In the name of justice

first_imgGAZETTE: How do you select the nonprofits you choose to partner with?MILLIKEN: We started out by aiming to find organizations at tipping-point stages, where our support would make an enormous difference. With the Innocence Project, for example, we did some research and learned that the Innocence Project New York has a great deal of money; it’s a very worthy organization. But there were lots of regional and local Innocence Project offices around the country, none of which are funded from that national New York lead office. I don’t think people realize that there is a shocking underfunding of social justice nonprofits, particularly criminal justice civil rights organizations.GAZETTE: What is your hope for the direction of the racial justice movement?MILLIKEN: This movement has become so diverse, so broad, so deep, and so constant, that it has allowed us to really tear the cover off the ball and have a look at who we really are, and what we need to do to become a just society. I think we need to continue to push for understanding and connection, for a real examination of white supremacy and privilege, to ask people to get connected and to “do uncomfortable things,” as [founder of the Equal Justice Initiative] Bryan Stevenson [M.P.P./J.D. ’85] says, and to ask what they’re willing to sacrifice for justice.These interviews have been edited for length and clarity. GAZETTE: Just a few weeks ago, you launched a new nonprofit called Give Black. As with All Star Code, was this a way to address an unmet need?LEWIS: It was a response to the murder of George Floyd, the outpouring of support for Black lives. Seeing such a willingness to pour real money, time, and attention into Black causes serving Black people, I realized there was no easy way to find organizations to support. So, we created a website and movement to foster increased giving to Black nonprofit organizations. The website is a comprehensive database of Black nonprofits sorted by category so as to connect donors to Black organizations and causes that they care about. We have 250 organizations already and counting.As we’re fostering increased attention to these organizations and lifting up the whole sector, we’re creating a series of knock-on effects. When you’re growing these Black organizations, you’re empowering Black leaders, which is crucial. These organizations are also more likely to employ Black people, so you’re creating jobs and adding to the economy. Your money is helping to solve problems, but it’s also being used to activate the people who are likely to be the most effective because they’re closest to the problems.GAZETTE: In this moment of racial awareness, what kind of impact do you hope All Star Code can have?LEWIS: In terms of equity, it’s clear now that Black and Latino boys are have not received their share of support and resources. The dropout rate for Black boys in the education system is devastating. Technology has to be a part of changing and rebuilding institutions to make them inclusive and anti-racist, and All-Star Code is part of this fight against systemic racism by helping build leaders who will know how to create the tools and products to solve problems.I feel very optimistic about what this younger generation can do. These young people, including our students, are very forceful in advocating for what they believe, and they are working hard to push us older people to be more innovative, too. In 2002, when I graduated, we said “We’re not going to be cogs in the finance or consulting wheel,” but we were still cogs, just in a different wheel. This generation is assessing how things are, and deciding how they can be different. They inspire me.Stephen Milliken addresses the audience at a New York JusticeAid concert in fall 2019. © Evy Mages PhotographyStephen Milliken ’73Founder and CEO of JusticeAidFollowing a career as a judge for more than 20 years, Milliken founded JusticeAid in 2013 to use music and the arts to raise money for other nonprofit civil rights organizations. By working with acts like Blind Boys of Alabama, Ani DiFranco, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, they have organized performances that have raised more than a million dollars for groups like Gideon’s Promise, Civil Rights Corps, Innocence Project New Orleans, and the Immigrant Defense Project. JusticeAid also hosts public forums and launched a social media campaign that encourages public engagement with issues of social justice. Their “Songs of Protest: 12 Months of Music that Matters” project has released a playlist of protest songs with a different focus each month this year.  