Somerville JCR debates merits of women-only principals

first_imgIt is unclear what role the JCR discussion will play in the formal selection of the next principal.Sarah Hughes, communications officer at Somerville, said: “A college with a history such as ours is very alive to gender issues, and it is appropriate that students also seriously reflect on them.Their views will be reported and taken into account by the Governing Body, in whose hands the final decision entirely lies.”Whilst positive action is lawful under the Equality Act, Somerville’s Equality and Diversity Policy states: “In respect of staff, ensure that entry into employment and progression within employment are determined solely by criteria which are related to the duties of a particular post.”In December 2016, released National Archive files revealed Margaret Thatcher’s attempt to fight the admission of male fellows at her alma mater, Somerville. This resistance came at odds with directives of the European Commission’s equality legislation.Dr Prochaska is also a vocal critic of sexual harassment and rape culture at Oxford. She has penned a column in The Guardian on fighting “sexist laddism and abuse” at Somer- ville, and has prompted a JCR resolution to condemn aggressive behaviour in college.The JCR’s motion to hold an open discussion was passed. No vote was conducted at the end of the meeting to indicate the JCR’s stance on the appointment of a candidate on the basis of gender. Somerville College JCR is discussing whether gender should be taken into account in the selection of the next principal.Dr Alice Prochaska, Somerville’s current principal, announced in October 2016 that she will be stepping down after a seven-year term at the end of the academic year. The college is due to announce her successor some time this year.Alex Crichton-Miller, president of the Somerville JCR, told Cherwell: “Given that there are several colleges in Oxford that have only ever been led by men, there were some mem- bers of the Common Room who felt strongly that Somerville ought to continue to have a female principal.“This point was made, clearly, on the basis that the proposed female candidate possesses all other required qualities for the leadership role.“Others held the view that it would be unjustified to discriminate on the basis of the candidate’s gender, even in the case of positive action.”Of the 38 Oxford colleges, only nine of them (or 24 per cent)—Green Templeton, Mansfield, Oriel, Pembroke, St Anthony’s, St Hugh’s, St John’s, Somerville, and Wolfson—currently have female heads of colleges.Somerville, a women’s college until 1994, became the only college in Oxford that has only had female leadership when St Hilda’s appointed its first male principal in 2014.last_img read more

Oxford student living off GoFundMe page as she waits for renewal of refugee status

first_imgIn June, Rustom applied for a new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which was to expire on 31st July. As her application is still pending, Rustom is currently unable to access any student finance as she is unable to provide Student Finance England with an in-date BRP. Rustom came to the UK in December 2013 from Saudi Arabia, where she was born and where her parents had been living after relocating from Syria. On the advice of the college, Rustom has applied for a Crankstart Scholarship, but is yet to hear back about the status of her application. For Rustom, going to Oxford was the chance to set her family on a new path. Rustom has not been able to get any financial support from her family since she became estranged from her father after coming out as gay earlier this year. After threatening to kick her out of the family home, Rustom was able to avoid homelessness after negotiating with her parents. She said: “I didn’t know if I deserved it but… my family was really happy. I was the first one that was going to get a good degree from an amazing university in a place where women are able to work.” However, Rustom expresses no frustration towards college or the University: “I’m not frustrated with Oxford because… they’ve done everything that they can to help me out. I’m just frustrated at the Home Office and even Student Finance because they know I’m a refugee… and they know that I can’t really provide for myself.” During what was meant to be a short visit to her older sister who was living in London, the family were told that they would not be able to return to Saudi Arabia because their guarantor, a Saudi citizen who acts as a sponsor to foreign migrants and handles their visa and legal status, had cancelled their visas after a dispute with Rustom’s father. The family was forced to apply for refugee status in the UK and Rustom started school in East London in February 2014. The college has agreed to postpone her battels until the end of the term in the hope that Rustom will receive her student loan before this point. Furthermore, Rustom is ineligible for a St Hilda’s hardship fund because the college assess each application based on the information given to them by data entered into a student finance application, which is currently inaccessible.center_img Applications for new BRPs should take up to six months, however Rustom states that she knows of others whose applications have only been responded to after this time frame. Having applied for a renewal in June, this mean that Rustom could be ineligible for any funding until January. Rustom started her GoFundMe page at the suggestion of a friend in second week and has raised over £100 in donations from friends. However, until the money is transferred from the platform to her bank account in the next few days, Rustom is living off the remaining £10 of the money that her mother gave her before term. Rama Rustom, whose family is Syrian but is legally stateless, applied for her student loan in April, unaware that her refugee status would lead to any problems. In Rustom’s opinion, this delay in the renewal of her refugee status is “really unfair”. She said: “It’s kind of justifiable on their part because they do need that information but for me on a personal level… it’s not really my fault. They can’t just tell me to hold off on my education”. Rustom, whose first language is Arabic, did not begin to learn English until she was seven and said that she came to London still “unable to form coherent sentences”. An offer to read English Language and Literature at the University came as a particularly welcome surprise. A first-year student at St Hilda’s College has been receiving donations from the crowd-funder platform GoFundMe because she is unable to access any student finance until her refugee status is successfully renewed by the Home Office. “I’ve worked hard for this and I’ve tried my best… it’s the issue of the Home Office just taking their time.” Rama Rustom’s GoFundMe can be found here.last_img read more

