Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 Organisation Follow the news on Iran News December 13, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 The family of Shirko Jahani get news of him but not where he is being held News Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Receive email alerts June 9, 2021 Find out more IranMiddle East – North Africa News to go further News March 18, 2021 Find out more RSF_en Help by sharing this information IranMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders expressed its relief after obtaining proof that Shirko Jahani is still alive. He was given permission on 13 December 2006 to contact his mother and his wife. But the journalist, who sounded frail on the phone, was unable to give any information about his whereabouts.”As long as secret detentions are frequently synonymous with torture and ill-treatment, we fear for the safety of Shirko Jahani and urge the Iranian authorities to demonstrate openness by providing fresh information about him,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.The journalist’s family, who lives in the north-west of the country, has made constant calls to local prisons to try to find out where he is, but without success.————————————————————-12.12.2006Authorities asked to prove that detained journalist is still aliveReporters Without Borders today called on the Iranian authorities to provide evidence that Shirko Jahani, a journalist who was arbitrarily imprisoned on 27 November in the northwestern city of Mahabad, is still alive. It has been unofficially reported that he died in custody.“The family has received no word from him for a week,” the press freedom organisation said. “He was initially taken to Mahabad prison and placed with ordinary detainees. Then he was transferred to an unknown location on 6 December. Now we fear the worst and demand that the authorities inform us about his state of health.”Jahani’s wife told Reporters Without Borders she received a phone call today from a person describing himself as a member of the Mahabad intelligence services who said Jahani died of a heart attack after falling into a coma.A contributor to the Turkish news agency Euphrat, Jahani was summoned on 27 November to the Mahabad prosecutor’s office, where he was immediately arrested on the prosecutor’s orders for writing critical articles that had been published in the foreign press. Jahani also belongs to an organisation founded by fellow journalist Mohammad Sedigh Kabovand that defends human rights in the Kurdish part of Iran.After refusing to pay of bail of 5 million tumen (about 4,000 euros), he immediately went on hunger strike in protest against the arbitrary nature of his arrest. After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists February 25, 2021 Find out more
The big fightOn 21 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article LuciaGraves takes a look at bullying in a global context, and asks what is it, howdoes it impact on your business, and what policy decisions can you take toavoid it?Bullying in the workplace costs businesses hundreds of billions of pounds ayear with at least one in 10 employees reporting being bullied at some timeduring their working life. In recent surveys carried out in the UK, the US,Australia, and European Union, the percentage of people who had been bullied inthe workforce ranged from 8 to 20 per cent – and this is without looking atparts of the world where employee protection and health and safety regulationsare much less developed. A study of 3,500 UK workers by Mercer Human Resource Consulting found morethan one in five had been bullied at work at least once during the past year.Almost one in 10 reported bullying on more than one occasion, with 2 per centsaying they have been bullied five or six times. The TUC reported last year that the most recent figures available showedthat 1.3 million people had been attacked at work in the UK during one year. Inthe US workplace, there are two million violent victimisations a year, includingassaults, rapes and robberies; and an average of 1,000 workplace murders ayear, according to The National Crime Victimisation Survey in the early 1990s,the most recent figures available. In Australia estimates on ‘harassment’ in the workplace range from 400,000to two million workers affected each year, affecting between up to five millionworkers at some point during their working lives (Beyond Bullying Association2001). There are similar figures for Europe – about 8 per cent of EU workers(or 12 million workers) have been bullied, according to a European Union surveyin 1996. Bullying is a more common problem, then, than illegal discrimination such asracist or sexist behaviour and affects both sexes. The US Campaign AgainstWorkplace Bullying (CAWB) survey in 2000 found both men and women guilty ofbullying, with women making up three-quarters of the targets. More than 80 percent of bullies are bosses. It is a matter of concern because of the severe effects it has on employees.The CAWB found 41 per cent of bullying victims were diagnosed with depression.And one in five men and one in three women suffered from post-traumatic stressdisorder. Quite apart from the personal human misery implied from these figures, italso costs businesses money. More than 80 per cent of respondents to the CAWBreported effects preventing them being productive at work through anxiety andsleeplessness. And 80 per cent left their jobs – half through choice. So theresult of bullying for employers is underperforming staff or losing staff –both expensive options. In the worst cases, the business may end up being sued. One of the highestcompensation payouts for bullying at work in the UK reached £230,000. Thehighest recent settlement in the US was $3m (£1.9m) – although this was laterreduced to $300,000 (£187,000) by a federal