In May, JusticeAid hosted an online benefit to support the Election Protection 866-OUR-VOTE campaign of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, and they hosted another concert to support the group this month, with artists Rosanne Cash, Ivan Neville, Tom Morello, Lila Downs, and Regina Carter. In addition to serving as a judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, for more than 20 years Milliken taught in Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.GAZETTE: How has your work as a judge shaped your desire to fight for social and racial justice?MILLIKEN: As somebody once said, if there is a fight between two white students in a well-funded school, it becomes a matter for the principal and maybe their parents. If it’s two black children, in an underfunded school, where police are present, it can be a different story, one that ends with an arrest record and jail. I look back on 22 years on the bench, years of walking into the courtroom where the juveniles being prosecuted were disproportionately African American, and significantly so. I saw enough of that. That’s why I’m doing this work now.GAZETTE: How did JusticeAid come to be?MILLIKEN: It happened over conversations with some colleagues who were teaching at Harvard Law School’s trial advocacy workshop. A couple of us, former public defenders, talked about our frustration with the criminal system and how we might use the arts to create change, because we all cared about civil rights and loved music. That led to a dinner, more conversation, and we, the dinner guests, became the founding board.At first, we thought, let’s just rent a hall, hire a couple of musicians to play a benefit show, and invite our friends and family. After that concert, somebody came up to me and said, “When are you going to do the next show?” On another occasion early on in our existence, a concert at the City Winery in New York City for the Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center, somebody asked me, “How many of these shows do you do a month?” I burst out laughing, because we’re a little volunteer organization, and we could only do a couple of concerts a year. The appetite for concerts and our public conversations has only grown from there. It’s enabled us to connect with the most powerful civil rights activists and get money in their hands.GAZETTE: What does the impact of this work look like?MILLIKEN: For our first show, we raised $40,000 for Gideon’s Promise, which was formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center in Atlanta [a group of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities]. It made a profound difference in helping that organization to thrive, and they have flourished since. Now they’re doing trainings all over.Our concert with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue supported Justice for Vets, which is a diversion program under the National Drug Court movement. The money we raised from that concert went to hiring a marine and paying for his work to go all over the country to support and help develop veterans’ treatment courts, which found alternatives to incarceration for thousands of veterans.Drummer Marcus Baylor performs during an October 2019 concert in Washington, D.C. © Evy Mages PhotographyGAZETTE: What lies at the heart of the change you want to create?MILLIKEN: A lot of our work has had to do with access to justice and with a particular focus on racism and mass incarceration, as the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. There is a devaluation of people of color that leads to this inhumane treatment and human caging. So, we’ve really tried to draw a bead on identifying the criminalization of poverty and of disenfranchised people, particularly of color, and disproportionately focused on Black men.In many ways, historically, America has never met a problem it couldn’t lock up. Frequently the knee-jerk reaction is to defund mental health and other services, expand law enforcement — really to just call the police. We lock up children, people with mental health challenges. We lock up the homeless. DNA evidence evens proves how often we lock up the innocent. We make poor people pay for unconstitutional money bail, fees, fines, and all manner of services, and then when they are unable to make those payments, a warrant is issued, and they get arrested and prosecuted for things like contempt or a technical violation of parole or probation. And when you think of the people who have tragically encountered police in minor situations, like Eric Garner selling cigarettes on the street, and ended up dead — it’s a human tragedy of horrific proportions.GAZETTE: What’s it like to be at a JusticeAid concert?MILLIKEN: Our concerts are proof of the power music can have when it combines with the movement for reform of the criminal system. I think we knew that intuitively, and that’s what drew us to create JusticeAid, to draw on that power.I remember our concert featuring Dr. Michael White, a great bandleader out of New Orleans, a clarinetist, and the Original Liberty Jazz Band. At the end of his set, there was just this spontaneous response — out come the handkerchiefs and table napkins, and a spontaneous second line formed, New Orleans style, and it just snaked through the club.Then there was the concert we did to support the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and the Innocence Project New Orleans. We had people who had been exonerated and freed from prison in the audience, and at the intermission they came forward to speak. All of these people had been in prison for crimes they didn’t commit, including one man who had been wrongfully imprisoned for more than 30 years. In fact, he and the complainant appeared together at a JusticeAid forum to speak to the police abuses that lead to the wrongful conviction. I remember, his concern was all for her suffering, and not his imprisonment. That degree of magnanimity was the essence of story after story of these individuals who had been freed by the work of the Innocence Project offices. There were people in the audience who had no idea that this was happening. Later, the Blind Boys of Alabama, one of the acts, came down off the