Mari Hulman George Dies at 83

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Mari Hulman George Dies at 83NOVEMBER 3RD, 2018 MEGAN DIVENTI EVANSVILLE, INDIANAEvansville native and matriarch of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has died. The IMS Chairman of the Board Emeritus passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 83.Mari Hulman George was born in December of 1934 in Evansville. When her father bought IMS in 1945, Hulman George was immersed into the world of auto racing.According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hulman George served as IMS Chairman from 1988 to 2016.Hulman George was well known to race fans as the individual who gave the command to start engines for the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 for more than 15 years.Family members say she touched the lives of many Hoosiers throughout her life.“She would treat everybody as if they were on the same level as she was,” says Daniel McCarthy, Mari Hulman George’s cousin. “You know she was not a pretentious person which was the beauty in that. That was a beautiful thing. I would say that that’s a legacy, but just the speedway everything that it stands for, you know that means a lot to Hoosiers and to be able to trace that back to Evansville.”The family says she will be buried in Terre Haute, Indiana.last_img read more

‘They need to be uncomfortable’: Students throughout the country share their experiences advocating for Black Lives Matter

first_imgYoung people around the world have taken this moment to use their voices and speak out against racial injustice. The Observer spoke to students from across the nation to see how some of the tri-campus is using this moment to advocate for the Black community. While some are protesting, others have found different forms of activism to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Why are they protesting? What have they experienced? What does this mean to them and their peers? Through these snapshots, we hope to paint a picture of what parts of America look like today.Plainfield, Illinois“‘Well, what are you going to do about it?’”Courtesy of Faith Harris Faith Harris, a senior, organized a protest in her hometown in Illinois. She said everything began for her when she watched the video of George Floyd being killed. “It was actually one of the first police brutality videos that I’ve watched. I normally just cannot watch them just for my own sanity and for my own mental health, but it was like 3 a.m. and I saw it circulating on Twitter, so I decided to click on it,” Harris said. “And of course, just like everyone else I was outraged. I ran into my sister’s room and I was crying. And you know, I told her that killed another man. And she was the first thing that she actually said to me was, ‘Well, what are you going to do about it?’”Harris, who is president of the Black Cultural Arts club at Notre Dame, initially organized the protest for her friends and family to partake in. “Originally, it was just for, you know, me, my family, my close friends,” Harris said. “I was like, I want to go out and stand out there, ‘Do you guys want to come with me?’ And they said yes, so I put it on my Instagram. And it actually got more traction than I thought it would. People were messaging me, ‘Can we come? Can we come? What can we bring?’ And I was like, I think this might be bigger than we think it’s going to be.”Harris and her friends and family then started prepping for a slightly larger protest than originally planned. “We decided to do all of our research. We printed out Know Your Rights sheets for people who are coming, just in case the police stopped by,” she said. “We brought water, we made posters and extra posters for people. We had about 140 people come, which is way more than we thought. And it was just a peaceful protest. I really emphasized that I wanted it to be peaceful. Because you know, things escalate so quickly, and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”Harris said Notre Dame’s response to the death of George Floyd and protests was “disrespectful.” University President Fr. John Jenkins initially released a two-sentence statement about the death of George Floyd, with the famed photo of President Emeritus Fr. Hesbrugh protesting with Martin Luther King Jr. Days later, he released a longer statement.“I think that it’s really, really just kind of disrespectful that … the President of our University has to kind of be bullied into making a longer statement or just saying more than he actually has done. And I think that’s disrespectful to your Black population,” Harris said. “I think that having your students come together and do more than you do is kind of just, you know, it’s just not acceptable. Notre Dame has had a history of racism. Students face it every day. I know people personally, and close to me who faced it.”Students in the coming years will be more inclined to make changes to the University’s culture, Harris said. “My sister went to the University, and graduated in 2014,” Harris said. “She always apologizes to me, and tells me ‘You know, I never wanted you to go through what I had to go through’ … I think that our students this year or even in the coming years are going to be making big changes, and I think that the University needs to prepare for that.”Houston, Texas“It’s important to show not just other white people, like ‘Hey, look, you should care about this,’ but to show your Black and minority friends, ‘Your life is important to me.’”Courtesy of Emma Shea Emma Shea attended a protest in her hometown of Houston on June 2. The protest, by most accounts, had upwards of 60,000 people in attendance — including George Floyd’s family. Floyd, whose death at the hands of a police officer on May 25 sparked the outage and protests that have spread across the country in the last few weeks, grew up in Houston. “I think that the Black Lives Matter Houston chapter really wanted to lift up George Floyd and George Floyd’s family to show them that, maybe he was in Minneapolis when he died … but to show the members of his family his roots here are not forgotten, and he was important to the people here. Even to people who never knew him he is very important,” Shea said. “So I think his life and legacy were very much emphasized both in the actual marching of the protest and the chants that were initiated, but then also in the speeches that were given.”Shea, a senior at Notre Dame, has been outspoken on social media about her beliefs concerning the Black Lives Matter movement. She advocates for white people, like herself, to act as allies for the Black community. Shea said Floyd’s death and the aftermath has been a “pivotal moment” for her.  “I had somewhat seen videos or pictures or things before, but then sort of all of a sudden there was this wave of sort of constant exposure. … I think that’s been a huge eye opener for a lot of people, including myself, and then just realizing how widespread it really is,” she said. “For me, after that, that’s when I really started donating to places.”Shea said she believes as a white person it is important to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, and other minority groups.