court. The total cost can be huge. A survey carried out by the Australiangovernment estimates the cost of bullying to be $Aus 6-7bn (£2.2bn to 2.5bn) ayear or 0.9 per cent to 2 per cent of GDP. A serious case over six monthsbetween Aus$17,000 and Aus$24,000, (£6,000-£9,000) or anything up toAus$175,000 (£64,000) a case (including everything from legal and settlementcosts and estimated costs of operating in the meantime minus that worker). Inthe UK the estimated cost is £2bn a year, according to a report by the LondonChamber of Commerce. The movement against bullying in the workplace is now gathering momentum.One of the countries at the forefront is Sweden, which has had anti-bullying legislationsince 1993 – the ordinance of the Swedish National Board of Occupational Safetyand Health contained provisions for measures against Victimisation at Work. AndAustralia completed a huge study of workplace violence in March 2002, theQueensland Government Workplace Bullying Taskforce Report. All over the world Bills are being drafted against bullying: the Dignity atWork Bill in the UK, which failed to pass through parliament before the summerbreak in 2002, but could be revived; the US Campaign against Bullying isplanning to lobby for state legislation in California then Colorado and otherUS states; and the European Union commissioned research into violence in theworkplace which was completed in 2001 – a first step towards legislation. There are vocal pressure groups in most countries, too, such the CAWB run byGary Namie in the US. “We need to make it legally actionable,” hesays. “At the moment in the US, for example, a woman can’t sue anotherwoman for bullying. She can only sue if it is sexual harassment.” What is bullying in the workplace? Headache number one for HR departments is that bullying is defineddifferently in different parts of the world. Where there is no legislationspecifically about bullying, anti-discrimination legislation or human rightslegislation can be used to bring legal cases against an employer. The problem with not defining it is that one man’s bully can be another’s‘robust’ manager, with a tough style that could, even unintentionally, distressemployees. A general definition is that bullying is a form of psychological orphysical harassment. In Australia, the Queensland Government Workplace Bullying Taskforceredefined bullying as ‘workplace harassment’ in its report published in March2002, because harassment had already been recognised as ‘prohibited conduct’.The definition runs: “Workplace harassment is repeated behaviour other than behaviour thatis sexual harassment, that: – Is directed at an individual worker or group of workers, and – Is offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening, and – Is unwelcome and unsolicited, and – A reasonable person would consider to be offensive, intimidating orthreatening for the individual worker or group of workers.” Has bullying increased? Bullying is a growing problem because of new workplace stresses. JaneCarrington, managing director of Right CoreCare, a company that runs EmployeeAssistance Programmes in the UK, (see p20) suggests: “There may be moreemphasis now on performance, with the personnel department which [previously]dealt with employee welfare and supporting the employee, looking at theirwellbeing, becoming human resources which looks at recruitment, retention andperformance. But you have a lot of people frightened of change.” The cultural factor Not all cultures recognise bullying as a problem, although problems canarise when two cultures clash. Zareen Karani Araoz, president of the US-basedconsultancy Managing Across Cultures, has studied workers in countries asdiverse as Japan and India, and their working relationship with Westernemployees. “Cross-cultural training needs to be compulsory for any multinationalexecutive dealing with other cultures, and also for workers moving into newcultures,” she says. “Indians in the US, for example, sometimes allowthemselves to be bullied.” She explained that this is because salaries arelower, and they are working in some marginalised part of the company and feelthey can’t say anything. “They can’t be productive in these circumstances.They can be very timid, and need to be taught how to be more culturallyappropriate.” India has a different concept of bullying according to Araoz.”Behaviour such as raising your voice is not interpreted in the same wayas in America. In many family-run businesses the head is seen as a benevolentdictator who tells you what you should be doing – although this would have beentolerated more in the past than today.” As a result of this and othersocio-economic factors, bullying litigation is non-existent. In Japan, where there is a strong corporate hierarchy similar to India’s,complications can arise when dealing with Westerners. The Japanese have a greatsense of saving face and pride, are unable to express their feelings and areultra sensitive to domination, but they don’t show it in a way Westernersunderstand. “There are nine ways of saying ‘yes’ in Japanese, and seven of saying‘no’. When they perceive they are being bullied they may seem to say yes and donothing,” explains Araoz. “The Japanese mindset is attuned tocourtesy and sensibility, so the way Americans speak can be perceived asdominating, ordering, or bullying.” What policy decisions to make “Many companies don’t want to know about the problem. They are toofrightened,” says anti-bullying writer Tim Field, author of UK website www.successunlimited.co.uk.”They have to recognise signs of dysfunction. It is a serial offence inthe majority of cases I process, and the bully is often very convincing.” Bullying is particularly difficult for HR departments to deal with becauseit is an issue between employees and requires care so as not to assume guilt oneither side – as well as avoiding being