stage and led a parade through the theater. There were probably 700 people stomping and marching, and in the middle of that performance there was a spontaneous request for funding, and people opened their wallets and pledged $14,000 just right there on the spot in the theater. That event raised more than $100,000. That swell from the audience of people wanting to give, I’m sure that comes from the inspiration of the evening, at least in part. We believe in that. “This movement has become so diverse, so broad, so deep, and so constant, that it has allowed us to really tear the cover off the ball and have a look at who we really are, and what we need to do to become a just society.” Mentoring young Black men to become tech leaders. Using the power of music to support emerging social and racial justice nonprofits. Marshaling local communities to fight racism and inequity in health and medicine. Christina Lewis ’02, Stephen Milliken ’73, and Michelle Morse, M.P.H. ’12, are among the thousands of alumni who are leading organizations and spurring progress in their communities at a time of historic change. The three spoke recently with the Gazette about how to address urgent and unmet needs, the experiences and people who inspire them, and the lessons they’ve learned — and the hopes they have for the change yet to come.The Campaign Against Racism-affiliated physicians and health care providers in Providence, R.I., show their support of Black Lives Matter in the summer of 2020. A CAR partnership with White Coats for Black Lives was part of creating a campaign to implement a “racial justice report card” for medical schools and their larger institutions. Photo courtesy of the Campaign Against RacismMichelle Morse M.P.H. ’12Co-founder, EqualHealth and its global Campaign Against RacismMorse co-founded EqualHealth, which is building a global movement of social medicine educators and practitioners who tackle health inequity, in 2010. The physician and Harvard Medical School assistant professor later co-founded with Camara Jones and others the global Campaign Against Racism (CAR), an initiative that seeks to dismantle structural racism and its effects on health around the world through the work of its 24 chapters in 10 countries. CAR has organized several international conferences and political educational series, created a network of anti-racism groups in Africa, and in partnership with White Coats for Black Lives helped students leading some chapters of the campaign to implement a “racial justice report card” for medical schools and their larger institutions, among other efforts.GAZETTE: The global Campaign Against Racism is based on the statement “racism inequity kills.” Can you give a few examples of how CAR combats that?MORSE: First, we know there is a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color in the U.S., and we’re leading a working group on how to declare racism a public health crisis as a policy and resource mobilization approach. Second, in the spring our #cancelthedebt social media campaign demanded the end of debt structures from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that rob Global South countries. We also know that racism leads to inequitable incarceration of BIPOC individuals [Black, Indigenous, and people of color], which is especially well-documented in the U.S., and the resultant unjust rates of COVID in prisons, which will get worse with influenza season. To combat this, we have been doing political education about abolition as a framework that health workers should understand — and get on board with — as a way to fight the prison industrial complex and the appalling health outcomes it creates, from COVID to all chronic disease as well as HIV, hepatitis, and others.GAZETTE: Was there a project you worked on that illustrates what local action can accomplish?MORSE:  Back in 2018, the Nashville chapter of the campaign decided they were going to organize in order to end the routine practice of race correction in test results of kidney function, which had the result of delaying access to kidney care for Black patients. Eliminating the race modifier has the potential, especially at a hospital that serves a large Black community, to save lives of Black patients with kidney disease earlier. It took two years, but in July Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced that it was going to end that practice. That’s a story of setting out with a very specific goal, holding on to it, and doing what you have to do to get there.GAZETTE: Tell me about the work you do as part of CAR to educate people.MORSE: We educate and inform but will also address the miseducation about how racism operates. Health workers have been literally miseducated about not only what causes some people to be sick and others to not be sick, but also about the differences and lack of differences between races and ethnicities. It’s a massive uphill battle because we’re working against existing misinformation and scientific racism.GAZETTE: What about race and health is often misunderstood?MORSE: I hear people say, “I understand that race is a social construct, and it was a political invention used to categorize people, but look at the disproportionate maternal mortality rates for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women compared to white women.” They tell me that there has to be something biological at work that can’t just be explained