“I think that’s something that’s really valuable for white people to do,” she said. “If you have this awareness now, and if you feel like you can’t be silent about this issue because of how pervasive it is, and how widespread and how just so clearly unjust it is, then you have access to these circles, where people aren’t exposed to that because it doesn’t directly affect them, because they do benefit from the systems of injustice, and historical systemic oppression.”She said the impact of spreading awareness of the injustices facing the Black community cannot be overestimated and being an ally to the Black community is important for many reasons.“I think it’s important to show not just other white people, like ‘Hey, look, you should care about this,’ but to show your Black and minority friends, ‘Your life is important to me’ and ‘Your struggle is important to me.’ And I know that there are things I can do, at the end of the day it’s support to show that you’ll put your neck out there.”New Jersey and New York City, New York“It was very powerful for me to see a lot of people who were passionate about the same things that I was.”Courtesy of Lamont Marino Lamont Marino, a junior at Notre Dame, said he has attended four protests at the time of his interview with the Observer — two in New York City and two in New Jersey. “Going to the protest, you felt the passion that everybody had towards trying to get some justice done. For me, it was something I hadn’t really done too much of in terms of activism,” Marino, who is half African-American, said. “Because I’ve read, and I know about history, and I’ve seen racism around me, but you know, there was no real chance for me to be an activist at the time. And so it was very powerful for me to see a lot of people who were passionate about the same things that I was.”Marino said he noticed differences in the way police received them in the different areas he protested in.“In New York, they … had on riot gear and they didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it, even though it was pretty peaceful the whole time,” he said. “I was in the Newark one where the police officers decided to walk with us. That was a very telling experience.”He said at a protest in Brooklyn he attended, police officers picked people out of the protest and began to get violent with protesters.“When we got there, they just started picking people out of the protest and throwing them on the ground and started beating them up,” Marino said. “So once they did that, some protesters definitely got really upset and started confronting them and it just snowballed from there. The NYPD has had its backlash lately, and I’ve been a victim to that when I was younger, so I wasn’t really surprised, but I think that this kind of just shone a light on it.”Flossmoor, Illinois“For the Black community, there are two pandemics right now: the COVID-19 pandemic and racism.” Kennedi Sidberry, a Flossmoor, Ill. native, said she felt helpless after the news of George Floyd’s death. “I called the University Counseling Center, and I was basically like, ‘I’m sure I’m not the only student who was feeling a little hopeless at this time, what resources do you have to offer?’ I was really disappointed to find out that there really wasn’t anything available,” Sidberry said. “They had different services for coping with the pandemic, but there weren’t really any racial violence coping mechanisms, I guess there any resources for that. So that was the start.”Sidberry, a junior, said she eventually got in contact with Jamie Garvey, an on-staff psychologist. “I spoke with her and she was really kind. She was really understanding, and she was grateful that I was bringing the issue to her attention. Honestly, within maybe two days, I saw so much feedback,” Sidberry said. “She would email me back and say, ‘Okay, so we just had a staff meeting about your issues, about your concerns, and they whipped out a workshop within a week over Zoom where students could come and just process their emotions and reactions to the violence in the media.”Sidberry said the Black community at Notre Dame needed their own specific mental health resources.“For the Black community, there are two pandemics right now: the COVID-19 pandemic and racism. And this is nothing new,” Sidberry said. “We basically just felt like [Jenkins’s] response on behalf of the school was just kind of a slap in the face. It wasn’t very genuine. So basically through talking with Jamie, I was saying ‘Is the UCC going to put out a statement, a list of resources, or something?’ Especially for students returning to campus where we’re supposed to have [President] Trump come to campus in this fall for the debate, and students always have to deal with the culture shock of coming to school and not seeing other people who look like them and just microaggressions add up.’”Sidberry decided to work with the UCC to create a Black mental health resource sheet. To make the list of resources, Garvey sent Sidberry suggestions, and she shared them to all of her social media accounts. Additionally, the UCC created a webpage with similar information for students of color.  Sidberry also runs an Instagram and GroupMe account for students of color at Notre Dame called @notredamenaturals, to showcase students of color and their natural hair. “With the Notre Dame naturals account, that started before the George Floyd incident even occurred,” Sidberry said. “That was supposed to be a platform to celebrate Black beauty … just to kind of create community, and I feel like in the in light of everything going on it’s even more necessary, because when everything in the media is telling you that you’re less than,  having that space to just look at how beautiful our community really is is really important.” Indianapolis, Indiana“I’m a lot more driven to be the change that I want to see.” Courtesy of Max Siegel Max Siegel, a junior at Notre Dame, has a unique perspective as an offensive lineman for the Irish. He was asked to share his opinion about the protests and turmoil happening in the world as part of Notre Dame Football’s “Signed, the Irish” series. Originally from the Indianapolis area, Siegel said he attended a protest his friends helped organize downtown, but said he was initially very “disheartened.” “It was really hard to really articulate what I wanted to say, and kind of just express how I felt,” Siegel said. “But after a couple of days, and just reaching out some of my friends and some of my other friends that are activists here in Indiana, Indianapolis, it really re-energized me. So now I’m a lot more hopeful. I’m a lot more driven to be the change that I want to see.” At the time of his interview with the Observer, Siegel had been to three protests in his area. At the start of protests, the 7 p.m. curfew in his area contributed to some violence, Siegel said.