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Trey Anastasio Tells Tales Of Old Friends As Solo Acoustic Tour Hits Harvard [Video/Audio]

first_img[Video: JosiahAtTheRail]AUDIO: Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) – Sanders Theatre – Harvard University, Cambridge, MA – 2/10/18:[Taper: Ted Gakidis, Stream via Jam Buzz]SETLIST: Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) | Sanders Theatre | Cambridge, MA | 2/10/2018SET: More, 46 Days, Brian And Robert, Anything But Me, Waste, Wolfman’s Brother, Blaze On, Miss You, The Line, ‘Til We Meet Again, Sample In A Jar, Maze, Twist > Wading In The Velvet Sea, The Lizards, My Friend My Friend, Chalk Dust TortureENCORE: Tube, Backwards Down The Number Line, Wilson On Saturday night, Trey Anastasio continued his solo acoustic tour in Cambridge, MA, at the Sanders Theatre on the Harvard University campus following Friday night’s performance at the State Theatre in Ithaca, NY. After two extremely well-received nights to open up this 9-stop solo acoustic tour, Trey offered up another captivating performance, throwing in multiple stories throughout as he has at each solo acoustic show so far. That is the beauty of these intimate shows: There is ample opportunity to catch Trey rambling on about something that turns into an unforgettable tale. Trey Anastasio’s solo acoustic sets function as a way for Trey and his fans to connect on a more personal level. The stories he tells in between and during songs are charming and, frequently, downright hilarious. During the Cambridge show, Trey told stories that ranged from highly entertaining to somber and heartfelt.One was an amusing anecdote about walking in on Jon Fishman‘s problematically enthusiastic former wheatgrass obsession–“I walk in the house, and he’s got a syringe in one hand and a towel in the other.” Another more serious story touched on how he spent the final days of his recently departed friend Chris Cottrell‘s life with him–“I sat with him for the last week of his life. I just sat on a couch a played guitar for him.”“More” opened the Cambridge show, followed by an impressive “46 Days” that gave Trey a chance to show off his scatting skills. Trey took a moment to pause and address the incredible acoustics in the room, exclaiming, “Wow, the sound is so amazing in this room,” a sentiment he would echo on various occasions throughout the night. Trey also took the time to go off on a small tangent about LEGOs, before coasting back into the music and laying down a beautiful combination of “Brian and Robert” and “Anything But Me”.As Trey made sure to mention:This is really a pleasure, I gotta say. I have a bunch of friends here tonight… all of you I obviously mean! I have to shout out one friend. Molly, are you here? There’s a bunch of us that went to high school at Taft together, and the person I just shouted out I haven’t seen in a very long time – maybe since high school.“Waste”, “Wolfman’s Brother” and “Blaze On” came next, before Trey launched into a hilarious Jon Fishman story from Phish’s early days in Burlington. He explained:One time, I used to live with Paul Languedoc, who used to run sound for Phish. Fishman, him and me were roommates. When Phish just started, Fish was working locally around Burlington, and I worked at Pet Food Warehouse carrying around 50 lb bags of dog food. Fish was a ticket taker at a local parking garage [laughs]. I don’t know why I enjoy telling stories about Fish so much. I love the guy. When he gets into something he goes really hard with it.He got really into eating healthy which progressed into an obsession with wheatgrass. This is kind of his pattern – he has an obsessive mentality. One day he heard that wheatgrass is better if you grow it at home. He got this special dirt that was flown in from the hills of Thailand or something. One day I got home and walked through the front door, this is a completely true story. I walk in the house and Fish is giving himself an enema. He has his butt facing the door, with a syringe in one hand and a towel in the other. I can never un-see that and now you can’t either!An elegant take on “Miss You” followed before “The Line” off of Phish’s 2014 studio album, Fuego. Surrounded by longtime friends and family in the crowd, Trey got emotional and took a moment to address lifelong friend Chris Cottrell, who recently passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Choked up, Trey explained:I have a bunch of high school friends in the audience tonight. C. Cott [Cottrell] is the hero of the “Push On ‘Til The Day” song. We lost him the other week sadly. We’ve all been friends since we were 15 years old. I sat with him for the last week of his life in the hospital. Sean, who’s in the audience, was also with me. I just sat on a couch and played guitar for him. I would stop and he would just kind of open his eyes at me, and say, “Hey man.” [Tearing up] Now I’m gonna play something I wrote for him. I’m going to dedicate this to everyone in the audience who’s been through something like this, and probably everyone has. I don’t know what to call this but I think I’m gonna call this “ ‘Til We Meet Again”.[NOTE: This song was first debuted at Thursday night’s show at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ as “Ever” (according to Trey.com), though it was not officially given the name “Til’ We Meet Again” until last night.]Following the emotional “‘Til We Meet Again”, Trey dove headfirst into a plethora of classics from the Phish catalog. “Free”, “Sample In A Jar”, “Maze”, “Twist” and “Wading In The Velvet Sea” all made appearances before Trey asked the audience if anyone in the room actually attends Harvard University. He asked, “Not a single one of you? It’s cuz you’re clearly not that ‘smahhht’ [in a Boston accent].”Trey answered a fan’s request with “The Lizards”, before ending the show with a unique acoustic approach to “My Friend My Friend” and “Chalk Dust Torture”. For the encore, Trey offered up another three-song selection: “Tube”, “Backwards Down The Number Line” and “Wilson”.Trey Anastasio solo acoustic tour will continue Monday night with a performance in Pittsburgh, PA. See below for a full list of upcoming acoustic dates. For more information, head here. You can listen to a full audience audio recording as well as full fan-shot video of the show below:VIDEO: Trey Anastasio (Solo Acoustic) – Sanders Theatre – Harvard University, Cambridge, MA – 2/10/18center_img Upcoming Trey Anastasio Solo Acoustic Tour DatesFeb. 12 – Pittsburgh, PA – ByhamFeb. 13 – Wilmington, DE – Grand Opera HouseFeb. 14 – Washington, DC – Sixth and IFeb. 16 – Durham, NC – Carolina TheatreFeb. 17 – Charlotte, NC – Knight TheatreFeb. 18 – Athens, GA – Classic Center[Cover photo via Scott Marks (@bizarchive)]last_img read more