away by other social and structural factors. Maternal mortality inequities [for women of color] are so stark — and painful, dramatic, and unjust — that folks don’t want to believe that the racial inequities could be fully fixed. We really need to drill down and recognize that, yes, these are serious differences, and they are structurally and socially driven, not from biological differences between people of difference races.At the same time, we also have to recognize how the experience of racism can cause negative physiological effects, but still this is not a blanket racial biological difference. Scientists, researchers, and social epidemiologist are homing in on that. It’s really about the experience of discrimination. In the coming years, it’s possible we may start to see that those effects can happen for any group that is oppressed. I think research to that effect should be done and needs to come out. “We often make the mistake of having conversations amongst ourselves, and we don’t even really engage the communities that are most impacted. That has to stop. We can never achieve health equity that way, if we keep talking within our echo chamber.”center_img GAZETTE: You just completed a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health policy fellowship in Washington, D.C. What lessons from that experience can you share?MORSE: I spent the past decade learning and teaching social medicine, and global health and health equity, but I think every person who does health justice work should have an experience like this fellowship. We can’t continue to say how important the social determinants of health are, and then not take the next step and understand our laws, policies, and interests — how they lead to the conditions for health being wonderfully met for some communities and woefully unmet for others. I appreciate the complexity of democracy in this country in a whole new way now. It’s a good thing to be eyes wide open and to better understand my country and its oppressive policy history.GAZETTE: Was there a moment on the Hill that especially resonated for you personally?MORSE: I had the opportunity to meet with one of Congressman John Lewis’ staffers several months ago. This was a few months before the congressman passed away. We met in Rep. Lewis’ office, which to me was just like being in a Black history museum. I was able to talk about health policy and health equity in this space, while thinking back to the battles he had to fight. That was a really important moment for me to make that connection between history, the Civil Rights Movement, and the next phase of this battle to find structural solutions for health inequities and liberation.GAZETTE: Do you have any advice to those who are looking to organize and create in this moment of change?MORSE: Stick with it. It can sometimes feel like things are going painfully slow, and it’s so easy to want to just give up. I co-wrote a piece for the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Creating Real Change at Academic Medical Centers — How Social Movements Can Be Timely Catalysts” that speaks to this. It describes the misalignment between the mindsets of health workers compared to people who are activists in social movements. Health care training sets us up to make fast decisions, to want fast results, and it makes us think that we’re experts. But it’s important for us to fight that reflex; for example, if the results are not coming fast enough, we want to be able to move on. But we need to recognize that the work of social transformation and organizing is long-term work.Secondly, for health workers in particular, I think it’s very important for us to follow the lead of community organizers and community-based organizations. We often make the mistake of having conversations amongst ourselves, and we don’t even really engage the communities that are most impacted. That has to stop. We can never achieve health equity that way, if we keep talking within our echo chamber.Finally, it’s not always helpful to ignore the negative emotions and stress that come with the work. Stop, pause, and hear those emotions, and try not to paint over them with happy feelings and optimism. You can’t do this work without creating that space for mourning and sadness and to have a community where that can all be shared.GAZETTE: How do you see this moment changing us as a society?MORSE: The murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others can’t be unseen. The deaths from COVID-19 can’t be ignored. You can’t deny these things. A lot of people have said to me, “I watched that George Floyd video multiple times. I knew I needed to see it.” We can’t run away from it. We have to face it. This will fundamentally shape the worldview of the people who are alive right now, especially this generation that’s mobilizing to fight these injustices. That we can’t unsee these things — that is going to be what shapes the liberatory spaces that we build together. Not turning away helps us to build up those emotional muscles to do this psychologically and emotionally taxing work. That is what takes us into a new future.Christina Lewis (center) works with young men of color to help prepare them for technological skills. Photo by Natalie Keyssar and All Star Code staffChristina Lewis ’02Founder of All Star CodeA former Wall Street Journal staff writer and author, Lewis started All Star Code in 2013 to focus on preparing