“The way it worked before last week was that essentially the police can use whatever force needed past 7 p.m., which was the curfew,” he said. “So the closer you got towards that 7 p.m. marker, the more tense it got. … Now it’s been getting better, less tense. The first couple of weeks there were a lot of violent protests at night. But now, you don’t really hear about as many of them anymore. It’s just been peaceful protests.”Siegel said he was disappointed in the original statement the University put out, and in some of the details they included in the following statements. “I think that so to say that I was disappointed in the original one would be an understatement. I think the second statement was better. But I was also very disappointed to see that police brutality was not mentioned by name, and also the portion about racism hurting everybody also rubbed me the wrong way,” Siegel said. “I wrote this in my piece, but racism that hurts someone in your community hurts everybody. But it felt like at the time, that wasn’t the time or the place to put in that racism hurts everybody, when you see these are acts of violence towards Black people.”New Orleans, Louisiana“Students often will claim that there’s this wonderful Notre Dame family, but there’s so many Black students that can’t say the same…” Courtesy of Erica Browne Junior Erica Browne helps with voter registration at a protest put on by the Oklahoma City chapter of Black Lives Matter.After attending a number of protests in Oklahoma City, Okla., junior Erica Browne said she was interested in doing more to lend support to the movement and enact legislative change. So she, and four other young women, have been planning their own protest.Browne got in contact with the other lead organizers for the protest through social media and has meet with them over Zoom to consider logistics, like getting permitted and finding volunteers to be medics and hand out supplies. “Though we aren’t directly affiliated with Black Lives Matter, we are working with some of their organizers, and they’re giving us tips and helping us out,” Browne said. “By attending protests led by Young Democrats of Oklahoma or any other organization like that, we’ve not only showed support and fought for Black lives at the protests, we also learned so much from all of all of them.”She said her experiences taking two Center for Social Concerns seminars, “Organizing, Power and Hope” and “Act Justly,” in the past year encouraged her to get involved and provided her with some background knowledge to take into consideration while organizing.So far, Browne said they have almost a thousand people who are planning on attending their protest according to their Facebook group.“We’re really passionate about seeing this through and passionate about creating change and holding our elected officials accountable and figuring out ways to make our protests more than a protest,” Browne said.While Browne strongly believes in the importance of protesting, she said she thinks protests are just the beginning, and sharing petition links and ways people can be involved in their next city council meetings is also critical.“When it comes to our elected officials it’s really easy to accept small wins to say that this means we’re moving in the right direction,” Browne said. “But we really need to keep putting constant pressure for this to actually be realized and for things to actually change. We don’t have time or the capacity to keep accepting mediocre changes or soft changes.”Having seen other videos of Black people’s violent interactions with the police, Browne said she could not bring herself to watch the killing of George Floyd.“As a Black person in America, it’s so easy to see myself in every single one of these victims,” Browne said.This sentiment is in part what drives Browne to continue fighting for change.“We need fast and immediate action, because there’s nothing right now, at least in my city, stopping what happened to so many people from happening to me, from happening to my mother, my siblings, my other parents,” Browne said.The Observer will be updating this story as more students’ experiences are shared. Email the authors at [email protected] or [email protected] to tell us your story.Tags: activism, Black lives matter, george floyd, Protests Courtesy of Blake Johnson Senior Blake Johnson attends a protest in St. Louis, Missouri to fight for Black lives.Living in St. Louis, Missouri, only 15 minutes away from Ferguson, senior Blake Johnson said outrage regarding police brutality is not something novel for people in his community. “Watching [Floyd’s] video is very reminiscent of this feeling that happened after Michael Brown’s death,” Johnson said. “It kind of revamped a lot of those feelings of anger that came from an unjust, killing of an unarmed Black person. I think it was a lot of novel anger, but also a lot of rejuvenated renewed anger, from before.”Taking to the streets, over the past few weeks Johnson has attended protests in Jefferson City and St. Louis to ask the state government for police reform and for defunding the police department. “I want legislators and people in power to know that our voices are heard and that we’re here and we’re not going away until we see some major changes happen,” Johnson said.While many people in his community have protested before, Johnson said he is particularly struck by the widespread support the Black community has received.“In Jefferson City I think it was around 1,000 people and in St. Louis a few thousand came out to the protest,” Johnson said. “People of all ages and colors came out in solidarity to protest, and I thought that was a beautiful thing.”In addition to attending protests, Johnson said he has been reading articles, educating himself and discussing issues surrounding racial inequality with his friends.“I was Black from the moment I was born, but this discussion surrounding racial justice is pretty novel to a lot of people, especially privileged people at Notre Dame,” Johnson said. “I kind of took it upon myself to call out my peers and even my close friends that weren’t paying attention to what’s going on and weren’t having discussions amongst themselves and their family members because I think at this time with this great momentum everyone has to play a part if any change is going to happen.”While Johnson said he knows toppling systematic racism will take a long time, he thinks legislation to reform the system is a good start.“I think to not be hopeful is not really helping the cause,” Johnson said. “I think in order to continue protesting, in order to continue educating yourself, in order to continue striving for change, you have to be hopeful of a better future, so I do have hope for this country.”Johnson hopes the momentum continues in order to enact lasting changes, and he encourages students at Notre Dame to continue having conversations, educating themselves and protesting even when it is inconvenient.  “There are millions of your fellow Americans that are living every day in a racially adjusted country,” Johnson said. “Black people deserve your attention, and they deserve the country to continue striving for a better future.”Moraga, Oakland and Orinda, California“Even as people are protesting police brutality, the police have responded with brutality.” Courtesy of Jeff Musema Notre Dame community members gather at the Grotto in the Prayer for Unity, Walk for Justice event on June 1.Senior Jeff Musema said he’s not surprised the protests have gone on for so long.In many ways the Black community has reached a breaking point, and this time, Musema said, Black voices have had the chance to speak up while benefiting from the support of a large number of members within their community and allies outside of it.