Making lung cancer pricey

first_imgThe Obama administration’s proposed cigarette tax hike takes aim at young smokers, jacking up the price of a pack to discourage the first puff taken by some 4,000 U.S. children every day, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday.Sebelius, who spoke at the Forum at Harvard School of Public Health, said that although the nation has made substantial progress in reducing tobacco use in recent decades, progress has stalled, with about 20 percent of the public still smoking.The cigarette tax, part of President Obama’s 2014 budget, aims to discourage young smokers in particular, Sebelius said, because they are more sensitive to the price of cigarettes than adults are. Of the 4,000 children who try daily smoking, Sebelius said, about 1,000 become lifelong smokers.“That’s one of the major issues behind lifetime health costs,” Sebelius said.The tax plan, part of the budget that Obama will present to Congress this week, will propose using the new tax proceeds to fund early childhood education.During the hourlong session, Sebelius talked about her path to her current job, offered some advice to Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) students, and discussed progress in implementing the Affordable Care Act’s reforms. Sebelius was introduced by HSPH Dean Julio Frenk. Sharon Begley, senior U.S. health and science correspondent for Reuters news service, moderated the event.It is an exciting time for American health care, Sebelius said, as the most significant changes in at least the last half century are being put into place. But implementing reform is not the only thing on Health and Human Services’ plate, she pointed out. In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, the department also oversees the National Institutes of Health, which finances a large share of the world’s health research, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, whose regulatory purview reaches throughout the U.S. economy, touching goods that make up 25 cents of each dollar spent domestically.Much of the session focused on the Affordable Care Act, which is being implemented across the country. Sebelius said she has been surprised that political attacks on the law have endured so long, continuing even after it became clear that health care reform is the law of the land, as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. electorate, which re-elected Obama in November. Battles have shifted from the federal to the state level as states decide whether to cooperate with the law and set up insurance exchanges or refuse and let the federal government do it.Another surprise, Sebelius said, was the level of confusion over the phase-in of the law’s provisions. A significant number of people didn’t understand that parts of the law won’t take effect until 2014. Still, millions have benefited from provisions that have already taken effect, such as the 7 million adult children who remain on their parents’ insurance policies and tens of millions more who have benefited from the elimination of co-payments for preventive services.Though it is still early, Sebelius said there is a shift under way from paying for medical services based on volume of care, which rewards extra treatment, toward paying for better care. Officials have also begun to see a slower rise in medical prices, though Sebelius said there hasn’t been a direct cause-and-effect relationship established between prices and the reforms.Asked whether she had advice for someone considering whether to go into politics or to seek a leadership position in today’s highly partisan environment, Sebelius acknowledged that the 24/7 news environment, the lack of privacy, and the “constant haranguing” of politics is likely here to stay. Still, she said, every organization has its own political bent, and at least in government the process is out in the open. Aside from that, she said, it means a chance to improve people’s lives.“I would say the rewards are huge. There’s the opportunity to really feel like you’re making a difference,” Sebelius said.last_img read more

