, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson invoked the 1823 Monroe Doctrine in his speech at the State University of Texas saying it was “as much alive today as the day when it was written.” The doctrine claimed Washington has the right to intervene militarily at any time and anywhere in the western hemisphere to prevent foreign influences from establishing themselves. In fact, many have done so, from the British to the Soviets, in the nearly two centuries since its proclamation, but the supposed sanctity of the Monroe Doctrine appears to be an article of faint in the confines of the White House and the head of its mercurial occupant. On April 1, President Trump held one of his rambling news conferences pegged to COVID-19 as the nation grappled with daunting statistics and New York emerged as the new epicenter of the pandemic.As if out of nowhere, Trump made the startling announcement that he was sending U.S. Navy warships to the Caribbean to combat drug traffickers, and his administration fingered top Venezuelan officials as some of the worst. “As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there is a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists and malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain,” said Trump. “We must not let that happen.” National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien identified Venezuela directly, saying, “We will continue to execute our maximum pressure policy to counter the Maduro regime’s activities, including drug trafficking.” Earlier, the Trump administration had indicted Venezuelan President Maduro and members of his inner circle on charges they run a smuggling operation bringing up to 250 tons of cocaine a year to the U.S. They put a price on Maduro’s head of $15 million and the total bounties on offer came to $55 million, prompting the ex-Green Beret Jordan Goudreau to launch the fiasco dubbed Operation Gideon. In the midst of all this, a shipping tycoon apparently has been delivering gasoline to his native Venezuela.  Wilmer Ruperti told AP in an exclusive interview in April that his goal was humanitarian and that he had notified the U.S. Treasury Department which, he claimes, did not object. Ruperti also did not disclose where the refined fuel came from. As Iranian tankers continue arriving in Venezuela and Russian tankers head out of the Caribbean, it’s apparent that no doctrine, Monroe’s or otherwise, is stopping them. So there are several questions looming larger by the day: Will the U.S. Navy be ordered to stop those ships if there is a repeat performance? How long can Maduro continue like this? And how far is the Trump administration willing to go to bring him down at last?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Legendary college basketball coach dies
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
May 25, 2020
“Eddie Sutton, the first college basketball coach to lead four different schools to the NCAA tournament, died on Saturday, his family said in a statement. He was 84.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Coronavirus: Trump aide claims China guilty of cover-up akin to Chernobyl
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 25, 2020
“* Trump spends second day on golf course as toll nears 100,000 * China raises US trade tensions with warning of ‘new cold war’ * Coronavirus US live – rolling report The White House on Sunday accused China of a cover-up that will “go down in history along with Chernobyl”, ramping up efforts to deflect attention from a Covid-19 death toll in the US fast closing on 100,000.Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, made the claim on two political talk shows, saying Beijing gave “false information” to the World Health Organization (WHO) at the start of the year and alleging that stonewalling of an investigation into the origins of the pandemic has cost “many, many thousands of lives in America and around the world”.On Saturday Mike Pence, the vice-president, told Breitbart News that China had “let the world down” and insisted the WHO was “their willing partner in withholding from the US and wider world vital information about the coronavirus”.The Trump administration has become increasingly keen to move attention away from its handling of the pandemic, which has seen more deaths in the US than any other nation and a broken economy including soaring unemployment that another senior adviser told CNN would still be “in double digits” by the 3 November presidential election.O’Brien dampened speculation that the administration might seek to delay that election. But as China warned that Washington’s “lies” were “pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war”, he went firmly on the attack.> Someday they’re going to do an HBO show like they did with Chernobyl> > Robert O'BrienSpeaking to CBS’s Face the Nation, he claimed Beijing knew of the looming crisis as early as November but chose to keep it quiet.“We don’t know who in the Chinese government did it, but it doesn’t matter if it was the local Chinese government or the Communist party of China,” he said.“Look, this was a virus that was unleashed by China. There was a cover up that someday they’re going to do an HBO show like they did with Chernobyl,” he added, likening the pandemic to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine which Soviet authorities initially tried to hide.O’Brien repeated the claim on NBC’s Meet the Press, accusing China of a “cover-up that … is going to go down in history along with Chernobyl”.Most scientists say the pathogen that has infected 5.3 million people and killed more than 342,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species probably sold at a wet market in Wuhan, China, last year.But Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior US figures have repeatedly said they suspect the coronavirus was somehow released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a claim China has strenuously denied.O’Brien claimed China’s alleged skulduggery was continuing.“There’s a chance, and it’s been reported, that the Chinese have been engaged in espionage to try and find the research and the technologies that we’re working on both for a vaccine and a therapy,” he told CBS.“So look, they’ve got a many, many year history of stealing American intellectual property and knocking off American technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that with vaccines.”O’Brien also said the US would soon implement restrictions on travelers from Brazil.After spending much of Saturday playing golf at his resort in Virginia, Trump had no public engagements on Sunday. He duly went back to Trump National in Sterling.On Twitter the president, who criticized Barack Obama in 2014 for golfing when a second case of Ebola was confirmed in the US, preferred to concentrate on topics other than the pandemic.Trump feuded with his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions; attacked Joe Biden, his likely opponent in November; retweeted abusive messages about female opponents; repeated unsubstantiated allegations that mail-in ballots lead to rigged elections; and repeated baseless insinuations that an MSNBC host might have murdered an aide.He also tweeted falsely that coronavirus “cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!”On Saturday, North Carolina reported its highest one-day spike in cases. Official statistics continue to show hotspots in other places including Washington DC – where O’Brien said the administration still hopes to hold an in-person G7 summit in July – and Florida, where the Miami Herald reported that the rate of new cases was not slowing.On Friday Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, encouraged the public to go outdoors over the Memorial Day weekend.“We know being outside does help, we know the sun does help in killing the virus, but that doesn’t change the fact that people need to be responsible and maintain that distance,” she told Fox News Sunday, when presented with images of packed beaches and people in close proximity, not wearing masks.“I was hoping to convey this very clear message to the American people,” she said, “… across the country there is a virus out there.”Birx also said Trump himself did wear a mask when not able to maintain social distance. Trump was not pictured using a mask on his trips to play golf in Virginia.On ABC’s This Week, Birx was asked if the nation would need an extended or second lockdown.“It’s difficult to tell and I really am data-driven, so I’m collecting data right now about whether governors and whether states and whether communities are able to open safely,” she said.“All of this proactive testing needs to be in place and needs to continue to be in place because that will determine safely remaining open in the fall.”One thing the Trump administration admits will not bounce back fully by fall is the US unemployment rate, which Kevin Hassett, a senior adviser, told CNN would still be in double figures by the time of the election.“Unemployment will be something that moves back slower,” he said. “You’re going to be starting at a number in the 20s [per cent] and working your way down. And so, of course, you could still not be back to full employment by September or October.””
respond
 
Importance
1
The truth about 'I'm with her'
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
May 25, 2020
“On Saturday night, the Libertarian Party formally nominated as its 2020 presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen, a psychology lecturer at Clemson University. In celebration, Jorgensen promptly took to Twitter to "repurpose" Hillary's Clinton's 2016 "I'm With Her" slogan as her own. On Sunday, the slogan was trending as Libertarians promoted it and self-described Clinton supporters pushed back.”
respond
 
Importance
1
University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in Admissions
by NYT > Education
May 23, 2020
“The change is expected to accelerate the momentum of American colleges away from the tests, amid concern that they are unfair to poor, black and Hispanic students.”
respond
 
Importance
1
How the Restaurant Industry Viciously Exploits Its Workers, From Wage Theft to Sexual Abuse
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 23, 2020
“For labor organizers working within the restaurant industry, there’s another NRA: the National Restaurant Association. This NRA “represent[s] and advocate[s] on behalf of more than 500,000 restaurant businesses,” including some of the biggest chains in the country. For decades, this has meant keeping tipped workers earning a minimum of $2.13 an hour in 43 states (in California, where I live, tipped workers must earn at least the state-wide minimum wage of $12.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $13.00 per hour for employers with more than 25 employees). During the COVID-19  pandemic, when many restaurant and cafe workers are realizing that they are much better off financially leaving their jobs and collecting unemployment insurance, there’s a renewed focus on how service work is systemically devalued in the U.S.The so-called logic behind this $2.13 tipped worker minimum wage is that tips will meet or exceed the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and, legally speaking, when they don’t, employers must make up the difference. According to many employees in the industry, in practice, the latter almost never happens—the restaurant industry specifically is notorious for wage and tip theft. Throughout the U.S.—excluding West Coast states, Nevada, Montana, Minnesota, and Alaska—if tips aren’t good or are nonexistent, good luck making rent. In director Abby Ginzberg’s documentary Waging Change, streamable on Women Make Movies from May 22 to May 31, the NRA’s machinations to keep the tipped minimum wage at $2.13 an hour in as many states as possible is exposed for its strategic seediness. In a “Save Our Tips” campaign, the NRA funded an astroturf movement that convinced many restaurant workers that One Fair Wage legislation in Washington, D.C., would compromise their earnings—the idea being that if customers know servers and bartenders are earning the minimum wage or more, they will be less likely to tip or tip well. In fact, studies have shown that in cities where there is one minimum wage across all industries—and when that minimum wage is on the high end of the current spectrum—tipping is much better. White Anti-Quarantine Protesters Have Cruelly Co-opted an Enslaved Black Woman from the 18th CenturyThis Giant Monument to Elon Musk Has Tulsa Residents FuriousThere’s also a prevailing idea that most restaurants cannot afford to pay even the minimum wage, let alone a living wage, and if they did, they would have to lay off many workers. Waging Change goes to small, local restaurants around the country to show that living wage structures and even co-ops (in which the workers own the business) are possible and in fact can improve business. It’s also telling that many of the restaurants with the worst wages and practices are the huge chains, from IHOP to McDonald’s to TGI Friday’s. Even high-end restaurants that charge in the hundreds for a single meal have settled lawsuits for wage theft and other unfair labor practices. In many cases, the problem is at best incompetent management and at worst, greed. The One Fair Wage movement, which has been backed by bartender-turned-congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also aims to address the rampant sexual harassment and abuse that the tipped minimum wage structure doesn’t simply exacerbate, but provides the foundation for. If servers and bartenders have to make tips to make rent, then they’re especially vulnerable to abuse. According to 20 years of government data reported by BuzzFeed in 2017, more sexual harassment claims are filed in the restaurant industry than in any other industry. And according to a survey by Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC), the labor organization prominently featured in Waging Change, 60 percent of women report that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment on the job, and over half say they experience it on a daily basis. This same study also reports that “one-fifth of women working in the restaurant industry live below the poverty line, and nearly one-half (46%) live below twice the poverty line, compared to 40% of men in the restaurant industry and 20% of women in other industries.” One strategy proposed—beyond the organizing that restaurant workers do with ROC and other organizations to spur legislative change—is to vote with your wallet, to only patronize business that pay workers a living wage both in the front and back of house (racism in the restaurant industry is also rampant, with bussers, dishwashers, and prep cooks often being black and brown, and servers, hosts, and bartenders usually being white). But voting with your wallet often means relying on restaurant marketing to “know” who is treating their workers fairly; now that touting fair labor practices—like “sustainability” in the fashion industry—is trendy, it’s hard to know who is just talking the talk. In fact, supporting labor organizations, unions, and campaigns run by restaurant workers themselves is often the most direct way to either vote with your wallet or actions. (You’d also do well to tip in cash, a more reliable way to ensure your server and other workers in the restaurant actually get your tip, and quickly.)Waging Change addresses the curveball thrown by coronavirus on the gains made by the One Fair Wage and $15 minimum wage movements, since many restaurant workers have been furloughed or laid off due to restaurant shutdowns. The documentary points out that are relief funds for those workers ineligible for unemployment insurance (because, cruelly enough, they earn too little to qualify), and as inequity in the U.S. is sharply revealed through this crisis, workers are still protesting for fair wages, including hazard pay and sick leave.But what coronavirus has made clear is how unnecessary worker vulnerability is. In many other countries, robust social safety nets—with free health care, well-appointed public housing, free university, free childcare, and more—mean that even in hard times, workers can still pay the bills and businesses are more incentivized to provide good compensation and working conditions to retain staff (the reality, however, is usually much different for “unskilled” immigrant workers, who are not often provided social benefits no matter where they go). But in the U.S., where business lobbies like the other NRA hold enormous power and regular people are dependent on whatever wages these businesses decide to hand out—anything that might compromise this precarious arrangement, even when it’s as justified as public health protocol, compromises us. As a result, social welfare is looked down upon, and both local and federal governments typically do all they can to make those benefits hard to receive and insufficient for a decent quality of life. To wage change, we’ll also have to look beyond the wage itself. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.”
respond
 
Importance
1
This Giant Monument to Elon Musk Has Tulsa Residents Furious
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 22, 2020
“In a dystopian bid to lure Tesla’s Cybertruck Gigafactory to Tulsa, the Oklahoma state monument—a seven-story, 22-ton statue of an oil worker called The Golden Driller—has been redesigned as an effigy of Elon Musk. The likeness of X Æ A-12’s multibillionaire father, now called The Driller ‘Golden Elon,’ is one of the largest free-standing statues in the U.S. “Tulsa is a city that doesn’t stifle entrepreneurs - we revere them!” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum wrote on Facebook, prompting an onslaught of enraged replies. “Golden @elonmusk is now the 6th-tallest statue in the United States. TulsaforTesla @Tesla.” The gargantuan statue, unveiled earlier this week at a community event and on Bynum’s social media, now features a red Tesla logo painted on its chest. The Driller’s 48-foot belt, which once read “TULSA,” was changed to read “TESLA.” If you squint, the statue’s head now looks like a low-budget YouTube cartoon of Musk. “I was told onsite it was an ‘Elon Musk Face Skin,’” one worker wrote on Facebook. “It went on like a fruit roll-up.” “It’s this weird, ghostly, white mask-like thing,” said Lucas Wrench, a 28-year-old Tulsa Artist Fellow, who runs an arts space called OK 1. “It sort of looks like if you FaceSwapped with some creature. I just couldn’t believe it. I’m shocked at how transparent it is—the kind of a symbol they created in putting this enormous billionaire, literally a giant towering billionaire in Tulsa—the lack of self-awareness. They’re groveling.”The redesign was spearheaded by a “community-led group” called Tulsa For Tesla, in coordination with the Tulsa County Fairgrounds, a spokesperson for Bynum told The Daily Beast. The group has no online profile, although there is a Facebook page for a group called “Tulsa 4 Tesla,” which was started May 17 and boasts 104 followers as of Friday. The administrator of that page told The Daily Beast they had not organized the redesign, but simply wanted Musk to move there. “I had no idea [the other Tulsa For Tesla] existed until a few days ago,” the Tulsa 4 Tesla administrator wrote. “I would have thought they would have [a Facebook] page. When I named this one I looked [for others], even using ‘4’ instead of ‘For’ Tulsa.” “The City did not coordinate the Driller Golden Elon,” the mayor’s spokesperson wrote. “Mayor Bynum spoke at the community-led event earlier this week.” Still, Bynum has made similar suggestions to redesign city structures in Musk’s image. Earlier this week, reported by CBS News, Bynum posted an image of a Tesla Cybertruck sporting the Tulsa Police logo on Instagram, suggesting police officers would use the pixelated, sci-fi-looking monstrosities if the factory came to town. “The Golden Driller is something that’s commonly decorated for special events and holidays,” said Sydney Smith, a 22-year-old from Tulsa, who now studies at the Kansas City Art Institute. “Sometimes they paint it to look like wacky stuff, but painting it to paint like the face of Elon Musk is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. It’s asking a billionaire to come in and just bring his billionaire status to our town.”The Golden Driller has undergone makeovers in the past. The first iteration was constructed in 1952 for the International Petroleum Exposition, an annual trade fair in Tulsa. At the time, the belt buckle read “MID-CONTINENT,” after the company that commissioned it, The Mid-Continent Supply Company of Fort Worth. In 1959, after the statue attracted attention, the company built a second for that year’s expo, before donating it to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust Authority. In 1966, the Trust had it installed permanently by the Tulsa Expo Center, to commemorate the city as the “Oil Capital of the World.” When the state adopted it as its official monument in 1979, they changed the massive buckle to read “TULSA.”White Anti-Quarantine Protesters Have Cruelly Co-opted an Enslaved Black Woman from the 18th CenturyThe Kentucky Miner Who Scammed Americans by Claiming He Was Hitler and Plotting a ‘Revolt’ With ‘Spaceships’At the base of the statue, which “wears” a size-112 hard hat and size-393DDD shoes, an inscription reads, “The Golden Driller, a symbol of the International Petroleum Exposition. Dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God’s abundance a better life for mankind.”The redesign reorients a city literally nicknamed the “Oil Capital of the World” toward green energy, at least symbolically. Some residents are riled for precisely that reason. “What a fantastic use of tax dollars!! 🙄 ,” a Facebook user named Stacy Spohn Bay wrote. “Tulsa was built on oil, not electric/solar power. How degrading, desperate and embarrassing to see this.” Progressives like Smith aren’t sure how far the gesture goes. “Sure, they’re making efforts to make a sustainable vehicle, but it’s not necessarily something that’s affordable,” she said. “It’s more of a status symbol and a way for a billionaire to make billions of dollars than something that’s going to actually make a positive contribution to the environment, especially in a place like Tusla that’s surrounded by refineries.”“Our mayor, G.T. Bynum, I think he gets a lot of credit for being this sensible Republican,” Wrench added. “Yeah, we’re an oil town, but he’s not afraid of clean energy. I think maybe, that is where this started. But they ignored the fact that Elon is just an insanely hated billionaire and that is by the far the dominant symbol that comes across to most people.” Wrench plans to host a talk next Thursday called The Colossus of Musk, with Art History Professor Bill Anthes and Rome Prize Winner Classics Professor Michelle Berenfeld, both of Pitzer College, about the history of mega sculptures and what the “Golden Elon” means from an art perspective.The race to determine Tesla’s new home came after Musk sued Alameda County in California, demanding to reopen his plant in Fremont, in flagrant violation of the state’s stay-at-home order. On Twitter, Musk announced plans to move Tesla’s “HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.” “While we love the idea of Tesla’s Cybertruck plant moving to Tulsa, which would provide good paying jobs for Oklahoma families, move our state towards clean energy, and transition TPD to green vehicles, we have concerns pertaining to the fair treatment of workers,” Tulsa activist publication The Progressive Report told The Daily Beast. “Led by Musk, Tesla committed several violations to the US National Labour Relations Act in 2017 & 2018\. Knowing Tesla’s history of violating workers’ rights, it’s important we keep a watchful eye on them, especially if they decide to reside in T-Town.”According to Electrek, Tesla plans to announce their new factory’s site as soon as this month, and by July at the latest. “Maybe there’s some benefit by bringing some jobs to Tulsa,” Smith said, “But at the same time—outside of any opinions I have about Telsa or Elon Musk—a lot of times big corporations will propose bringing a headquarters to Tusla, and it will go to another city like Austin. The gentrification that comes to cities that used to have a similar vibe to Tulsa has the impact of raising the rent and raising the property taxes for the people that live there and call that place home.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Joe Biden accuser Tara Reade let go by lawyer
by Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines
May 22, 2020
“* Douglas Wigdor says he continues to believe allegation * Reade says then senator Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993The lawyer representing Tara Reade, who has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, said on Friday he was dropping her as a client although he continued to believe in the truth of her allegations.“Our decision … is by no means a reflection on whether then Senator Biden sexually assaulted Ms Reade,” Douglas Wigdor said in a statement. “On that point, our view – which is the same view held by the majority of Americans, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll – has not changed.”Reade is a former staffer from Biden’s office when he was a senator from Delaware. She alleges that he pushed her against a wall in the Senate buildings and assaulted her. Biden has denied the accusation.Wigdor said his decision was made on Wednesday, a day after CNN published a story raising questions about Reade’s background and her past statements. Though in the statement announcing the split, the lawyer vociferously attacked Reade’s treatment by the press.“To a large extent Ms Reade has been subjected to a double standard in terms of the media coverage she has received. Much of what has been written about Ms Reade is not probative of whether then-Senator Biden sexually assaulted her, but rather is intended to victim-shame and attack her credibility on unrelated and irrelevant matters,” Wigdor said.Meanwhile, defense lawyers in California have said that they are reviewing criminal cases in which Reade has served as an expert witness on domestic violence, out of concern that she had misrepresented her educational credentials in court.Days after CNN raised questions about Reade’s educational background, a spokesperson for Antioch University confirmed to the New York Times that she had not received a degree from the school.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Actress Lori Loughlin, husband to plead guilty in college admissions scandal
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
May 21, 2020
“• Former University of Texas tennis coach sentenced in admissions scam
• Loughlin's daughter returns to YouTube”

respond
 
Importance
1
Biologist explains how to safely celebrate Memorial Day
by CNN.com - RSS Channel - HP Hero
May 21, 2020
“University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Biology Professor Erin Bromage shares tips on how to safely celebrate this Memorial Day weekend to reduce coronavirus spread.”
respond
 
Importance
1
Former men’s basketball head coach lands at George Mason
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 12, 2020
“Former head men’s basketball coach Maurice Joseph will return to the Atlantic 10 as an assistant coach for George Mason, according to a tweet from college basketball insider Jon Rothstein.
Joseph served as the head coach of the men’s basketball program for three seasons, starting as an interim head coach in 2016 after former head coach Mike Lonergan was fired . The University relieved Joseph of his duties at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.
After he was let go, Joseph served as an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson, helping the Knights to a 11-19 record and a .500 conference win percentage.
Joseph joined GW as the assistant director of basketball operations under Lonergan in 2011. After five seasons on the coaching staff, GW tabbed Joseph as Lonergan’s replacement.
Joseph led the Colonials to a 20-15 overall record his first year at the helm, earning the team an invite to the College Basketball Invitational. The squad wrapped its postseason run in the semifinals of the tournament.
The Colonials began trending downward in Joseph’s second season, finishing the year 15-18 – the team’s first losing record in five seasons – and with seven A-10 wins. His GW tenure ended a year later when his team put together its worst season in more than a decade. The squad won just nine games, four of which came in conference play.
George Mason finished the season 17-15 overall but won just five A-10 match ups. The Colonials topped the Patriots in both meetings this season.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Judge partially dismisses GW complaint against UHS
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 12, 2020
“A D.C. Superior Court judge partially dismissed a lawsuit Monday the University and Medical Faculty Associates brought against the majority owner of the GW Hospital.
The lawsuit, filed in the D.C. Superior Court Dec. 6, alleged that United Health Services did not uphold its agreement to fund GW’s academic medical programs. The case’s judge has dismissed all but one of the claims in the amended complaint, upholding that UHS has an obligation to support the hospital’s “centers of emphasis,” which include several specific clinical programs like emergency medicine and women’s health.
The amended complaint, which was filed in D.C. Superior Court in February, claimed that UHS was retaining funding from the hospital meant for its academic medical programs. The judge also dismissed the University’s claim that UHS did not uphold its commitment to support an integrated health care network and that UHS did not uphold the good faith agreement outlined in its contract.
The order to dismiss the case states that the University’s argument that UHS was not providing adequate academic support could not be concluded from the contract between the entities.
“The court therefore concludes that the plaintiffs have failed to state a cognizable breach of contract claim as to the parties’ alleged failure to make additional academic support payments,” the order to dismiss states.
Barbara Lee Bass, the dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and vice president for health affairs, sent an email to MFA and medical school faculty and staff to notify them that the lawsuit had been partially dismissed.
“We strongly believe that UHS has failed to uphold its financial obligations on investment in development of centers of emphasis in our current agreement,” Bass said in the email. “We appreciate the court’s ruling in this matter and will update you as litigation progresses.”
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal deferred comment to the email Bass sent.
Bass said GW and UHS are planning to mediate the disagreement about the centers of emphasis and are deciding on a date for mediation.
“We are disappointed in this part of the court’s ruling and are evaluating our options, including whether to appeal this ruling at the appropriate time,” she said.
Gary Orseck, the legal counsel for UHS and GW Hospital, said in a statement that the hospital is “pleased” with the court’s dismissal of allegations.
“GW Hospital has lived up to its financial obligations and will continue to do so,” he said in the statement. “GW Hospital is and remains focused on our mission of providing medical care and treatment to our patients at this most critical time.”
An initial scheduling conference for the case’s next hearing was held Thursday, according to D.C. Superior Court records .”