“I think that the quality of one’s life is a product of the quality of the consistent emotions one feels, and the Black community within Notre Dame and the nation as a whole has felt like they’ve been misunderstood and misrepresented and unheard,” Musema said. “So it’s not surprising that [the protests] have gone on for so long.”A resident of Granger, Ind., Musema attended a protest in South Bend and the “Prayer for Unity, Walk for Justice” event organized by the University, both of which attracted hundreds of people. While he appreciated the prayer service, Musema said he wished more Black and African American leaders in the student body were involved in the planning of the event.As the president of Wabruda, a student group that promotes brotherhood among Black men on campus, Musema hopes to collaborate with the administration to work towards solutions, and he urges the Black student body to stay focused.“To the members of the Black and African American student body, we’re all in this together and it’s okay to feel drained or frustrated or fatigued about what’s going on,” Musema said. “It’s okay to take a break, collect your thoughts and really question the changes that you’d like to see not only for yourself but for members of the community who will be coming to Notre Dame.”Bentonville, Arkansas“For me, it’s just really telling if you’re silent.”  As the president of Shades of Ebony and the director of diversity and inclusion for student government, senior Kaya Lawrence felt the need to respond immediately when she heard about George Floyd’s death.Early on, Lawrence met with the executive board, representatives from Diversity Council and members of her own department to craft a statement from student government.“We really wanted to make sure we had different voices represented, and that it wasn’t just student government speaking on behalf of students of color,” Lawrence, who is currently living in New Orleans, La., said.In preparation for the fall semester, Lawrence said student government is working on a number of policies to improve race relations on campus. In addition to helping write the student government statement, she assisted in writing a call to action from a coalition of Black clubs on campus on behalf of the members of the Black Notre Dame community.Both statements prompted vice president of student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding to schedule meetings with a number of groups on campus, Lawrence said, but she’s skeptical that significant changes will be enacted.“I think many times in the past the administration has had meetings with these different groups about the problems on campus but has failed to actually create a transformation on campus,” Lawrence said.As Notre Dame is a predominately white institution, Lawrence said she thinks many of the Black students on campus go through a lot of silent pain, where white students often fail to speak up when Black students are targeted. To improve the campus environment, Lawrence urges the student body to hold themselves accountable and speak up.“Students often will claim that there’s this wonderful Notre Dame family, but there’s so many Black students that can’t say the same or who don’t feel comfortable or who don’t feel at home when they come back to campus,” Lawrence said.South Bend and Notre Dame, Indiana “To the members of the Black and African American student body, we’re all in this together and it’s okay to feel drained or frustrated or fatigued about what’s going on.” Courtesy of Brendan McFeely Police line up in riot gear prepared to subdue protesters in Oakland, California.Sophomore Brendan McFeely said his experiences protesting have been very different depending on where he’s gone. Residing in Orinda, Calif., McFeely said he attended a protest in downtown Oakland as well as a few events in the suburbs. The protest McFeely and his friends joined in Oakland near the police department attracted thousands and later turned violent after curfew.“It was kind of terrifying because across the street the riot police were preparing for that night even though curfew didn’t happen for two more hours,” McFeely said. “Then at some point they started getting out their twist ties so that they could handcuff people.”In Moraga, Calif., organizers held an event at a local park where hundreds of people attended to hear from people of color in the community, McFeely said, and at his own high school, he participated in a phone bank event to call legislators. McFeely said he’s also seen a number of small demonstrations of people standing on corners with signs in his small town, and he’s surprised by how widespread the protests have been, despite some turning violent.“Even as people are protesting police brutality, the police have responded with brutality,” McFeely said. “I think it’s been frustrating, but I think it’s also been really inspiring to see the reaction this time as opposed to the other times where there have been some protests, but it seems like there hasn’t been nearly as much traction,” McFeely said.McFeely said he feels strongly about serving as an ally in this movement and doing what he can to support Black lives.“I think for me, it was just that I felt I would be betraying people I know and love if I didn’t because I’ve grown up with so much privilege that I felt like it would be wrong for me to not use it for good,” McFeely said. “And as a white boy, you know it’s less likely that police are going to brutalize me, so if I can put my body between myself and people who are more likely to get hurt by people who are supposed to protect them that’s something I’m willing to do.”Oklahoma City, Oklahoma“As a Black person in America, it’s so easy to see myself in every single one of these victims.” Courtesy of Lan Anh Dinh Senior Lan Anh Dinh carried a sign with a quote from political activist and writer, Angela Y. Davis, to a protest in Bentonville, Arkansas.As an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, senior Lan Anh Dinh said she was nervous at first to attend a demonstration because protesters in Vietnam are often subjected to harsh treatment and violence.Dinh still wanted to do her part to support Black lives though, and despite her apprehension, she attended a demonstration in Bentonville, Ark., which neighbors Springdale, Ark., where she currently lives.“The protests happened around this Confederate statue right opposite the first-ever Walmart, and I thought that was just so powerful,” Dinh said.While the protest Dinh attended remained peaceful, protests in Bentonville, Ark. have escalated since then with police officers deploying tear gas and ordering protesters to leave.As an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement, Dinh said she’s mainly looking to listen, amplify her friends’ voices and lend physical and organizational help.“The first step in being an ally is really just alerting myself to all of the prejudice that I didn’t realize was there,” Dinh said.Dinh said she’s been spending time educating herself further on issues surrounding racial inequality in the U.S., and she encourages other Notre Dame students to do the same.“I guess I just want people to care more,” Dinh said. “If they’re not going to do something I want them to join in on the conversation even if it is uncomfortable because they need to be uncomfortable. For me, it’s just really telling if you’re silent.”St. Louis and Jefferson City, Missouri“I was Black from the moment I was born, but this discussion surrounding racial justice is pretty novel to a lot of people, especially privileged people at Notre Dame.”last_img read more