Death penalty, in retreat

first_imgCarol Steiker’s interest in criminal justice took hold while she was at Harvard Law School (HLS) in the 1980s. While studying there, she recalled, “It began to appear to me that criminal justice was a great engine of American inequality.” Steiker became interested in capital punishment while clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, an ardent opponent of the death penalty. Now the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at HLS, Steiker is using her year as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s Rita E. Hauser Fellow to work with her brother and frequent collaborator, Jordan M. Steiker, on a book about the past half-century’s experiment with the constitutional regulation of capital punishment in America. She spoke with the Gazette about the history and future of the death penalty in the United States.GAZETTE: Could you see the Supreme Court striking down the death penalty?STEIKER: Yes, it would not surprise me if the death penalty were constitutionally invalidated sometime in the next couple of decades. The Supreme Court has been on a trajectory of narrowing and questioning the death penalty. In 2002, it held that people with mental retardation, now called intellectual disability, couldn’t get the death penalty. In 2005, it held that juvenile offenders couldn’t get the death penalty. In 2008, it held that people who commit crimes other than murder — even the crime of aggravated rape of a child — couldn’t get the death penalty. These are really significant limitations on capital punishment.The court continues to express interest in key death-penalty issues. In January, the court granted certiorari [agreeing to hear a lower-court case] on questions regarding Oklahoma’s lethal-injection protocol, after botched executions in that state and elsewhere last year. It will decide this case by June and offer some more guidance on death by lethal injection in an era when states are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain appropriate drugs, given the unwillingness of many manufacturers to supply them for the purpose of executions. Other challenges to lethal-injection procedures continue to percolate at the state level, such as challenges to the transparency of the execution process — challenges to laws that hide the source of the drugs used or the identities of participants in the execution process.GAZETTE: Why did the Supreme Court initially strike down the death penalty in 1972?STEIKER: Prior to the landmark case of Furman v. Georgia in 1972, juries had regularly been told that they should look only to their conscience in deciding whether to impose the death penalty. Lawyers argued that it was unconstitutional to give this important power to jurors with no attempt to guide their discretion, because that would lead to randomness and to discrimination, a constitutionally intolerable result.So the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as it was then practiced across the country. But there was a huge backlash to Furman. Over the next few years, 35 states redrafted their capital statutes to offer what the Supreme Court later called “guided discretion.” As people began to pile up on death row in these states, the Supreme Court, knowing it had to rule on the constitutionality of this new generation of capital statutes, granted cert [certiorari] on five death-penalty cases from Georgia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld three of the new statutes that provided “guided discretion,” and struck down two that provided no discretion at all, that is, rejecting statutes that made the death penalty mandatory upon conviction of certain crimes.On the basis of this new approach, the American death penalty was back in business. More and more people were sentenced to death, and more and more people were executed pretty much every year until the turn of the century. The death penalty reached a modern post-1976 high in 1999. In that year, 98 people were executed and nearly 300 were sentenced to death. Since 2000, however, the death penalty has been in sharp decline; you might even say free-fall. Executions are down by more than half, death sentences are down by more than two-thirds, and six states have legislatively abolished the death penalty in the past seven years. A federal judge declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional this past summer. We are living through a sea change on this issue.GAZETTE: Can you tell me more about the history of capital punishment in America?STEIKER: For most of American history, the death penalty was understood to be the creature of state and local law. From the colonial era until recent times, it was not a national issue. The authorization of capital punishment was on the colonial or state level, but the actual use of it was very much on the local level. As an example, in 1660 a Quaker woman named Mary Dyer was executed in Boston for heresy for being a Quaker in a Puritan colony. This is a great example of how the death penalty, starting in colonial times but continuing throughout American history, has been the expression of colonial, or state, and even local priorities. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, things like heresy, adultery, sodomy, and witchcraft were really, really important, and those kinds of things were written into the capital code and produced a substantial number of executions.Contrast that to, say, Southern colonies. If you look in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana (which was mostly under French control), capital statutes tended to focus on crimes by slaves, especially slave revolt, and you see a substantial number of executions for such offenses. These are good examples of how, throughout American history, the death penalty was authorized by states but used by local officials to enforce local priorities and to be a really dramatic statement of local concerns and values. Capital punishment really wasn’t thought to be an issue of overarching national regulation. GAZETTE: What was the Supreme Court’s earliest involvement with the death penalty?STEIKER: The Supreme Court was asked a number of times to weigh in on questions about capital punishment. In the late 19th century, the court was asked to declare the firing squad cruel and unusual, but the court declined. Then, in the middle of the 20th century, when the electric chair malfunctioned, the court was asked, “Could someone be executed a second time?” That was the famous Willie Francis case, argued in the Supreme Court by the judge I clerked for, Skelly Wright, early in his legal career. The Supreme Court said: “No, that’s fine.” Louisiana could put Willie Francis back in the electric chair and do it again (and it did).The first time that the Supreme Court made constitutional law specific to the death penalty was kind of a preview of how the Supreme Court would eventually make the death penalty a subject of intensive constitutional regulation. That was in a case called Powell v. Alabama, also known as the Scottsboro Boys case. It involved nine black men who were accused in 1931 on very flimsy evidence of raping two white women. Now it is recognized that they were not guilty. But at the time, they were tried over the course of just a few days and found guilty and sentenced to death in incredibly cursory proceedings. They had essentially no legal representation. Two lawyers were present in the courtroom, but they but had been appointed only days before, were unfamiliar with state law, and had done no preparation. The Supreme Court held in that case that in capital cases you had a federal constitutional right to be represented by counsel, a right that it would eventually extend to criminal defendants in non-capital cases — but not for another 30 years.But after Scottsboro in the 1930s, the Supreme Court didn’t do anything else that was significant and specific to the death penalty until the 1960s. In 1963, Justice Arthur Goldberg, with the help of his law clerk (and eventual Harvard Professor) Alan Dershowitz, drafted a memo designed to convince other justices to take up the case of a black man accused of raping a white woman, once again from Alabama. They argued that the court should grant cert on the specific question of whether the death penalty was disproportionate punishment for the crime of rape, when the victim was not killed. A big part of this memo also had to do with the racial aspect of the death penalty for rape in the South. While Goldberg got two of the necessary three other justices — [William] Brennan and [William O.] Douglas — to vote to grant cert, he couldn’t get Earl Warren, who would have been the fourth vote.But Goldberg took the unusual move of writing a dissent from denial of cert. That dissent got the attention of the lawyers at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), which had litigated Brown v. Board of Education in the previous decade. Thinking that the Supreme Court was ready to be interested in the death penalty, the LDF