more sympathetic to the ‘victim’because the complaint is not always justified. Ann Coles, consultant at employment law specialist Fox Williams, says:”It is very difficult for HR departments to deal with because it is as ifboth sides are on trial. The ‘victim’ may be suffering from stress but theperson who is accused will also find it a harrowing experience. There ispotential for an employer to lose both sets of employees. You have to be fair,neutral and independent.” She adds: “It has an enormous cost to the reputation of both victim andperpetrator – people may lose their jobs. I’ve seen instances where the personaccused was not guilty, the accusation was a means of getting rid of someonewho was a threat. In ambitious companies accusing people of bullying may be atactic.” There are two main strategies a company can follow to pre-empt bullying inthe workplace: draw up a bullying policy and train their employees inappropriate action and in teambuilding, or hire a company to start up anEmployer Assistance Programme. “A written policy is essential, it makes clear what acceptablestandards are,” says Field. “It gives the employer the aegis to dealwith the issue in the absence of a legal statement. It has to be more thanwords on paper, with a willingness to carry it through.” Ann Bevitt, partner and employment law specialist at Morrison &Foerster, agrees. “It is essential to have a policy in place so employeesknow what they should and should not be doing. If companies have someprecautions, and have taken all reasonable steps to stop something, they can’tbe found liable in the UK” Namie’s campaign against workplace bullying in the US emphasises the need toinvolve all stakeholders in policy drafting – from employees to HR department,union reps and management. Training programmes Training programmes that encourage teambuilding could offer a way ofavoiding bullying. Rhoda Frindell Green, a New York City-based organisationalpsychologist and consultant to companies on HR issues, uses the Myers BriggsType Indicator questionnaire, which measures personal preferences and differentwork styles. She then gets team members to discuss the results, and uses it toshow why people who have different ways of working can be equally effective. “It shows there is another way to work. This person can make acontribution,” explains Green. Namie, who has also worked on anti-bullying policies and training, believesthis is essential – “otherwise employers tend to make the target solve hisor her own problem” he says. “In domestic violence it is considered illegal and immoral so weoutlawed it, but with bullying this has not happened.” But, he adds, thecompany’s willingness to stamp out the bully is limited. “It says: ‘do youmean our regional manager Bob would be affected if he was a repeat offender?’It doesn’t want to let go of its right to veto whatever the company has decidedis best.” Employee Assistance Programmes Designed to create a lifeline for distressed employees, the EmployeeAssistance Programmes offer access to an impartial third party for anonymouscounselling and assistance. Companies which run EAPs should be fully informedabout any policy the particular company has taken towards bullying andoccupational health. Jane Carrington, managing director of Right CoreCare whichruns EAPs for several companies in the UK, points out that bullying can be aquestion of perception, esteem, or the way the company is being run or changed.She says an important aspect of the work is that it preserves employeeanonymity. “Only if the individual agrees can we reveal their identity. We workwith them to rebuild strategies to go back into work.” The advantage of having an outsider is that they do not have the sameloyalties as someone within a company, and the employee is more likely to discussproblems when confidentiality is guaranteed before getting to crisis point. “It is also advantageous to the company as the procedures will thenseem fairer to all sides, and it has an informed monitor on its personnel.Carrington says: “If you get a lot of calls for the same problems to dowith the same manager we would highlight that to the personnel manager. Againwe have to make sure it is a trend.” Another good reason to set up an EAP is that in the UK ~Judge Lady JusticeHale recently ruled that an EAP might constitute a legal defence for a companyaccused of allowing bullying. Not everyone is sure that an EAP is enough, however. Anti-bullying authorField says: “In theory it is a good idea, but it depends on the attitudesof employers. Some use it as a cover and do it for good PR. It needs to comefrom a genuine desire to produce a healthy, happy employee.” Beyond the EAP Coles says that a company may need to go beyond written policy and EAPs tochange the company culture. “It needs to be proactive and have management training dealing withmacho management culture, to be firm on this and make it clear this is notacceptable. It must also give illustrations of what this culture looks like.This way it can get in before their managers turn into ‘bullies’.” Carrington stresses that any anti-bullying policy needs to go to the heartof the organisation’s culture. “The culture is important, it should bepeople-centred and ethical, and people want opportunities to be creative,”she says. Bullying: the steps employees should take– The first stage in any bullyingproblem should be the ‘victim’ trying to sort the problem out with theperpetrator, before taking it to a complaint stage, says Dr Rhoda FrindellGreen, a New York City-based organisational psychologist and consultant tocompanies on HR issues. She has often given advice to employees about how todeal with problems, and she divides bullying issues into three categories –when the bully is:1) Boss/clientIf you are the target you need to go to the other person andask for some time to talk – say, half