respond
 
Importance
1
Confronting issues of race at The Hatchet
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 12, 2020
“In the weeks since the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the country has mourned and taken to the streets to demand social justice and change. 
To be clear: Black lives matter. The Hatchet aims to be a newspaper that is inviting to writers, photographers and videographers of all backgrounds, and I strive to make 609 21st St. NW a welcoming place for all. But I would be remiss not to speak out at this time, as I know The Hatchet, a 117-year-old institution, can and must do better to cover, include and represent our Black classmates, faculty and administrators.
I am a White woman, and in the time I have been on Hatchet staff, the majority of my colleagues – be they editors, editorial board members or the Board of Directors – have also looked like me. This is a problem – both intrinsically, and also because diversity makes our stories more thorough, comprehensive and inclusive. 
Administrators, local leaders, students and alumni engage with our coverage to stay in tune with GW and Foggy Bottom. When I’m editing, I consider our audience and the stories we have a responsibility to tell. Where I believe our biggest failure in recent history lies is in the stories we have not reported – but had a responsibility to cover. The Hatchet has not earned the trust of many underrepresented communities on campus because we’ve failed to establish strong relationships with them or covered their stories inaccurately, which hinders relationships and therefore our ability to report. 
As this paper’s leader, I know the buck stops with me in taking actions to address this paper’s longstanding trust issue. I will continue to identify and rectify areas where I believe The Hatchet has fallen short with respect to reporting, recruitment and practices. I am working to educate myself about my own privilege and how it affects the way I edit and guide this newspaper and its coverage. We have held and will continue to hold implicit bias training with current staff and new reporters, writers, videographers and photographers and plan to improve recruitment efforts to reach more nonwhite students interested in journalism come fall. 
But most importantly, I will listen – actively and attentively – to feedback. Comments from our community, more often than one might expect, help us shape our policies and practices. Readers interested in offering feedback on – or learning about – any aspect of The Hatchet can reach Managing Editor Parth Kotak and me at eic@gwhatchet.com . We welcome criticism and believe it is necessary to receive when enacting change.
Finally, The Hatchet will contribute 20 percent of every donation made to the institution from now until the start of the fall semester to Street Sense Media, a D.C. publication that lends a voice to some of the most marginalized members of our community. As an independent student newspaper that does not receive University funding, our finances are perennially tight , but we still believe it is necessary to contribute whatever we can in alignment with our values and priorities.
Meanwhile, I encourage our readers to support Black journalists and Black student journalists, both by donating or joining the following local and national organizations and newspapers. 
National Association of Black Journalists and GW’s chapter
Black Press Freedom Fund
DC Black
The Washington Afro-American
The Washington Informer
The Washington Sun
Street Sense Media”

respond
 
Importance
1
Metro announces dates for future station shutdowns
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 12, 2020
“Metro announced its construction shutdowns for about the next two years along the Orange, Blue, Silver and Green lines, WJLA reported Thursday.
Between mid-February and mid-May 2021, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will shut down the Arlington Cemetery and Addison Road stations, WJLA reported. Metro will shut down stations at Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville during summer 2021, according to WJLA.
“Metro also plans to shut down every station east of Stadium Armory on the Orange Line in summer 2022 – Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover, New Carrollton,” WJLA reporter Tom Roussey tweeted Thursday.
Metro officials plan to do work at Reagan National Airport between fall 2022 and spring 2023 but don’t plan to completely close the station, WJLA reported. Officials will instead close parts of the station while at least two tracks remain open, Metro officials told WJLA.
Metro officials told WJLA that the dates are not solidified and are subject to change.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Make the most out of this pandemic-wracked summer
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 11, 2020
“This summer is a far cry from the ordinary environment for internships thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of student internships have been canceled . Many internships have become remote to accommodate public health concerns. But facing irregularities in the job market does not mean your resume should be empty this summer. This is the time to innovate and show potential employers that you can make the best of any situation by seeking an alternative to your original plan.
The shortfalls of this summer’s promised jobs provide a new type of opportunity. Students now have the chance to work on a venture of their own. Companies understand the circumstances this moment in history presents, and you can improve your chances to land a job by means other than tacking an internship onto your resume.
Students may be able to leverage their competence in technology to help businesses adapt during the pandemic. As companies gear up for extended work from home, students can aid businesses in navigating their increased reliance online and video conference companies like Zoom, which has seen a 222 percent increase in total login events from the end of February to the end of March. Even doctors are now meeting patients virtually for appointments. Technologically savvy individuals are needed to train workers in the use of these platforms as well as help to support people, like patients, trying to make use of them.
College students can create new, previously nonexistent jobs now that businesses face new social media demands. Food and clothing stores are transitioning online and have the challenge of reaching their customers. Clothing boutiques now need websites to sell their clothes and need help with website design. This younger generation is more aligned with this type of technology than any other. It is time to put those skills to use by offering to make Instagram accounts for restaurants and cafes to advertise their offerings, for example.
Those without jobs can also capitalize on new demand for goods and services driven by the pandemic. The elderly, at greater risk of mortality from COVID-19, are much less capable of fulfilling their needs at the moment. Anyone who can drive can create a business in which they buy groceries for the elderly. Companies are also unable to meet the demand for health supplies. Creating masks out of fabric and making your own hand sanitizer have become profitable as many products are on backorder for weeks.
Jobs in a student’s field of interest are not a priority – right now, you should show employers that you were productive during the summer despite the chaos. Various companies have experienced a surge in their customer demand and need more employees to keep up. More people are going to local hardware, grocery and big-box stores carrying essentials that have become overwhelmingly popular. These stores require more staff to stock shelves and help customers. Additionally, as people remain isolated in their homes, more delivery personnel are required. Students should seek these essential workplaces with the understanding that a job is a job.
The ideal job or internship may not be available during the pandemic, but students can use this time to polish the skills needed to land a job after. About 70 percent of jobs are found through networking, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University, so consider reaching out to your connections to see if they have suggestions for how best you can offer your skills. Online classes also offer another boost to your resume. Getting closer to your degree and taking advantage of this time to focus on learning more is always an option. GW offers several courses over the summer for their students to take while the job market remains sluggish.
Now is the time to be innovative to fill your resume. You could start your own YouTube channel or continue writing for a school publication over the summer. Useful and fulfilling work can be achieved in many ways, and it is the student’s responsibility to find that opportunity.
Jane Cameron, a rising sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication, is a writer.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Former athletic director received $1.3 million in severance last year
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 11, 2020
“Former Athletic Director Patrick Nero received $1.3 million in severance payments during the 2019 fiscal year, according to a financial disclosure.
Nero stepped down from his post in December of 2017 and faced allegations of misconduct less than a year later for acting inappropriately with student-athletes, athletic department staff and recent graduates. Employment law experts said receiving severance after resigning is not unusual, but details about how long he could receive payments depend on his employment contract and agreement with GW, which is not made public.
“Analytically, it appears he may have resigned for good reason, and that’s analogous for a termination without just cause,” said Steven Sholk, a lawyer and director in the corporate department of Gibbons P.C. “That would trigger the severance payments.”
Sholk said resigning for good reason typically happens when an employer does not “live up to the obligations” of their contract. He said a good reason for resignation is similar to termination without cause, which allows employment to be cut because the employer is unhappy with their employee’s efforts.
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal declined to say how the University determined Nero’s severance payments and how much money the University agreed to pay Nero in severance.
Nosal confirmed that Nero is no longer employed at the University but declined to say whether he was asked to resign.
Nero did not return multiple requests for comment.
GW’s Form 990, an annual disclosure required for organizations claiming tax-exemption status, also indicated that the University paid Nero more than $200,000 in base compensation during FY19.
At the time of Nero’s resignation, athletic department spokespeople said Nero would make himself available in the spring to ease the athletic department’s transition to Tanya Vogel, the current athletic director.
Sholk, a lawyer and director at Gibbons P.C., said the base compensation may be payment for Nero’s consulting, a common stipulation in many severance agreements.
He added that the University may have privately let Nero go, treating his severance payments as a termination without cause, but officials publicly announced his departure as a resignation. But Sholk added that nothing can be determined definitively without examining his contract or severance agreement.
“We really don’t know how it was treated until we see the severance agreement,” Sholk said. “So unless you see the severance agreement, you really don’t know the underlying reasoning why he got the severance payments.”
Rick Rossein, a law professor at City University of New York School of Law, said the base salary may be given as a result of Nero’s contract with the University. He added that Nero could be receiving payments one to five years after he resigned, depending on his contract and severance negotiations.
“There are all kinds of ways severance can be determined, but generally it’s set out pretty specifically in the employment agreement contract,” Rossein said.
Belle Long contributed reporting.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Faculty Senate sets additional summer meetings
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 10, 2020
“The Faculty Senate’s executive committee called three additional meetings for the summer, in light of the “numerous” upcoming operational decisions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
University President Thomas LeBlanc called a special meeting of the senate last month during which the body  passed a resolution that gave the executive committee the power to call regular senate meetings outside of the regular monthly meeting “in urgent circumstances.” The meetings will be held on June 19, July 17 and Aug. 14 via WebEx, according to an email Senate Operations Coordinator Liz Carlson sent Tuesday.
The executive committee will also meet separately during the summer, each meeting roughly one to two weeks before each full senate meeting.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
GW to seek District's approval for fall plans by early July
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 10, 2020
“Administrators said they are drafting a proposal to D.C. officials for the University’s fall operations in accordance with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s executive order.
Bowser signed an order late last month that began the first phase of the District’s reopening, which directs the D.C. Office of Planning to implement an approval process for colleges’ reopening by July 1. Provost Brian Blake said they will seek approval for GW’s reopening plan by early July.
“The reason we have left some ambiguity in our responses to date is because the nature in which we open campus will be dictated, in no small part, by restrictions opposed by the District,” he said in an email.
Most students will take classes remotely following Thanksgiving, and officials are currently planning to resume in-person classes as originally scheduled on Aug. 31. Administrators are expected to make an announcement on final plans for the fall semester by Monday but may push the date back one week.
Bowser’s ReOpen D.C. Advisory Group recommended that colleges be allowed to reopen once the city enters Phase II – which Bowser said is slated to begin no earlier than June 19 – assuming District officials approve a specific reopening plan for the institution.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Medical students resume clinical rotations
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 09, 2020
“About 80 fourth-year medical students in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences resumed clinical rotations Monday, according to a University release Monday.
GW’s clinical enterprise – which includes the Medical Faculty Associates and the GW Hospital – will transition from emergency and COVID-19 care to an “all-service” operation that includes screenings and preventative care, the release states. MFA CEO and medical school Dean Barbara Lee Bass said GW’s medical education model will also change to include instruction on how to safely deliver health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have changed the landscape in which we provide health care, and we’ve really ramped up our game,” Bass said in the release.
GW Hospital officials suspended elective surgeries and rescheduled “non-essential” appointments in March to allocate more resources to patients infected with the virus. Since March, GW’s medical enterprise moved to provide about half of its care over telehealth, and officials plan to continue this form of care to a “large percentage” of patients moving forward, according to the release.
A larger group of students, including the medical Class of 2022 and physician assistant students, will return to campus in late June, according to the release.
Bass said spaces in Ross Hall and public areas in MFA clinics and the GW Hospital have also been modified to ensure social distancing. Officials initially restricted access to Ross Hall to authorized personnel only in March.
“In many respects the clinical enterprise isn’t ‘reopening,’ because it never really closed,” Bass said. “Our faculty are practicing physicians who have been caring for patients at the MFA and GW Hospital and all across the city. The difference is that after 12 weeks of only emergent care and COVID care, we are now ready to do everything else in person.””

respond
 
Importance
1
Officials 'won't be able' to avoid layoffs: LeBlanc
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 08, 2020
“University President Thomas LeBlanc said administrators are unable to avoid layoffs “any longer” after officials floated the idea for weeks.
LeBlanc sent an email Thursday to Faculty Association President Andrew Zimmerman, a professor of history and international affairs, saying the GW’s expected revenue shortfalls this coming academic year, projected to range between roughly $80 million and $320 million, necessitate layoffs. Officials will also use guidelines released by the Board of Trustees last month – which include prioritizing health and safety and “prudent” cash management – to make further financial decisions and will not dip into the University’s endowment, he said.
“These are very difficult days for our country and all of higher education,” LeBlanc said in the email. “I hope we can all pull together to offer the best possible educational experience to our students, maintain our core mission of teaching and research and position GW for greater things in the future once this pandemic has passed.”
LeBlanc and other top officials will take a pay cut starting July 1 and freeze all merit salary increases for faculty in staff. Administrators suspended most capital projects and hirings in late March to reduce fees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Faculty Senate passed a resolution late last month requesting that layoffs and furloughs only be used as a “last resort.”
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said more information about forthcoming financial decisions will be shared in the “coming weeks.”
“As President LeBlanc indicated in a message to the GW community on May 11, like other universities, we face difficult decisions as we work to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of our University while continuing to achieve GW’s core mission of academics and research,” Nosal said in an email. “University leaders are in the process of determining the path forward, including personnel decisions.”
Nosal declined to confirm that officials plan to implement layoffs. She declined to say if any employees have been laid off as a result of the pandemic thus far and if so, how many employees will be laid off.
She also declined to say how officials will decide which employees will be laid off.
The Faculty Association’s steering committee forwarded LeBlanc’s message to its members, asking them to take “personal action” to resist layoffs. The group encouraged faculty to share their views on layoffs with their colleagues and refuse to “take up any slack” created by layoffs.
“Each of us has a different level of power within the University: some of us have become deans, many of us are chairs and program directors and we are at every rank of full-time regular faculty,” association leaders said in the email. “Most layoffs will require some kind of faculty participation to carry out, and we ask each of you to challenge your comfort level to refuse and resist these layoffs.””

respond
 
Importance
1
Law school faculty push to rescind attorney general's law degree
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 08, 2020
“Updated: June 8, 2020 at 10:04 p.m.
GW Law faculty are pushing officials to rescind Attorney General William Barr’s honorary degree, after Barr ordered protesters in front of the White House to be dispersed, Forbes reported  Friday.
Barr told law enforcement last Monday to break up a protest in Lafayette Square to make way for President Donald Trump’s photo op in front of St. John’s Church. He said at a news conference Thursday that the protests over recent events of police brutality were “becoming increasingly unruly,” even though cell phone videos of the demonstration showed otherwise, according to Forbes.
The Daily Beast first reported the effort to rescind Barr’s degree Thursday.
The attorney general, who earned his Juris Doctor from the law school in 1977, was tapped  to serve in the position for a second time two years ago. He received his honorary degree in 1992 during his first stint in the role under former President George H.W. Bush, according to Forbes.
Law school faculty are debating several considerations including whether Barr abused his authority, Forbes reported. To revoke the degree, a decision would have to “be made at the University-level,” according to Forbes.
Law school spokeswoman Liz Field declined to say whether officials are considering rescinding Barr’s degree. She also declined to say how many professors are pressing to revoke his degree and if the professors are engaging in a formalized effort like a petition to rescind the degree, deferring comment to The Daily Beast’s story.
Officials last stripped comedian Bill Cosby of his honorary degree in 2016 after he was charged with sexual assault and allegedly assaulted several other women.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Lawsuits against GW during pandemic are unwarranted
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 04, 2020
“GW’s switch to online classes has left many students feeling shortchanged by their education. But during a crisis, families should understand that officials are trying their best to help students.
Two lawsuits have been filed against GW so far alleging that students should not have paid for the full spring semester after the switch to online classes. The most recent requests additional compensation following the move online. Two students who filed the lawsuit claimed they should not have paid full tuition for a college experience cut short by COVID-19. But the University can only do so much to financially assist students before it tanks.
Officials have done more than enough to help students financially hurt by COVID-19, paying for their storage and shipping, refunding students for every night they don’t spend in their residence hall and reserving millions in federal funding for students. The lawsuit is not merited given officials’ extensive response to the pandemic – if anything, GW is setting an example for how colleges should aid struggling students through the pandemic.
GW has shown understanding for the economic hardship families face and acknowledged that parents have paid for more than what they expected to receive. Students were refunded a prorated amount of their housing payment for the time they did not live in their residence hall, and dining dollars will roll into the next semester or were reimbursed upon request.
On top of that, GW is doling out funds to students who demonstrate financial need. Officials are   providing emergency funding for housing assistance, food, transportation, income, technology access, medical expenses and other needs.  The University is also giving all of its more than $9 million federal grant to students in need despite facing its own monetary losses. GW has demonstrated a concerted effort to support students with the extra financial resources at its disposal. 
The University has also worked to create a smooth transition from in person to online learning. Resources and support have been offered to students through University libraries and on Blackboard. GW offered ongoing support in learning how to utilize these resources by providing contact numbers and email for technology support. Access to free digital textbooks was also given to students through the GW bookstore, and Gelman Library remained digitally open. Online classes may have not been perfect, but officials were making a sincere effort to provide students with the best education during a public health crisis.
It’s fair that struggling families want additional financial relief from their universities. Many other universities also have pending lawsuits against them pertaining to COVID-19. But universities are going to continue to be burdened by the crisis and need to spend wisely. No school ever expected to give students a subpar college experience and shouldn’t be punished for circumstances that are out of its control.
In this time of uncertainty, we can’t dwell on the spring semester and all its shortcomings. We have faced unprecedented challenges during the switch to online classes and need to continue looking and planning ahead. GW is doing the best it can during unexpected times, and for now, that is enough.
Jane Cameron, a rising sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication, is an opinions writer
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

respond
 
Importance
1
LeBlanc's compensation nears $1.5 million: financial document
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 04, 2020
“University President Thomas LeBlanc received roughly $1.45 million in compensation during fiscal year 2019, according to a new financial disclosure.
Five employees received more than $1 million in compensation as the University’s annual revenues and expenses remained steady, according to a tax document signed last month, which The Hatchet obtained late last month. Twenty-nine college executives’ compensation surpassed LeBlanc’s pay the year prior, according to data compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The Form 990 – an annual disclosure required of organizations claiming tax-exempt status – will mark the second public disclosure of LeBlanc’s salary once the Internal Revenue Service releases the document.
LeBlanc, then-Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Jeffrey Akman, former Athletics Director Patrick Nero, former Executive Vice President Lou Katz and Shahram Sarkani, the director of online programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, were compensated more than $1 million during the fiscal year from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, according to the disclosure. Four employees made more than $1 million in compensation during the previous two fiscal years.
The Board of Trustees’ executive committee, excluding LeBlanc, determines LeBlanc’s compensation and “reviews and approves” his compensation recommendations for other top officials, according to the document. The committee also utilizes an independent compensation consulting firm to make its compensation decisions, which includes a review of executive pay at “comparable” universities, the document states.
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal deferred explanation of how LeBlanc’s compensation is determined to information contained within the Form 990.
“In determining the president’s compensation, the committee considers the consultant’s report and market data in addition to the terms of his employment contract,” the disclosure states. “The committee also takes into consideration accomplishments for the current fiscal year as well as goals for the upcoming fiscal year.”
Nosal said LeBlanc’s compensation included $81,119 in housing value for his on-campus residence, which is treated as a nontaxable benefit, according to the disclosure.
She said Sarkani is compensated based on the gross revenues of the engineering management and systems engineering department’s off-campus educational program.
Nero, who announced his resignation in December 2017 and later came under fire following allegations of misconduct, received a severance payment of $1.32 million, the Form 990 states.
The document also marks the first public disclosure of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz’s compensation, which totaled $650,788 during his first 11 months at GW. Forrest Maltzman, who stepped down as provost last year, received $671,872 in compensation during his final full year in the role, the document states.
Students paid a total of roughly $1.11 billion in tuition and fees during the fiscal year, an increase of roughly $40 million from the prior year, according to the document.
Employee compensation totaled nearly $686 million during the fiscal year, the document states. Officials have warned that they may need to furlough or layoff some employees as GW faces a projected revenue shortfall of between roughly $100 million and $300 million next fiscal year.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Best and worst from this week's headlines
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 04, 2020
“As dozens of protests erupt across the country during a global health crisis, it’s safe to say we’re living in uncertain times.
Thousands have rightfully taken to D.C.’s streets to express their frustration and anger with police brutality following the murder of George Floyd. But officials recently released a misleading decision on fall classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s the best and worst from this week’s headlines.
Thumbs up:
Demonstrators marched through D.C. and campus over the past few days, drawing attention to police brutality and the number of black Americans who were killed by police in recent months. The protests are a symbol for the country that we will fight for social justice in the nation’s capital for as long as it takes.
Protesters are marching to urge justice for Floyd , who died last Monday after a Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, Breonna Taylor , shot by a Louisville Metro Police Department officer in her home, and Ahmaud Arbery , killed by two white men in Georgia while jogging in late February.
These protests are giving voice to the voiceless and demonstrating to U.S. leaders that citizens are tired and upset by the countless deaths of black Americans by police. Everybody, regardless of race, is united against police violence and an unfair criminal justice system.
Protesters are marching for the basic human rights of all black Americans in the United States. They are the very best of all of us and represent the spirit of our country.
Thumbs down:
While many are relieved to hear some news from the University regarding the fall semester, the announcement that students will end the semester online after Thanksgiving is not helpful.
The news is misleading given that the University hasn’t decided if we will return in the first place. University President Thomas LeBlanc and other officials are hopeful for our return to campus this fall,  but the truth is that the announcement was premature and not descriptive enough for students to discern what they should anticipate for the fall. 
Students are not concerned with how they will get home at the end of the semester – they are concerned about whether they need to prepare for a return to campus come August. Officials should have waited to release their full plan for the fall instead of giving students a tidbit of information. The announcement ultimately means nothing if officials later announce that students can’t come back for in-person classes.
Hannah Thacker, a rising junior majoring in political communication, is the opinions editor.”

respond
 
Importance
1
BSU letter demands GWPD reforms
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 02, 2020
“The Black Student Union published a letter Tuesday calling on the GW Police Department to adopt a slew of changes aimed at improving the relationship between students and officers.
The letter, addressed to GWPD Chief James Tate and Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Scott Burnotes, demands that the department levy a no-tolerance policy for officers who act on racial bias and decrease the department’s reliance on the Metropolitan Police Department. The letter comes in the wake of protests nationwide over the deaths of Breonna Taylor , George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery , three black Americans who were killed at the hands of police in recent months.
BSU also called on officers to “significantly” decrease officers’ presence at events hosted by black students, regularly meet with student leaders and to involve black leaders and diversity and inclusion officials in GWPD cultural competency and sensitivity training.
“Our community’s goal is to improve our relationship with GWPD, and are appreciative of individual officers who have put forth the effort to do so,” the letter states. “We are now asking for structural change to enforce this goal among all officers, not merely a select few. We deserve to feel like we’re being protected on our own campus – not like the ones others are being protected from.”
Eight student organizations signed onto the letter in addition to BSU, including the African Student Association; GW Black Women’s Forum; GW National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; GW Queer and Trans People of Color Association; GW National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; GW Ethiopian-Eritrean Student Association; Students Against Imperialism; and GW Black Men’s Initiative.
A University spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
The letter also rejects a Hatchet editorial board piece last year recommending that GWPD hire armed officers, saying the action would further erode trust between students and officers and endanger students of color.
“We believe there are methods of de-escalation and safety enforcement that do not require the use of weapons,” the letter states.
Peyton Wilson, BSU’s executive vice president, said the organization is “grateful” for Tate’s efforts in supporting the black community and speaking with student leaders of groups like the Black Men’s Initiative. She said fostering long-lasting cultural changes within GWPD is “imperative.”
“While we have meeting after meeting with leadership, there are officers turning around and perpetuating the very culture we’re trying to change,” Wilson said in an email. “Black students, at a University they are paying for, should trust and have a relationship with campus police.”
She added that cultivating a culture of accountability with consequences for officers who engage in intolerant behavior will contribute to building a foundation to “get us to where we need to go.”
“But most importantly, we need the University to implement an enforceable no-tolerance policy for acts of violence and racial bias,” she said. “Too many black students can recall negative encounters they’ve had with GWPD that other students will never experience.”
D.C.-area BSUs also published a letter Friday calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser and MPD Chief Peter Newsham to implement measures like reducing youth arrests by 90 percent aimed at addressing police brutality.”