decided to make the death penalty their primary issue.In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled in Witherspoon v. Illinois that people could be excluded from juries in capital cases only if they were incapable of imposing the death penalty, as opposed to simply having any sort of moral scruples about it. That case is the foundation for the standard that reigns today, which is that your views about the death penalty have to prevent or substantially impair your ability to serve as a juror on the case. Witherspoon was a huge victory. In fact, many people thought that it was going to be the end of the death penalty because if people who had scruples about the death penalty could actually sit on capital juries, there wouldn’t be any more executions. That turned out not to be the case.GAZETTE: The trial for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is underway in Boston, in a state that doesn’t have the death penalty. Do tensions exist between state and federal officials in these types of cases?STEIKER: I don’t know if there is any personal tension between state and federal officials. But as you can see, it’s getting hard to pick a jury here in Massachusetts because so many people cannot sit; news reports say that something like half the prospective jurors are being excluded because of their views on the death penalty. That’s a function of Massachusetts being an anti-death-penalty state.It’s an odd artifact of American federalism that we have a federal government that exists everywhere in the United States, and yet we have state sovereignty, which extends over the states’ own criminal justice systems. So you basically have two sovereigns in Massachusetts, and either one of them can seek the death penalty when the underlying crime is both a state and a federal offense, as in this case.It remains to be seen whether a Massachusetts jury will return a death verdict in this case, though it is becoming clear that whatever jury is eventually impaneled will not be representative of Massachusetts in terms of views about capital punishment.GAZETTE: Do you think having the death penalty hurts the United States’ standing with other countries?STEIKER: I think that it does. The consensus in Europe and the rest of the Western industrialized world is that the death penalty is not acceptable because it violates international human rights law. The view of our peer countries is that individuals have a human right not to be executed by their government.The United States likes to see itself as a human rights leader and likes to criticize other countries — including some of the really powerful countries in the world, like China — of violating human rights. Undoubtedly, it hurts our moral authority in the world to be viewed as a human-rights violator. Moreover, our ability to work with our allies on criminal-justice initiatives is hindered because our allies won’t extradite people to us who might face the death penalty in the United States.It’s kind of ironic because here at Harvard Law School we have idealistic young law students whom we send out around the world to work on international human-rights projects. Meanwhile, Europe sends its idealistic law students here, to states like Texas and Alabama, to work on death-penalty cases as human-rights violations.We are among the world’s top five executors, and we are up there with countries we don’t normally think of as in our club. It varies year to year, but China, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen … routinely make the “top five” list of executors, along with the United States.GAZETTE: Why does Texas execute more people than any other state?STEIKER: Texas is not that unusual in the rate of sentencing people to death. What it’s really good at is translating sentences into executions.California sentences people to death for homicide at roughly the same rate that Texas does, but since 1976 California has executed 13 people and Texas has executed more than 500. That’s a stunning difference. California has the largest death row in the country because people just sit there. What’s ironic is that the leading cause of death on death row in California is not execution. Instead, it’s natural causes. And actually the second leading cause of death on death row in California is not execution; it’s suicide. So, amazingly, execution is actually the third leading case of death on death row in California. Last summer a federal judge declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional. That’s currently under review. He said it couldn’t possibly serve a valid penological function the way it’s administered. In California, a death sentence translates into a life sentence on death row, with a very faint chance of being executed. Texas really whips people through the appeals process and gets them to the execution chamber really fast. That’s what makes Texas the leader in America’s death penalty.There are only a small number of states that execute with great frequency. In fact, 80 percent of executions nationwide in the past year took place in only three states. And even within death-penalty states like Texas, the vast majority of executions happen in only a few counties. Texas has more than 250 counties, and most of them never execute anyone. GAZETTE: What do those numbers reveal?STEIKER: It points to the fact that the decision to seek the death penalty in those counties is by locally elected officials. That gets back to my point about the death penalty prior to the 1960s. There are locally elected district attorneys, and localities pay for the death penalty. These capital trials are much, much more expensive than any ordinary trial, which is why you see it mostly in counties that can afford it, with district attorneys who really are pursuing it. Although people speak in sweeping terms, there really is no American death penalty, and there’s no Texas death penalty or California death penalty. You really need to look at a much more granular level to see what’s happening with the death penalty in this country. In the past few decades, what you see is huge declines in the use of the death penalty, and even greater concentration and isolation of its use in outlier states, and outlier counties within states.GAZETTE: How did you get interested in this topic?STEIKER: When I first came to law school, I was not especially interested in criminal justice. I think I would have said that what drew me was the problem of inequality; that was what really engaged me about law and law school. It was at law school that I became really interested in criminal justice because it began to appear to me that criminal justice was a great engine of American inequality. In the 1980s, crime was rising, but so were punitive responses to crime, and I became very interested in it.I came to law school knowing I wanted to be an academic who would think and write about justice, but then I got very interested in criminal justice and capital punishment, and then I thought, “You know, I should learn more about this before I try to go teach and write about it.” So I worked as a judicial law clerk for two years in Washington, first for Judge Skelly Wright on the D.C. Circuit, and then for Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court. During my clerkship for Thurgood Marshall, in particular, is when I became interested, not just in criminal justice, but specifically in capital punishment. It was something that Thurgood Marshall himself cared a lot about. When I clerked for him, one of the things we were given by the outgoing clerks were two big, black, three-ring binders filled with the Supreme Court’s death-penalty cases. Everyone called him “The boss,” and they said: “The boss really cares a lot about this stuff. You need to learn these, because you are going to be doing a lot of work on death cases.” And so I did learn all of that stuff, and it was fascinating.GAZETTE: Can you tell me about the book you are working on?STEIKER: My brother and I are writing this book about the way in which capital punishment has become the subject of top-down, national regulation from the Supreme Court over the last 50 years. We look at the interplay between this attempted national regulation and state and local responses to it. The story of these last 50 years of interaction between the Supreme Court, the federal courts, the Constitution, and state and local and popular responses tells us a lot about the death penalty, what it means, and what its functions are. But it also tells us a lot about the possibilities and the pitfalls of constitutional regulation in the context of highly contested social issues. There are some interesting links here to school desegregation, abortion, and gay marriage. The death-penalty experience provides a taxonomy of sorts of the kinds of issues that arise in constitutional regulation of these kinds of “hot” social issues.Harvard Law School Professor Carol Steiker will discuss her research during a talk at Radcliffe’s Knafel Center on April 22 at 4 p.m.last_img read more