an hour. You call the meeting and youropening statement should be something such as “Here is what I need, to dothe best possible job for you. I could do a better job for you if I get ‘X’from you. I need to get to do this or that in a meeting, and need you not tosent me those biting e-mails, or I need you to call me and give me thisinformation because I feel isolated”. This is a way of getting thingsstraightened out. Let’s assume the boss says “Yes, fine, I didn’t realiseI was doing this, I apologise”. If a week later the boss is still doingthe same thing, you go back in and say in a more light-hearted way, “Uhoh, its happening again”, giving them another chance to change it. Thissometimes changes the relationship and the bullying stops.The employee has choices. He or she can discuss it the problemwith management, but first should try to negotiate. In the worst case they canrequest a transfer or resign. 2) Staff member who reports to you/outside vendorYou call them in and say: “This is not acceptablebehaviour, this is a warning.” If it is a staff member you say: “Ifthis continues you risk losing your job”, witha vendor “If thiscontinues you risk losing a client”.3) A colleague on an equal footingGo to lunch with them and say: “We sometimes interact welland sometimes don’t. What you did is not beneficial to our relationship. Whatprompted it?” Suffering in silence is not what I am recommending at anylevel. It takes some courage to address bullying.Anti-bullying: nine-point actionplanThe Campaign against WorkplaceBullying provides a comprehensive nine-point guide on the website www.bullybusters.org, This is anadapted, shortened version. It:– Needs to state what bullying is with concrete examples. Thisshould include verbal assaults as well as other misconduct. Anne Coles says:”A good policy needs to give some illustrations of what might amount tobullying – undermining, for example. It needs to be made clear that this is notacceptable.”– Must show what would give rise to an investigation– Will state how the investigation should be carried out. Thisshould be in a way that employees consider fair, probably using an outsideagency– Should allow for the immediate separation of plaintiff anddefendant in a way that does not punish either– Should require documentation of damages to the claimantincluding any impact on health or purse– Must state the time within which a response should be made tothe claimant– Must state what will happen if bullying is found – dependingon the gravity of the offence, from public apology right through to severancepackages– Should be followed up with training so that people are awareof the policy– May need an anti-retaliation clause so that any subsequentbullying is seen as a separate caseFurther reading The International Labour Organisation’s anti-bullying report www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/violence/violwk/violwk.pdfAustralian Workplace Bullying Taskforce report, March 2002 http://www.whs.qld.gov.au/taskforces/bullying/bullyingreport.pdfUK-based anti-bullying website www.successunlimited.co.ukUS-based anti-bullying website www.bullybusters.orgBullying and Harassment in the Workplace by the London Chamber of Commerce www.londonchamber.co.uk – lookfor link to report May 2000 Cultural awareness consultancy run by Zareen Karani Araoz www.managingcultures.comThe EU’s next four-year plan for health and safety at work http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/news/2002/apr/081_en.htmlThe Irish Health and Safety Authority’s code of practice on the preventionof bullying in the workplace www.hsa.ie/pub/publications/bullyingcop.pdfSouth African anti-bullying website www.worktrauma.org/
Sponsors include the Ocean City Firefighters Association, Ocean City Police Benevolent Association Local 61, Ocean City Home Bank, Monihan Realty, Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency, the Ocean City Education Foundation and Schools Superintendent Kathleen Taylor (personal donation). Ocean City students who rode their bicycles to school on today (June 13) found something different on their bikes for the ride home. While they were at school, volunteers from Bike OCNJ installed free bicycle lights for safe riding after dusk.Bike OCNJ added the small lights on elastic bands to all bicycles parked outside Ocean City’s three schools on Monday. They will return on Tuesday. The lights were placed at the front (white) and rear (red) of all bikes.Bike OCNJ is a group committed to bicycle safety and enhancing bicycle routes and amenities in town. People riding unlit bikes at night in Ocean City is one of the biggest complaints heard by the group and by Ocean City police.Clockwise from top left: Rachel Heist, Sgt. Brian Hopely, Tom Heist, Jennifer Heist, Drew Fasy.Tom Heist, a Bike OCNJ co-chair, worked with police, firefighters and local businesses to raise money for a couple thousand sets of bicycle lights. They will be made available to the public.The lights are free. They are available for anybody to pick up at the City Hall Welcome Center (Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue), the Route 52 Welcome Center, the Ocean City Police Department (Eighth Street and Central Avenue) and the Ocean City Free Public Library (17th Street and Simpson Avenue).Bike OCNJ Co-Chair Tom Heist works outside Ocean City High School installing free bike lights on Monday, June 13.The lights are small, easy to attach or take off (just an elastic band), and include no logos or commercial insignia.The free bike lights include three modes: on, flashing and off Ocean City Police Ptl. Pat Walsh, Bike OCNJ Co-Chair Drew Fasy, Bike OCNJ volunteer Rachel Heist, Bike OCNJ volunteer Jennifer Heist, Bike OCNJ Co-Chair Tom Heist and Ocean City Police Sgt. Brian Hopely work outside Ocean City High School installing free bike lights on Monday, June 13.