respond
 
Importance
1
SA leaders respond to protests over police brutality
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 02, 2020
“Students Association leaders vowed to hold discussions surrounding recent events of police brutality and racism and push for the University to release a GW police Department climate survey in a statement Sunday.
Following the deaths of four black Americans who were killed at the hands of police officers in recent months, SA leaders wrote that they are working to host a discussion about police brutality and white supremacy and held virtual office hours Monday for those who wished to talk through the past events. SA Executive Vice President Brandon Hill and SA President Howard Brookins wrote that they will personally make donations to the Chicago Community Bond Fund and Minnesota Freedom Fund in the wake of protests responding to police violence.
“As the first all-black Student Association leadership team, in recent memory, we stand at the forefront of ensuring an equitable experience for all students,” Hill and Brookins wrote. “This is why we find it pertinent to assure you that the Student Association believes that Black Lives Matter. We strongly stand in solidarity with the Black Men’s Initiative, the Black Student Union and all of the grieving black students on this campus, as well as support their calls to action and demands fellow students, administrators and D.C. public officials.”
SA leaders said they are a resource for predominately white student organizations that are interested in helping but unsure how, adding that members are planning to create a guide about how student organizations can “create an actively anti-racist environment.”
The SA letter states that organization members involved in the Safety and Security Advisory board will push for a GWPD climate survey once students are able to return to campus, similar to a survey Georgetown University’s student government advocated for. SA leaders involved with the board will also press officials to implement unconscious bias training for all GWPD officers, the letter states.
Hill said the letter aims to educate and “reeducate” white peers on how everyone can support students and restructure oppressed systems in one’s own organization. He said “at the very least” he hopes black students feel valued on campus.
He said the SA aims to continue partnerships with GWPD, the Divisions of Safety and Security and administrators in the fall to provide safety for students on campus.
“I hope that when people look back and wonder how the Student Association felt on certain topics they know without a shadow of a doubt that we believe all black lives matter,” Hill said.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Classes to be held remotely for two weeks following Thanksgiving
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 02, 2020
“Most students will take their classes remotely for two weeks following Thanksgiving this fall, as officials continue planning to tentatively resume in-person classes in August.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said the decision, a similar move to several universities across the country, will prevent the potential spread of coronavirus that could occur if students travel home for the holiday and return to campus, according to an email sent to the GW community Tuesday. Students will attend in-person classes on Labor Day and Fall Break will be canceled to maximize in-person instruction time and avoid travel, he said.
“In moving expeditiously on our operations and academic planning efforts, it is clear that much is dependent on our anticipated fall calendar and modes of instruction,” he said in the email. “There is also, understandably, a degree of urgency to make decisions on these fronts to allow time for our community, and specifically our faculty, to prepare for classes – especially because we plan to use the changes coming this fall as an opportunity to enhance the GW learning experience for our students.”
LeBlanc said officials are developing “alternative schedules” for programs in the School of Nursing, College of Professional Studies, School of Medicine and Health Sciences and GW Law that meet professional accreditation requirements. Officials are also creating a process for students to request to remain on campus through the end of the semester, LeBlanc said.
He said Provost Brian Blake is encouraging faculty to use the two weeks of remote learning following Thanksgiving for an “innovative online experience” and hold major exams in person before the holiday, based on student feedback about taking spring final exams online.
LeBlanc said Blake will share “additional guidance” to faculty for adjusting syllabi and preparing for online learning with “best-in-class” instructional methods and technology. LeBlanc said officials will offer a process for faculty who cannot teach on campus to request accommodation.
The move will end the semester before the originally scheduled final exam period, creating a more than four-week winter break for students between the fall and spring semesters.
Blake said in an interview last week that administrators’ internal planning suggested they would end classes before Thanksgiving or start in-person classes early.
LeBlanc said officials have “great forward momentum” in planning for students to return to campus in August, but they may need to make further changes as the fall semester approaches. Administrators organized a Back to Campus Initiative last month to spearhead planning efforts for an in-person fall semester.
“While we are cautiously optimistic about our ability to implement these adjustments to the fall calendar, please know that as always this decision is subject to change based on the evolution of the pandemic; the recommendations of our experts and D.C., regional and federal requirements and guidance; and any additional steps we believe are necessary to support the health, safety and care of the University community,” he said.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
Students sue Board of Trustees for tuition refunds
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 02, 2020
“Two students are suing the Board of Trustees to refund tuition payments following the University’s switch to online classes, the second lawsuit demanding tuition refunds this spring.
In a 19-page complaint filed in D.C. District Court Thursday, rising second-year graduate student Margaret Mauldin and senior Charafeddine Zaitoun allege the University did not provide the on-campus education and facilities it guaranteed in exchange for tuition payments. Mauldin and Zaitoun are requesting the University partially refund tuition and fees for all students who submitted payments for the spring 2020 semester.
“Despite failing to fulfill its obligations, Defendant is currently unlawfully retaining and refusing to fully or partially refund Plaintiffs’ Spring 2020 semester tuition and fees, despite the dramatically lower quality and less valuable education and services now being provided,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit follows another complaint a parent filed last month,  pressuring the University to refund tuition, fees and room and board payments because of a decline in “academic rigor” and the cancellation of on-campus services during the virtual learning period.
The students’ lawsuit states that the University breached its contract that promises students on-campus education and resources like classroom facilities and dining options, which students can no longer access during campus’s closure. Students like Mauldin and Zaitoun were “deprived of the education experience” they were entitled to receive through their tuition payments, according to the complaint.
“Plaintiffs and the other members of the Class entered into binding contracts with Defendant, which provided that Plaintiff and the other members of the Class would pay tuition and fees, to GW, in exchange for on-campus educational, social and other experiences and access to facilities,” the complaint states.
Mauldin and Zaitoun allege students have withstood an “enormous windfall” under the financial strain that has afflicted working students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic after the University cut access to on-campus buildings, technology and other services guaranteed through tuition payments. The lawsuit states the payments benefited the University, which failed to return the on-campus resources students expected to receive.
“Defendant is thus profiting from COVID-19 while further burdening students and their families – many of whom have been laid off, become ill, lost loved ones or are otherwise already bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit states students received a “second-rate online substitute” for in-person education because faculty did not have enough time to learn how to teach a quality curriculum through the new online format.
The lawsuit references an article from Educause, a nonprofit organization working to improve virtual education, that states it is “impossible” for teachers to completely understand how to conduct online teaching if they shift to a virtual platform within just a few weeks. The article states schools should take six to nine months to prepare for an online course.
GW began online classes less than two weeks after announcing the switch.
“The hasty conversion to ‘virtual learning’ has not and cannot compare to live classes,” the complaint states. “But it doesn’t compare to well-planned and executed online courses either.”
Mauldin, who is pursuing a master’s degree in museum studies, decided to attend GW because of the University’s connection to the Smithsonian museums, which offer field trips and “peer-reviewed classes,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit states she completed a Smithsonian internship remotely, despite paying “the high cost of graduate tuition” to receive in-person credit at the museum.
“She is not receiving what she bargained for,” the complaint states.
Mauldin declined to comment.
Zaitoun rented an apartment with a $1,650 monthly fee near campus to take classes as part of the University’s summer 2020 session but will pay more than $10,000 for Zoom classes, “with no access to professors, other classmates or campus facilities or resources,” the complaint states.
Zaitoun did not return a request for comment.
University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said “other University revenues” subsidize students’ tuition to cover the cost of providing curricular and co-curricular programming to students. She said officials understand students did not expect to finish spring semester classes online, but the University followed advice from “public health experts” in deciding to switch to virtual learning.
“Our faculty worked hard to provide our students with a quality academic experience by distance, and our staff too worked hard to provide mechanisms for students to meaningfully engage with each other,” she said.
Nosal said officials have offered students refunds for housing, dining, parking and international program fees after campus closed in March. She said the University is granting students the entirety of GW’s $9.1 million aid package from CARES Act funding and providing additional financial support through the GW Cares Student Assistance Fund .
“We continue to work with students and families who are in financial distress due to the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
More than 75 higher education groups, at least three of which list GW as a member institution, signed a letter to Congress last week asking for temporary liability protections for universities facing lawsuits related to the pandemic.
Glen Abramson – the legal counsel for Mauldin, Zaitoun and the University’s student population represented in the class action – said the “online course experience” does not match the on-campus college experience the University markets to prospective students. He said students are not receiving marketed services during the pandemic, even though the University promised these resources as part of the school’s tuition.
“GW is acting as if the emergency online classes they put together are the same as live classes on campus,” he said. “That’s just not the case.”
Abramson said his law firm, Berger Montague, has represented students from Boston University, the University of Southern California and the University of California in similar class action lawsuits demanding tuition repayments. He said “hundreds of students” have contacted the firm, upset about paying for online classes.
“This is something that I think a lot of students have had concerns about, and I think there are going to be cases filed against many colleges and universities around the country,” he said.
Students have filed more than 110 class action lawsuits against universities in the two months since spring instruction transitioned online, according to a National Law Journal report .
He said the firm is working with “experts” to determine the amount of refunded tuition the legal team will request from the University.
Grace Speights, the Board of Trustees chair, announced last month that officials would not change next year’s tuition if classes are held online in the fall.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
It's time to shut down GW's Confucius Institute
by The GW Hatchet
May 29, 2020
“Most students would be forgiven for not knowing about GW’s Confucius Institute, a chapter of a worldwide organization promoting the study of Chinese culture and language in universities. At first glance it may seem an innocuous cultural society, but the Institute – like its 72 counterparts in colleges across the nation – is nothing less than a soft-power tool of the Chinese Communist Party.
Confucius Institutes are all operated by Hanban, a government entity funded by the Chinese Ministry of Education, and hire employees largely based on their loyalty to the CCP. Discussion topics the Chinese government disapproves of are strictly forbidden and Institutes regularly sabotage university events about such topics. They have, for example, pressured universities to disinvite the Dalai Lama and covertly removed conference materials listing Taiwan as a country. Confucius Institutes have also allegedly carried out espionage, assisted in the theft of intellectual property and even threatened Chinese students for what they may say in the classroom.
Universities are increasingly aware of these issues. 22 American universities have shuttered their Institutes in the past two years, with closures also happening in Europe and Australia . Of GW’s twelve peer schools, only Tufts University and the University of Pittsburgh still have branches. More telling still, Congress and the FBI reviewed the activities of Confucius Institutes last year and identified them as threats to academic freedom and campus information security . Both have urged U.S. universities to sever ties for these reasons, as have numerous faculty associations , human rights groups and student organizations . The University must heed these significant warnings and end the activities of the GW Confucius Institute as soon as possible.
Confucius Institutes are not like other cultural institutes, such as France’s Alliance Francaise or Germany’s Goethe-Institut , in that they are fully integrated into their host universities. They therefore have a voice in what events or discussions take place on campus, which is particularly concerning given the Chinese government’s track record of speech policing. A senior Chinese official even admitted in 2011 that the Institutes were an “important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.” It is unreasonable to assume that GW’s Institute does not censor and surveil in the interests of the Chinese government as other universities’ Institutes have been shown to do . After all, Hu Jinbo, who sits on our Institute’s Board of Directors , is a vice chair of China’s top political advisory body .
Allowing the Chinese government space on campus to communicate its policies is controversial enough. Permitting it to stifle (or unduly influence) the communications of others is intolerable. When one then takes into account the national security concerns, the course of action required by the University becomes all too obvious.
Furthermore, we must consider the financial drain on GW that the Confucius Institute represents. Congress passed a law in 2018 withholding all Department of Defense language funding from universities that host the Institute. We are potentially forfeiting critical language resources – at a time when our language departments have been forced to cut classes – all for the sake of giving an authoritarian government a platform at our University. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused GW a substantial budget shortfall ; and while closing the Institute won’t balance things by any means, it would be a simple and beneficial way to start.
Undoubtedly, the need to learn Chinese or become familiar with Chinese culture is a growing one, especially at a university so renowned for its international affairs program. But there are plenty of ways to do these things without letting the Chinese government manipulate on-campus discourse. Just ask Georgetown, American University or any of the Ivy League schools, which have somehow managed to avoid hosting Confucius Institutes and still have top-notch programs in Chinese language and politics. At the end of the day, all our Confucius Institute really does for students is organize language classes and art events . We already have a Chinese language department, and it’s not worth keeping the Institute for the sake of a few calligraphy lessons or ballet performances.
And even if it were worthwhile, the fact remains that any foreign organization on campus must be held to the same standards as an American one. To operate legitimately, foreign organizations must commit to freedom of speech and to the transparency and integrity of their practices. As China increasingly attempts to control what we say in our own country, we must push back and make it clear that our values of freedom and democracy are not for sale . GW’s insistence on keeping the Institute open not only defies rationality but goes against our very character as an institution.
So it’s time we finally say “zai jian” to our Confucius Institute. Or perhaps another word would be more appropriate, because “zai jian” is the kind of goodbye that implies we will meet again. And we certainly don’t want that.
Filip Vachuda, a rising junior majoring in international affairs and economics, is a writer.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

respond
 
Importance
1
The solution for fall: a hiring binge
by The GW Hatchet
May 29, 2020
“Ivy Ken is an associate professor of sociology.
University President Thomas LeBlanc informed the GW community that as we move toward a new academic year, we need to prepare for “pay or benefit reductions, early retirement options, furloughs or layoffs,” among other cost-cutting actions. The announcement has created deep unease among staff and faculty, who are already working overtime to meet the new demands brought on by the pandemic.
As we all work to figure out how to continue the University’s mission of creating and sharing knowledge, the obvious solution so far has been to hold classes online. GW is not unique in this – it is happening all over the world. We live at a time when the technological infrastructure that allows classes to go online – from the internet, itself, to the availability of computers, software and technical support – is as strong as the magnified demand for it during social distancing.
But the rationale for holding classes online is absent. As online learning has ramped up in colleges and universities over the last two decades, education researchers have identified best practices for online learning success. It is an understatement to say that the practices and conditions under which faculty and students are being asked to turn everything over to Webex and Blackboard right now are far from ideal. Faculty largely do not have the training. One of my students in the spring semester told me about a business professor who couldn’t figure out the technology, so he simply lectured his students for an hour at a time over the phone. I feel that my “magic” as an instructor happens in the classroom, where I engage with students face-to-face, read their nonverbal cues, respond to their ideas and help them struggle collectively with the material. I cannot reproduce this online, and my students will suffer.
In the 19 years I have been at GW, class sizes have increasingly gotten bigger. My 35-student theory course got bumped up to 45 and raised again to 50, with no additional support. No student at GW who has been cramped into a tiny classroom will be surprised that these 50 students must still meet in the rooms designed for 35. To the extent that higher class sizes reflect increased demand for sociological theory, this is a great thing. But this is not what it reflects. It is one small example of a university that is trying to do more with less. GW wants a smaller numbers of professors to teach a larger numbers of students.
Again, GW is not unique in this. The trend in higher education has been to employ the techniques developed by profit-seeking corporations to – as the chair of the Board of Trustees recently put it – cut the “ fat ” from University budgets. Professors, apparently, are the unnecessary “fat.”
A much better solution, albeit one that would require enough courage to buck the existing trend, is a hiring binge. Not a hiring freeze.
A hiring binge would allow more professors to handle smaller classes that could possibly meet in person in large rooms. Anthony Fauci, a leader on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, recently advised that it would be possible for universities to welcome students back in the fall, if all were tested regularly and modifications were made to residence halls and classrooms. This means all those classrooms at GW that were designed for 35 students, into which dozens more students have been packed, need to become classrooms of 10. My 60-student fall semester class, for instance, could be turned into three different 20-student classes with three different instructors who each meet with 10 students at a time. This would increase the workload of any one instructor, who would need to meet twice as often with smaller numbers of students. But that sort of workload increase would be better than requiring professors to hastily – and probably poorly – conduct robust, meaningful online class sessions.
We need more people, not more technology. Ideally, this need could spark something like a federal works program that would hire masses of underemployed doctoral students into tenure-track jobs so we could handle this crisis in a way that is both humane and pedagogically sound. It should go without saying – but doesn’t – that these positions should absolutely be tenure-track, since these positions are the only ones to guard against the sort of layoffs that GW and other schools have threatened and implemented.
I realize that implementing this at GW would be an enormous task. Perhaps one source of support for an initiative like this would be not the federal government but the D.C. city government. Mayor Muriel Bowser and city council have often devoted serious amounts of money to progressive ideas like healthy meals for K-12 students and the bike lanes. The consortium of D.C. colleges and universities could jointly request the city’s support and make the District a leader on this issue. Some may feel that public tax dollars should not be spent on private university professors, and in general I agree. But this is a solution meant to prioritize students. In exchange for public money, perhaps our universities could commit to enrolling a much higher proportion of D.C. students.
What is important is to fight against the tide of bigger, online classes, which just do not serve our students or our communities well. The current crisis presents an opportunity to move away from the pedagogically bankrupt focus on efficiency and toward solutions that are best for the people and communities we serve.
The Board chair recently said in an email that trustees are “directing the administration to explore and consider all appropriate options. A sense of urgency is warranted and the status quo is not an option.” I share this sense of urgency and hope the Board, administration and city will consider halting the freeze and engaging in a hiring binge to benefit our students.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Higher education groups ask for legal protections for colleges
by The GW Hatchet
May 29, 2020
“More than 75 higher education organizations signed a letter to congressional leaders Thursday asking for temporary liability protections for universities facing lawsuits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After universities moved classes online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, GW and other institutions are facing lawsuits demanding tuition refunds for part or all of the spring semester. The groups, at least three of which list GW as a member institution, state universities are facing “huge transactional costs” fighting these lawsuits as they face “unprecedented challenges.”
“To blunt the chilling effect this will have on otherwise reasonable decision-making leading to our nation’s campuses resuming operations in a safe and sensible manner, we ask that Congress quickly enact temporary COVID-19-related liability protections for higher education institutions and systems, affiliated entities, as well as their faculty, staff and volunteers,” the letter states.
A parent filed a class action lawsuit in D.C. District Court against GW earlier this month alleging that the University breached its contract with students by not providing in-person instruction and campus facilities during the pandemic, demanding a partial refund of room and board, tuition and fees. The University has offered refunds for lost housing, dining and parking costs.
The parent who sued GW wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post earlier this month, stating that universities shifting to online classes were “not the schools’ fault,” but remote education is “nowhere near the caliber” of an on-campus college experience.
Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights said last week that the Board does not plan to adjust next year’s tuition rate if classes remain online. Officials are considering three scenarios for fall instruction – in-person, hybrid or online coursework – and plan to make a final decision next month.
The groups said Congress should apply protections conditioned on applicable public health standards and exclude protections for institutions that engage in “egregious misconduct.”
“While Congress has acted to provide some limited COVID-related liability protections for volunteer healthcare providers and some manufacturers of PPE in the CARES Act, much more must be done,” the higher education organizations said in the letter. “While some governors and state legislatures have enacted COVID-19 liability limitations, this is a national problem requiring a national solution.”
The groups said encouraging the safe reopening of colleges is “essential” to preserving future employment and restarting the country’s economy.
“Higher education’s need for temporary and targeted liability protections and relief is clear,” the higher education groups said in the letter. “Now is the time for Congress to act.”
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
Volleyball bolsters 2020 roster with Greek signee
by The GW Hatchet
May 29, 2020
“Markella Lanara, a 6-foot-2-inch middle blocker from Athens, Greece, will round out volleyball’s 2020 roster, head coach Sarah Bernson announced in a press release Thursday.
In Greece, Lanara played for The Moraitis School, where she was named the top blocker in the conference and helped claim back-to-back school championships in 2018 and 2019. Lanara called GW her “dream university” in the release.
“It will give me the opportunity to combine academic excellence with competitive athletics while being in one of the most influential locations,” Lanara said in the release. “I believe that joining the GW volleyball family will help me grow as a player and person and take my athletic and academic career to a whole new level.”
Lanara also won a pair of titles for her club team, the Olympiakos volleyball club, and she helped the squad qualify for national competition for the past four years.
Bernson said Lanara will add “experience and depth” to GW’s returning middle blockers, a position that has historically been the team’s strong suit. Last season, the Colonials ranked third in the Atlantic 10 in blocks per set (2.52), and two Colonials finished among the top 10 in average blocks per set.
But last year’s top three blockers – graduate student middle blocker Caroline Sklaver, graduate student opposite Paty Valle and senior setter Jaimeson Lee – graduated, allowing Lanara to help shore up the gaps.
Assistant coach Brianna Barry said Lanara’s calm court demeanor and “fiery competitive spirit” fit well with the team’s dynamic.
“I am thrilled to work with her in the middle position and see how much she can grow,” Barry said in the release.
Lanara will join two other freshman recruits – opposite Liv Womble and outside hitter Elizabeth Drelling – on the court this fall. Two transfers junior setter Lauren LaBeck and graduate student opposite Ashley Waggle complete this year’s recruiting class. The Colonials will return nine members of last year’s squad.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Women's basketball welcomes transfer guard
by The GW Hatchet
May 26, 2020
“Gabby Nikitinaite, a 5-foot-11-inch guard from Orpington, United Kingdom, will join the women’s basketball program, according to a release from head coach Jennifer Rizzotti Thursday.
Nikitinaite transferred from Northern Illinois, where she averaged eight points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. She said playing under Rizzotti and the academic opportunities at GW influenced her decision to join the team.
“My decision to choose GW came from Coach Rizzotti and her coaching staff and their heavy assurance about the great opportunities I will be provided on and off the court,” Nikitinaite said in the release. “Coach Rizzotti’s accomplishments, as well as her staff’s, were big motivating factors for me to choose GW and I am grateful for the interest they showed for my game.”
Nikitinaite played three seasons at Northern Illinois, where she appeared in 90 games and recorded 37 career starts. She entered the transfer portal in late March, according to a tweet . Per NCAA transfer rules, she will sit out a year and hit the hardwood for the Colonials during the 2021-22 campaign, the release states.
During her final season with the Huskies, Nikitinaite shot at a 35.1 percent clip and ranked second on the roster with 44 triples over 30 games. She finished third on the squad with 61 helpers on the year.
“We are so excited about welcoming Gabby to our Colonial family,” Rizzotti said in the release. “She is a veteran guard who can impact the game in so many ways. We love that she has a lot of college experience and after scoring over 700 points at NIU, she is a proven scorer at the college level. She has great size for a guard and is an excellent passer, so she will fit in really well with how we want to play.”
The Colonials lost four players from the 2019-20 roster to graduation, and redshirt freshman guard Tori Hyduke and sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah transferred from the program at the conclusion of the season. The team will be without its top three scorers from a year ago to open the 2020-21 season.
Nikitinaite joins three freshmen – Ali Brigham, Aurea Gingras and Caranda Perea – and midseason transfer junior guard Jasmine Whitney as the squad’s newest additions.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Board of Trustees task force to recommend divestment
by The GW Hatchet
May 26, 2020
“The Board of Trustees’ Task Force on Environmental, Social and Governance Responsibility released recommendations that encourage trustees to fully divest GW’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry by 2025, according to an email sent to the GW community Tuesday.
The task force’s draft recommendations also include immediately halting all new investments in the fossil fuel industry, speeding up GW’s plans to become carbon neutral and phasing out all single-use plastics, the email states. The Board is expected to vote on the recommendations at its June retreat, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the task force will hold virtual town halls on May 28 and June 2 to gather feedback from the GW community on the proposal.
“In summary, sustainability needs to be deeply embedded in everything we do, and it will remain in everything we aspire to do in our teaching, service and research missions, as well as our operations and student experience,” members of the group said in a joint email. “We seek not only to be an exemplary global citizen but also to continue to leverage the expertise and passion of our students, faculty, alumni and staff to set an example for others to follow.”
Board Chair Grace Speights commissioned the task force in February, following a week of student protests in support of fossil fuel divestment, to assist the Board in establishing a guiding set of principles to manage GW’s environmental impact.
GW’s holdings in the fossil fuel industry total roughly $53 million, and officials say they have reduced GW’s fossil fuel investments by 89 percent in the last five years.
The draft recommendations also call on the University to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, which would shorten the timeline by 10 years, and to release a plan for “climate resilience” in GW’s operations. Officials have invested more than $20 million to reduce carbon emissions as of October 2018.
“In commemoration of GW’s bicentennial celebration in 2021, we also aspire to going beyond carbon neutral post-2030 in an effort to remove most, if not all, the greenhouse gas emissions the University has produced since its founding in 1821,” the email states.
The task force also plans to recommend that GW become a “role model” for urban sustainability by capturing stormwater, creating more outdoor green spaces, turning all University-operated transportation into zero-emissions vehicles and notching the STARS Platinum sustainability distinction by 2025, according to the email.
“In addition, we commit to encouraging decision makers and societal leaders to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” the task force members said. “We will drive support for interdisciplinary education, research and proactive engagement on climate change and sustainability initiatives, including innovative living lab projects.”
Peter Harrison, the chair of the task force, said at a Board meeting earlier this month that the group has heard an “overview” of the endowment’s holdings and developed the recommendations after examining peer institutions’ policies on divestment and consulting with GW’s sustainability experts.
Sunrise GW wrote in a statement Tuesday that the organization “commends” the recommendations and the task force’s recognition of the “need for proactivity.”
“While these announcements are an undeniable step in the right direction, Sunrise GW plans to continue applying pressure to the Board of Trustees until they vote to approve and commit to the ESG Task Force’s recommendations,” the group said in the statement.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Faculty Senate requests layoffs and furloughs be "last resort"
by The GW Hatchet
May 25, 2020
“The Faculty Senate called on officials Wednesday to use furloughs and layoffs as a last resort to mitigate the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on GW.
The resolution passed in a special meeting emphasizes the need for transparency and consultation with relevant senate committees as officials decide the status of the fall semester. Senators also passed resolutions to give the body’s executive committee the power to call regular senate meetings outside of the traditional monthly meetings and urge officials to approve new hires for GW Libraries in advance of the upcoming fall semester.
Murli Gupta, the chair of the committee on appointments, salary and promotion policies, said faculty must be consulted as officials make decisions regarding the budget for the fall semester.
“Any salary, personnel or benefit related change including furlough or layoffs, if that is our last resort item, should be based exclusively upon the long-term education and research missions of the University,” he said. “Again we ask for consultation with the Faculty Senate, executive committee, Faculty Senate committees and Benefits Advisory Committee .”
Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights said in an interview prior to the meeting that officials will be looking “across the board” at the University to determine where cost-cutting measures will be employed.
“I can’t say that layoffs will be a last resort,” she said.
The resolution states that if salary or benefit reductions become necessary, they must be used for a “specified limited time” after officials consult with the relevant senate committees.
The senate approved an amendment to the resolution that Mary Jean Schumann, a faculty senator and associate professor of nursing, proposed to emphasize that the deans of each school should provide their perspective on the “unique needs” each school has during the decision-making process for the fall semester.
The senate also approved an amendment that Jamie Cohen-Cole, an associate professor of American studies, proposed to specify that any personnel changes should first be made in areas outside the University’s core missions of research, education and service.
Senators also passed a resolution calling on officials to “immediately” approve “expert” librarian hirings for GW Libraries by a 21 to 6 vote, with one abstention.
Harald Griesshammer, an associate professor of physics and the chair of the committee on libraries, said at the senate’s regular meeting earlier this month that “strategic investments” are needed to ensure that faculty have the resources necessary for any future online instruction.
“We need those people in place pretty much yesterday, because we faculty need to prepare for fall teaching in a hybrid or online mode, pretty much starting now,” he said at the May 8 meeting.
The third resolution enables the senate’s executive committee to call additional senate meetings during the summer given the “urgent circumstances” that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. University President Thomas LeBlanc called  Wednesday’s special meeting in addition to the regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month to discuss future academic and financial planning.
Provost Brian Blake  said  faculty are working to make courses “more flexible” to adapt to potential health restrictions, and officials will likely take at least one residence hall offline to provide beds for quarantined students.
He added that he is meeting with the deans of the schools this week to discuss long-term strategies to reduce expenses in light of the pandemic.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
Officials developing testing strategy, 'flexible' coursework
by The GW Hatchet
May 25, 2020
“Officials said they are still planning to host students on campus this fall, but faculty are working to make courses “more flexible” to adapt to potential health restrictions.
Provost Brian Blake said at a Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday that officials will likely take at least one residence hall offline to provide about 100 beds for quarantined students “at the very minimal.” The deans of the schools and colleges are working to develop hybrid options for courses for vulnerable populations or students who need to quarantine for part of the semester, he said.
“A number of the schools are already working very aggressively to make sure that can happen,” Blake said of hybrid course delivery in the fall. “I know it can be harder in some areas than others, so we want to make sure between now and the fall we’re working to make sure the campus is ready.”
Administrators unveiled three fall semester scenarios earlier this month, with a final decision expected by mid-June. Blake said the scenarios project annual losses of between $86 and $320 million based on the latest data.
Blake said he plans to meet with each school’s dean this week to discuss long-term strategies to reduce expenses and said cuts in all areas are on the table. Officials have suspended most capital projects and hirings and  frozen merit pay increases, and top administrators will take a pay cut beginning July 1.
He said he has also looked at other institutions that have announced they will end in-person classes for the fall semester by Thanksgiving.
“I thought it was a great idea in general,” Blake said. “It was definitely a good suggestion.”
He said administrators are closely watching the University’s summer melt – students who commit to attending the University in the fall but do not eventually enroll – as they expect the pandemic to cause changes in enrollment levels. Undergraduate commitment deposits fell about 18 percent this year, partially due to a planned cut in enrollment.
Blake said deposits have grown to 2,411, and officials expect that number to increase to roughly 2,450 total deposits for first-year students entering in the fall. Deposits from international students and domestic students decreased by 38 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, but the gap could decrease in size if the pandemic’s impacts lessen, he said.
“We certainly have to watch it very closely,” he said. “Schools are working for solutions to keep students protected.”
Blake said officials will also accept more transfer students than previously anticipated to enroll a greater number than the original target of 300 transfer students.
Lynn Goldman, the dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, said the University’s testing strategy is “under development,” but officials want to monitor the presence of the virus and antibodies that could provide a level of immunity in people.
“We’re definitely on a track of wanting to get a snapshot of everybody coming in and make sure that we’re not bringing on the campus people who we know could be infected to keep the community safer,” she said.
Goldman said officials plan to “periodically” test the campus population throughout the fall in addition to contact tracing and quarantining. She said administrators are considering testing the entire campus community for the virus weekly and for antibodies twice a month but may also sample a representative population – like testing a quarter of the population weekly.
“We’re actually not thinking about limiting testing to people with symptoms,” Goldman said. “That is the strategy that’s been undertaken by our federal government, and unfortunately, the people with symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg for the pandemic.”
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
Elliott School to allow new graduate students to enroll in Flex-Start
by The GW Hatchet
May 22, 2020
“All newly admitted graduate students in the Elliott School of International Affairs will be able to take courses online this fall.
Officials implemented the Flex-Start program for students facing travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic or those who would prefer not to move to the District during a time of “uncertain economic and public health conditions,” according to a University release . Students will be able to take up to 9 credits online in each of the 13 graduate programs the Elliott School offers at the same cost as in-person classes, the release states.
Professors will hold class sessions live during the regular weekly course time for students in the program, and the courses will be designed to be “highly interactive,” according to the release.
“We will work with each admitted student on a case-by-case basis to identify the right plan of action and deadlines for moving forward,” the release states.
Students will not need to pursue a separate enrollment process for the program, the release states.
The release states that professors will work with the Elliott School’s instructional design team to create “cutting-edge course content.”
“In addition, faculty are trained in individualized workshops to help identify nuances to be captured in each particular course,” the release states. “Students are not subjected to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach; rather, the courses are produced with a view to maintaining the same student experience online as they would have in-person Elliott School classes.”
Officials in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences launched a similar program last month for graduate students facing travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said in a Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month that officials will announce a final decision regarding the status of the fall semester by mid-June. He said officials are considering three scenarios for the fall semester: a return to in-person courses with social distancing measure, a hybrid of online and in-person instruction and fully online classes.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
ANC votes to reform city unemployment insurance system
by The GW Hatchet
May 21, 2020
“A local governing body voted to repair the city’s unemployment insurance system that has left workers empty-handed when applying for financial relief during the pandemic.
The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a resolution Wednesday to improve the Department of Employment Services’ software that processes the growing number of unemployment claims from laid-off and furloughed workers amid widespread business struggles. Commissioners proposed that a new District Digital Service fixes the technological shortfalls of D.C.’s online portals, preventing problems from occurring during widespread unemployment emergencies in the future.
Here’s highlights from the meeting:
Unemployment insurance system
Commissioner Trupti Patel reported that DOES has not responded to all of its more than 100,000 unemployment insurance claims that laid-off and furloughed workers have applied for during the past eight weeks of widespread financial distress amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said DOES only spent $7 million of its $46 million fiscal year 2020 budget allocation, even though there are still local workers waiting up to six weeks to receive their government funding, past the two-week processing turnaround the department pledged.
“I felt that it was appropriate to put in an official resolution to be addressed to the labor committee, the mayor and to the chairman of the council that this is not acceptable,” she said.
Patel said the District could have avoided the issue if the government had improved its online system that processes and distributes funding to local workers and fixed its staffing shortages. The resolution calls for the D.C. Council’s Committee on Labor and Workforce Development to arrange an enhanced portal and assemble a new digital service that can fix current shortfalls, like an “overwhelmed hotline” and long wait times that multiple D.C. government agencies are facing.
“There are still people who’ve filed who still have not gotten their unemployment insurance benefits,” she said. “And just to think that a lot of this, like 90 percent of this, could have been prevented if they modernized the portal as they budgeted for.”
Free parking for D.C. primary
The ANC requested the District Department of Transportation to grant one hour of free parking at in-person voting sites for all Ward 2 residents who are unable to vote through an absentee ballot for the D.C. primary  on June 2.
Commissioner Nicole Goldin said the Ward 2 voting centers, located at Hardy Middle School and One Judiciary Square, are inaccessible for pedestrians and public transit commuters, leaving residents who don’t fill out mail-in ballots little choice but to drive to in-person sites.
“We have two centers within Ward 2 that are actually not convenient in terms of walking, walkability to the majority of the residents,” she said.
Rachel Coll, the public information officer on the D.C. Board of Elections, delivered a presentation on voting guidelines, saying the District cut city-wide voting centers from 144 to 20 to discourage in-person voting during the pandemic. Coll and ANC commissioners recommended local voters to apply for mail-in ballots to avoid breaking social distancing and risking infection.
“We are really encouraging voters not to rely on the use of our vote centers but to request their absentee ballot and vote by mail,” she said.
2100 Pennsylvania Avenue construction
The commission approved the extension of an after-hours construction permit for Boston Properties, a real estate investment trust company, to build a new office space at the site of 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue. The resolution allows the company to continue its utility work on I Street from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday until the end of July to complete its work before students return to campus in August, should the University decide to reopen.
Sean Sullivan, the vice president at Boston Properties, said the company paused its unfinished work during its two-month construction permit set in February because D.C. Water, the District’s utility service, discontinued site inspections during the pandemic.
“Unfortunately COVID struck, and D.C. Water stopped doing inspections for our connections, so we tried to do as much as we could,” he said. “Unfortunately without their participation, which is required for every time we make a connection and cover the existing pipes, we were not able to move forward.”
Senior James Harnett, the commission’s vice chair, said the work on I Street should continue in a few weeks when D.C. Water resumes utility inspections. Harnett said he supports accelerating the project’s completion to accommodate the potential arrival of students in nearby residence halls.
“Now that most students aren’t on campus right now, or at least in District House or in Lafayette, I’m happy to see this work getting done before most students return hopefully in the fall,” he said.
The University signed a 75-year contract last July to lease Boston Properties the site at 2100 Penn.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Ward 2 candidates discuss COVID-19, inequity at online forum
by The GW Hatchet
May 21, 2020
“Candidates vying for the Ward 2 D.C. Council seat discussed COVID-19 financial relief and different forms of inequity in the District in an online forum Monday.
Washington Post reporter Fenit Nirappil moderated the forum, featuring each of the race’s eight candidates who touted experience and policy plans to push the District past the public health and economic hardships that have plagued residents, workers and businesses throughout the pandemic. The event comes as voters receive  their mail-in ballots for the D.C. Democratic primary set for June 2.
GW Democrats organized the forum that was broadcasted via Zoom and Facebook alongside the D.C. Democratic Party, the Women’s National Democratic Club, D.C. College Democrats and Georgetown University Democrats.
COVID-19 relief
Nirappil asked the candidates what they would change about the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal that Mayor Muriel Bowser released Monday, which taps into $500 million of federal reserves and freezes pay increases for all public sector workers to compensate for a revenue drop of more than $800 million caused by the pandemic’s economic effects. Candidates agreed that the city must protect workers and small businesses whose financial stability has collapsed in light of closures and furloughs throughout the District.
Brooke Pinto, who has served as the District’s assistant attorney general for policy and legislative affairs, said the budget should include “more direct” relief for small businesses, residents and renters. She said the budget’s hiring freeze weakens government agencies like the Department of Employment Services that will need to increase staffing to process a surge in unemployment insurance claims.
“Our city cannot provide a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a problem that does not have one size,” she said.
Kishan Putta, a member of the Burelith, Georgetown and Hillendale Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said he has spent 15 years working on public health measures in D.C. and six years supporting the Affordable Care Act in which he improved community enrollment for D.C. Health Link, the District’s health insurance exchange system, according to his website . He said this experience will drive him to pull D.C. residents out of the ongoing public health “crisis.”
He said the District needs to prioritize funding early childhood education that spans from newborns to three-year-olds, whose learning experiences he said have been thrown into question while schools and daycare centers remain shuttered .
“Think of our kids first,” he said. “They are really being hurt. We are at risk of losing a generation of kids if their education gap is not restored.”
Jordan Grossman, a former staffer for Barack Obama, said he issued a joint statement two weeks ago with a Ward 7 ANC commissioner and the former director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute – a public policy think tank – that stated the budget should prioritize workers, families and small businesses that the pandemic has harmed.
“Whether it’s child care or affordable housing, these are the things we need to prioritize now for the long term even though we’re in a tight situation,” he said.
Racial and economic inequality
Nirappil asked the candidates to address in their opening statements how “racial and economic inequity” would impact their term as a council member.
Daniel Hernandez, a Microsoft employee who served as a Marine in Afghanistan, said his upbringing in a single-mother household in a working-class neighborhood has led him to hold issues regarding economic inequity in the forefront of his political priorities. He said he would “champion” undocumented workers’ rights while other candidates may try resolving inequity issues “to build a career.”
“As we talk about equity as a focus of this forum or this forum or some of these questions, the core of my desire to run for office is rooted in that,” he said.
Yilin Zhang, who identified herself as a first-generation Asian-American and health care system executive, said combatting D.C.’s homelessness issue with stable housing and better education will be her top priority upon taking office.
“I think it’s very important that housing is a human right,” she said
Candidates also debated an excise tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, which critics have said has potentially harmful effects on low-income communities like wards 7 and 8 because of a lack of cheap food and drink alternatives.
Zhang and Patrick Kennedy, the Foggy Bottom and West End ANC chair, said the tax would fail to improve nutritional standards in communities that can’t afford access to healthier food options.
“It would function as a regressive tax,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think that there are sufficient alternatives to sodas that are available especially in the food deserts of this city in wards 7 and 8.”
Pinto and Grossman backed the tax, arguing it would better “health inequities” that plague the District.
New football stadium
The candidates discussed the installment of a new venue for the Washington Redskins at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which sits at the edge of the northwest side of the Anacostia River. D.C. officials announced plans last year to demolish the stadium by 2021 because of maintenance costs.
Jack Evans, who resigned his Ward 2 seat after an ethics scandal ended his 29-year term, said he supports the stadium’s renovation, stating it would lead to an economic boost for the District. He said the football team, which now plays in Maryland, would pay for the stadium, but taxpayers would have to help fund infrastructure like surrounding roads and utility installment to accommodate the venue.
“I have a very detailed plan on if the football team were to come back to the city, how that would be financed,” he said.
John Fanning, the chair of the Logan Circle ANC, agreed with Evans and said the renewed venue would produce new jobs for D.C. workers.
“What we have to look about is the whole economic prosperity that comes along with the development of a facility like this, from construction jobs to vendors to you name it,” he said.
Putta and Hernandez said the District should focus on other initiatives like affordable housing that would benefit D.C. residents on a wider scale.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
Board chair says tuition will not change if classes remain online
by The GW Hatchet
May 20, 2020
“Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights said the Board does not plan to change next year’s tuition from the previously chosen rate if classes remain online in the fall.
The Board voted in February to set tuition to $58,550 next year – an annual increase of 3 percent – for incoming students as GW phases out its fixed tuition policy. Speights said she expects the approved tuition rate for the next academic year to stand, even if students take classes online or in a hybrid scenario.
“Our aim is to provide a world-class education for students whatever the classes look like once in the fall, whether it’s on campus or whether it’s online, so I don’t anticipate any reduction in the tuition,” she said.
A parent sued the University earlier this month for a partial refund of tuition, fees and room and board payments for the spring semester in light of the transition to online classes in March. Officials have provided refunds of lost housing, dining and parking costs on a prorated basis.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said earlier this month that students returning to in-person instruction as scheduled in the fall is an “optimistic scenario,” and officials are actively developing contingency plans for hybrid or remote instruction.
Speights said the Board delayed the passage of the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, until trustees can discern a “clearer picture” of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID has definitely impacted GW just like every college and university, and it has and it will continue to have a significant impact on GW finances,” she said. “We are still not sure how much of an impact that will be.”
Officials’ scenarios for the next academic year project an annual loss of between $100 million and $300 million, depending on when students return to campus.
Tracking COVID-19
Stay up to date on GW, D.C. news related to the virus. READ MORE”