Pepperberg honored by Comparative Cognition Society

first_imgIrene Pepperberg, a research associate and lecturer in the Psychology Department, has received the 2020 Comparative Cognition Society Research Award, granted unanimously by the board of the Comparative Cognition Society (CCS). Pepperberg will deliver a master lecture at the Conference on Comparative Cognition in April 2020 in conjunction with the honor.Pepperberg, who received a Ph.D. in chemical physics in 1976 and a master’s degree in chemistry in 1971 from Harvard, is an expert in the study of African Grey parrots with a focus on the birds’ cognitive and communicative abilities. Her research explores these behaviors in comparison to those of young children, apes, and marine mammals.Recently, Pepperberg and a group of Harvard cognitive psychologists published a study in the journal Behaviour on parrots’ ability to perform some cognitive tasks beyond the level of 5-year-old humans. She has received numerous awards for her research and teaching, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a MUSE Award from the American Alliances of Museums, and a Christopher Award for her book “Alex & Me.” She is a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others.Pepperberg also created The Alex Foundation, dedicated to supporting research that enhances and expands knowledge about the abilities of parrots, and the conservation and preservation of parrots in the wild. Suzanne Gray A.L.B. ’15 is the senior manager of the laboratory, which is housed at the Pepperberg Avian Cognition Lab at Harvard.The CCS was founded in 1999 to expanding understanding of the nature and evolution of cognition in human and nonhuman animals. The CCS Research Award is presented to scientists whose work has made a significant contribution to the field of animal cognition research.last_img read more

Sexual assault policy encourages reporting

first_img Changes in ResLife As the new Title IX process took effect, the University disciplinary process changed slightly as well to reflect the OCR’s recommendations. Brian Coughlin, associate vice president for Student Affairs, and Kathleen O’Leary, director of Community Standard, applied the results of the OCR review to the sexual assault policy outlined in du Lac. O’Leary said two significant changes to the disciplinary process took effect this semester. The first change allows the complainant to ask to be in a separate room from the accused during the disciplinary hearing, O’Leary said. “I think providing the complainant some reasonable alternatives to not be in the same room is bringing us up to speed with other institutions,” she said. The second change involves the case review process after a disciplinary hearing. O’Leary said now either the complainant or the accused can request a case review “based on either a procedural defect that occurred during the disciplinary review process or based on the discovery of substantive new information that was unavailable to them at the time of the hearing.” Previously, only the accused could request a case review. O’Leary said her office has not dealt with any cases involving sexual assault yet this year, so she cannot gauge how effective these changes will be in the future. After this summer’s changes, Coughlin said continuing to update the sexual assault policy reflects the fact that “sexual assault isn’t something that [only] happens to a University or a University community, but to an individual as well.” Coughlin said he hoped the changes would improve the experience for everyone involved with the sexual assault policies. “All in all, I think that what we’ve learned and how we’ve gone through the process is a really good thing,” Coughlin said. “I think that we hope that we do enough in terms of prevention and education that we won’t ever have to use it, but the reality is that we probably will.” Under the microscope Even as Notre Dame implemented these Title IX changes, Russell said the OCR had another concern. “At the same time, the OCR had come forward to Notre Dame and asked if we would do a voluntary compliance review, and Notre Dame agreed,” Russell said. Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Doyle said the OCR approached the University in fall 2010. “They visited campus, they interviewed people, they looked at particular cases,” Doyle said. “At the end of that review, they wrote a letter that is a public document that basically was what their findings were. They spent about half of the letter commending Notre Dame for the things that are included in its policies and practices … and then they spent about half the letter making suggestions.” In the letter, the OCR said its investigation was “agency-initiated,” not based on a specific complaint. “OCR’s investigation followed an internal review of previously filed cases against the university, and recent articles in the press about Notre Dame’s handling of sexual assault complaints, including one incident in which a student committed suicide after reporting that she was sexually assaulted by another student,” the letter stated. Earlier that fall, Saint Mary’s student Lizzy Seeberg committed suicide after alleging that a Notre Dame football player sexually assaulted her. Doyle said Seeberg’s death and the investigation did fall in proximity to one another. “Whether or not there is causality there, I don’t know,” he said. In the eyes of Associate Vice President for Residential Life Heather Russell, more reports of sexual assault can be good news. This is because for Russell, more reports mean less silence. “When we’re doing this right … the number of people reporting is going to go way up,” Russell said. “I don’t think that’s because there is anything new under the sun. I believe it’s because we are actually creating a system that people think works and a culture of reporting, and some people who have been silent in the past will come forward.” Russell serves as the University’s Deputy Title IX coordinator, which means that she is the first point of contact for all reports of sexual assault on campus. Russell’s position is a new one not only at Notre Dame, but at most college campuses across the United States. The job is a product of the “Dear Colleague” letter issued in April by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education. The letter called for all colleges to more strongly implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sexual discrimination at institutions that receive federal funds. Russell said the letter required the University to create her position as well as a more clearly outlined investigation process for sexual assault. While she could not comment on specific cases, Russell said the number of reports this semester has already exceeded the number she expected for the entire year. New process Russell said the new Title IX process must be condensed within 60 days, a new requirement from the Department of Education. These 60 days begin when a victim reports an assault to a non-confidential source — typically anyone who is not a dorm rector or a member of campus ministry. This person then reports the names of the student, date, time, location and brief description of the assault to Russell. Both the accused and the complainant are then assigned a sexual assault resource coordinator (SARC). The complainant and the accused are to have no contact after this point, Russell said. “If the accused or the complainant had any questions about what is the process, what happens next, that SARC is their resource person through the entire process,” Russell said. An investigator compiles a full report on the incident for Russell, and then she meets with the complainant to talk about the next step. This student could decide to pursue disciplinary action, criminal justice, or neither. If the student decides not to pursue those options, the University can still move forward on either front without the student’s participation. Any disciplinary action through the Office of Residence Life must also be completed within the OCR’s 60-day timeframe. “So it’s a very much refined way of shepherding a case from beginning to end in a way that we hope is humane and kind and just,” Russell said. “I think the thing that has been paramount in my mind throughout all of this is, what are we doing both in terms of what OCR asked of us but what we believe is right.” A ‘life-giving’ process Though the changes are still new, Russell said early feedback on the new processes is positive. “Both complainants and accused have commented on how helpful it has been to have a SARC, that sexual assault resource person who has been their first point of contact,” Russell said. As she continues in her new position, Russell said she hopes for the process to be “life-giving” for the students who go through it. Despite positive signs after one semester, Doyle said the University needs to continue to hold itself to a higher standard. “Where would we like to be a year from now?” Doyle asked rhetorically. “We do need to have the community understand what the obligations are for reporting and the processes, but to my mind, the real conversations are the conversations that help us as a community to create the kind of community where sexual assault does not exist.”last_img read more