Black and Latino young men for careers in computer science, and closing persistent gaps in income and opportunity. Since then, more than 600 high school-aged men of color have completed the All Star Code summer intensive program, its centerpiece curriculum. Many students have gone on to attend top schools and have launched careers at employers like Facebook and Google.Lewis is an elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) and is part of a group of alumni volunteer leaders that has formed to develop new ideas for action against racism, injustice, and inequality, in partnership with HAA. She also is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Cabinet at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.GAZETTE: What drew you to helping young men of color and, in particular, the technology industry?LEWIS: Tech is the engine of our civilization today. Not only are tech jobs supposedly the ticket into the middle class or even the upper class, but tech and software are driving everything. They say that even if engineers aren’t running civilization, they build the software that runs civilization. The people who are building these products are incredibly influential. But there are far too few Black and Latinx people in tech. Only 1 or perhaps 2 percent of engineers at major companies are Black, and the numbers are similar for Latinx people.Eight years ago, I saw these wonderful programs starting up for girls, holistic programs with mentorship opportunities, focused on all different ages. When I looked at what was available for Black and Latino boys, there was virtually nothing. What was available were things like broadband access, free computers — tools that weren’t part of holistic approach. There are about 3 million Black and Latino boys in the United States, and this group faces huge challenges that are distinct from other groups. We need everyone to be on the playing field.GAZETTE: Let’s talk about your summer intensive course. What do the students take back to their schools, to their lives?LEWIS: Students apply as sophomores and juniors for this six-week course. They return to their school having learned to code, to build websites, and to understand how to navigate the tech field. The capstone project has them, as a group, build a web app or even a mobile app. They then demo that to an audience of their peers. This is the classic way that engineers operate. Many of our students have gone on to start nonprofits. This is all in high school. A few are creating programs to teach other students in their community.High school students working with All Star Code executive director Danny Rojas. Photo by Natalie Keyssar and All Star Code staffGAZETTE: Can you share the story one of the students who has gone through the program, how it has helped him?LEWIS: I think of one young man I met who was really into wrestling, had lots of drive. He was in a good school focused on empowering Black boys, but he was not a high performer academically. And he had many friends who entered the criminal justice system during his freshman and sophomore years, and I remember he said to me, “I don’t think I want my life to go that way.”He did our summer intensive after his junior year, and he had that spirit of wanting something better for himself. He took to coding like he’d taken to wrestling. He was one of our first students, in a cohort of only 20 boys. It really motivated him to see other Black boys his age and from all different income backgrounds — but all with dedication and drive. He went back to school and outperformed expectations in a major way. He ended up going to a great school and majored in computer science. He beat these horrible statistics about how low-income, under-represented Black and Latino boys perform in college. His life trajectory was changed. He’s now working as a software engineer at a large startup in a job that is pandemic-proof. And he’s already thinking about giving back: He wants to create a job listing app for people in the criminal justice system.GAZETTE: Of course, the work supporting these students doesn’t end in the classroom. How does All Star Code address that?LEWIS: This current movement about racial justice has shown us this that racism doesn’t end when you have a job. We know this. A student like the one we talked about is often presented as a success story, and the narrative can be that now that he has a job, he’s fine. Yes, he has certainly beaten the odds, worked hard, done well, but the challenges Black people face don’t end when you graduate college, and it doesn’t end even when you become wealthy. Systemic racism permeates the entire society.This is where our community model makes sense — the idea of mentorship, keeping those connections to peers. An increased sense of belonging is proven to help someone persist when things are difficult, and the way you have an increased sense of belonging is being around people you identify with, working together. “This current movement about racial justice has shown us this that racism doesn’t end when you have a job. We know this. … Systemic racism permeates the entire society.”last_img read more

Student Vision: The Importance of Engaging Students Early