respond
 
Importance
1
Fall study abroad, non-essential global travel halted
by The GW Hatchet
May 19, 2020
“All fall study abroad programs are canceled and GW-affiliated, non-essential travel is postponed “until further notice,” officials said in an email Tuesday.
GW-related travel “that is believed to be essential” will be considered for approval by the relevant deans or vice presidents, and non-essential international travel like educational conferences could be postponed or managed through other “alternative methods,” the email states. Members of the GW community can contact their vice president or dean to request approval for essential travel, according to the email.
“We know these travel restrictions may have a significant impact on your studies or your work,” Provost Brian Blake and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz said in the joint email. “We appreciate your understanding as we take the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of our community members.”
Graduate students intending to receive academic credit for international travel that is necessary to graduate must be approved by their respective dean or vice president, the email states. Research-related travel that cannot be delayed, “managed by alternative methods” and is necessary to sustain a research project is deemed essential, according to the email.
Associate Provost of International Programs Donna Scarboro also announced in an email Tuesday that all students who planned to study abroad this fall are allowed to switch their travel plans to the spring if their schedules permit.
“Please understand that the University did not come to this decision lightly,” Scarboro said. “Our top priority is ensuring your health and safety amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis.”
University President Thomas Leblanc said at a Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month that officials will provide an update on plans for the fall semester by around the middle of June.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Rising senior forward leaves men's basketball program
by The GW Hatchet
May 19, 2020
“Rising senior forward Javier Langarica left the men’s basketball program and has not entered the transfer portal, athletic department spokesman Brian Sereno said Tuesday.
The forward spent three seasons with the Colonials and averaged 4.1 points and four rebounds per game in 16.4 average minutes of action throughout his career. He started 32 of his 56 career appearances, with 25 of those starts taking place in his sophomore campaign.
Langarica, a Spain native and the program’s sole international student-athlete, made just 10 appearances his freshman year. During the 2018-19 season, his minutes soared from 2.7 to 21.9 per game.
He ranked second on the team in rebounding for the 2018-19 season, averaging 5.3 boards per game. Langarica wrestled a team-high 176 rebounds on the year and tacked on 5.6 points per game and 37 blocks to round out his second season.
A hand injury sidelined him for a two-month stretch this season, causing him to miss the bulk of conference competition. He played in 13 games, averaging 3.1 rebounds, 2.5 points and 13 minutes on the court. Langarica netted the game-winning basket against Boston University to give the Colonials their fourth win of the season.
Langarica is the fifth player to leave the squad since the 2019-20 season began. Senior forward Arnaldo Toro , sophomore forward Mezie Offurum , junior guard Justin Mazzulla and freshman guard Shawn Walker Jr. transferred out of the program.
The Colonials added four new commits – graduate student forward Matthew Moyer , graduate student guard Brandon Leftwich , junior guard Ricky Lindo Jr. and sophomore guard James Bishop .
The team is set to return nine players from the 2019-20 season. With Langarica’s departure, rising senior guard Maceo Jack is the only player on the 15-member roster with more than one season of GW basketball under his belt.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Finding truth in silence: An internal reflection on racial injustice
by Student Life
Jun 10, 2020
“I’ve been trying to write this for a while now. For days I’d sit down with my laptop open, sifting through words in my mind, only for day to turn into night while my screen remained blank. Each day I tried to gather my thoughts and each day—for a week—I failed. I didn’t know what to say, or rather, I didn’t know how to say it—I didn’t want to say it.
How could I describe the dissonant complexity of maintaining a Black existence in a country that, at its foundation, never intended on me achieving personhood? How could I compress the entirety of my life’s adversities into a nice, neat, few hundred words?
I cannot explain to a non-Black person what it means to wear this skin each day, this skin that—despite who wears it—will always be marked and measured by the scars placed upon it by American hands, scars that I inherited from a past I did not know.
I realized after days of being taunted by a blank screen, that I can’t. I cannot explain to a non-Black person what it means to wear this skin each day, this skin that—despite who wears it—will always be marked and measured by the scars placed upon it by American hands, scars that I inherited from a past I did not know.
I cannot tell you what it’s like to feel rejected from a room before you ever even enter it, how you must will yourself to laugh off and dismiss ignorance from “friends” because speaking out against it would render you too “serious” or give them the satisfaction of fulfilling the “angry Black woman” trope, to feel the need to minimize your Blackness or shy away from the parts of yourself that you love because you want to feel accepted.
I force myself to write the words because I cannot explain to you the truth of what this life feels like, but I also wasn’t ready to explain it to myself.
Over the past few weeks, I recognized the evolvement of hopelessness and guilt within me. I’ve spent the entirety of my life trying to make my worth known, a shared plight amongst many in the Black community. For years our voices have been raised and our feet have marched for change, yet in 2020, I found myself again mourning the death of a man I didn’t know but kin nonetheless, replaying the video as he cried out to the inhabitants of a world that he would soon depart. I watched and I cried, but what did I do?
My TV glowed orange as the nation went up in flames. D.C. was on fire, Minneapolis in ashes. Police met protestors with barricades and batons. They tear-gassed the masked and the innocent, those who marched to make the value of Black lives known, a physical demonstration of what I’d tried to prove my whole life. And all the while I watched from a screen.
I was angry with myself. Silence was a being I’d never known, but somehow I’d made friends with it. My tears had dried and my optimism turned to despondency, leaving me with no words left to speak. I was exhausted, tired of having watched so many Black faces become another name on a T-shirt, fatigued by the majority rejecting our incessant fight for change.
In this time where vocality is most crucial, I’ve found myself recoiling, my silence and guilt the combined product of hopelessness.
~
When I got accepted into Washington University, I felt like it was something I had earned. I had worked hard in every class from kindergarten to 12th grade, having been a straight-A student for the majority of that time. I came to school early and left late, worked tirelessly to get to where many thought I didn’t belong. I had earned my seat at the table.
To some of the other kids at my predominantly white school, of course I got in. After all, I was Black. To them, that was it. They had diminished all of my efforts, gleaned over my accomplishments with the notion of affirmative action. Because why else would a Black person enter a high-achieving university if not to fill a quota?
It is purely exhausting to constantly try and eradicate this mentality, screaming “I’m worth it” to people who do not care. It hurts to know that no matter what I do, no matter what I accomplish, who I help or what I give, no matter how many words I write or speak, some people will never see me as anything more than a Black woman, a stereotype, a threat.
They’ll see my Blackness before they know my name, and for many, that’s all they need to see. They don’t need to know my name, see my accomplishments, hear my dreams, my fears, my goals. They see my Blackness, and they’ve known me before they’ve met me.
The officers and the racists, they saw the Blackness of Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. They saw their Blackness and decided that they knew them, a falsity that they used to justify murder.
And it is this fact that quelled my words and hindered me from speaking out. When every word you say to advocate for yourself is met with scrutiny and contempt or “I understand, but…”, when you’ve watched your own city burn as the product of injustice, yet the same crime that brought it to the ground was committed multiple times after, justice still far away, you begin to feel like no matter how loud you are, people won’t hear you. And there is some truth to that.
There are some people in this world who don’t see a problem because they don’t want to see a problem. These same people are content and comfortable at being on top, and are complacent in the mounting injustices because their lives aren’t at stake because of it.
But my life is at stake, and so are the lives of every Black person in America. I took a silence that was not mine to take, fell victim to my sorrow, but this is not an option, for if we give in, all the pain we have endured and the blood that has been spilled will be in vain. The system will carry on without us, which only opens a door for America’s past mistakes to become its future.
We’re not playing a game, fighting for a trophy at the end of a tournament. We are fighting for our lives. We take a knee to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives as unintended martyrs at the hands of the system.
We’re not playing a game, fighting for a trophy at the end of a tournament. We are fighting for our lives. We take a knee to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives as unintended martyrs at the hands of the system. We protest to be seen by those who choose to turn away from what is too obvious to ignore. We fight because we must.
I’ve come to understand that everyone’s minds and hearts cannot be changed, as racism and the hatred that accompanies it are companions that some refuse to let go of. But for every person who chooses the path of hate, there is a person who stands beside us in our fight for humanity. The time of oppression has long since been outdated. We cannot and we will not give up until equity and justice wins out against racism and hate. We will march, we will protest and we will not stop until America knows that Black lives matter.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Staff Editorial: Dear Chancellor Martin
by Student Life
Jun 08, 2020
“Dear Chancellor Martin,
There is no way we can fully understand, express or summarize the myriad thoughts and emotions the members of the Washington University community were experiencing on Sunday, May 31. But there are some things we do know. Students, faculty and staff were angry—yet another Black man was killed at the hands of a police officer. They were sad as they witnessed police brutality continue to tear apart their communities. They were tired, the continued need to destroy a lasting, insidious system of racial injustice proven over and over again.
Since May 25, students have had to sit with the emotional weight of George Floyd’s murder, along with the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. And then, nearly a week after the murder, you sent us all an email.
The Student Life Editorial Board was disappointed by your delayed response. A delay would have been acceptable had you provided full recognition of Wash. U.’s privilege or more candid emotion. Your words did not extend past acknowledgement of the situation. It felt as if the emotion portrayed was out of obligation and not real concern. The email felt performative.
The email fails to reckon with the University’s immense monetary and social power—a power that grants Wash. U. the privilege to make transformative change not just on campus but in St. Louis as well, a region frequently defined by a systemically reinforced racial divide.
Yes, there has been some progress on the University’s campus, from documented efforts to increase the acceptance of underrepresented students to the expansion of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and programming like the Day of Dialogue & Action. But that is not nearly enough.
We cannot afford to speak on racial injustices solely when they are too obvious to ignore. Racism against Wash. U.’s Black community is an everyday reality, so Wash. U. needs an everyday plan to help eradicate the problem.
The Student Life Editorial Board also found it particularly concerning that you chose this email to address both racism against the Black community and the Asian American and Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) community at the same time. The racism directed at Asian American and APIA students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is inexcusable. But it is an egregious injustice that the University should have addressed earlier, independently of this email. The blatant discrimination and racism against the Black community and the APIA community are separate problems that each deserve to be given their own attention.
You condemn “the acts of hate, aggression or disrespect toward any racial group that may happen anywhere,” but the University community—particularly the Black community—deserves to see more from you. It is crucial that you make marginalized individuals feel heard. You must act on their demands, because a university is not only a place of education for students, it is also a home for us, and a community for employees.
Wash. U. as an institution is an integral part of our lives. Thus, its students and employees deserve a proper response from the administration. We recognize that this email was an effort to show solidarity. This expression, however, was not enough.
While most universities have yet to produce a fully satisfactory response, many institutions have taken steps that we felt were lacking in your statement. The Saint Louis University statement , for example, included an acknowledgment of the broader systemic issues people of color face every single day of their lives. As SLU President Fred Pestello wrote in his statement, “This is about the countless, pervasive ways institutions, policies, programs and systems are structured in a manner that oppresses people of marginalized identities.” This issue is about more than one specific incident; it demonstrates systemic oppression that has been ignored for far too long.
You acknowledged that “there are no words that will be enough” and that initiatives are being planned, but there are still actions that could have been taken to amplify your words. We would have liked to see your email connect us to existing University resources like Habif’s mental health counseling and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The University of Chicago’s provost, Ka Yee C. Lee, included a list of resources in her email to students. We can’t help but wonder why you didn’t do the same.
That is not to say that all hope is lost, because there are steps that you and the University can take toward progress. Community members are still feeling all of those painful emotions we felt last Sunday night, so the next time you email us, there should be true empathy. There should be plans. There should be real acknowledgment of how the University has failed us in the past and there should be concrete steps that the University is taking to move forward.
Chancellor Martin, the Student Life Editorial Board challenges you to host an open-access town hall this month. There, any member of the Washington University community could pose questions about the University’s responsibility to its Black students, faculty and staff and specific actions the University can take to address the institutionalized racism on campus and in St. Louis.
We realize that one town hall will not solve Wash. U.’s institutionalized racism, but we think it’s a starting point to hold every facet of the University accountable to making sincere change. Moreover, we believe the onus is on you and the University administration to be the catalyst for this change. We hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,
The Student Life Editorial Board
The Student Life Editorial Board is composed of the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, Managing Editors, Senior Forum Editor, Senior Scene Editor, Senior Cadenza Editor, Senior Sports Editors, Directors of Engagement and the Copy Chief.
Editor’s note: Please read Student Life’s Letter from the Editor on this subject here .”