Columnist examines religious liberty

first_imgRoss Douthat, author and New York Times columnist, spoke on the evolution of religious liberty in America since the Second Vatican Council on Wednesday afternoon in Decio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The event was part of the 2015-2016 Notre Dame Forum, which is titled “Faith, Freedom and the Modern World: 50 Years After Vatican II.”Douthat said he looked to the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom, “Dignitatis Humanae,” to track the evolution of the Church’s attitude toward religious liberty.“[It] formally established the Roman Catholic Church’s support for religious liberty and developed the Church’s teaching to the point where it was no longer deemed necessary for Catholics to argue for a preferential, state-established position for the Catholic Church in countries around the world,” he said.Although the document was written in Rome, Douthat said, the “crucial transformative voices” that crafted “Dignitatis Humanae” were American. Furthermore, American Catholicism gave an example of the positive relationship the Church could enjoy with the government.“Anyone looking for evidence 50 years ago that the Church had nothing to fear from dropping its call for a preferential position for Catholicism could look to the United States, could look to Notre Dame, and be immediately reassured that the Church could flourish, absent such patronage,” he said. “And anyone looking for evidence that one form of liberalism, liberal democracy at least, could be trusted to protect the Church’s freedoms, rather than perpetually going against it … could likewise look to America and could find what looked like very solid proof of concept.“So while a document like ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ had still been imaginable without the American example, and the arguments that undergirded it might still have resonated as Catholics tried to grapple with twentieth century realities, politically, theology can only be so abstract. It ultimately needs a reference point in actual existing politics. … Having the American example made an immense difference in the debates, its outcomes, and the document and teaching itself.”Douthat said in contemporary times, the American Catholic consensus that the Church can flourish in the liberal democratic experiment is fracturing.“One crack is showing up a little on the Catholic left. In the age of Pope Francis, the current pontiff’s scathing criticism of global capitalism and the American-led world order has maybe started to encourage a more radical Catholic left critique of the American system than we have seen since probably the Vietnam era,” he said. “On the Catholic right, especially maybe the younger Catholic right, there’s an increasingly felt tension between being American and being Catholic, stronger even lately than some of the tensions created by Roe v. Wade. And this tension is emerging for a reason that’s relevant for the specifics of ‘Dignitatis Humanae,’ one of the elements of religious liberty that that document deemed essential to the political order — the idea that freedom of religion encompasses the freedom of the religious community.”The guarantee of corporate religious freedom is no longer apparent, Douthat said, citing recent attempts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce mandates of contraception on Catholic institutions, as well as ACLU lawsuits against Catholic hospitals.“What all of these examples have in common, in addition to the connection to the sexual revolution, is that they represent places where state pressure is being brought to bear not on Catholicism as embodied at Mass on Sunday, but on Catholicism as a corporate identity, Catholicism as the impetus and organizing idea behind the institutions which seek to serve the common good,” he said. “In each case, and perhaps more as time goes by, the Church is being told that trying to serve others is not sufficient, that Catholics must accept that the price maybe of their most basic ministry is to accept a secular definition of the common good and be governed in certain ways by secular power rather than the constitution of the Church.”Douthat said the Catholic Church in America has been weakened in the last fifty years, as evidenced by declining Mass attendance and a decrease in religious vocations, yet the Church maintains a distinctive place in American politics.“The Church is still large enough, still potent enough, still intellectual enough to have many — to be frank — enemies, who would like to see it weakened or brought low, meaning that Catholics are not or not yet the quirky, marginal, Amish-style religious minority that tends to be tolerated and accommodated very easily under secularism. But at the same time, the Church is too weakened, divided, possibly declining certainly in some cases to effectively fight its battles when those enemies circle or attack.”Religious liberty protections are often unnecessary for the stronger religious groups, and easy to extend to the weaker religious groups, Douthat said.“It’s the weakened, but still important, institutions in between that are more likely to see their protections shrink, and that’s roughly where the Church has found itself today,” he said.Douthat said many who want to restrict the Church’s religious liberties do not view Christianity itself as problematic, but instead identify the problem as one set of issues, where traditional Christian teaching is not compatible with contemporary views on human rights.“So in this sense, many people who support what I think are real restrictions on religious liberty see themselves as operating in the space of reasonable regulation allowed for by ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ itself, in the passage where the council fathers noted that religious liberty is still subject to certain regulatory norms,” he said. “And many even see themselves ultimately as friends to Catholicism and Christian religions, offering a kind of construction pressure and constructive criticism, a helping hand into sexual modernity — one that will be eventually vindicated by a third or fourth Vatican council, at which point Catholic resistance today will look a little silly.”Many Catholics agree with these opinions, Douthat said, and the best defense of religious liberty should focus on religious pluralism, rather than on religious liberty itself.