With this Saturday’s showing of the documentary film “One Water,” student government’s Global Water Initiative culminated a year-long series of events and fundraisers aimed towards addressing the world’s clean water crisis.According to the Global Water Initiative’s final report, 2.5 billion people all over the world live without adequate sanitation. In addition, one in six persons on earth lives without access to potable water.Former student body vice president Cynthia Weber believes the project achieved a lot in its year of existence.“I think that it was successful on two fronts: raising awareness on a fixable issuesomewhere else in the world and also using Notre Dame resources to do so,” she said. “Not only was it our goal to help fix wells, but also to educate the campus.”Throughout the course of the year, various service organizations have put on a number of events to both raise awareness of the issue and collect funds to be donated to the non-profit Water Project, the partner organization to Notre Dame’s Global Water Initiative. In total, at least $4,464 will be donated to the Water Project, which provides sustainable, safe water by fixing broken wells in the African nation of Sierra Leone.Rachel Roseberry, co-director of the Global Water Initiative along with Justin Pham, said that the program, the first of its kind for Notre Dame, was a great achievement for the campus.“I think that it is important that Student Government showed this year that it can focus on a single service initiative for the entire year,” she said. “It’s a pretty unique model that hadn’t been done before.”In addition to fundraisers put on by student organizations, members and organizations of Notre Dame’s academic community such as the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity at the Kellogg Institute helped educate students on the issue of the global water crisis.Weber said having widespread campus participation strengthened student bonds over the course of the school year.“Groups on campus that normally didn’t connect were brought together so it helped build our community as well as helping the world,” she said.Roseberry mentioned two events in particular that stood out in terms of raising awareness and funding for the global water crisis, in addition to demonstrating Notre Dame’s sense of community giving.“Howard Hall’s ‘Totter for Water’ was a fantastic event that raised over $2,000,” she said. “The Benefit CD in February with 18 student artists was another way the Notre Dame community came together to raise money for the world’s clean water crisis.”Weber said while the Global Water Initiative was coming to a close with the end of last year’s Student Government term, the Notre Dame campus should expect a similar program after the success of this year’s series of events and fundraisers.“This particular initiative won’t be continued but something similar to it will be next year,” she said.
Graduate student Michael Thigpen had two rules to live by. “He would never judge people, his No. 1 rule was, ‘No judgment shall be passed,’” senior Shawn Steurer said. “And he taught us if it’s not fun, don’t do it.” Thigpen, a first-year master’s student enrolled on the Global Health Training program, died unexpectedly earlier this week and was discovered early Tuesday morning in his off-campus residence. Thigpen, a native of Monument, Colo., was 23. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and planned to apply to medical school after he completed his one-year program at Notre Dame. Friends remembered him as an avid climber, enthusiastic about life and always smiling. Steurer, the president of the Notre Dame Climbing Club, first met Thigpen when the graduate student joined the group at the beginning of the semester. “He was very energetic, which was awesome. … The news was sad, finding out about his death, but I’ve caught myself smiling thinking about him because all the memories. He smiled a lot, told a lot of jokes.” Steurer recalled the club’s fall break trip to climb in Boulder in Thigpen’s home state. He remembered one occasion when Thigpen decided to test his coordination by climbing an entire route with tape over one eye, describing him as a “wild card.” Thigpen’s antics always made their club trip more enjoyable, Steurer said. “He always had a positive outlook and when I was stressing about various things on the trip, like how we were going to pack things in the car, he was always very lax and had the mindset that it was going to work out,” Steurer said. “When everyone was stressed, thinking things would not work out, he brought positive energy and fun.” Thigpen was a musician who had performed professionally, and Steurer remembered the mandolin he insisted on bringing to Colorado with the club. “He loved music,” Steurer said. “Although the car was jam-packed with six people and a van and all their gear for the trip, he insisted on bringing [the mandolin.] He played by the campfire.” The first thing junior Chris Glueck saw when he met graduate student Michael Thigpen at the rock-climbing wall with the Climbing Club was his hair. The second was his smile. “The first thing I noticed about Michael was his hair because his hair was down to his shoulders,” Glueck said. “The second thing I noticed about Michael was his smile. He had a huge smile. … He’s just a ball of energy.” Glueck laughed at the memory of Thigpen leading Steurer in playing their instruments around the campfire over fall break. He remembered seeing Thigpen on Friday at a dinner off campus and watching him meet the new people around him with ease. “I don’t think he knew anybody there but by the end of the night, he knew everybody there,” he said. “I don’t think I ever saw him without a ridiculous smile on his face.” The Climbing Club gathered at the Grotto to remember Thigpen on Tuesday night, Glueck said, and members of the Notre Dame community gathered Wednesday for Mass to celebrate his life. University President Fr. John Jenkins presided over the Mass, and director of Campus Ministry James King delivered the homily. When he spoke, King evoked an image from that day’s Gospel – the image of Christ on the cross. “We can place ourselves in that scene and wonder what must have gone through [Mary’s] mind,” King said during his homily. “Was she thinking of him as a carefree child that she once held in her arms? … Was she standing there wondering if there was something she could have, should have, done to deter him from the road upon which he as set out on his way down from God? “There are no real answers, there are no good answers, to any of those questions no matter how much she or us may turn them around in our minds. Because there is simply no good answer to the question of why a young man dies early, whether his name is Jesus Christ or Michael Thigpen. We only know that, as Lamentations says, our souls are not at peace.” King offered the support of the University community to those gathered in Thigpen’s memory. “For those of you who were Michael’s friends, fellow students, members of the Climbing Club, faculty, staff, I would say this, ‘Weep and mourn,’” King said. “But I would also say hold on to one another, as you did yesterday, as you have today, as you may need to tomorrow and for some tomorrows to come. “Hold on to one another and know that you are embraced too by this community, this Notre Dame family, and that you are also enveloped in the love of Mary our Mother, Our Lady of Notre Dame, who knew herself what it was like to weep and mourn.”