respond
 
Importance
1
Op-Ed: The troubling Olin name
by Student Life
Jun 07, 2020
“Before the COVID-19 crisis, I walked past a giant portrait of John M. Olin every day on the way to my office as a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis. The business school and a library at Washington University are named after Olin, who was a longtime member of the university’s Board of Trustees and gave millions of dollars to the school, including through the eponymous John M. Olin Foundation .
Because I’m interested in understanding how philanthropic donations affect higher education institutions, I looked into Olin’s history of giving to universities. In light of the current protests in response to the killings of Black people by police across the country, what I learned about Olin’s motivation for donating to universities was disturbing.
As reported by Jane Mayer , Olin’s focus on higher education stemmed from a protest of racial injustice by a group of approximately 80 Black students at Cornell University, Olin’s alma mater, in 1969. In response to the protest, Cornell’s president agreed to expedite the establishment of a Black Studies program at the university and to investigate the burning of a cross outside of a building where Black students lived. The president also granted the protesters amnesty.
Olin was deeply distressed by the protest at Cornell. As described by Mayer, “Almost worse than the behavior of the protestors, from his standpoint, was the behavior of Cornell’s president, James A. Perkins, a committed liberal who had gone out of his way to open the university’s doors to inner-city minority students and now seemed to be bending the curriculum and lowering disciplinary standards to placate them.” To counter what Olin perceived to be happening at Cornell and other universities, the John M. Olin Foundation—which previously focused on donations to hospitals, museums and the like—began to focus its donations on the country’s elite universities. According to Mayer, “He began to fund an ambitious offensive to reorient the political slant of American higher education to the right.”
Olin’s reaction to the Black student protest at Cornell exemplifies the type of attitude that allows social injustices to persist. By having a school and library named after Olin, Washington University implicitly lends credence to his views, sending exactly the wrong message at this critical juncture in the history of St. Louis and the nation. Imagine the powerful message that the University could send by removing the Olin name from campus buildings. It would signal that the University values social justice over large financial gifts. It would provide a tangible sign that the University’s leadership is willing to take the types of steps necessary to address the gross inequities and injustices that plague St. Louis and the nation.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Andrew Martin delivers what’s expected, but not deserved
by Student Life
Jun 03, 2020
“On Sunday, Chancellor Martin released a statement to the Washington University community titled “On Racial Equity and Justice.” The statement attempts to acknowledge the pain that students of color have experienced while assuring us that Wash. U. is trying it’s very best to create a supportive environment for “all members of our community.”
The statement, much like the reaction to the Christchurch mosque shooting , is too little, too late. It came nearly a week after the death of George Floyd and after a full weekend of protests. If Martin is wracked with “sadness and grief” as he claims, then what could possibly explain the delay in his response? If we take him at his word and accept that he spent that time reflecting and having conversations with University leaders, then what explains the lack of specifics in his statement?
Besides a cursory mention of Floyd at the very beginning, the statement avoids getting into details of the crisis. The acts of violence Martin musters the courage to tut-tut about are largely ascribed to no perpetrator. The words “privilege” and “white” are nowhere to be found. While there is a brief mention of police violence, Chancellor Martin doesn’t delve into Wash. U.’s role in the maintenance of carceral institutions. There isn’t even a whisper about WUPD’s role in antagonizing students and black community members . While he waxes poetic about racial violence, the institution that he leads remains connected to private prisons that benefit from mass incarceration and the criminalization of Blackness. Also absent from his statement are any specific actions Martin sees the University making in the future. He promises progress, but he only delivers measured tepidity.
This is probably what I should have expected. Chancellor Martin is calculating. He considers the actions of similarly situated institutions judiciously and takes careful steps with that in mind. Wash. U. is never the first to act and often adopts similar measures to institutions it sees as contemporaries. Some would call this cautious—and in the right circumstances, I agree that his strategy is appropriate and produces good policy. But in cases of genuine crises, I see it as indecisive foot-dragging.
Perhaps I am being unfair to Chancellor Martin. We used to get statements like this from former Vice Chancellor Lori White, and I read those somewhat more sympathetically. Dr. White is a Black woman who has spent her entire professional career navigating white institutions. If she told me she acknowledged our pain, I would believe her. I don’t give Martin that same benefit of the doubt. He hasn’t earned it.
The first time I ever saw Chancellor Martin was at the Martin Luther King Day commemoration in January of 2019. At that event, he took time to praise “the restraint” shown by University administration 50 years prior towards protestors. While historical context may show that the Wash. U. administration was slightly more progressive than their contemporaries, in 2019, it rang as tone-deaf to view not sicking the dogs and turning the hoses on Black students as laudatory. Since then, I have read Martin’s statements critically. He has not shown me that he is an ally to Black students, thus he should not expect to be received as one.
I have no doubt that Chancellor Martin meant well. But his statement felt more like a slap in the face than a pat on the back. It has made me rethink the necessity of statements like it from University administration. Was there anything Martin could have said that would have accomplished his goal? Did I need to see administration go through the motions of care—extending a hand only out of obligation, comfort only skin deep—or would I have preferred them cutting the bull**** and let me stay angry at their absence? Is inauthentic hand-wringing better than nothing?
For my money, the answer is no. If the University is going to announce a major action, then I would love to hear from them. But if this is the best they can do, they should save their breath. Before Andrew Martin released his statement, I had no interest in hearing from him. After he released it, I wished he hadn’t.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Citing ‘possible regulatory liabilities,’ WU turns down federal CARES funding
by Student Life
May 22, 2020
“Washington University announced Wednesday that it would reject the $6.4 million pandemic relief package it had been allocated by the federal government.
The package was allotted to the University as part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March. $14 billion of the fund was set aside for 4,500 qualifying colleges and universities.
Grace Bruton | Student Life
“After careful consideration of the possible regulatory liabilities associated with the Fund, we have concluded that accepting this funding would not be the correct course of action for our long-term recovery,” the University wrote in a statement. The statement did not clarify what the University meant by “possible regulatory liabilities” and administrators could not be reached for comment.
Several schools with extensive endowments, including Harvard University and Stanford University, have also said they would not accept the federal aid , following criticism from President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for being granted access to aid despite having a high endowment.
However, the University’s choice to deny the money comes nearly a month after those schools had announced that they would not take the relief. Washington University’s endowment is $8.1 billion, significantly lower than Harvard’s $40.9 billion or Stanford’s $26.4 billion.
The University had included the $6.4 million allocation as a possible source of revenue in an April 20 letter to faculty and staff.
In the letter, Chancellor Andrew Martin and two other administrators wrote that the University had “started work on exploring cost recovery” through the CARES Act. “While certainly significant, much of this funding is restricted for conditional use and in no way makes up for our losses,” the administrators wrote.
Like most universities nationwide, the University is experiencing financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic. Projecting a revenue loss of $175 million by the end of the fiscal year, the University furloughed 1,300 employees and cut administrator salaries by 15-20%.
The Department of Education mandated that at least 50% of the CARES Act funds must be used to provide emergency grants for students. Many schools that have accepted the relief, such as Vanderbilt University and Cornell University , have put all of the funding into supporting students who receive financial aid.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley was among the critics of universities accepting federal aid. In April, Hawley introduced a bill that would prevent institutions with endowments larger than $10 billion from receiving CARES Act funds unless they had already spent 10 times the amount allocated to them on emergency grants for students.
The University maintained that it would explore other means of assisting its students. “We remain firmly committed to providing financial support to our most vulnerable students through other means, and will dedicate additional university resources to ensure that we are able to meet demonstrated need,” the statement read. “We have offered funding to students through grants, housing and dining refunds, our Crisis Response Fund and other programs, and will take necessary steps to increase our support as the situation continues to evolve.”
The University’s Crisis Response Fund was meant to address students’ essential needs through May 15, such as unexpected rent and utilities for non-University housing, groceries, medicine and unreimbursed co-pays for physical or mental health services.
“While we will make every effort to offer some emergency funding for stipend requests that meet the criteria laid out above, we know that it will not be possible for us to grant every request. Some students will need to rely upon non-university resources to meet their needs,” Sam Fox Associate Dean of Students Georgia Binnington wrote in an email to students, April 28.
The University issued prorated refunds for housing, parking fees and health and wellness fees, as well as lost wages from work study and meal plan balances on a student-by-student basis.
The University has not yet announced whether it would accept the $16.5 million allocated to the Medical School from a different portion of the CARES Act.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Predicting hundreds of millions in upcoming pandemic expenses, Brown Corporation approves base budget for FY 2021
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 13, 2020
“The Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, voted to approve a $1.3 billion base budget for the 2021 fiscal year during its May meeting, but this budget may be revised once the format of the fall semester is decided.
Expenses and potential losses
Because the budget was drafted from September 2019 to April 2020, it “does not incorporate the full impact the pandemic will likely have on Brown’s financial position,” President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in a May 26 Today@Brown announcement .
The budget report predicts potential financial losses of $100 million to $200 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Herald previously reported.
The University has already spent over $21 million on COVID-19-related expenses including refunding room and board, facilitating travel, providing technological support to students and maintaining employment for some students and staff who could not work remotely or on site, Provost Richard Locke P’18 told The Herald.
Ramping down research, extending tenure clocks, employment contracts and financial support as well as canceling pre-college programs also increased the financial loss. The University also expects that “there will be a dramatic increase in our financial aid budget” in the upcoming fiscal year, Locke said.
During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the University’s financial aid budget increased by 21 percent, The Herald previously reported . “The current economic crisis we’re now in is much worse … in impacting Brown families,” Locke added. “When you add up all of these lost revenues and extra expenses, that’s just $100 million dollars.”
Additionally, if the University goes fully online next semester, it will lose room-and-board fees, as well as the tuition of students who may decide to take a leave of absence rather than enroll in an online semester.
In a “de-densified residential” scenario, the University will need to rent hotel rooms and implement safety measures. With a possible tri-semester calendar , Locke said the University will likely need to hire more faculty to teach during the extra semester.
All these pandemic-related measures amount to further financial strain. But “because the University has done a great job over the last several years in how it runs itself, we actually have the resources to do what we need to do” to handle the pandemic’s impacts responsibly, Locke added.
Budget priorities: “A picture of … an institution’s values”
The recently approved budget serves as a baseline for developing detailed budgets specific to the three forms the fall semester could take: entirely remote, part of a tri-semester model (with students only attending two of the three terms) or a regular return to campus.
The current base budget, which was designed by the University Resources Committee before being approved by the Corporation, has an operating budget of $1.265 billion of revenues and $1.274 billion of expenses for a deficit of $8.4 million or -0.1 percent, according to the report . This deficit will increase as the budget adjusts to COVID-19-related losses, according to Paxson, and an ad hoc administrative committee will be working with a COVID-19 Finance Committee of Brown Corporation members on financial plans and strategy for the coming months.
The budget also includes $347 million in funding for undergraduate and graduate student financial support — a 9 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. The budget allots $552 million for faculty, staff and student salaries, wages and benefits, including a 30 percent increase in funding for student wages from last year.
A budget is “a picture of … an institution’s values,” Locke said. “If you look at our budget, the vast majority of money that we spend is on people … as opposed to palaces.”
Total endowment distributions are projected to increase by $12 million, despite a 0.05 percent decrease in payout rate — the money distributed annually to the University to support operations — from FY 2020 to FY 2021. This decrease is part of the University’s plan to grow the endowment in order to ultimately increase the percentage of the budget drawn from the endowment, therefore decreasing the University’s reliance on tuition and fees over time, Locke explained.
While tuition and fees still comprise about 49 percent of the University’s operating budget, this year the URC made a conscious decision to commit to decreasing the growth curve of tuition and fees by keeping the percent raise below four percent, Locke said. Undergraduate tuition for the 2020-21 academic year increased by 3.75 percent , The Herald previously reported.
The University was also able to decrease potential budget expenditures by tens of millions of dollars through the implementation of a zero-base budgeting system, Locke said. While the previous incremental budgetary system simply built on the preceding year’s budget — often including unnecessary expenses from years past — the base budget keeps focus on funding each department’s top priorities for the coming year and reallocating resources away from unimportant expenses.
“Notwithstanding very tough times, we’re still investing in some of the major priorities of the University,” Locke said. “Diversity and inclusion, financial aid, economic inclusion and academic excellence.”
During the meeting, the Corporation also formally accepted approximately $88 million in individual gifts of over $1 million made since February 2020 and discussed the status of the BrownTogether campaign, which remains on track to meet its $3 billion fundraising goal by 2022.
Seven new Trustees and one New Alumni Trustee were elected to the Corporation. Two new members were elected to the Board of Fellows and the Corporation approved the appointment of 21 faculty to named chairs.
The Board of Fellows also approved the candidates for 2,657 degrees which were awarded May 24. This past April, the Board had also approved the candidates for 48 doctors of medicine degrees for Alpert Medical School students who graduated early to assist with medical responses to COVID-19.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Demoted student-athletes weigh transfer option
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 12, 2020
“This article is part of the series Demoted: A Look at the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative
Two weeks after losing their varsity status, over 100 former student-athletes now face a once-unfathomable choice: stay at Brown or continue their athletic careers at a different institution.
President Christina Paxson P’19 announced June 9 that the men’s track, field and cross country teams would have their varsity status reinstated , eliminating the consideration of transfer for athletes from those teams. But student-athletes from the other eight teams will remain at the club level, and some are considering leaving the University where they’ve made friends and significant progress on their degrees.
The decision, according to four athletes, relies on a number of factors, including the effect of COVID-19 on the upcoming season, how many years of eligibility a student-athlete has left at the University and the landscape of their sport nationwide.
For Lauren Reischer ’21, an incoming co-captain of the equestrian team approaching her senior year, leaving the University with one year to go makes little sense, she said.
“I definitely wouldn’t be transferring because of riding, and it definitely would not have made sense to transfer academically,” she said. “I’ve loved every single day I’ve spent at Brown.”
Schools in the South and West — such as Auburn University, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Georgia — dominate the college equestrian world, Reicher said, which adds yet another layer of complexity to the prospect of transferring from Brown.
Only 17 Division I schools maintain varsity equestrian teams, with Cornell maintaining the only other varsity team in the Ivy League, according to the National College Equestrian Association’s website .
“I don’t think anyone on the equestrian team will transfer, personally,” Reischer said. “It would be a very big transition to go from Brown to (the University of) Georgia.”
Andrew Zimbalist P’00 ’20, an economist at Smith College and an expert on NCAA athletics, said he expected a small number of student-athletes to transfer in response to the decision — a “trickle,” but not a “flood.”
“The sports that are being cut are not sports somebody who’s at Brown would expect to play professionally,” he said in an interview with The Herald. “The downgrade from varsity to club isn’t all that dramatic.”
Zimbalist also anticipates that student-athletes may prioritize the value of a Brown degree over the ability to play their sport at the varsity level. “Why would somebody, if they can continue to play their sport on a club level, leave Brown?” he said.
Athletically-motivated transfers, Zimbalist noted, are a rarity in the Ivy League: Typically, such transfers may be prompted by an issue with a coach or personal or familial commitments, he added.
Still, some athletes are weighing their options. As of June 6 —  prior to the reinstatement of men’s track, field and cross country — 18 University student-athletes had entered the NCAA’s transfer portal, allowing other college coaches to contact them, according to the Compliance Office, which oversees transfer eligibility requirements within the Athletic Department. Additionally, because the NCAA does not govern men’s and women’s squash, the department gave both teams a “blanket ‘permission to contact letter’” allowing athletes to correspond with other coaches.
Entering the portal does not guarantee that a student-athlete will transfer. After going through a recruiting process, student-athletes then apply for admission at a new institution and, if accepted, can transfer.
The University offered four Zoom calls with academic deans and eligibility officers from the Athletics Department in the days following the announcement of the varsity cuts: two for incoming students, and two for returning students, the Compliance Office wrote in an email to The Herald.
Students who requested follow-up discussions have also met with the Compliance Office “one-on-one” over Zoom, according to the email.
In an interview with The Herald, Director of Athletics Jack Hayes said he expects to have a clearer picture of transfer numbers in “the next couple weeks.”
“I certainly hope that students remain at Brown,” he added.
“We’re prepared to do a greater volume (of transfers) based on the recent (Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative),” said Deputy Dean of the College Christopher Dennis, who helps students with the academic portion of outbound transfers. “So far it hasn’t materialized — but we’ll be prepared to meet demand.”
Luca Jezzeny ’23 and Pinya Pipatjarasgit ’22, both members of the recently demoted men’s and women’s golf teams, said they were both reluctantly exploring the potential of transferring — so long as their transfer destination could match Brown’s academic rigor.
Shortly after receiving the news about the golf team, Jezzeny said he began to consider the “sad idea” of transferring.
“I knew I wanted to continue to pursue golf at the Division I level,” he said. “I figured I should at least look to see if there were opportunities, based on how much I’ve worked at golf.”
Jezzeny said he had begun working with his coach to look at teams that could be a “good fit academically and athletically.”
“The goal would be to go to another Ivy League (school) with a golf program, because I want to come out with an Ivy League degree,” Pipatjarasgit said. As of early June, she had put her name in the transfer portal to talk to other coaches whom she had encountered in the recruiting process in high school.
But with transfer deadlines passed, along with low acceptance rates and an uncertain season ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pipatjarasgit admitted that the process could be “very hard” as she enters the second half of her college career.
“The worst part of this whole situation is how much I love Brown,” Pipatjarasgit said. “I feel like I found such a home.”
For currently enrolled students, the open curriculum also presents a unique hurdle in transferring and is “one of the number one flags that I put out there for students to look at,” Dennis said. “If you’re considering transferring from Brown, you definitely want to talk to your admissions officer from your target institutions.” Distribution requirements, absent within the open curriculum, “can be a third of your course requirements” at another institution, he noted.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Brown Research Seed Fund fuels ongoing research on COVID-19
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 11, 2020
“This article is part of the series A look into Brown's COVID-19 Research Seed Funded projects
The University distributed $350,000 in research funds through the COVID-19 Seed Awards this April to faculty carrying out experiments on the virus and its societal impact. The 15 diverse projects, selected from about 50 applicants, range from the sciences and medicine, to engineering, public health and data analysis, according to Vice President for Research and Professor of Mathematics Jill Pipher and the University website .
As faculty wished to pursue innovative projects to understand and combat COVID-19, the University used its operating budget to establish the fund and “make it possible to do this aspirational work at the most critical time,” Pipher wrote in an email to The Herald. The research chosen for the fund appeared to have a “potential significant, rapid impact on human health” or “would create products of immediate need for the health care system.” 
A cohort of studies are tackling the molecular aspects of the pandemic. These projects include the establishment of a blood sample biorepository, research of the virus through its genome and investigations on hormonal impacts on the virus.
Building a blood biorepository
Blood lies at the heart of numerous translational and biomedical research studies — those related to COVID-19 and not — but accessing clinically-relevant patient samples, especially during a pandemic, has proven challenging. 
A newly-built blood biorepository housed at the Lifespan Clinical Research Center is preserving human blood samples at freezing temperatures to help facilitate COVID-19 investigations, said the project’s principal investigator, Senior Associate Dean for the Program in Biology and Professor of Medical Science Edward Hawrot. He hopes the samples will be readily accessible — and thus, used quickly. 
“‘The goal of this biobank is to go bankrupt,’” Hawrot said, quoting co-principal investigator Bharat Ramratnam, associate professor of medicine, chief science officer of Lifespan, and medical director of the Lifespan Clinical Research Center.
The samples are drawn from patients visiting the Rhode Island and Miriam Hospitals’ emergency rooms. These patients have been informed about the risks and benefits that come with participating in this program and have consented to donate their blood to research studies. They typically do not know whether or not they have COVID-19 at the time the blood samples are obtained, but they will have exhibited symptoms, Hawrot said.
To date, at least 100 people have donated their blood to the biorepository, according to the Advance Clinical Translational Research website . The volume collected from each participant will be shared among many researchers in smaller quantities. 
Researchers interested in using these samples are able to apply through the Advance-CTR website , which opened May 29. They can also obtain pertinent demographic or medical data about the patients whose samples they receive if it is necessary for their research, but this process is “highly regulated” to protect any personal information, Hawrot said. Researchers’ detailed requests must go through an institutional review board.
Investigators from Rhode Island hospitals, Brown and the University of Rhode Island have expressed interest in using the samples, Hawrot added. 
Professor of Medical Science and of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Wafik El-Deiry’s lab, which also received a COVID-19 Seed award, hopes to use these blood serum samples to compare spike and cytokine protein levels in healthy people, those with varying levels of COVID-19 severity and those with COVID-19 and cancer, El-Deiry said.
The biorepository team is also in discussions with the University of Nebraska Medical Center about making these blood samples available at the United States’s other clinical and translational research centers through a virtual COVID-19 biobank, Hawrot said. This way, researchers who may have a shortage of samples in their area could request more from other CTRs. 
The University team also includes co-PIs Professor of Emergency Medicine, Medicine and Engineering Gregory Jay and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Francesca Beaudoin.
Funding from the group’s COVID-19 Seed award is being allocated toward supplies and compensating additional personnel who have been collecting and processing the blood samples.
Gathering information from the genome
The virus responsible for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, uses RNA as its genetic material and passes these molecules from cell to cell upon infection. Another group of University researchers aims to use their expertise in infectious disease and engineering to assess the virus on a molecular level through its genome and ultimately help address the pandemic on personal and public health levels.
Identifying variations in the virus’s genome across locations and in people over time could illuminate more about the origins and development of the virus, which “could be relevant for the current wave of the pandemic or (a) future wave of the pandemic,” said Professor of Medicine Rami Kantor, a principal investigator of this COVID-19 Seed-funded project. 
Kantor’s lab has previously collaborated with the other principal investigator of the project: Anubhav Tripathi, professor of engineering and medical sciences (courtesy). Kantor and Tripathi have worked on similar studies considering the RNA genome of HIV in efforts to address the development of drug resistance to the virus. 
The project’s other researchers include Vlad Novitsky, MD, PhD; Akarsh Manne, MS and Mark Howison ‘06, MS from Kantor’s lab and Lindsay Schneider GS, Kiara Lee GS and Dulguunnaran Naranbat GS from Tripathi’s lab. 
But to carry out their new experiments, the researchers must first sequence the viral genome. 
This process often requires polymerase chain reaction, which replicates a small quantity of starting RNA — a technique which is costly and time-consuming.
To accommodate the high quantity of virus samples expected for this study, Tripathi and members of his lab are developing devices and technological methods that are “ faster, cheaper, easier and (of) greater use,” he said.
Once the researchers sequence the RNA of viruses from infected patients in Rhode Island, they plan to examine these sequences in the context of other sequences from the region and around the world to learn how mutations in the genomes compare, Kantor said. 
They plan to compare viral genomes based on COVID-19 severity and other health conditions in the patients that the virus infected. The team could also investigate reinfection from the virus, Kantor said.
The experiments “ could help us track the infection, track its origin, track different waves of it and hopefully help prevent people from getting infected currently or in the future,” he said.
Following a hunch about hormones
COVID-19 seems to affect male and female patients differently: Infected males on the whole tend to have more serious symptoms and outcomes than females, said Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Lalit Beura, the principal investigator leading a study in his lab on the possible link between hormone levels and COVID-19 pathogenesis, the progression of the disease.  
Before the pandemic, Beura’s lab was already studying how other diseases disproportionately affect men and women. They turned their attention to coronaviruses once the pandemic was underway. 
“Having this funding opportunity from Brown definitely opens up possibilities … to start a new area of research,” Beura said.
This discrepancy may be due to differences in hormone levels. While estrogen and progesterone hormones are more common in females, testosterone is generally abundant in males. The researchers are using mouse models and a coronavirus that infects mice — related to but different from the COVID-19 virus — to determine whether there is a relationship between hormone levels and illness severity, Beura said. By manipulating testosterone levels in mice, they can watch how COVID-19 manifests in response and how this change impacts immune cell activity, which spurs the disease when excessive. Another possibility is investigating the potentially protective attributes of estrogen, Beura added.
Once the researchers develop an evidence-based idea of the hormones’ either helpful or harmful influence on the disease, this knowledge will have “direct applicability to how we treat this disease (and) how we design our policies to avoid having such disparate outcomes,” Beura said. This research could then lead to clinical applications in the long run whereby drugs related to hormone molecules could help regulate COVID-19 in patients.
Sharing sentiments with the other researchers, Beura said the University funding helped make this unprecedented research possible.
Although the COVID-19 Seed fund has already been exhausted, Pipher wrote that the fund’s intention was to propel COVID-19 research efforts quickly in their early stages. 
For example, the award helped the blood biorepository get off the ground, Hawrot said. “That’s the advantage of these awards. …  You build trust and cooperative spirit.”
For researchers still seeking funding for COVID-19-related work, the University has sustained its commitment to connect faculty with funding from external organizations, Pipher wrote.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Men’s Track & Field, Cross Country athletes, alums react to reinstatement
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 10, 2020
“This article is part of the series Demoted: A Look at the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative
On Tuesday evening, President Christina Paxson  P’19 released a statement reversing a May 28 decision to eliminate the Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams as part of the University’s Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative, which demoted 11 varsity teams to club status. While many teams and their supporters condemned the decision, the University’s decision to cut the Men’s Track and Field program sparked especially notable outcry. The sport is one of the most racially diverse in the Ivy League , and the team is one of the winningest programs at the University with 12 All-American athletes and the most Olympian alums of any of Brown’s teams in the past decade.
  The reinstatement of the 145-year-old Men’s Track and Field program as well as the Cross Country team had been anticipated by its athletes as early as last Thursday when they received news that President Paxson would be joining a virtual meeting between Director of Athletics Jack Hayes and the current track and field and cross country athletes. This meeting, which was originally scheduled for last Friday, “wasn’t originally about reinstating the team,” according to men’s runner Kevin Boyce ’21, who was present for the announcement. It was moved to Tuesday “so that President Paxson could also be in on the call.”
Minutes after the call, an email was sent to the Brown community announcing the decision. “We had heard inklings at the end of last week that the University was willing to retract bits of their excellence initiative, but we weren’t really sure what it would look like,” said former men’s runner and alum advocate for reinstatement Martin Martinez ’18.  
The current athletes and alums who closely collaborated to restore the team to varsity status agreed that their reinstatement marks a beginning rather than an end. “We’re not done,” Boyce said. “We have a lot of things that we still want to fight for with regards to diversity and inclusion, … making sure that the voices of student-athletes across the department are continuing to be heard when big decisions are made.”
In under 12 days, student-athletes, alums and their outside supporters banded together to collect just under 50,000 signatures on a petition in favor of reinstating Men’s Track and Field, launched a website which included a video series, slide decks of empirical data and athlete testimonials and attracted support of public figures such as author Malcolm Gladwell . “To all the alumni organizing and making sure that our voice was heard, I just cannot thank you enough,” Boyce said. 
Track and field and cross country alums see the reinstatement of the team as a victory that goes beyond the field. “I was a first-generation full Pell grant student. I would have never gotten out of my small town without track. Brown changed the trajectory of my entire life. The same can be said for so many of my teammates,” said former hammer and shot put thrower Brynn Smith ’11. “We were fighting for the continued existence of a pipeline into a university that changes lives.”
Alum organizers rejoiced at the news, but agreed that their work was far from done. “I was overcome with joy and a sense of belonging to a community that worked tirelessly to save what was ‘Ever True’ to us. We all agreed that the movement does not stop here,” said former women’s high jumper Morayo Akande ’16. “We were able to highlight the amazing diversity of our team, including the many people of color and LGBTQ athletes. We hope to keep (up) this activism … for current and future Brunonians.”
Members of both the male and female teams athletes were relieved to learn of the men’s reinstatement. “The men’s and women’s team is so integrated that cutting the men’s team is like cutting the defensive line of a football team,” Akande said. 
“Brown Track and Field is an example of a truly successful coed environment. We train together, we compete together and we share the same coaches,” said men’s high jumper Numan Maloney ’22. “I really can’t stress enough how intertwined we are as a unit.” 
The men’s team acknowledged the critical support of their female counterparts in achieving their reinstatement. “We’ve said it once, we’ll say it until the wheels fall off: The women’s team and the men’s team are one combined team,” Boyce said. “We can’t thank the women’s team enough for standing by us in such a difficult time and helping us reach the finish line together, just like we do in practice every week.”
Other alums were quick to join in the celebration as news of the meeting spread through team group chats and social media. “I couldn’t believe it,” said runner Daniel Meteer ’18. “I was definitely proud of the alumni effort that came together within hours (of the initial decision to cut the team). It was a really happy moment to know that people coming together … can actually accomplish so much so quickly. I’m feeling very proud to be a Brown track alum.”
“When I heard the news, it was a rush of relief,” said alum reinstatement advocate and runner Jordan Mann ’15. “Those of us at the forefront of this have been working from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. most days, … but we’re not done. We talked a lot about things like justice and equality throughout this campaign. We want to make sure that we talk about equality going forward not just in Men’s Track and Field but throughout our entire athletics department,” he said. “We want to make this the beginning of a discussion about diversity and inclusion in sports within the Ivy League and across the nation.”
The alums plan to remain an active part of that discussion. “The track and field networks are going to be a lot more involved going forward,” said former runner Sarah Yoho ’18. “It is clear now that (alum) involvement is important and will have an effect on the team going forward.” 
“It’s just been amazing seeing the excitement on Facebook, the flood of texts from students, those involved in the other essays that we were working on and the different media outlets that we were talking to, reaching out and saying congrats,” Martinez said. “It’s been great.”
“We can’t thank the whole Brown community enough for their support throughout this. We couldn’t have done it without all of those who helped us along the way,” said Boyce. “I think I speak for all of us when I say, thank you.””