Six Langrock Sperry & Wool Attorneys Named as “Best Lawyers in America”®

first_imgSix lawyers in the law firm of Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP, with offices in Burlington and Middlebury, Vermont, have been named in the 2003-4 edition of “The Best Lawyers in America”®. The Best Lawyers in America ® is considered the pre-eminent guide to the legal profession in the United States. The “Best Lawyers” lists are compiled through an exhaustive peer review survey in which thousands of the top lawyers in the United States confidentially evaluate their peers.In Vermont, there are approximately 2,700 lawyers and only 60 lawyers in Vermont are listed in “The Best Lawyers in America”®. The six Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP attorneys named are:Peter F. Langrock (Criminal Defense, First Amendment Law, Personal Injury).Mark L. Sperry (Real Estate)John L. Kellner (Personal Injury)Liam L. Murphy (Real Estate)Susan M. Murray (Family Law)Beth Robinson (Family Law and Workers Compensation)Six attorneys is the most named in any one firm in Vermont, and perhaps the country.Senior partner, Peter F. Langrock, stated “ We are pleased to have six of our attorneys -25% of the attorneys in our firm – recognized for their outstanding expertise. I believe each and every one of our 24 lawyers are among the best lawyers in America.”last_img read more

Mack Molding launches MackMedical

first_imgMack Molding Co. is today announcing the formation of its medical products group, which the company is branding MackMedical. Located at Mack’s headquarters in Arlington, Vt., MackMedical is a focused group of staff –product development, program management, quality, regulatory, document control, purchasing, sales and production — that is skilled in medical manufacturing. They manage all medical accounts, from upfront engineering through final manufacturing and distribution.“We have been aggressively developing the medical manufacturing sector of our business for the past nine years by refining quality and supply management systems, hiring specialized staff, and adding new technology,” says Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding’s Northern Division.“As a result, the medical market now represents a full 30 percent of our business, including several Class III medical devices, surgical equipment, and disposables for the orthopedic market. After this significant investment of time and resources, we now have all the markers in place to legitimately call ourselves MackMedical.”“This is an engineering-intensive team with a medical manufacturing culture that understands the industry,” explains Kevin Bradley, business unit director. “The customer doesn’t have to spend time bringing us up to speed on the stringent requirements of this market.”More than a molderWhile rooted in plastic injection molding since its inception in 1920, Mack has long since been more than a molder. Vertically integrated into a number of other core competencies, Mack offers design, prototyping, metal fabrication, full product assembly and direct order fulfillment. Specifically for medical customers, the company has also recently added product refurbishment, complaint investigation, and obsolescence management.“We have developed a robust medical products group within Mack Molding that represents a rapidly growing segment of our overall business,” adds Somple. “Medical manufacturing will grow to 50 percent of our business in the near future, as we anticipate adding large-part clean room molding and other medical design services.“We have demonstrated to the medical market that we’re in this business to stay,” concludes Somple, “which is particularly important during this period of economic uncertainty. Given the length of the medical product development cycle, it’s critical for OEMs to deal with contract manufacturers that have the financial and staff bandwidth to stay the course. Mack remains debt-free and financially strong. And we continue to make investments in people, equipment and technologies that will collectively keep us and our customers moving forward together.”The company’s headquarters plant has been ISO 13485 certified for medical device production for several years. Just this month, its prototyping division (Mack Prototype, Inc., Gardner, Mass.) earned ISO 13485 certification as well.Mack is a privately owned business that operates six facilities throughout the eastern United States. Don Kendall is CEO and president. For more news and information about its applications and services, go to is external). Source: Mack Molding. ARLINGTON, Vt. (July13, 2009) – # # # # #last_img read more