The Saint Mary’s Presidential Taskforce on Sexual Assault held its first meeting last Friday, followed by College President Carol Ann Mooney sending an email Tuesday to the College community regarding the topics discussed at Friday’s meeting.In order to keep the community updated in a more timely manner, Mooney said she will plan to send an email summarizing each meeting.Mooney said in Tuesday’s email that the taskforce had reviewed current procedures for reporting sexual assault, and it was noted that the Code of Student Conduct is being revised this fall to incorporate changes in the law.Additionally, three subcommittees were established to report to the main group at each meeting of the taskforce.The first committee, focused on education of sexual assault, will be chaired by Assistant Director of Alumnae Relations Shay Jolly. Other members include junior Michaela Gaughan, junior Julianne Olivieri and professor of history and gender and women’s studies Jamie Wagman.The second committee will be focused on procedures at Saint Mary’s and chaired by professor of psychology Bettina Spencer. Other members include librarian Ula Gaha, junior Caylin McCallick and senior Bridget Venard.The third committee is the support committee, chaired by Director of Campus Ministry Regina Wilson. Other members include sophomore Lydia Lorenc and senior Bri O’Brien.College counsel Rich Nugent will act as a general resource for committees, according to Mooney’s email.The next meeting will be after fall break, but the date is to be determined.Full meeting minutes will be available in the College’s portal after they have been officially approved by the taskforce at its subsequent meeting, Mooney said in the email.Tags: Presidential Taskforce, sexual assault
View Comments Finally, a tuner about men juggling their balls every day—fatherhood, dating, (im)potency and the like! Tickets are now available to see Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria’s Real Men: The Musical, which will begin performances on November 12. Directed by David Arisco, the off-Broadway production is scheduled to officially open on December 10 and run through January 2, 2016 at New World Stages.Starring Stephen G. Anthony and Maria himself, Real Men: The Musical follows that existence down Manhood Lane to gain some clarity, or at the very least, explore the common bond that all men are morons just trying to get by. The 90-minute romp delves into fatherhood, mid-life crisis, dating, marriage, potency and sexuality.With musical direction by Martin Landry and arrangements by Manny Schvartzman, the production will additionally feature lighting by Patrick Tennant and sound by M. Florian Staab.