“The part of ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ that matters most in America right now is again the document’s stress on the corporate nature of religious freedom,” he said. “And to the extent that Catholics are hoping to persuade people outside the Church that something important in American life is threatened in the current religious liberty debate, they need to press the case that this kind of communal freedom, this associational freedom, is essential to the American experiment as we know it. And if it gives way to a strictly individualistic understanding of religious liberty, something precious will have been lost.”Religious pluralism is not a threat to liberal values, Douthat said, but a complement to a liberal democracy.“A healthy pluralism allows people of any persuasion, secular or religious, progressive or conservative, to build a culture with a sense of mission, a place where certain ideas are generally accepted or taken for granted, certain organizing principles are assumed,” he said. “And at the same time it’s telling them that they have to do this within their own private institutions, rather than aspiring to impose their ideas on a grander, society-wide scale.”Douthat said the tensions between the Church and the wider culture should also serve as a reminder that the Church does not have a permanent political home.“Even as we seek to preserve that congruence between the American order and Catholic freedom that inspired so much optimism in 1965, we should also not to expect it to last indefinitely,” he said. “We should realize that liberal democracy, like all political orders, is time-bound and contingent, and not the ultimate good that the Church is called to preach.As American attitudes toward religious liberty evolve, the Church must be prepared to adapt and move forward, Douthat said.“If a synthesis between being American and being Catholic, which seemed to be getting easier in the 1960s and may be getting more difficult today, we should be challenged but not necessarily troubled by that change,” he said. “‘Heaven and earth shall pass away,’ Jesus said ‘but my words shall not pass away.’ But he was not talking about the U.S. Constitution.”Tags: Dignitatis Humanae, Notre Dame Forum, religious liberty, Vatican IIlast_img read more

The Top Five Shows in London in 2016

first_img Defining productions of Tom Stoppard and August Wilson classics raised the bar high for revivals in a classics-heavy year that also found Glenda Jackson, of all people, taking on the title role in King Lear. All that plus Harry Potter all grown-up and Andrew Lloyd Webber at seemingly every turn: read on for a list of five of the year’s best shows.1. MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOMAugust Wilson’s Chicago-set play launched the late dramatist’s career more than 30 years ago but was at no point better served than by the English director Dominic Cooke and an extraordinary National Theatre cast headed by O-T Fagbenle as the feral young trumpeter Levee and the formidable Sharon D. Clarke as Ma Rainey—the mother of the blues in a production that constituted close to the last word on this great play.2. TRAVESTIESA potential head-scratcher of a play was revealed to have a beating heart in the director Patrick Marber’s ravishing take on Tom Stoppard’s 1974 play about the political and cultural collisions afoot in 1917 Zurich while war is raging elsewhere. Tom Hollander stepped with fluency and flair into the demanding central role of Henry Carr that brought its originator, John Wood, a Tony Award in 1976, and the sublime supporting cast included Freddie Fox in gleeful form as the Dadaist poet and provocateur, Tristan Tzara. The production transfers to the West End in February: 2017 is looking pretty good already.3. KING LEARAt a time when many performers of her generation were calling it quits, the two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson returned to her first home, the theater, to play no less a role than Shakespeare’s once-mighty and now possibly mad monarch, King Lear. Her vocal authority kept in shape by 23 years as a member of parliament, Jackson fully inhabited a fiendishly demanding part and was also, at 80, that rare Lear who was also the correct age to play the part. Deborah Warner’s Old Vic production is eyeing a New York transfer: let us hope.4. JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTARYou couldn’t move for Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on both sides of the Atlantic this year, starting in London with Glenn Close’s return to her career-defining part as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard; the West End premiere of the buoyant School of Rock; and, a league apart, the director Timothy Sheader’s scorching alfresco production of the album-turned-rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. This notably tricky piece for once had brio and bite and an impassioned cast headed by Declan Bennett (Jesus) and the award-winning Tyrone Huntley (Judas) that seared the night sky. The good news: Regent’s Park is bringing the show back next summer for a second run.5. HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILDEvent theater doesn’t get more audacious than a two-part, nearly six-hour stage piece that takes one of the most beloved series of books ever written and moves its characters on in life, love and art. That’s to say, if the Harry Potter saga can transfix the screen, why not the stage, as well? And so it was that this newfound tale from the protean mind of J.K. Rowling gave us Hogwarts alumnus Harry Potter and his chums Hermione and Ron all grown up and with children—and parenting issues—all their own. John Tiffany’s savvy production of Jack Thorne’s script appealed both to Potter diehards and newbies, all of whom exited part one eager to return for more. Small wonder Broadway has been chomping at the bit and will get to feast on the show firsthand in 2018. Jesus Christ Superstar, King Lear & Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Photos by Manuel Harlan and Johan Persson) View Commentslast_img read more