first_imgIn late June I participated in EMC’s second annual University Day, which deepens the collaboration between EMC and its academic partners. (See the list of universities we partner with below.)EMC established University Day to foster an open dialogue between EMC, academic researchers, and students. It provides a perfect venue for us to strengthen existing relationships, discuss potential research engagements, and recruit top students.Held in Santa Clara, California, the agenda for this event included discussions on challenging high-tech issues in next-generation data centers, including new developments in solid state storage.My part in the agenda was to present how EMC uses data analytics to manage our global university research portfolio. University research is a component of our larger innovation analytics strategy. In addition to academic research, this strategy encompasses idea contests, innovation conference engagement, paper publication, and intellectual property.The highlight of the day was the student competition, in which nine students presented their research via posters and competed for first prize. What I found remarkable about their proposals—which explains why they were chosen!—is how well they align with current industry trends.The top three winners and the relevance of their ideas follow:First place: Vasily Tarasov, Stony Brook University – Effective Block Layer Deduplication via File System and Application Hints. Customers want IT features (e.g., deduplication, backup) to be seamlessly integrated into the applications they are using. This prevents them from having to use separate tools for separate features. Having the application layer provide “hints” to a deduplication tool is a great first step in this direction.Second place: Stan Park, University of Rochester – Flash-Oriented I/O Scheduling in Software Defined Network. The phenomenon of Application Nearness means that applications are getting further and further away for the final resting place (e.g., a storage device) of their data. Complex, multi-hop networks have inserted themselves in between applications and their data, and software-defined networks are becoming an important arbitration point to guarantee performance. Adding a flash layer to the network makes a lot of sense.Third place: Wenfei Wu, University of Wisconsin-Madison – Detecting Bottleneck Middleboxes in Virtual Networks. Along similar lines, bottleneck detection within virtual networks has been an area of recent innovation at EMC (e.g., RSA Security Analytics). Wenfei’s approach provides another mechanism for getting more intelligence and optimization between application and storage.The students, faculty, and EMC employees greatly enjoyed the dialogue that all of the student projects inspired. For further information on some of this work, feel free to browse the academic research portals of the universities EMC works with:Carnegie Mellon UniversityCase Western Reserve UniversityFlorida International UniversityHarvard UniversityNortheastern UniversityPrinceton UniversityStony Brook UniversityUC IrvineUC San DiegoUC Santa CruzUniversity of MinnesotaUniversity of RochesterUniversity of UtahUniversity of Wisconsinlast_img read more

Library considers renovations

first_imgFifty years ago, in 1962 , the cornerstone of the Hesburgh Library was laid.  When the towering, 14-story structure opened in 1963, it was the largest college library in the world and a forward-looking model for research and study. But Diane Parr Walker, Edward H. Arnold university librarian, said the library is now in a transition stage. Stacks are overflowing. Upper floors lack proper study space. Changes to services and space allocation, she said, are crucial for the library to fulfill its 21st century needs. “A 19th century library really was about books, much of the 20th century was about that as well, but a 21st century library is going to be about the mix of digital and physical formats, [about having] a lot of services and creating spaces that foster and encourage intellectual activity using both digital and physical collections,” she said. Walker, who began her position as university librarian in July, served as deputy university librarian at the University of Virginia before coming to Notre Dame.  She spent the past few months getting to know campus and listening to the various concerns of faculty and students. Walker said her vision for the library is threefold: to increase physical and digital collections, expand expertise services and create more comfortable and inspiring study spaces.  “We have no intention of getting rid of the books,” Walker said. A few projects, including a library café and renovation of the first floor current periodicals area, are now in the planning stages. But the library lacks funding to launch a full-scale renovation.  “The University has a policy of not building or renovating until most of the money is in hand,” Walker said.  The library announced plans for Phase Two of the renovation in the spring of 2009, and construction on the first and second floors was targeted to begin in the summer of 2011.  Phase One, renovation of the lower level, was completed in 2002. “The planning for that renovation of the first two floors of the Hesburgh Library really got going just about the time the economy collapsed,” she said. “And so while we had donors pledging funds, in many cases they haven’t been able yet to make good on those pledges.” Faculty and staff started a petition in the summer of 2009, arguing the proposed Phase Two renovation would be insufficient and the entire library system, not just the two main floors, needed restructuring.  