respond
 
Importance
1
Ten voices on varsity team cuts
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 10, 2020
“Following the University’s decision to cut 11 teams as part of the Excellence in Brown Athletics initiative, The Herald invited 100-word submissions from individuals impacted by the decision. The opinions team selected and lightly edited 10 blurbs from former varsity student-athletes and alums on the cut teams describing their reactions to the decision. Blurbs regarding the Men’s track, field and cross country team were removed as the varsity status of these three teams was reinstated June 9.
Jacob Good ’22 (Men’s Squash):
When I created an extreme training schedule the summer before my freshman year, did it pay to push further? Was it necessary to miss high school classes to play in junior squash tournaments? Was I right to skip numerous family and friends events for my intense training schedule? When I sprained my MCL and fractured my knee in a match this year, was it wise to complete an intense physical therapy process? Was chasing my dream of playing varsity squash at Brown worth it? I guess not.   
Courtesy of Stuart Legassick Jacob Good ’22 (right) was a member of the Brown men’s squash team, which was moved to club status on May 28 alongside the women’s squash team.
Kyle Reyes ’23 (Men’s Fencing): 
We were on the rise. For the first time in five years, my team won against an Ivy League school (UPenn). Just the motivation we needed. With enough grit and more talented recruits coming in, we had every reason to believe that the underdogs would soon become Ivy League champions. But in a five-minute call, that dream was crushed. The most talented and hardworking individuals I know were nothing but statistics to the administration. It felt like we were being punished for our hard work. And to top it all off, there was no warning. No consideration. No transparency.
Anna Susini ’22 (Women’s Fencing): 
I thought Brown listened to its students, yet this decision was made with no communication, no transparency, and no student or coach representation. I’ve been fencing competitively for over eight years. All the 6 am wakeup calls, the cross-country road trips, the frenzied late-night studying under an airplane overhead light, the sore muscles, the endless hours of practice – it was all worth it the day I found out I would be fencing for Brown. It was all demolished in the span of a ten-minute phone call. This decision is not just devastating; it goes against everything Brown stands for.
Courtesy of Anna Susini The Brown women’s foil squad poses for a picture at the Ivy League championships held at Harvard this year.
Lauren Rogoff ’05 (Equestrian):
Brown Equestrian has been one of Brown’s winningest teams: we came in the top 5 at Nationals (top 15 teams in the country, out of approximately 285 schools) 5 times in the last 20 years, Brown has the best athlete in IHSA history (Amanda Forte), and we completely dominate the Ivies: we were the first Ivy League school to go to Nationals, and have more Nationals appearances than the rest of the Ivies combined.  To claim that cutting this sport furthers the stated goal of athletic excellence for Brown is factually false, because this already excellent team cannot thrive, or even exist, without varsity status.
Audrey Kim ’21 (Equestrian):
I never did horseback riding seriously before college – there was too much instability in my childhood to have access to the sport. But in my sophomore year at Brown, I went to Equestrian tryouts on a whim. Turns out, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Our barn was a safe haven for me during waves of stress. Horse shows helped me foster resilience. My amazing teammates have shown me what support truly feels like. Without my team’s varsity status, I would have been unable to afford the opportunity to grow closer to the woman I want to be. 
Daphne Maniatis ’23 (Equestrian): 
I was a member of the Varsity Equestrian team coached by Michaela Scanlon. Michaela has devoted 23 years to coaching the Equestrian team, pouring her heart and soul into it. Demoting Equestrian to club status takes away her job and health insurance during a global pandemic, and deprives us of a fantastic teacher. Michaela was given no opportunity to provide input on this decision or to prove the competitiveness and excellence of the team she has built. This is not how Brown should treat anyone, let alone an effective and beloved coach with a quarter-century commitment to the University. 
Chelsea Hamilton ’03 (Captain) and Kate Segarra ‘02 (Equestrian): 
Brown Equestrian is the winningest Equestrian team in the Ivies. Within five years of transitioning from club to varsity, we won our Region, made it to Nationals, and won All-Ivies. Yet our financial burden to the University is limited: Our total expenses per athlete are second lowest among women’s sports. Moreover, our alumni donors cover more than half our costs; we currently sit at top five in donor participation across Brown sports. Varsity status appeals to top rider-scholars and provides access to less-privileged athletes by guaranteeing them funding. President Paxson, how will removing a successful, low-cost team make other Brown sports more competitive? 
Sophie Ulene ’20 (Captain) (Women’s Fencing): 
I had the privilege of leading Brown Fencing for its final season. On the strip, we won conference meets and produced NCAA qualifiers. In the classroom, Women’s Fencing was Brown’s only women’s team with a perfect APR score for 15 years straight. While this reallocation of funds may someday produce more wins for Brown athletics overall, the Brown that I love and called home did not define “excellence” merely as “winning.” My Brown works to elevate its students rather than giving up on them. Brown Fencing is — by all definitions of the word — excellent, and I refuse to be its last captain. 
Courtesy of Douglas Ulene Sophie Ulene ’20 (left), a former captain of the women’s fencing team, flèches for the touch.
Toby Cohen ’09 (Men’s Fencing): 
It’s really heartbreaking to see such great programs cut and to have that decision be painted as promoting excellence and diversity — particularly in the case of cutting track while promoting sailing. These teams, largely niche, are more competitive (on the field and off) than some of the more mainstream sports. I came to Brown specifically because of the attitudes of individualism and fearlessness espoused by the Open Curriculum. It’s no coincidence that this decision comes two years after ESPN invests more money in Ivy League football and basketball. Brown is being followers, not leaders, and that’s not the Brown I know.
Kate Esselen ’02 (Women’s Squash):
I chose Brown (over other Ivy League and elite schools) for the squash program, along with the academics and the culture of the school. No single class or experience while at Brown was more meaningful than my participation on the squash team. The only mentor from my undergraduate years that I am still in touch with is our coach, Stuart LeGassick. The culture of hard work, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and commitment to excellent academics he instilled in all of us prepared me for my long journey through medical and business school after Brown. To take this experience away from current and future students is devastating and will be a loss to the entire Brown community.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Letter: Brown is Better Off for President Paxson’s Athletics Initiative
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 10, 2020
“To the Editor:
It is highly ironic that contributor Peter Mackie ’59 extolled former President Ruth Simmons when it was her abject decade-long failure to support Brown athletics that has led to President Christina Paxson P’19’s necessary and reasoned initiative. Simmons slashed admissions slots for student-athletes, underfunded the smallest athletics’ budget in the League and increased Academic Index standards beyond those established for Brown by the Ivy League Council. Ever the politician, she decided to reject her own committee’s recommended reduction in sports teams despite Brown having a low endowment and budget relative to the League, as well as inferior facilities. Finally, Brown now enjoys a President who is guided by realities and solid rationales in reviewing and acting upon Brown’s abysmal competitive record within its Ivy cohort. There would have never been a good time to reduce its unsustainable sponsorship of the third highest number of teams in college athletics. President Paxson is willing to make the hard/unpopular decisions when the application of contextual rationales warrant them. And Brown is better off for it!
— Kevin A. Seaman ’69”

respond
 
Importance
1
Men’s track, field and cross country reinstated as varsity sports
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 09, 2020
“This article is part of the series Demoted: A Look at the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative
The men’s track, field and cross country teams have been reinstated to the varsity roster, a reversal of their recent demotion to the club level, President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in a community-wide email Tuesday night. The other eight teams that were demoted as part of the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative will retain their new club status.  
Paxson wrote that the University chose to reinstate men’s track, field and cross country partially in response to feedback about how cutting the three teams would “have real and lasting implications for efforts to build and sustain diverse and inclusive communities for our students at Brown, and particularly our community of Black students and alumni.” The adverse effects the cuts would have had on the women’s track, field and cross country teams also factored into the decision to reinstate the three men’s teams, she added.
In order to comply with Title IX regulations and a 1998 legal settlement unique to Brown, changes to varsity roster sizes will need to be evaluated in the coming year, Paxson wrote. 
“The reinstatement of men’s track, field and cross country will have implications for the squad sizes of Brown’s varsity teams,” Paxson wrote. “However, we have determined that with some modifications, Brown will be able to remain in compliance with the requirements of the legal settlement and with Title IX for the time being.”
After Paxson announced the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative May 28 and the demotion of men’s and women’s fencing, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s squash, women’s skiing, women’s equestrian and men’s track, field and cross country, athletes from each team jumped into action to petition for their varsity status to be reinstated. A petition specific to reinstating men’s track, field and cross country teams garnered almost 50,000 signatures at press time.
As members of a particularly diverse team within Brown athletics, athletes argued the team’s demotion would negatively impact representation of athletes of color across the entire varsity roster, The Herald previously reported . 
“The original revised roster of varsity sports maintained Brown’s overall diversity in varsity athletics, but we now more fully appreciate the consequences of eliminating men’s track, field and cross country for Black students in our community and among our extended community of Black alumni,” Paxson wrote. 
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. ”

respond
 
Importance
1
Community organizations at Brown take a stand for George Floyd
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 08, 2020
“As students continue to take to the streets to protest George Floyd’s death two weeks ago at the hands of a white police officer, University community organizations and members have chosen to speak out and urge action in support of the movement against systemic racism and police brutality.
“Statements are statements. There are limits to what the following words can provide for you by way of emotional support or generative solutions,” the Brown Center for Students of Color (BCSC) wrote in an email to their members and in a post to their Facebook page. “We are grieving along with you. We are tired. We are devastated.” The BCSC also listed five resources for getting involved: Movement for Black Lives , Black Visions Collective , the People’s Forum in NYC , African American Policy Forum and how to support local community bailout funds .
The Black Student Union (BSU) released a statement in solidarity with the movement and donated to organizations such as the Black Visions Collective , North Star Health Collective and Reclaim the Block in support of racial justice.
In the past, BSU has focused on “joy and Black healing” to provide an uplifting affinity space for Black students and students of African descent, according to co-president Daneva Moncrieffe ’21. But with demonstrations taking place across the country and University students away from campus, co-president Lauren Wilson ’21 said that BSU is trying to support members remotely.
“We’re talking more about how we can assist them, not just how they can assist this movement,” Wilson said. “We just want to provide them with mental health resources and just other ways to just kind of uplift their own Black communities.”
BSU has also asked non-Black peers to “continue to educate themselves on how to be better allies right now and going forward.” Their statement provided a link to letters to send to family members about anti-Blackness , mental health resources for Black people and other resources including petitions, possible places to donate and social media accounts to follow.
“Place yourself in temporary discomfort to call out the racism and anti-Blackness in your social circles that has kept Black folks in discomfort for centuries,” BSU members wrote.
President Christina Paxson P’19 released a statement in a May 30 community-wide email signed by 20 other University administrators “regarding the racist incidents that continue to cut short the lives of Black people every day.”
“This is historical, lasting and persistent. Structures of power, deep-rooted histories of oppression, as well as prejudice, outright bigotry and hate, directly and personally affect the lives of millions of people in this nation every minute and every hour,” she wrote.
The University will “leverage the expertise of our faculty, staff and students to develop programming, courses and research opportunities designed to advance knowledge and promote essential change in policy and practice in the name of equity and justice.” Future updates providing “opportunities to engage” will be available through Today@Brown, according to the email.
On June 5, the graduate students of the Department of Africana Studies wrote a letter addressed to University leaders, including Paxson, and the University community calling on Brown to take four actions to accelerate efforts to “abolish the police and the carceral state.”
The students urged the University to immediately divest from and sever “all formal contracts and relationships with the Providence Police Department.” They additionally called on the University to disarm and reclassify campus security employees, redirect funds from the Department of Public Safety and from specific programs such as Coffee with a Cop toward “community organizing, collective healing, and reparations in the form of a fund for Black Providence residents displaced by the university.”
In their last University-specific demand, they asked Brown to end its relationship with CEO Warren Kanders ’79, whose military supply manufacturing company, Safariland, has reportedly sold tear gas used on migrants crossing the U.S. border, in addition to other incidents , The Herald previously reported . The students concluded the letter by also calling on Rhode Island leadership to take measures to reduce police power.
Other undergraduate-focused student centers and student groups also emphasized ways students can take action and act as allies.
The Undergraduate Council of Students Executive Board emailed all undergraduates acknowledging the University’s own ties with racism and calling students to action. They asked individuals to learn more about their federal, state-wide and local representation and support “anti-racist legislation” nationally, such as the H.R. 40 Bill, called the  “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.” They have also pledged to match the first $300 donated to the Equal Justice Initiative and provided students with nine other suggestions of places to donate as well as an anti-racist reading list and resources.
Additionally, 10 Asian student groups came together to release a joint statement regarding anti-Black violence. “As non-Black people of color, we are given privileges — and choices born of such privileges — that are often weaponized to further cement this ever-present racial hierarchy in America,” they wrote while linking to education and action resources.
Long Do ’22, Vice President of the Brown-RISD Vietnamese Students Association, which was among the signatories of the statement, believes that although their mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of Vietnamese culture and values, it is implicit that they support all minorities and fight “oppression wherever it’s found.”
Along with many other student groups with majority-white memberships, the Brown College Democrats have voiced their solidarity with all who are impacted by “pervasive systemic racism in our country.” President Jasmine Powell ’22, who is Black, said that their statement was written to “make sure our members were self-reflecting on the privilege that they hold.” They provided followers with a list of actions to support the movement, including the reduction of mandatory minimum sentences.
“It’s not enough to not be racist. You have to be actively anti-racist,” Powell said, adding that the group wanted to “take a stand” by writing their own words rather than “passively” reposting another group’s response.
Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE) is also a majority-white organization, and Incoming Co-Director Dhruv Gaur ’21 believes “the housing system actively works against Black and Brown people.” In order to truly help those experiencing homelessness, Gaur said that HOPE must “actively be advocating for and amplifying the voices of the people we serve.”
In their statement , HOPE wrote that “historically racist housing policies, systematic neighborhood disinvestment, the mass displacement of Black communities, and the criminalization of homelessness are unacceptable.” They also shared educational resources to promote anti-racism , bail funds and actions to take in support of Black lives .
HOPE is part of the Swearer Center for Public Service, which released its own statement of solidarity titled, “Community Engagement Cannot Exist Without Anti-Racism at its Core.” Other centers which released statements in addition to the BCSC and Swearer included the Global Brown Center for International Students, which invited students to share resources for understanding and action on instagram. The LGBTQ Center and U-FLi Center are among other student centers to share information campaigns on their Instagram stories.
While student groups may unify University students under the movement, Moncrieffe from BSU emphasized that confronting racism takes active, individual effort. “Have those conversations with friends and family,” she said, “to better understand the ways that (you) may continue certain racist ideals and anti-Blackness.”
– With additional reporting by Henry Dawson
Correction: A previous version of this article identified Dhruv Gaur as finance chair of HOPE. Gaur was finance chair last fall, but is now incoming co-director of HOPE. The Herald regrets the error.”