Fitch downgrades VSAC 1995 education loan revenue bonds from AA+ to AA-

first_imgFitch Ratings downgrades the ratings on the education loan revenue bonds issued by Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) issued under the 1995 General Resolution. The rating is removed from Rating Watch Negative and a Stable Outlook is assigned to the bonds. A complete list of the ratings is shown below.The rating downgrades are based on loss coverage multiples and on the level of credit enhancement that is available to absorb the applicable basis risk factor stress level after accounting for the trust’s cost structure and its ability to generate excess spread towards the tail end of the transaction. Credit was given to the increased credit enhancement provided by VSAC’s purchase of bonds at a discount since March 2010, as reflected by the trust’s 107.03% senior parity ratio. Although senior bond payments are guaranteed by AMBAC Indemnity Corporation (AMBAC), no credit was given to this guarantee, as Fitch has withdrawn the ratings on AMBAC.The collateral securing the bonds contains 78.27% Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) Student Loans and 21.73% private student loans. For the portion of the trust backed by private student loans, loss coverage multiples were determined by comparing projected net loss amounts to available credit enhancement based on the collateral performance data as of Dec. 31, 2010. Credit enhancement includes overcollateralization, a reserve fund, and projected excess spread. Fitch assumed excess spread to be the lesser of the average historical excess spread (earning on the assets minus interest payments to bondholders and fees) and the most recent 12-month average excess spread, and applied that same rate over the stressed projection of remaining life.In its analysis, Fitch used data provided by VSAC to form a loss timing curve for the transaction’s loan pool. A projected net loss amount was compared to available credit enhancement to determine the loss multiple. After giving credit for seasoning of loans in repayment, Fitch applied the current cumulative gross loss level to this loss timing curve to derive the expected gross losses over the remaining life of the trust. A recovery rate was applied based on the latest data provided by the issuer. The collateral performance for the trust has been consistent with expectations from a net default perspective.The trust may release cash to the issuer when senior parity is 103% or greater, and upon receiving approval from AMBAC. Fitch calculated the current loss coverage multiples based on the trust’s current senior parity ratio of 107.03%. If any cash is released from the trust, this would decrease the current level of available credit enhancement and may cause further rating actions to be taken.Fitch downgrades and assigns a Stable Outlook to Vermont Student Assistance Corporation 1995 General Resolution education loan revenue bonds:–Series 1995-A downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1995-B downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1995-C downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1996-F downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1996-G downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1996-H downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1998-K downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1998-L downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 1998-M downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2000-R downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2000-S downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2000-T downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2001-V downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2001-W downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2001-X downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2001-Y downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2001-Z downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2001-AA downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2002-BB downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2002-CC downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2002-DD downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-FF downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-GG downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-HH downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-II downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-JJ downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-KK downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2003-LL downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2004-MM downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2004-NN downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2004-OO downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2004-PP downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2005-RR downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2005-SS downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2006-UU downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2006-VV downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2007-WW downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2007-XX downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook;–Series 2007-YY downgraded to ‘AA-‘ from ‘AA+’, Stable Outlook.The subordinate series 1998-O bonds have been paid in full.Additional information is available at ‘ is external)’.Applicable Criteria and Related Research:–‘U.S. Private Student Loan ABS Criteria’ Aug. 24, 2009;–‘Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria’ dated Aug. 13, 2010;–‘Fitch to Begin Review of U.S. FFELP SLABS Applying Updated Criteria’ dated June 29, 2010;–‘Rating US Federal Family Education Loan Program Student Loan ABS’, dated April 11, 2008.Applicable Criteria and Related Research:Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria…(link is external)U.S. Private Student Loan ABS Criteria…(link is external)ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY’S PUBLIC WEBSITE ‘WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM’. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE ‘CODE OF CONDUCT’ SECTION OF THIS SITE.  NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–last_img read more

Deadline looms for credit unions to join suit vs. Home Depot: CUNA reminds

first_imgCUNA is reminding credit unions of an impending deadline for deciding whether to become a party to a class action suit against Home Depot.Parties must be identified and evaluated within the next two to three weeks to make a May 15 deadline for inclusion as a class participant.  The suit will seek recovery and injunctive relief associated with a massive data breach at the giant retail outlet in September 2014.CUNA announced Wednesday that it will join credit unions and other financial institutions nationwide as a plaintiff in that lawsuit. However, CUNA emphasizes its participation should not discourage any credit union or state credit union league from participating as well, as credit union participation remains vitally important.“CUNA is pursuing every possible avenue to get merchants to raise their data security standards to protect consumers and card-issuing credit unions. We decided participation in this legal action is another route we can take to support our efforts,” according to Susan Parisi, CUNA chief counsel. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

CUNA shares TCPA concerns with Energy, Commerce subcommittee

first_imgCUNA wrote to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Wednesday to request consideration of issues CUNA has raised with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as the subcommittee conducts a markup. CUNA filed a petition seeking TCPA relief last month, and it was issued for comment by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week.“We ask you to consider these issues as the Subcommittee marks-up legislation to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to reauthorize appropriations for the FCC, to provide for certain procedural changes to the rules of the Commission to maximize opportunities for public participation and efficient decision making, and for other purposes,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.CUNA’s petition requests the FCC issue a declaratory ruling that wireless informational calls to credit union member-owners with whom the credit union has an established business relationship, or where the call or text is in fact free, be exempt from the TCPA’s prior express consent requirement for autodialed and artificial or prerecorded voice calls. 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