Those renovation plans were shelved in 2010, Walker said. She said the library is now “stepping back” to develop a program plan for the entire building, but will not begin speaking to architects again until more funding comes through. Walker said several initiatives would be completed independently of the longer-term renovation.  In time for graduation, the current periodicals area on the first floor will be renovated with new study spaces and technologies from the Office of Information Technologies (OIT). The room will have new carpeting, beanbag chairs, study booths, soft seating,  reading tables, and if funding comes through, a video wall for group presentations. “We’re going to see what we can do to enliven the space,” Walker said. “It’s a space that doesn’t seem to be particularly well-used, but it’s very, very visible.” By next fall, the library will have new listening and viewing equipment in the music and media area on the second floor. Walker said these spaces will be conducive both to individual and collaborative work. “I’m also hoping that this will help with fundraising when we can show prospective donors the kinds of things that we envision for the building,” she said. Walker discussed the possibility of a café, which could open as early as the fall of 2013 in what is currently the vending room space in the library’s concourse. “We’re talking with Food Services now about the possibility of converting the vending room space … into an actual café, so they’re thinking that they’ll begin talking with franchises that might be interested,” Walker said. “This summer, Facilities [Operations] plans to renew the pavers on the terrace in front, so we’re also talking about what might be done to change the landscaping, allow for … some outside seating there, and a doorway [where] you could get out to the terrace from a café.” Library shelving is almost entirely full, Walker said, both in the main and branch libraries. She said she is speaking with the Office of the Provost to identify a space for remote shelving close to campus.  “We can deliver things that are there as we now deliver around the campus, so that we don’t have to use all of the floor space in the library for stacks,” she said. For the future longer-term renovation, Walker said she imagines the first floor as a “hub of activity” and the second floor as more focused, housing print collections, group study rooms and expertise for music, media and art. The upper floors, Walker said, could be imagined as “oases of contemplation” that serve the needs of book-based work but are not crowded with stacks. She said the biggest challenge the library will face in becoming a 21st century library will be balancing competing needs of faculty and students.  “Students tell me that the most important thing about the libraries is space, faculty and graduate students tell me that the most important thing is collections and services. It will be important to strike the right balance,” she said.  Walker said she hopes smaller-scale projects the library is taking on now will encourage greater support of the renovation.  “I’m hoping that we can generate a lot of excitement around the idea that a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary would be to actually kick off a thorough renovation,” she said.,Fifty years ago, in 1962 , the cornerstone of the Hesburgh Library was laid.  When the towering, 14-story structure opened in 1963, it was the largest college library in the world and a forward-looking model for research and study. But Diane Parr Walker, Edward H. Arnold university librarian, said the library is now in a transition stage. Stacks are overflowing. Upper floors lack proper study space. Changes to services and space allocation, she said, are crucial for the library to fulfill its 21st century needs. “A 19th century library really was about books, much of the 20th century was about that as well, but a 21st century library is going to be about the mix of digital and physical formats, [about having] a lot of services and creating spaces that foster and encourage intellectual activity using both digital and physical collections,” she said. Walker, who began her position as university librarian in July, served as deputy university librarian at the University of Virginia before coming to Notre Dame.  She spent the past few months getting to know campus and listening to the various concerns of faculty and students. Walker said her vision for the library is threefold: to increase physical and digital collections, expand expertise services and create more comfortable and inspiring study spaces.  “We have no intention of getting rid of the books,” Walker said. A few projects, including a library café and renovation of the first floor current periodicals area, are now in the planning stages. But the library lacks funding to launch a full-scale renovation.  “The University has a policy of not building or renovating until most of the money is in hand,” Walker said.  The library announced plans for Phase Two of the renovation in the spring of 2009, and construction on the first and second floors was targeted to begin in the summer of 2011.  