Military family 4-H camp

first_imgThe Georgia 4-H program has scheduled a special camp weekend just for military families. And, it’s free.The second annual camp is set for March 20-21 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga. Part of Georgia 4-H’s Operation Military Kids, the camp weekend is funded by U.S. Army Child, Youth and School Services and is presented in cooperation with Kansas State University. Military kids and their families can choose to either spend the weekend and stay overnight at the camp, or visit the camps for the daily activities.On Saturday, visitors can attend workshops to learn about native reptiles and amphibians and Rock Eagle Lake ecology, participate in adventure-based team building, visit the camp’s natural history museum and hike to the Rock Eagle Effigy Mound. That evening, visitors will be entertained by Clovers and Company, Georgia 4-H’s performing arts group. A picnic dinner, dance, movie and campfire activities will follow the entertainment.On Sunday, the military families will participate in the camp’s flag raising and citizenship ceremony which will be followed by a 5k road race.There is no cost for the Georgia 4-H Military Family Weekend, but participants are asked to register by March 12. To register or for more information, visit the Web site www.georgia4h.org/omk or call (706) 542-4444.last_img read more

Early Season Snow Brings Hopes of a White Winter

first_imgWinter arrived a little early for some lucky folks in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including some BRO readers in North Carolina and West Virginia who documented their snowy adventures via Instagram.Photos from North Carolina, most taken over the weekend, show a light blanketing juxtaposed against the vibrant colors of peak fall foliage, while White Grass in West Virginia appears to have received a healthy enough dose to open its slopes to cross country skiers.It won’t be long now until ski resorts all over the Southeast begin blowing snow and welcoming skiers and snowboarders of all stripes. Until then, enjoy these pics of early season snow from West Virginia and North Carolina.last_img read more

Nassau Wage Freeze Shot Down by Federal Judge

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County PBA President James Carver discusses Nassau wage freeze during press conference Friday, Feb. 15.Fresh off a victory in federal court Thursday, Nassau County police officer’s top union official called on the county to move forward for the sake of taxpayers after a federal judge reversed a wage freeze established by a state watchdog two years ago.But the fight for union workers’ wages is far from over, with the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) expected to appeal the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler, who stayed his ruling pending an appeal. The wage freeze will continue until the case is resolved.“Let’s move forward, no appeal, no wasting of anymore taxpayer money on the legal process here, the language is plain and simple—they lost,” Nassau County PBA President James Carver said at the union’s Mineola headquarters Friday, flanked by other union heads.The ruling could cost the county millions of dollars if it has to increase wages.“NIFA’s Directors respectfully disagree with Judge Wexler’s decision and will appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals, where they are confident that the continuing validity of its wage freeze power will be upheld,” NIFA Chairman Ronald Stack said in a statement.Union leaders filed a lawsuit soon after Nassau County asked the finance authority in March 2011 to implement the pay freeze for all county workers.Through the end of 2012, the wage freeze has saved the county $80 million, according to Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’ office.Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli said in brief a statement, “The County is reviewing the decision.”Carver said he received a phone call from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano following the judge’s decision but has yet to hear from NIFA. He declined to disclose the specifics about his conversation with the county executive.The judge ruled that NIFA’s wage freeze authority had already expired before it was implemented.Carver criticized NIFA for declining to discuss a settlement throughout the court process, but didn’t rule out sitting down with the agency if they decide they’re open to a settlement during the appeal process.“Now that they know the score they can’t turn around and say let’s play this all over again,” Carver said. “We’re always open to discussions and we’ll never close our doors like NIFA did with us.”The PBA president noted that Wexler’s decision could have far greater implications across the country as cash-strapped municipalities continue to seek concessions from unions.“If we would’ve lost this case,” he said, “every municipality would’ve turned around and tried to freeze everybody’s wages.”Jerry Laricchitua, president of CSEA Local 830, said the union filed the same motion as the PBA and they “fully expect the same decision to come for the 6,000 Nassau County employees that we represent.”last_img read more