respond
 
Importance
1
After 13 months of bargaining, graduate students, Brown reach tentative agreement
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 07, 2020
“Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees, the University and the American Federation of Teachers — SUGSE’s union affiliate — reached a tentative three-year agreement for a union contract, Provost Richard Locke P’18 and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Campbell announced in a community-wide email June 4. This tentative agreement is a first among Ivy League graduate schools.
Brown graduate students voted to form a union with SUGSE in November 2018, The Herald previously reported . SUGSE, the AFT and the University then spent 13 months, beginning April 2019, engaged in negotiations over a union contract. Now that the three groups have reached a tentative agreement, it must be ratified by SUGSE members before the contract is officially enacted.
The National Labor Relations Board, a federal body which works “to assure fair labor practices,” has been considering a proposed rule that would excuse the University and other private universities from any obligation to recognize a graduate student union. If the NLRB had implemented this rule before an agreement between the University and SUGSE had been reached, the University would not have been legally required to continue negotiations, The Herald previously reported . But even if the NLRB implements this rule now, the negotiated three-year contract will still be in effect.
In an email to the student body, Locke wrote, “We are pleased to have successfully reached the point of tentative agreement with SUGSE/AFT.”
The AFT, which, in May, helped Georgetown University graduate workers reach a similar agreement with their university , published a news release June 4 that stated, “The tentative (three-year) agreement, covering more than 1,200 workers, will provide graduate employees with peace of mind and financial relief to chart a path through the coronavirus and economic turmoil upending U.S. higher education.”
A post on the SUGSE website denotes several “contract highlights,” including a “two-semester appointment extension in light of COVID-19 for (third-, fourth-, fifth- and many sixth-year PhD) students,” a $400 bonus for graduate students due to COVID-19-induced financial pressure and relief for graduate-worker parents, including greater health care coverage and access to child care.
The tentative agreement also lays out future stipend increases, updated grievance procedures and limits on the length of graduate students’ work weeks, among other provisions.
The tentative agreement must be ratified by a majority of SUGSE members. SUGSE plans to hold a virtual town hall to discuss the contract June 8, with voting occurring on June 9 and June 10, according to Rithika Ramamurthy GS, SUGSE bargaining committee co-chair.
“The work of the union in the future will be to keep holding the University accountable in terms of how it is employing graduates and implicating graduate workers in terms of reopening the University,” Ramamurthy said. This accountability also extends beyond the immediate practices of the University, as going forward “the union also has power to engage anti-racist initiatives on campus, including divestment from the police, stopping the criminalization of (drug and alcohol) use around campus and maybe parting ways from the Providence cops.”
“I think that people will see what we’ve won, especially the COVID-related wins,” she said, and may want to get involved with the union as a result.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Paxson addresses criticism of decision to demote 11 varsity sports
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 07, 2020
“President Christina Paxson P’19 addressed circulating concerns regarding the recent demotion of 11 varsity teams to club status in a community-wide email Saturday, offering greater detail about how the decision was made and the motivation behind it. 
The email follows an outpouring of criticism from student athletes after the announcement of the varsity cuts and the new Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative. Through petitions and online campaigns, athletes organized their communities of peers, parents and alums to stand with them in demanding both reinstatement of varsity status and more transparency from the University. 
Paxson acknowledged the timing of the decision, and expressed remorse for the overlap between the announcement and the death of George Floyd in police custody, which prompted nationwide protests and discourse about racism in our country and its institutions. 
“Unfortunately, there would never be a time to make these decisions that would not have an impact on some group of current student-athletes, new recruits and coaches,” Paxson wrote. “But I never could have imagined the release of the initiative would come on the heels of one of the most heart-wrenching moments in our nation’s history — the death of George Floyd and the illumination of the longstanding problem in this country of anti-black racism — and I am truly sorry for the impact the collision of these circumstances have had on so many in our community.”
The motivation behind the decision was “the result of many factors,” Paxson wrote, driven largely by past conversations with the athletics department about resources “stretched too thinly,” acknowledgements from alumni that there would be benefits to cuts and the findings of a confidential external review in the 2018-19 academic year detailing how to increase competitiveness in athletics. 
The Committee on Excellence in Athletics then conducted a “holistic review” starting in January 2020, that assessed competitiveness, squad sizes, diversity, gender equity, facilities, community affinity and available data. Given each team’s unique circumstances and the proportion of high-achieving teams, “the major consideration was to determine where Brown could focus its efforts to make significant gains in competitiveness,” she wrote.
In considering a team’s competitiveness, the committee evaluated its success in the “overall competitive landscape” of the Ivy League and other peers, she wrote. 
Many community members have critiqued the decision, often expressing particular concern with the demotion of the Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams, arguing that the decision to cut the teams is contrary to the University’s stated intent to increase diversity in athletics. 
The committee considered representation of historically underrepresented groups across the varsity roster, but also examined the “recent success of aggressive recruiting efforts in increasing team diversity, and envisioned an increase in diversity-enhanced recruiting over time,” Paxson wrote. “I have set the expectation that plans be developed in the Department of Athletics for broadening its recruiting strategies in (Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan) Phase II.”
Responding directly to concerns about implications for diversity in athletics, she wrote: “We understand there are critical questions to consider about the potential long-term impact on the Black community at Brown. We are committed to further exploring these important issues in the coming weeks with members of our community, specifically as it relates to men’s track, field and cross country.”
In accordance with the results of Cohen v. Brown University (1998), the University is required to maintain a percentage of women athletes closely proportional to the women student population. This requirement, in part, drove the University’s decision to cut larger men’s teams. The Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams comprise the second largest men’s team, following Football. Maintaining a football team is required for membership in the Ivy League, according to the email.
While “community affinity” was not a determining factor, the committee considered the “capacity of a sport to build interest and engagement throughout the Brown community and therefore build affinity, pride and collegiate loyalty,” Paxson wrote. 
A number of athletes have called upon the University to publicly release the data backing the decision as a measure to increase transparency. While much of the data is available for public viewing already — team records and squad sizes, for example — privacy requirements prohibit the release of data about the diversity and socioeconomic breakdown of teams, she wrote. The operating expense of each team was not a consideration. 
The University will offer opportunities for discussion between Paxson, Athletics Director Jack Hayes and athletes in the coming weeks by way of virtual meetings.
“I remain committed to the decision to reduce the number of teams at Brown, and my hope is to build understanding within our community by providing opportunities to address some recurring questions and explore issues of concern,” she wrote.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Paxson testifies on reopening college campuses safely before U.S. Senate Committee
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 07, 2020
“In testimony before the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Thursday morning, President Christina Paxson P’19 outlined essential aspects of any plan to safely reopen college campuses in the fall in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
During the full committee hearing, titled “COVID-19: Going Back to College Safely,” Paxson also answered questions from senators on the role of the federal government in supporting colleges through the pandemic. Paxson said the government will need to address health, economic and other disparities; health plan enforcement mechanisms; necessary financial support for students; liability standards for higher education; and other specific strategies included in plans to safely reopen in the fall. 
In a community-wide email sent Thursday afternoon, Paxson wrote that she “was glad to be able to help build understanding among our country’s leaders of the complicated decisions we are confronting” and the role the government can play in supporting reopening. 
“No campus should open if it can’t do so safely — or if they choose not to do so,” she wrote, “But today, Brown was among institutions representing the position that so much is at stake if schools cannot resume operations that the national government should continue to make resources and guidance for higher education a priority.”
Purdue University President Mitchell Daniels, Lane College President Logan Hampton and Executive Director of the American Public Health Association Georges Benjamin served as witnesses alongside Paxson at the hearing.
How to return safely, and why it’s crucial
Paxson, who joined the hearing through video call, opened her statement by acknowledging the continuing protests against police brutality throughout the nation, and “the pain the country is facing over systemic issues of racial injustice.” 
“In times like these, our colleges and universities play a critical role in building collective understanding and calling for action,” she said. 
Still, as the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue without a widely-disseminated vaccine — which is unlikely to be available in the fall — Paxson emphasized that the University will only reopen campus if it is safe to do so according to public health guidelines and expertise. “We will not compromise safety,” she said, adding that all plans for the fall must be “science-” and “evidence-based.” 
While Brown has not yet issued an official decision on what the start of the 2020-21 academic year will look like, in her testimony, Paxson outlined elements of the University’s plan in the event that there is at least some on-campus learning in the fall.
These elements include testing all students and employees upon their return to campus and testing for all symptomatic students and employees throughout the year. Random testing of asymptomatic community members to track the prevalence of the disease and contact tracing through both “traditional and technology-enabled” means would also take place, according to her written testimony .
In addition, residence halls would be “de-densified” so that students would live in singles with fewer students sharing bathrooms. Classrooms, libraries and dining halls would be “reconfigured to enable social distancing” and large lectures would take place virtually. The University would also implement a “robust public health education campaign” to ensure students are aware of how to keep each other and the wider community safe, Paxson wrote.
This plan would require coordinating with state and local public health authorities in order to protect students and employees, as well as the local communities University members engage with.
“This work is complex, it is all-consuming, it is very expensive,” Paxson said in her testimony. “But if this is what it takes to make a safe opening possible, it is well worth it. Because there is so much at stake.” 
For now, it remains difficult to predict how safe it will be to reopen campuses in the fall. All colleges can do is “plan for the worst and hope for the best by thinking (through) what we know about the science today,” Benjamin told The Herald in a separate interview.
The University is still considering two other options for the 2020-21 academic year: an entirely remote fall semester or a tri-semester model by which students would enroll in two semesters of the year. Paxson has committed to sharing an official decision on the University’s plans for the fall by July 15, The Herald previously reported .
Importance of federal support
Through any plan implemented for the fall, Paxson highlighted the role the federal government must play to support institutions of higher education in these decisions. She testified that the higher education sector cannot reopen without “continued federal support.”
Universities will need assistance in funding increased financial aid and emergency support for research and graduate positions, Paxson said.
The University’s deficit for Fiscal Year 2021 is estimated to be “significantly larger” than previous years and could range from $100 million to $200 million, The Herald previously reported . And while Brown will be able to weather the increased financial costs and losses prompted by the public health and economic crisis, many other institutions will not, Paxson said in her testimony. 
In a May 29 letter to the U.S. Senate , the American Council on Education and 84 other signed associations and entities estimated that “higher education will require $46.6 billion to address near-term financial needs, including need-based aid for students and costs incurred due to campus closures,” Paxson wrote in her testimony. This figure excludes additional costs for reopening in the fall, such as for testing, tracing and isolation. “Additional assistance should go directly to institutions,” she wrote. 
“We know that state and local health departments are underfunded,” Benjamin told The Herald. “In order for them to provide the support to colleges and do the testing and contact tracing, they’re going to need to be adequately supported.”
Questions from senators: government oversight, supporting students, liability
After all four witnesses gave their statements, they took questions from senators on various elements of reopening campuses safely in the fall.
Committee Chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) began the question portion of the hearing by asking each of the witnesses for their thoughts on the amount of oversight the federal government should have in issuing rules for higher education. He asked Paxson about her goal of testing every student, saying that such widespread testing is neither feasible nor recommended. 
In response, Paxson said that she regards the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “minimum guidelines.” 
Next, Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) asked each president how they plan to “address the alarming health disparities impacting our communities of color” as they think about reopening. People of color and lower-income communities are more likely to be at risk in the face of the novel coronavirus, in part because members in these communities often serve as essential workers and typically have reduced access to health care .
Paxson, who is also an economist, referenced her past studies of health and economic disparities, saying that “issues of inequity are one of the main reasons (colleges) should reopen.” On campuses, institutions of higher education can ensure equal access to education and health services, she said. 
In agreement with Hampton, who asked the federal government to double the maximum award of Pell Grants in his testimony, Paxson said that lower-income and first-generation students must be supported through any financial difficulties so that they can return to campus. In his testimony, Hampton also called for a federal investment of $1 billion in emergency funding to historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities and other institutions serving minorities. 
 
Responding to Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who asked about campus protocols and the enforcement mechanisms universities would implement, Paxson said that all campus guidelines must be uniform, “crystal clear” and “grounded in public health rules.” 
She added that at Brown, it would be communicated that breaking such protocols would constitute a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, but that “ideally,” protocols would be supported not through enforcement, but rather through a campus culture in which students recognize the importance of following the rules to ensure each other’s safety and the health of the wider community.
After asking Daniels about his public plans to protect vulnerable campus workers, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pressed Paxson on the issue of “power and accountability.” Warren cited Paxson’s role as vice chair of the Association of American Universities, which signed a letter urging Congress to implement liability protections for higher education institutions in the case of harm caused by COVID-19 on campuses. Stating that the current law imposes liability on institutions only when colleges have “behaved unreasonably,” Warren asked what message Paxson thought it sent when higher education lobbied Congress to change this standard.
“I do not want protection from being careless,” Paxson responded. “That is not what we’re about. If we’re careless, if we don’t follow guidelines, that is not something that should be protected in any way, shape or form.” 
Still, she said that in this unprecedented situation, many institutions are “very nervous that even if they play by the rules scrupulously, that they will still be subject to lawsuits,” which can be costly and “take money away from financial aid and all the support we provide to our students.” In this vein, Paxson said she supports “very carefully created liability protection” that does not protect careless behavior.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) asked the presidents the extent to which universities were able to reimburse students for the semester and provide direct relief. 
“We really pulled out all the stops trying to support all students,” Paxson said, citing the University’s provision of E-Gap Funds and other assistance for travel, laptops and internet access, in addition to the waiving of summer earnings requirements for students on financial aid, as examples. The University has also worked with the city of Providence to ensure local high schoolers have internet access, she said. 
While Paxson believed those provisions to be “fairly successful,” she noted that “what we found … is that the needs are continuing, and in some ways, growing.” 
As the national unemployment rate has reached a staggering level and many students find themselves and their families without jobs, “it is very hard to meet that full need,” Paxson said. “We’re getting requests for help for food. That’s where we’re at.”
In response to a question from Sen. Maggie Hassan ’80 P’15 (D-NH) on the financial impact students have faced due to the pandemic and further action required by the U.S. Department of Education, Paxson described how after the 2008 Great Recession, the University increased scholarships by 12 percent to meet all undergraduates’ demonstrated need.
But today, when the unemployment rate dwarfs even the peak rate of the financial crisis, Paxson said that the University is hearing from students whose Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms are no longer accurate representations of their families’ economic circumstances. “We’re having to go back and revisit all of those aid awards,” she said. “We’re in an extraordinary time for students and their parents.” 
Paxson also disagreed with the Department of Education’s decision to exclude Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, veterans and students who have not yet completed FAFSA forms from the assistance allocated toward students in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. 
“I firmly believe that if the point is to protect students who are the future of our country,” then that includes protecting DACA recipients, veterans and first-generation, low-income and undocumented students, Paxson said in response to a question from Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). While the University has not received CARES funding, “our intent would be to support all students as equally as we can.”
Overall, Paxson wrote in her testimony, “efforts at providing relief and support should recognize the unique role of higher education institutions to serve and support a broad and complex population of students, faculty and staff, and do so in as safe a manner as possible.”
“I recognize that the needs of students and employees are extraordinary,” she wrote, “but a full post-pandemic recovery requires a response that’s equally unprecedented.””

respond
 
Importance
1
Sinai ’21 and Lee ’21: Put me (back) in, Coach: The suddenness of Brown’s sports cuts needlessly destroys athletic careers
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 07, 2020
“As many may now know, on May 28 Brown University ended the athletic careers of 84 men and 65 women on a roughly six-minute Zoom call. The decision was swift, brutal and incontestable. By removing the varsity status of 11 sports teams without warning, Brown University has abandoned 149 students, including 35 new recruits — and with minimal support. 
While many student-athletes have written in anguish about this decision — justifying why their team, in particular, ought to be preserved — we, the captains of eight of the teams cut, write today to clarify why this decision, no matter the team, was inherently unjust. In addition to its utter lack of respect for our athletic and academic achievements, the University’s decision shows a complete disregard for the futures of students whose careers are governed by NCAA guidelines and bound by personal circumstances. 
In a follow-up call on May 29, the athletic department made clear that these student-athletes only had two options: transfer to another institution or continue their careers at the club level. Unfortunately for most athletes, the transfer deadline for comparable institutions, including those in the Ivy League conference, passed two months ago. Athletes can extend the transfer deadline until June 15, just eight days away, by getting recruited by a new coach. Unfortunately, at this point coaches have committed all their spots for the next one or two years to incoming student-athletes to guarantee the strength of the incoming freshman class. Any collegiate athlete unable to be recruited must now wait over a year before they can compete again. During this waiting period, students will not have access to the varsity weight room, the varsity training room or their sports’ own practice and competition spaces, all vital to the continued peak performance of elite athletes. What’s more, because many students have already started their collegiate careers, this wait will result in a wasted year of NCAA eligibility.
This did not need to be the case. Had the University announced its decision a year or two in advance of enacting the cuts, or even as late as December (as other universities have done in similar situations), current athletes would have had the possibility to apply to transfer, while recruited athletes could have withdrawn from the University or accepted offers from other universities.
Asking elite athletes, some of whom have the potential to become Olympians , to practice and compete at a club level demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of the crucial role collegiate athletics plays in their careers. Club athletics do not offer adequate practice or competition opportunities to allow a varsity athlete to remain at the top of their game. Besides a drastic decrease in support a club athlete receives compared to a varsity athlete, club athletes have significantly reduced opportunities for competition. Strong competitions are not simply a chance for athletes to demonstrate prowess – they also offer many athletes a unique opportunity to enact techniques or strategies, improve their mental toughness and most of all, practice the art of competition itself. For the athletes without existing club sports at Brown, this transition is even harder, as they need to form a competitive club without much university support, if any.
By announcing this decision during a pandemic, Brown University has stranded many student-athletes and coaches in difficult financial situations. Many students will not have the means to consider a transfer and incur the costs of delaying their education a year or relocating to another school. Just as many universities have finalized their student body for the coming year, so too have they filled any open coaching positions, leaving the coaches and staff for the 11 teams without jobs, health insurance and other benefits — at a time when this security is needed most.
Cutting these 11 teams in such an abrupt and callous manner displays a startling lack of respect for the careers of their student-athletes, coaches and staff. During this process, the University has continued to show either a complete disregard for the athletic community or an unrivaled level of incompetence. Neither bodes well for the future of athletics at Brown.
Nathan Sinai ’21 is the captain of men’s fencing and can be reached at nathan_sinai@brown.edu. Naomi Lee ’21 is an incoming co-captain of women’s golf and can be reached at naomi_lee1@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.
Signed ,
Nathan Sinai ’21 (Men’s Fencing)
Anna Susini ’22 (Women’s Fencing)
Naomi Lee ’21 (Women’s Golf)
Pinya Pipatjarasgit ‘22 (Women’s Golf)
Winabel McCabe ’21 (Women’s Golf)
Brittany Park ’21 (Women’s Golf)
Chuck Isgar ’21 (Men’s Golf)
Elena Newman ’22 (Women’s Equestrian)
Hannah Woolley ’21 (Women’s Equestrian)
Alexa Jacobs ’21 (Women’s Squash)
William Glaser ’21 (Men’s Squash)
Maddie McCarthy ’23 (Women’s Ski)”

respond
 
Importance
1
Mackie ’59 — An Open Letter to the Brown Community: The Price of Winning
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 06, 2020
“The May 28 announcement arrived without warning — a thunderbolt from above, striking the hearts of legions within the University athletic community. The hand-picked Committee on Excellence in Athletics, composed of seven alumni and trustees chosen in part because of their “capacity to make very difficult recommendations in a fair and objective manner,” had done its work quietly. They worked off the recommendations of an external review group of consultants who claimed to have pinpointed the problem: too many varsity teams for the University’s limited resources. The Excellence Committee reached its recommendations through a process that lacked transparency and inclusion, thereby undermining the ethical obligations Brown has to its student-athletes.
The problem of achieving success for Brown athletics is far from new. It dates back to the first intercollegiate competition in 1859: a crew race with Yale and Harvard. Brown has been chasing them ever since, while also attempting to be competitive with the five other Ivy League schools. For myriad reasons, the Bears have served as the perpetual Ivy League underdogs, which, in a perverse way, makes Brown victory all the sweeter when it does come. To be sure, there have been outstanding individuals and teams, but sustained overall success across the spectrum of sports has proven elusive.
In spite of this history, Brown has always managed to field a large array of varsity teams, as well as robust non-varsity programs. It is somewhat of a miracle that Brown has been able to have the third greatest number of varsity sports nationally, given its position as the “poor cousin” in the Ivy League. In a sense, it is a badge of honor, as is the fact that Brown student-athletes consistently have the greatest academic success in the country.
The pressures to win, however, even at the Ivy level, have been dramatically ratcheting up in the last decade, and voices calling to address Brown’s problems have become louder. A decade ago, University President Ruth Simmons tackled the athletic conundrum. Her approach was an extensive and lengthy review of Brown athletics, headed up by a large and diverse Athletic Review Committee. The process was driven by a thorough examination of a wide range of factors, with data being just one of the rubrics. The initial result included the recommendation that four varsity teams ⁠— Wrestling, Women’s Skiing and Men’s and Women’s Fencing ⁠— be eliminated. But when the dust finally settled, all four teams were retained.
What separates the Simmons initiative from the current investigation was its adherence to Brown’s time-honored principles of inclusion, transparency and openness. Throughout the decision-making process in 2011, the flow of information to the Brown Community was extensive and detailed. As Simmons put it in her June 6, 2011 Letter to the Community : “A thorough process of review and decision-making in which the many points of view are weighed, while unusual and occasionally quite cumbersome, reflects well the spirit of this community that we cherish.” Over the summer and fall, Simmons met with representatives of the sports recommended for elimination.
In stark contrast, the Excellence in Athletics Initiative presents only a brief summary and includes no report from the Committee or its predecessor group. The net result is that the entire process seems heavy-handed. In fairness, it must be said that the Simmons Report was widely criticized for its reduction of athletic slots, some of which have been restored by President Paxson. Regardless, the Simmons Report was a case study in thoroughness and inclusion.
The University only added insult to injury with its timing of the report’s release — it could not have been worse. Brown students have endured a traumatic end of their academic year, separated from all semblance of normalcy. The pandemic and now the protests of racial injustice sweeping the country are ongoing major stressors, not to mention the uncertainty surrounding the forthcoming decision regarding the beginning of the academic year. Meanwhile, Brown is asking the impacted undergraduates and their families to make major life decisions such as transferring or staying at Brown (which would mean stay, but no play), while they are dealing with the loss of their Brown athletic identities. These student-athletes have given unstintingly of their time and talent to represent Brown; they deserve better treatment. The established bond of mutual trust with their college has been broken, with no opportunity offered to defend themselves against this decision.
An additional dimension adds further anxiety to the scenario: High school graduates who have been recruited by University coaches and who have committed to Brown are now left dangling, many with no options to continue their sports elsewhere if they decide not to attend Brown sans sports. At a minimum, Brown’s reputation will certainly be tarnished.
Given this unprecedented context, both external and Brown-created, the best course of action is for Brown to immediately suspend the recommendations of the Excellence Initiative. What is at stake here are serious ethical questions centering on integrity, fairness and justice. These are among Brown’s central core values.
In their recent message to the community, University administrators addressed the topic of Racial Injustice, urging everyone to “continue to care for and support each other, especially in this time when we are apart.” That plea surely applies to all in the University community who are impacted by this momentous decision.
Ultimately, Brown needs to achieve Victory with Honor!
Peter Mackie ’59 is a University sports archivist. He can be reached at peter_mackie@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.”

respond
 
Importance
1
Collins – We Suffocate: When Will We Finally Breathe?
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 06, 2020
“To the Brown Community:
I’m sure by now many of you are consumed by what’s been happening here in the United States. For those of you who are in a particularly difficult place because of the racial killings, I’m writing to you. Honestly, I’m writing to me too.
I want to start by saying that these comments are from me and do not represent the faculty of the Brown University Education Department. My name is Professor Jonathan Collins. I’m one of the newest professors in the Education Department. I’m an African American male, and to be honest, every time one of these events happens, a little part of me dies right along with the victim. Racism is one of the most insidious diseases in the world. It infects people, leading them to believe – if just for a minute or even a split second – that another person is somehow less than human, disposable and worthless. It causes people to look at one another as threats and sub-consciously – if not consciously – reach the conclusion that: “The world is a safer place without you because of the color of your skin.”
The currency of racism is fear. Non-Black people are trained to fear black skin. Those of us with black skin are trained to fear the consequences of having it. Those consequences are now folded into the pages of the obituaries of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and a kid I actually knew personally from childhood: John Crawford III. The most devastating part of it of all, though, is that the fear is not inherent; it is learned. So, when I think back to the period of my life when I was watching John Crawford gleefully running around a YMCA basketball court, it is a time when we, as young boys, never even imagined that I would be writing something like this. We had no idea that fear would burglarize our latent sense of hope.
So, if you’re hurting right now, it’s because you can grasp how devastating it is that these people never get to live their full lives all because of senseless hate and fear. You can imagine the inner turmoil of having to look at the same people who swear to protect and serve and see them as violent monsters, who took away someone you deeply love.  You can imagine the confusion that comes with being told that you are free, while facing the reality that – at any given moment – you could be violently taken away. You can picture what it must be like to one day be lost in the promise that you will be here tomorrow only to find a knee pressed down on your neck.
So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? I chose to study education because it gives me hope. I know that the American education system can, itself, offer the proverbial knee on the neck of Black children. I also know that education can save lives. It can offer pathways out of poverty and neglect. It can help us realize that the proverbial knee is why we suffocate, and it can be a tool we use to work toward its removal.
None of this will happen tomorrow. It might not happen in our lifetimes, but to paraphrase James Baldwin, I am an optimist by virtue of being alive. As long as we are still here, we have a debt to folks like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were unjustly taken from us. So, I hope that as things return to normal and you find yourself frustrated about an assignment, or a test or some post-graduate opportunity, you revisit this moment and remember that we have a mission – a higher purpose. We need to be the best versions of ourselves. We need to learn to love black skin.
We need to pull that knee off of somebody’s neck.
Thank you for reading, and if you need me, I’m here for you.
In solidarity,
Jonathan E. Collins
Jonathan Collins is an assistant professor in the Department of Education. He can be reached at jonathan_collins@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.”

respond
 
Importance
1
‘Not Quite Spring Weekend’ broadcasts musical artists, raises money for COVID relief
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 06, 2020
“Not Quite Spring Weekend, a virtual benefit concert organized by a group of University students, rocked the screens of many via BeLive and Facebook on May 30. The festival comprised 12 student performers and 10 professional acts, which altogether provided students and the public with over 10 hours of original music. 
From the steps of the Blue Room, Ben Stewart ’20, known artistically as folk-pop singer Tetrapod, strummed his guitar in a surgical mask; Bree Zhang ’22 performed a mesmerizing and ethereal piece on the guzheng, a Chinese plucked string instrument. In a pink wig, New Zealand artist Theia danced to splashy electronic beats in front of five sparkling images of Britney Spears; Lily Porter-Wright ’20 strummed powerful and folky ballads, as members of the audience cheered “GO OFF” and “I love this song!!!” in the comment section. 
Shubham Makharia ’21, Anwen Lin ’23, Jack Riley ’23, Katie Baumgarten ’23, Joey Urban ’21, Zach Kapner ’21, Alex Park ’23 and James Bove ’23 organized the virtual concert in response to the cancellation of Brown’s beloved Spring Weekend — a University tradition that dates back to 1950. The team is part of Tunes For Change, a student organization that “puts on benefit shows and student busking drives during the year,” Kapner said. 
Although Not Quite Spring Weekend was neither a part of Tunes For Change nor affiliated with Brown, the group of friends organizing the event sought to continue their organizations’ message virtually. “One of the issues we ran into was that since it’s outside of the Brown calendar it’s not allowed to be a Brown event. So even though the (organizers) are all in Tunes for Change, the event itself is not affiliated with Brown” Lin said. But for that reason, the event was not just open to Brown student listeners “but students everywhere.”
The team started planning their virtual concert in early April after students left campus due to the pandemic. “We started talking about planning some kind of virtual thing. We had seen a bunch of videos on Facebook, on YouTube, lots of folks able to stream and share,” Makharia said. “We knew that Spring Weekend was canceled, so it seemed like a good synergy.” 
All proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Entry to the online festival consisted of an early-bird $5 donation or a $7 donation from May 28 onward. The organization ultimately collected a total of $2,100 for the Rhode Island Foundation and COVID-19 Response Fund. 
“It’s kind of a win-win, we’re raising all this money to give to a really great fund and we also get to hear some really cool artists,” Lin said before the festival. “Most of them are performing live and we have student performers too. It’s just a cool community event and I’m really excited to be able to interact with some of these artists.” 
About 180 participants were admitted to the private Facebook group that streamed the festival. Twenty-five performers, including students Chance Emerson ’23 and Zoe Butler ’20 alongside professional artists and groups like DAP the Contract, The Greeting Committee and We Three, streamed live or sent in recorded performances, playing and singing from their bedrooms, basements, garages and more.
“It was fun to play music for people again,” Emerson said, acknowledging that “Livestream concerts are different and arguably harder than playing live because you don’t get much immediate feedback from the audience. Sometimes it can feel like you’re playing to a metal box.” 
“I think my favorite part (of the festival) was Tetrapod and Amelia Chalfant. I think that’s also when the stream was in highest attendance,” Makharia said. “Everyone was just really vibing in the comments. People were really positive and loving. It was cool to see the most attended part was when students were performing, not when the other conventionally larger acts were. People were interested in seeing their friends play, which was really cool to see.” ”