Phase One, renovation of the lower level, was completed in 2002. “The planning for that renovation of the first two floors of the Hesburgh Library really got going just about the time the economy collapsed,” she said. “And so while we had donors pledging funds, in many cases they haven’t been able yet to make good on those pledges.” Faculty and staff started a petition in the summer of 2009, arguing the proposed Phase Two renovation would be insufficient and the entire library system, not just the two main floors, needed restructuring.  Those renovation plans were shelved in 2010, Walker said. She said the library is now “stepping back” to develop a program plan for the entire building, but will not begin speaking to architects again until more funding comes through. Walker said several initiatives would be completed independently of the longer-term renovation.  In time for graduation, the current periodicals area on the first floor will be renovated with new study spaces and technologies from the Office of Information Technologies (OIT). The room will have new carpeting, beanbag chairs, study booths, soft seating,  reading tables, and if funding comes through, a video wall for group presentations. “We’re going to see what we can do to enliven the space,” Walker said. “It’s a space that doesn’t seem to be particularly well-used, but it’s very, very visible.” By next fall, the library will have new listening and viewing equipment in the music and media area on the second floor. Walker said these spaces will be conducive both to individual and collaborative work. “I’m also hoping that this will help with fundraising when we can show prospective donors the kinds of things that we envision for the building,” she said. Walker discussed the possibility of a café, which could open as early as the fall of 2013 in what is currently the vending room space in the library’s concourse. “We’re talking with Food Services now about the possibility of converting the vending room space … into an actual café, so they’re thinking that they’ll begin talking with franchises that might be interested,” Walker said. “This summer, Facilities [Operations] plans to renew the pavers on the terrace in front, so we’re also talking about what might be done to change the landscaping, allow for … some outside seating there, and a doorway [where] you could get out to the terrace from a café.” Library shelving is almost entirely full, Walker said, both in the main and branch libraries. She said she is speaking with the Office of the Provost to identify a space for remote shelving close to campus.  “We can deliver things that are there as we now deliver around the campus, so that we don’t have to use all of the floor space in the library for stacks,” she said. For the future longer-term renovation, Walker said she imagines the first floor as a “hub of activity” and the second floor as more focused, housing print collections, group study rooms and expertise for music, media and art. The upper floors, Walker said, could be imagined as “oases of contemplation” that serve the needs of book-based work but are not crowded with stacks. She said the biggest challenge the library will face in becoming a 21st century library will be balancing competing needs of faculty and students.  “Students tell me that the most important thing about the libraries is space, faculty and graduate students tell me that the most important thing is collections and services. It will be important to strike the right balance,” she said.  Walker said she hopes smaller-scale projects the library is taking on now will encourage greater support of the renovation.  “I’m hoping that we can generate a lot of excitement around the idea that a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary would be to actually kick off a thorough renovation,” she said.last_img read more

Nicaragua Disrupts Main Drug Trafficking Support Network

first_imgBy Dialogo March 07, 2013 On March 4, the Nicaraguan Police disrupted a cell that provided support to drug trafficking led by Mexican national José Torres Chaperón, who remains a fugitive after 26 out of his 42 members were arrested, in addition to 63 properties and 59 land and water vehicles that were also seized. Chaperón founded “logistics, reception, storage, transport of drugs and security cells” and acquired property at the disposal of drug trafficking in Nicaragua, the Police reported in a press release. The ring facilitated the smuggling of drugs from Colombia to Mexico through the Nicaraguan Pacific, mainly through the border departments of Rivas, Chinandega, Managua, Matagalpa and Masaya, the report specified. Among the detainees, there are four leaders, including Guatemalan national Martín Sánchez Flores, the only foreigner in this operation that the Police started to monitor under the name of “Temis” in 2010. During the operation carried out last week, the Police siezed 63 properties, 44 land vehicles, 15 speedboats, four firearms, and about $50,000 in cash. Judge Julio Arias from Managua’s 5th Criminal District, ordered the pre-trial detention of the 26 detainees, who will be tried on March 20 under charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime association. According to Nicaraguan authorities, the gang led by Chaperón is a remnant of the local drug trafficking structure created in 2010 by entrepreneur Henry Fariñas, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking along with 21 national and foreign accomplices in October 2012. In July 2011 Fariñas was the main witness and failed target of the attack in which Argentine singer-songwriter Facundo Carbral died in Guatemala.last_img read more