‘Pay attention’, ‘transform’: Pandemic shifts business landscape, strategy

first_imgTopics : COVID-19 has swept through the global economy in an unprecedented way. Businesses have been affected to various degrees depending on the sectors, but the bottom-line tips for survival are: pay attention to consumer behavior and accelerate digital transformation, new reports show.Consumers are staying home more than ever before, forcing businesses to cater to the new stay-home economy and lifestyle. Sectors that require mobility and travel are being battered, such as tourism, airlines and transportation, but businesses that relate to health, hygiene and digital media are booming.“Constant changes in attitude and behavior are unrelenting,” market research firm Kantar Indonesia wrote in its April 14 briefing titled COVID-19 Impact on Indonesian Attitudes & Behaviors: Learning for Brands. “Pay attention and adapt to the changes as soon as possible.” “In times of crisis, stronger brands will prevail,” Kantar Indonesia’s briefing reads. The government is preparing tax breaks for 12 business sectors ranging from manufacturing to food and beverages and tourism and transportation as COVID-19 deals a heavy blow to Indonesian businesses.Read also: COVID-19 impacts across Indonesia’s business sectors: A recapIndonesia’s economic growth is expected to plunge to 2.3 percent, the lowest in 21 years, and under the worst-case scenario it is set to contract by 0.4 percent, according to government estimates. The government is also preparing tax breaks, loan relaxations and cash transfers for Indonesia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which contribute 60 percent to the national GDP.New business landscape: BeneficiariesIn the wake of the coronavirus, there is noticeably higher awareness in relation to hygiene and health, according to consumer activity data gathered by the Mobile Marketing Association. There is also an increase in the consumption of products perceived to be healthy such as fresh food and dairy products, according to a report by McKinsey and Company.More than three out of four consumers are currently focusing on boosting their immunity through more exercise and healthy eating, according to the McKinsey survey of 5,000 people in seven countries in Asia, including Indonesia. The finding excludes consumers in China and Japan.Read also: Consumers drawn to hygiene products, online fitness as pandemic spreads“In the long term the pandemic will serve as shock therapy regarding the importance of health and sanitation. So, customers will tend to care more about their health,” Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) director and economist Mohammad Faisal said.As regional governments in Indonesia implement large scale social restrictions (PSBB), products selling out among customers are not limited to germ-killing products, but also those associated with people staying home. These include personal care and home care such as detergents and dishwashing products, according to Kantar research.“After entering the recovery phase, in 2021, the customer’s focus on basic needs won’t change. But it will take some time for people to start purchasing secondary and tertiary needs outside the basics,” Faisal said.The digital economy, including digital media, is thriving. McKinsey data point to a surge in customers’ use of digital channels to purchase groceries.Online grocery platforms like Sayurbox and TaniHub have seen a significant surge in demand since the government encouraged citizens to stay in. The survey on customers’ intentions shows that the trend might continue beyond the time of the pandemic.Read also: Online groceries thrive as customers avoid supermarketsThe use of digital channels during the stay-at-home period also extends to other platforms such as fitness apps, digital entertainment, work from home software, as well as online education, with as many as 70 percent of customers surveyed in MMA data trying out a new digital category during the pandemic.Research firm Statqo Analytics notes that web meeting app Zoom has seen its number of users jump by 183 percent in March alone, while learning platform Ruangguru saw a 77 percent surge in active users in the same month.“The COVID-19 [pandemic period] is going to shape our future digital economy, because people are forced to adopt and adapt with the current digital ecosystem,” Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) researcher Hanif Muhammad said, noting that there will be a speedy digital transformation going forward.The government should gear up for the future digital developments, especially regarding data privacy, digital infrastructure and digital interaction readiness, Hanif added.“This is the first step, whether after the pandemic passes, the online service can still be provided. If the [customers’] experience during the pandemic is pleasant, it’s not impossible that it will continue forward,” Indonesia ICT Institute executive director Heru Sutadi said.Stay home economy: Business negativeThe universal public health advice to stay home, as well as the travel restrictions, is bad news for the tourism and transportation sectors. So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has left tourist destinations across the country empty of visitors, while 1,266 hotels have temporarily halted operations, according to the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI).Read also: Tourism will take at least a year to recover from COVID-19 outbreak: EconomistsThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that Indonesia’s aviation industry might see a 37 percent decline in passenger demand and revenue impact loss of US$6.4 billion.The pressure on the transportation sector has also had an effect on demand for oil, while at the same time, oil prices have tumbled to levels not seen for years because of the pandemic and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.Read also: Jet fuel consumption drops as airlines reduce, halt operations due to COVID-19Meanwhile, the retail sector, excluding grocery sales, is also suffering from the blow. Publicly listed retailer PT Matahari Department Store closed all of its stores in Indonesia in March and April in its attempt to reduce salaries and cope with the impact of the pandemic.Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo) chairman Roy Mandey said that the four types of modern retail outlets namely minimarkets, supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores, would still exist, but he acknowledged that department stores would be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.“The retail food sector can’t be merely seen as making more profit [than other types of retailer], because they need to employ extra efforts in their operations too. We have to prepare additional manpower to meet people’s needs through couriers and deliveries,” he said.He said that the pandemic had affected the purchasing pattern for tertiary needs such as clothes and footwear, especially nearing the Idul Fitri holiday, when sales usually surge. The changing pattern of purchasing behavior might further hit retailers nearing the festive season.center_img Apart from paying attention to changing consumer mindsets, behavior and lifestyle, businesses will also need to accelerate digital transformation, strengthen digital platforms and adopt new digital commerce tools, the document shows.The briefing document uses anxiety meters and consumer behavior to track consumers’ psychology so brands can adapt. During the short-term “disruption” stage in which lifestyle changes to quarantine, helping and supporting consumers to adjust are crucial.In the medium-term “confusion and uncertainty” stage of the prolonged lockdown, brands should be a catalyst of productivity, while during the “acceptance of the new normal” phase, they should evolve with consumers.last_img read more