respond
 
Importance
1
Skahill ’21: One Team, One Family — Women’s Cross Country, Track & Field Weigh in on Excellence Initiative
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 05, 2020
“On May 28, Brown University revealed that it will cut 11 varsity athletics teams and transition them to club status, effective immediately. The decision, which was made without the knowledge of the University’s head coaches and student-athletes, has been dubbed the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative .
The process by which the administration arrived at this decision, and the manner in which they relayed the news to the Brown community, taints this very standard of self-proclaimed “excellence.” Where the University should have engaged key stakeholders in the decision-making process, the administration chose not to. Coaches and student-athletes – the very individuals whose jobs and athletic careers are on the line – were excluded from participating in the more than year-long decision process that resulted in 11 varsity teams being cut. Instead of trusting coaches and athletes to take part in these tough conversations, the University made a unilateral decision about the future of the athletics program that reeks of paternalism. On the heels of student-athletes losing an entire season of competition due to the pandemic, the timing of Brown’s decision displays a callous disregard for the students and coaches at the heart of its athletics program.
Athletes and coaches affected by these cuts were informed about the termination of their teams the same day that a mass email was sent to all members of the Brown community, showing blatant indifference toward their contributions to Brown and their future athletic careers. The email sent to the Brown community announcing these revisions to the University’s athletics program indicated that the Excellence Initiative is meant to promote gender equity and diversity in addition to bolstering the competitiveness of the remaining varsity teams. Most notably, Brown chose to cut its Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams – two key sources of diversity – while replacing them with Co-ed and Women’s Sailing. In doing so, the University may have succeeded in raising the percentage of female varsity athletes to more closely reflect the percentage of women in the undergraduate student body, but its decision cannot be viewed as a “win” for racial and socioeconomic diversity. Moreover, this decision ends a rich, historic legacy of Track & Field at Brown University that began in 1878 – cutting a team that, in the past 10 years, has produced two Olympians, five sub-four minute milers, and dozens of NCAA national qualifiers.
As members of Brown University’s Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams, we can attest that cutting the Men’s teams not only undermines the racial and socioeconomic diversity that Brown purports to value, but also undercuts the excellence and competitiveness of our own team. Unlike other sports, Track & Field and Cross Country are unique in that women can train with men. We are a joint program. We are coached by the same staff, practice at the same trails and run at the same meets. In cutting the Men’s team, Brown University has robbed us of key training partners – people who push us to be our very best athletic selves, and are some of our closest friends. We are profoundly affected by the loss of our brothers in competition.
A running club is nowhere near the same thing as a collegiate track and field team, and to make such a claim is an insult to our sport. This is the opposite of excellence. To say that the entire varsity track and field team can simply join “club running” is testimony to how indifferent and ignorant the committee was in making this decision. A Track & Field team not only includes distance runners, but also sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and weight throwers – athletes who cannot find a semblance of their sport in “club running.”
So what is Brown’s definition of “excellence”? Clearly, it does not appear to involve open and transparent dialogue. For the University, it appears that “excellence” hews closer to winning at all costs with no regard for the coaches and students whose hopes, aspirations and livelihoods are intertwined with the athletics program.
Whatever Brown’s definition of excellence, one thing is clear: If the Excellence Initiative’s commitment to “provide equal opportunities to men and women,” “advance the ideal of the scholar athlete” and “enhance diversity on teams,” held an ounce of truth, Men’s Track & Field would not be losing its varsity status.
Emily Skahill ’21 concentrates in Public Policy and is a member of the Women’s Cross Country, Track & Field teams. She wrote this article on behalf of the Women’s team, with input and commentary from several members of the team. She can be reached at emily_skahill@brown.edu . Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.
Kate Alvarez ’23
Maggie Baker ’23
Hanna Barakat ’21
Isabela Bartczak ’22
Flynn Begor ’23
Mary Bibbey ’22
Hannah Butler ’21
Jae Crawford ’22
Arielle Desir ’22
Katherine Dokholyan ’22
Lily Dumas ’23
Maddie Frey ’22
Ally Hajda ’21
Emily Kompelien ’22
Emma Madgic ’23
Ali Martinez ’22
Erin McMeniman ’22
Emily Moini ’23
Ify Ofulue ’23
Lola Olabode ’21
Bailey Pate ’21
Sarah Reichheld ’23
Felicia Renelus ’21
Sydney Scott ’22
Emily Skahill ’21
Maya Smith ’22
Lauren Stern ’22
Shira Stoller ’22
Margaux Terrasson ’23
Katherine Treanor ’21
Ijeoma Uche ’21
Samantha Valentine ’21
Serena Varner ’22
Kennedy Waite ’23
Gracie Whelan ’21
Amy Willig ’23”

respond
 
Importance
1
As Brown students await fall 2020 decision, class pre-registration postponed
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 04, 2020
“The University announced on Wednesday that pre-registration for Fall 2020 for both undergraduates and graduate students has been postponed to early August, allowing students to register after President Christina Paxson P’19 has made a decision about how the next academic year will move forward. The twice postponed registration period had been scheduled for June 15-20. 
The University is still considering three different scenarios for the next academic year, including a completely remote fall, a typical on-campus semester, or a three-semester school year with shorter Fall, Spring and Summer sessions.
The Herald previously reported that Paxson would announce the decision in an email “no later than July 15.”
In all three scenarios for next fall, classes would resume in September either online, in-person or in some combination. Consequently, students will have around a month between pre-registration and the beginning of classes — less time than the usual six months that students have during regular academic years.
This marks the second time that pre-registration has been delayed since the University transitioned to remote learning in March. Pre-registration for the fall semester is usually scheduled to take place in mid-April. 
Offerings for both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 will be removed from the website on June 16. According to the announcement, items in students’ Primary Cart will also be removed. Prior to June 16, students will receive an email with the contents of their cart and will need to “rebuild the cart” after the system is reset, re-entering any relevant override codes, including those that had already been approved. Courses for next semester will then be posted after the University announces the plan for the coming 2020-2021 academic year.
Dean of the College Rashid Zia ’01 and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew G. Campbell also announced that changes will be made to the current pre-registration system to “improve this process for all students,” in the community-wide email announcing the delay Wednesday.
Zia and Campbell announced that changes will be made to the pre-registration system in order to improve the system and “to accommodate the needs of our expansive global community.” More information will be released leading up to pre-registration in August.
Online pre-registration has long been a woe to University students. In 2008, just two years after Banner’s conception (the precursor to Course@Brown), The Herald reported students attempted to create a computer program to automatically register for classes . Subsequently, administration at the time warned that the action was a violation of University policy.
In a UCS meeting last fall , Zia described possible plans for redesigning pre-registration. At the time, he stated the importance of a new system allowing all students equal access to spots in courses. 
Students will be able to give “advice and feedback” for improving pre-registration through a google form that was linked in the announcement email.”

respond
 
Importance
1
COVID-19 reshapes students’ summer plans
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 04, 2020
“Earlier this year, Ryan Silverman ’23 had planned to spend his summer conducting research supported by his Undergraduate and Teaching Research Award. But due to restrictions posed by COVID-19, his research project in a bioelectronic lab quickly became infeasible.
Instead, following the cancellation of his research this summer, Silverman will do manufacturing work in an elastic string factory.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” he said. “Everyone just wants certain answers but no one could give them.”
For many students, the end of finals and the start of summer typically means the start of internships or jobs, research projects or other opportunities that may serve as a step toward post-graduate employment or further education. But like many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended summer opportunities — at worst, forcing program cancellations and otherwise necessitating shifts in the programs’ formats — leaving many students uncertain about the shape of their summer plans.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Zixi Zhu ’20 planned to spend her summer in Providence as a student venture founder participating in the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship’s Breakthrough Lab , an eight-week accelerator program that supports student entrepreneurs developing high-impact ventures. But in April, Zhu learned that B-Lab would be held virtually this summer.
While glad that the program is still happening, Zhu expressed disappointment about losing an in-person experience that would promote collaboration and inspiration. “For me, the frustrating thing is that the co-working space is not happening anymore, which is one of the main reasons I wanted to apply to B-Lab,” she said. “I would want to have a community and have a desk somewhere that’s not in my bedroom.”
Nishanth Kumar ’21 has also had to adjust his travel and internship plans in light of the pandemic. While his internship with Uber Advanced Technologies Group in Toronto has been moved online, Kumar said he feels fortunate that the internship was not canceled and that he will receive the same employment benefits.
But after his internship, Kumar planned to travel home to India to unite with his family, a plan that is no longer possible due to international travel restrictions.
The fallout of the pandemic has also made Kumar think more about his post-graduate plans and consider graduate school as “more of a likely option.”
Artificial intelligence “technologies could have been used much more in this crisis to help people,” he said. “I think that’s been very interesting and am excited to continue with the research in the field to help with things like this in the future.”
Lisa Li ’23 first interviewed for a health consulting agency based in Beijing in January, but she did not definitively find out whether or not she had been hired until May. When the company moved off-site in April, the company told Li, who has returned home to Beijing, that it was still actively considering her, she said.
But as the threat of the novel coronavirus’ spread in China died down in the spring, Li said she finally heard from the company that they had hired two remote interns, but could not take on a third intern to work on-site.
With no official internship position set up for the summer, Li said she plans to develop her skill set by taking online courses, beginning to prepare for standardized testing post-graduate requirements and looking into social science research opportunities. She applied for a faculty research SPRINT award sponsored by CareerLab, and has yet to hear back.
She noted how several of her friends who find themselves in similar situations — with no official plans for the summer — have dedicated themselves to working on collaborative projects that are “interesting” and have “an impact,” such as podcasts discussing international politics and individual activism in support of the ongoing protests against anti-Black police brutality and racism in the United States.
John Wrenn MS’18 PhD’21, who will conduct research in computer science this summer, discussed the potential changes and challenges he may face in facilitating that research in light of the pandemic. Wrenn said that the research will still take place, either in person or remotely, and his team still plans to hire more undergraduate research assistants.
But his concern lies largely in the impact social distancing measures will have on a collaborative work environment. “The (Computing and Information Services building) continues to be pretty empty this summer,” he said. “We might still be able to get the work half … done; it’s just … everything else that makes the work much more pleasant to do.”
Emily Belt ’22 planned to spend her summer in Boston while participating in the Diverse Investors Student Experience program at Fidelity Investments, a 10-week internship designed to help college sophomores develop skills needed to work in the financial service industry. But a few weeks ago, Belt received a notification from the program informing her that it would be held remotely and for one week shorter. Luckily for her, the program maintained that despite moving to a remote format, she will be paid the same rate, work on similar projects and receive the same benefits.
Still, Belt said that she is disappointed that she won’t be able to work with other student participants in an office setting. “I think it’s really nice to be able to work with students your age … because we are learning at the same time,” she said, adding that doing the program remotely means she won’t have the opportunity to explore Boston with her peers after a day at work.
Belt added that the virtual format of the program also limits opportunities to network with other colleagues and senior staffers, and working at home can be a more isolating experience.
Overall, Belt said that the public health and economic crisis has changed her outlook on how she approaches life. Coming out of the pandemic, she said she wants to “just not … take anything for granted and take more chances. You never know when all the things you cherish are going to be taken away. It makes me want to live my life more meaningfully when I’m out of quarantine.”
— Kayla Guo contributed additional reporting”

respond
 
Importance
1
From the Brown Women’s Squash Team: President Paxson, Why Aren’t We Excellent?
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 04, 2020
“Who We Are
We are two of five rising juniors on the Brown Women’s Varsity Squash team. We spent upwards of 10 years training with hopes of playing squash at a collegiate level. We have dedicated 20 hours a week for 25 weeks a year to train, travel and compete. At the same time, we are dedicated students deeply engaged in research, volunteering and campus life.
On Thursday, May 28 at 12:05 p.m., all student athletes were notified by email of an imminent Zoom call in which Jack Hayes, Brown’s athletic director, announced the University’s decision to cut 11 varsity teams and transition them to club status. Shortly after, the entire study body received an email from President Christina Paxson P’19, which announced this change as a part of the Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative. The day following their initial announcement, affected student athletes were invited to participate in a Zoom “discussion” in which the only topic discussed was how former varsity athletes could transfer. By treating student-athletes as easily transferable, Brown revealed to us that any student can be viewed as dispensable. President Paxson and the athletic department broke the hearts of 150 varsity athletes and their families, and they communicated their decision in a manner void of compassion, respect and decency.
One of the initiative’s goals is “to advance the ideal of scholar-athletes who embrace excellence in academics and in their sports.” The biting words in Paxson’s email insinuated that the 11 cut teams do not embody “excellence.” As members of the Women’s Squash Team, this statement was a slap in the face. We can attest that our team’s athletic and academic achievements do indeed meet the standard of excellence that the initiative claims to pursue.
Why we embody “excellence”
President Paxson listed six principles that guided the committee’s decision to support the “excellence” initiative. By exploring just three of these principles, we can explain how our team already embodies the excellence she purports to pursue.
1. Enhancing the quality of the student experience in athletics
 
 
The Brown women’s squash team is a tight-knit group of 15 women among whom only eight are recruited athletes. As a team, we exceed not only the Brown academic index (the GPA and SAT/ACT standards for the university) but also the average academic standards of the entire university. Our average academic index for the past nine years has approached an estimated 230 (for reference this is a 1530 SAT and a 4.0 unweighted GPA), while Brown University’s average SAT score was 1485 in 2018. Out of 15 women, we had six undergraduate TA’s this past year in Economics, Biology, Computer Science, Engineering and Public Health. All six of our upperclassmen won the College Squash Association scholar athlete award, with Brown receiving more awards than any other Ivy . The members of our team embody the ideals of a student-athlete that Brown should be pursuing. We perform on the court, excel in our classes and are nationally recognized for the integrity of our character.
While our team thrives because of our common academic and extracurricular goals, it is the captain’s practices, hill sprints, lifting regimes, recovery sessions, bus rides, matches and tournaments that bind us together. We are all academically motivated individuals who are passionate about things other than squash. However, the strength of our team lies in the intensity of our shared athletic goal: a varsity athletic goal. We train to play our sport at the highest level and beat some of the best teams in college squash.
The result of an outstanding group of women with a strong common goal is an incredibly high quality of the student experience in athletics. Brown squash recruits have such a positive experience in Brown athletics that they do not quit; no recruits have dropped the team in the last three years. Other teams which were not cut have lost as many as 13 recruits over the same time period, drawing the consistency of this new initiative into question. The Brown Women’s squash team enhances Brown by being leaders in our classes, the clubs that we participate in, the organizations we volunteer for and the research we conduct.
 
2. Sustaining reasonable support for the pursuit of excellence
 
The Brown Women’s squash team is close to being budget-neutral for the Athletic Department between its endowment and successful fundraisers, and the position of our head coach, Stuart LeGassick, is also specifically endowed. Both our men’s and women’s teams are ranked top 15 nationally out of over 50 programs. Our men’s and women’s teams receive four recruiting spots collectively each year while roughly 90 percent of schools in the College Squash Association receive six to 10 spots, but that has not stopped us from having extremely close, 5-4 matches with the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Columbia and Cornell. We have no international players, who tend to play at a professional level, and a fraction of the recruiting spots, yet we outperform most schools in the league and compete at a level comparable to five out of eight Ivies.
Moreover, both the men’s and women’s teams have won sportsmanship awards in the past 5 years, a testament to our team’s integrity. Based on our record of sportsmanship awards, we are nationally recognized as one of the most highly regarded teams in college squash. Overall, despite the fewer resources allotted to us, we embody the pursuit of excellence.
3. Building a stronger University community with a focus on affinity, pride and collegiate loyalty.
 
 
Our team supports the strongest of communities consisting of our tight knit alumni network and our supporters within the Brown student body. Brown squash produces alumni who in the past five years have gone on to work at Microsoft, NASA, Google, Facebook, AliBaba and many other prominent companies. Our recent alumni have studied at Brown graduate schools, Harvard Law School, Dartmouth Medical School, MIT graduate schools and have been named as Schwartzman Scholars. Our alumni have linked a large portion of their success to the lessons they learned playing on the varsity squash team. Isabel Pitaro ’16 and former captain of the Women’s Squash team said herself, “without my experience in Brown squash, I would not have been prepared to serve as Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Law School’s Business Law Review or for a career leading teams advocating for the rights of others.” Squash is a lifelong sport. Our alumni’s love of squash keeps them actively engaged in the Brown alumni network.
Our squash teams — along with other “smaller” sports — bridge the gap between student-athletes and students not associated with a sports team. Because we are such a small team, our friends are primarily non-athletes, and our friendships soften many students’ gut-disapproval of recruited athletes. Brown students know Brown squash players personally, and it only takes one home match, and one posting of standing-room-only bleachers in “Pack the Pizz” on social media, to see the strength and volume of our support. We, as squash team members, recognize and appreciate all parts of the Brown community, and we receive great support in return.
What we hope
The Men’s and Women’s Squash teams demand Brown recognize us as varsity athletes, as each of us is already “the bright and passionate student who embraces excellence both in academics and also in their sport” that President Paxson hopes the “excellence” initiative will cultivate. The decision-making by the Committee on Excellence in Athletic’s hired consultants not only failed to be comprehensive, but also was incredibly shallow — treating Brown Athletics like an economy of machines rather than an organization made of and sustained by student-athletes.
In addition to our call for Brown to recognize us as varsity athletes because of the excellence we embody, we also warn Brown that the ramifications of this decision extend beyond those we have outlined. Brown has sent a message that it does not value its student-athletes, coaches or athletic staff, and an institution that does not value the people in its athletic program will never be able to recruit deep athletic talent. Prospective student athletes will look upon Brown with a lingering suspicion that their sport may be eliminated next. We demand Brown University, in its own interest for the pursuit of excellence, reinstate Brown Squash as a varsity sport.
We encourage members of the other 10 cut varsity teams who were affected by Brown’s “excellence initiative” to also share their stories.
Abby Dichter ’ 22 and Sara Syed ’ 22 are members of the Brown Women’s Squash team. Abby can be reached at abigail_dichter@brown.edu , and Sara can be reached at sara_syed@brown.edu . Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.”

respond
 
Importance
1
From the Captains and Supporters of 11 Cut Varsity Teams: Is Brown Ever True?
by Brown Daily Herald
Jun 04, 2020
“Last Thursday, Brown University announced its decision to cut 11 varsity teams as part of the “Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative.” This change, guided by the advice of consultants, means former varsity teams will lose all recruiting spots, trainers, athletic department tutors and coaches — effective immediately. Club teams will now swell in size without official tryouts, while having their budgets slashed. As captains of the 11 cut teams, we write to expose the distressing process by which we were informed of these cuts, as well as to describe the consequences for our current and recruited athletes. We therefore call for the University to delay this decision by one year.
The decision was announced in a shocking manner. On May 28, the students of soon-to-be cut varsity teams received an email on behalf of Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes, asking us to join an important Zoom webinar. We tuned into Zoom to see a message from Mr. Hayes, announcing that Brown had cut 11 varsity sports: men’s track and field and cross country, men’s and women’s squash, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s fencing, women’s equestrian and women’s skiing. We were ambushed. Just 10 minutes later, an email was sent to the entire school, in which President Christina Paxson P’19 stated the University’s vision for “excellence” in varsity athletics. The harsh words in President Paxson’s email insinuated that the 11 cut teams do not embody such “excellence,” yet no concrete definition of excellence was given. No student-athletes or coaches were informed of any decisions prior to this nine-minute webinar with the athletic director.
In the Brown Athletics mission statement, the University claims it is “committed to sustaining one of the most wide-ranging NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for men and women” in concordance with their commitment to deep and broad educational opportunities. Yet the excellence initiative works to reduce the size of the sports program by cutting 11 teams. This mission statement also claims the athletic program teaches students to “conduct themselves with honesty and integrity … while developing a commitment to teamwork and service to the community.” However, Brown used a small, private committee that gathered no input from affected teams, to make a decision that has left the community heartbroken. In addition, Brown delivered this message in a wholly insensitive way. As an institution, Brown has taken many steps to instill in us the fundamental values of integrity, honoring commitment and respecting our community, yet by relaying this information to us in such a way, the administration has gone against their core principles as representatives of such a prestigious school.
The decision not only impacts current student-athletes, but also incoming students, who are eager to contribute to Brown’s athletic community. A total of 35 incoming recruited student-athletes turned down offers from other renowned institutions to attend Brown. As mentioned on the athletics administration’s Zoom call to discuss transfer options, as a result of the timing of this decision, these athletes either have to take a gap year in order to transfer to another school or give up their dream of ever playing a D1 collegiate sport. Current students will similarly have to take a gap year in order to transfer if they want to play four years of varsity sports, preventing them from graduating on time. Coaches will become unemployed immediately, without any chance to plan for their future job search.
We deserve an explanation. In order to prevent these avoidable consequences, we are asking for this decision to be delayed by one year. This will allow incoming athletes the chance to play for Brown as was promised. It would also allow all athletes to compete while seeking options to transfer. Finally, it would offer coaches time to prepare themselves, and their families, for the next step in their careers. Due to the covert decision-making process, we are also asking for a transparent report of how this decision was made.
With the advice of “outside consultants,” our athletic careers were ended in an instant by members of Brown’s appointed committee. Our only severance was advice on how to leave the school. Through this decision-making process, Brown deceived us, used faulty information to judge our teams and showed us we are expendable after stripping us of our passion. These actions do not exemplify the values that make Brown such a special institution. We believe that in the time of a global pandemic and righteous protests, although this decision for college sports is far less important, it is crucial that we as a community take steps to act as one, rather than act disjointedly. Thus, we urge Brown University to uphold our requests to bring this community back together.
Until then, 150 former student-athletes are left feeling unvalued, and the remaining 750 are left wondering who’s next.
Alexa Jacobs ’21 and Catherine Kimmel ’21 are incoming captains for Brown Women’s Squash. Maximo Moyer ’21 is an incoming captain for Brown Men’s Squash. Alexa can be reached at alexa_jacobs@brown.edu , Catherine can be reached at catherine_kimmel@brown.edu and Maximo can be reached at maximo_moyer@brown.edu . Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com .
Your former varsity athletes,
Hughes Benjamin (Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field), Bretram Rogers (Men’s Track and Field), Calvin Perkins (Men’s Track and Field), Joseph Grula (Men’s Track and Field), David Scherrer (Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field)
Maximo Moyer (Men’s Squash), William Glaser (Men’s Squash), JP Champa (Men’s Squash), Andrew Wei (Men’s Squash), Alexa Jacobs (Women’s Squash), Catherine Kimmel (Women’s Squash)
Winnie McCabe (Women’s Golf), Naomi Lee (Women’s Golf), Pinya Pipatjarasgit (Women’s Golf)
Chuck Isgar (Men’s Golf)
Lauren Reischer (Equestrian), Hannah Woolley (Equestrian), Elena Newman (Equestrian), Maya Taylor (Equestrian)
Anna Susini (Women’s Fencing)
Nathan Sinai (Men’s Fencing)
Maggie Beardsley (Skiing), Maddie McCarthy (Skiing)
 
Supporters: 
E.J. Perry (Senior Football)
Cal Flanders (Senior Football)
Tamenang Choh (Captain Men’s Basketball)
Gracie Whelan (Captain Women’s Track and Field)
Samantha Valentine (Captain Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field)
Hannah Butler (Captain Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field)
Felicia Renelus (Captain Women’s Track and Field)
Ijeoma Uche (Captain Women’s Track and Field)
Erin Schafer (Captain Women’s Lacrosse)
Maggie Fowler (Captain Women’s Lacrosse)
Allison Lanzone (Captain Women’s Lacrosse)
Sydney Cummings (Captain Women’s Soccer)
Sara Bermudez (Captain Women’s Soccer)
Cameron Brown (Captain Women’s Soccer)
Karina Wang (Captain Women’s Rugby)
Joe Lomuscio (Captain Baseball)
Collin Garner (Captain Baseball)
Madi Cranford (Senior Softball)
Grace Ladd (Senior Softball)
Kat Clum (Junior Softball)
Lexi King (Women’s Field Hockey)
Kelly Raymond (Women’s Field Hockey)
Anna Kaneb (Women’s Field Hockey)
Abby Nearis (Captain Women’s Hockey)
Maddie Fouts (Senior Women’s Hockey)
Gus Hirschfeld (Captain Men’s Crew)
Thomas Phelps (Captain Men’s Crew)
Riley Pestorious (Captain Men’s Swimming and Diving and Herald Editorial Page Board Member)
Alex Park (Captain Men’s Swimming and Diving)
Reid Arwood (Captain Men’s Swimming and Diving)
Victoria Center (Senior Women’s Swimming and Diving)
Individual Members of Women’s Swimming and Diving
Rose Domonoske (Captain Gymnastics)
Mei Li Costa (Captain Gymnastics)
McKenna Dale (Captain Women’s Basketball)
Dominique Leonidas (Captain Women’s Basketball)
William Mims (Senior Men’s Soccer)
Kaitlyn Cook (Senior Women’s Water Polo)
Adam Fuller (Senior Men’s Water Polo)
Aidan Reilly (Senior Men’s Water Polo)
Serena Irwin (Captain Women’s Crew)
Addie Dahl (Captain Women’s Crew)
Camila Meyer-Bosse (Captain Women’s Crew)
Courtney Kowalsky (Senior Women’s Tennis)
Teddy Van Eck (Senior Men’s Tennis)
Ching Lam (Senior Men’s Tennis)
Gabrielle Moriconi (Captain Volleyball)
Paris Winkler (Captain Volleyball)”

respond
 
(showing 100) Show All

StudentsReview Advice!

• What is a good school?
• Statistical Significance
• How to choose a Major
• How to choose your Career
• What you make of it?
• How Ivy League Admissions works
• On the Student/Faculty Ratio

• FAFSA: Who is a Parent?
• FAFSA: Parent Contribution
• FAFSA: Dream out of reach

• College Financial Planning
• Survive College and Graduate
• Sniffing Out Commuter Schools
• Preparing for College: A HS Roadmap
• Talking to Your Parents about College.
• Is a top college worth it?
• Why is college hard?
• Why Kids Aren't Happy in Traditional Schools
• Essential College Tips
• Cost of College Increasing Faster Than Inflation
• For parents filling out the FAFSA and PROFILE (from a veteran paper slinger)
• How to choose the right college?
• Create The Right Career Habits Now
• Senior Year (Tips and experience)
• Informational Overload! What Should I Look For in a College or University?
• Personality Type and College Choice
• A Free Application is a Good Application
• College Academic Survival Guide
• Getting Involved: The Key to College Happiness
• Choose a Path, Not a Major
• The Scoop on State Schools
• The Purpose of a Higher Education
• The Importance of Choosing the Right College Major (2012)
• How to choose a college major
• How to guarantee your acceptance to many colleges
• Nailing the College Application Process
• What to do for a Successful Interview
• I Don't Know Where to Start (General College Advice)
• Attitude and Dress Code for an Interview (General College Advice)
• Starting College (General College Advice)
• Boston Apartment lease: Watch out!
• What college is right for you?