When I phone 34-year-old speed-hiking guru Jennifer Pharr Davis, she is working on a book deadline two-years-in-the-making and has exactly four days to round out final edits. Meanwhile, she’s supposed to be prepping for her latest thru-hike—this time, it’s the Mountains to Sea Trail, a 1,175-mile route that begins at Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains and terminates at Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks, and effectively bisects the state of North Carolina.FOLLOW ALONG WITH JPD’S MST HIKE HERE! It’s midday and, from the sound of things, it’s lunchtime. There’s the clink of glass bottles, a closing refrigerator, plastic sliding across a countertop, cabinets opening and closing, plates clanking, and, yes, children crying.Apologizing for the commotion and his two screaming kids, her husband Brew sighs: “It’s a busy time for us; to say things are hectic would be a ridiculous understatement.”After six years, two babies, a knee surgery, and six months worth of rehabilitative therapy, this will be the first hike of more than 100 miles Jennifer has taken since her record-breaking thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2011. Slated to drive the MST route with kids in tow, Brew says he’s excited about hitting sections of the trail and checking out nearby breweries and sights, he’s stoked to be supporting his wife.“Momma needs a hike,” Jennifer says with a laugh. “For me, the act of putting one foot in front of the other has changed my values, my outlook, and the very fiber of my being. It’s always been an affirming source of inspiration and transformation, and I’m presently long overdue.”Along the way, Davis says she’ll be making edits on a book about endurance and hiking records that’s due out next spring, running a business from afar, and advocating for outdoor recreation, conservation and unity. Seeking to raise awareness and funds for the Mountains to Sea Trail, Brew will be coordinating events inviting hikers to join Jennifer on the trail, attend talks, and more. But just now, they’ve got a deadline and nearly 1,200 miles worth of packing to attend to.Such is the life of a professional hiker. In the midst of one adventure, they’re persistently stepping into the next.Part-Time Hobby to Full-Time OccupationHow do pro-hikers turn a beloved hobby into a full-time gig? While routes are about as varied as the trail is long, most agree it takes four things: Passion. Perseverance. Business sense. And hard work. However, unlike most traditional business endeavors, hikers tend to describe the road as a kind of happy accident that snow-balled.“I started long-distance backpacking in 2002 when I thru-hiked the A.T. for the first time,” says pro-hiker Andrew Skurka. “I was in college at the time and an effort on that scale seemed like an experience that was worth having. While I loved the idea, I certainly wasn’t thinking this would become my occupation.”Pro hiker Andrew Skura treks through California’s Yosemite National Park as part of a 6.875-mile Great Western Loop Hike.And yet, since then, the 36-year-old has backpacked, skied and pack-rafted more than 33,000 miles—the equivalency of traveling 1.2 times around the equator—and has become one of the world’s quintessential outdoorsmen.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Mostly, he’s known for three monstrous hiking feats. In 2005, Skurka was the first to hike the Sea-to-Sea trail, which begins in Quebec and ends in Washington, and covers 7,778 miles (around 1,800 of which Skurka walked in snowshoes). Two years later, he completed the Great Western Loop, a 6,875-mile footpath that links the Pacific Crest, Pacific Northwest, Continental Divide, Grand Enchantment, and Arizona trails, and includes a wild segment passing through the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts. In 2010, Skurka hiked, skied and rafted his way to a 4,679-mile circumnavigation of Alaskan and Yukon wildernesses.Combined, the efforts netted him huge accolades and, in so far as it’s possible for a hiker, mainstream renown. Beyond being featured in nearly every major news outlet in the country, Backpacker named him their 2005 “Person of the Year,” while National Geographic crowned him the “Adventurer of the Year” for 2007.Be that as it may, Skurka says the success wasn’t premeditated. “Despite having much more to gain from a successful finish, my motivations for taking on those expeditions were very similar to those that drove my first thru-hike,” he says. “Simply put, I believed the experiences were worth the effort.” He’d see amazing landscapes few have laid eyes on. Meet adventurous characters. And challenge himself to conquer ambitious goals day after day, for months on end. “I wanted to push myself far outside my comfort zone, which is when personal growth really starts to happen,” he explains. “None of these trips could have been justified on the premise that they would somehow result in fame and fortune.”In other words, it had to be about passion; it had to be about Skurka. “With the Alaska trip, I started out in 25-degree-below-zero weather, skied the first 1,200 miles, and encountered grizzly bears almost daily,” he says. “I was off-trail for 2,100 miles and passed through areas no one has traveled through since the Klondike Goldrush. For me, it’s always been about the experience. That’s what’s driven all of this.”Making a LivingDespite the notoriety Skurka’s expeditions have won him, he describes his income as meager compared to most ‘grownup’ professions. Early on, the discrepancy was even more pronounced. “While my motivations were true, that wasn’t helping me address the economic realities of my trips,” he says.To enable himself to keep going, Skurka slowly and purposefully developed income streams tied to his adventures. Mostly, these came in the form of lectures, presentations, guided trips, and content, like blogs, books, and magazine articles.“My first professional gig was a keynote address I gave for the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association in 2005, which paid me $200,” he says, chuckling because, while the recognition was mind-blowing, the plane ticket he bought to attend the event cost him twice that.Despite the humble beginning, Skurka was soon getting more work. Logging 234 presentations in the next five years—with 60 in 2011 alone—he has since added companies like Google, Microsoft, REI, and Viking Global Investments to his list of more than 280 clients. “At the peak of that 2011 schedule, my life looked like that George Clooney character, Ryan Bingham, from Up in the Air,” he jokes. “Eventually, even my parents stopped trying to remember where I was.”While Pharr Davis has also cultivated speaking opportunities, it was guided hikes that officially put an end to her day job in 2008, when she and Brew (a former history teacher at the Carolina Day School) founded Blue Ridge Hiking Company. Offering monthly group outings that are open to the public, as well as private sessions, the company has grown to include seven guides in addition to Jennifer and Brew. With all of the overnight hikes taking place in the Pisgah National Forest near her home in Asheville, North Carolina, Pharr Davis says the BRHC offers her a source of income that doesn’t require her to be constantly traveling and/or on the trail.For both Pharr Davis and Skurka, whether in the form of memoir, blogs, and gear and trail guides, writing has played an important role in forging their careers as pro hikers. However, for former Backpacker staffer turned pro-hiker, Michael Lanza, the medium has been everything. Rather than insane physical feats of distance or speed, it’s his pen that’s kept him on the trail.Allister Humphries, who has hiked across the world’s largest desert and bikes across the world, says the best part of being a pro hiker is being your own boss.“I served as the northwest editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker for 11 years,” explains Lanza. “Then, in 2012, I published a book about my family’s year-long exploration of the changes taking place in the American national parks most endangered by climate change.”[nextpage title=”Read on!”]Titled Before They’re Gone, the book nabbed an honorable mention for the National Book Award and won the National Outdoor Book Award. Using the success as a springboard, Lanza launched a blog called The Big Outside, which is dedicated to outdoor adventures with his family.“For years I’d made a living identifying, planning, and writing about great trips, and I think that’s what’s made The Big Outside such a uniquely authoritative source,” he says. “[The blog] offers stories, photos, and expert trip-planning advice on America’s and the world’s best outdoor adventures—including many that are great for families—with everything based on my own first-hand knowledge.”Since its inception, the blog has appeared on numerous top lists, including USA Today’s Readers’ Choice list, The Adventure Junkies Top 25 Hiking Blogs, and Feedspot’s Top 100 Outdoor Blogs. According to Lanza, The Big Outside now provides the bulk of his income.Breaking InTom Gathman, i.e. The Real Hiking Viking, thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail for the third time this year and is shooting a documentary with one of his closest hiking friends. While he is excited for new adventure, he is equally pumped about a Real Hiking Viking line of gear and apparel from Mountainsmith. The development could potentially provide a steady income stream and much-needed funding for an upcoming attempt to break the speed record for thru-hiking America’s Triple Crown, as well as a subsequent foot-powered circumnavigation of the northern hemisphere.Tom Gathman—The Real Hiking Viking—has hiked more than 15,000 miles over the past four years and attracted more than a dozen sponsors.Similar to Pharr Davis and Skurka, Gathman describes going pro as a necessary move to stay on the trail. Arriving to the sport a bit later than his counterparts—the 33-year-old former Iraq combat veteran and Marine sniper completed his first long-distance thru-hike in 2012—Gathman says social media platforms are what got him into the game. Albeit accidentally.“I was posting on Instagram and Facebook whenever I could, namely just to stay in touch with friends and family and make sure they knew I was still alive,” he says. Only then, the pages started picking up followers. “It was strange to see so many people were digging what I was doing, but I found it gave me a kind of confidence, and slowly began to make me want to do a better job of documenting things.”After four years of living basically on-trail and around 15,000 miles of hiking, the habit led to a blog and more than a dozen sponsorships—including the impending deal with Mountain Smith. Gathman says feedback from his 41,500 Instagram and 21,804 Facebook followers helped validate what he was doing and inspire him to keep going. “When most of the world thinks what you’re doing is irresponsible and crazy, it helps to know there are people out there supporting you,” he says. “They see what you’re doing as inspiring and important, and that adds fuel to the fire to figure out how to keep going.”RealitiesIt’s true that pro hikers make their living getting outdoors and doing what they love. But there’s a flipside.Micheal Lanza has made a living writing and blogging about outdoor adventures with his family.“What I love about it is being my own boss and taking on the responsibility for the success or failure of doing the stuff that I want to do, the way I want to do it,” says Alastair Humphreys, 40, whose outdoor resume includes, in addition to a four-year bicycle trip around the world, a hike across India and a foot-powered trek through the Empty Quarter, a desert on the Arabian Peninsula which, at 250,000 square miles, is the largest contiguous desert in the world. “But the problem becomes, because it’s your job, it has to pay for your life. So, when I summit a mountain and there’s this beautiful sunset, rather than enjoying the moment, it’s easy to start thinking: How am I going to turn this into content?”Meanwhile, to afford the freedom necessary to keep going, Gathman and Skurka limit their possessions to what can fit in a car, endure long-distance romantic relationships, live out of friend’s houses or on the occasional month-to-month lease, and cite frugality as their biggest source of income. “If I lived like your typical 30-some-year-old guy, I’d never be able to afford doing what I do,” says Skurka.However, upon the final analysis, the adventurers are all quick to say the drawbacks are outweighed by the payoff. Bigtime.“I love my life and consider my job the best job in the world,” says Gathman. “If I wanted to make a lot of money and have nice things, I’d be a banker. But that’s not what I value, that’s not the way I want live. What I want is to be in the woods and on the trail, and I’m willing to do what it takes to make that happen.”