POLICY Briefings http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings Just another IU News Blogs Sites site Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:02:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.12 Scholars to discuss ‘mere civility,’ moderation http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/03/22/scholars-to-discuss-mere-civility-moderation/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/03/22/scholars-to-discuss-mere-civility-moderation/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:02:10 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2227 Political theorist Teresa Bejan, the author of the new book “Mere Civility,” will join Indiana University political scientist Aurelian Craiutu on Friday for a roundtable discussion of civility and moderation at a time when many people argue the conflict over the Trump presidency is putting both at risk.

Bejan is an associate professor of political theory and a fellow of Oriel College at the University of Oxford. Craiutu, professor of political science at IU Bloomington, is the author of “Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes.”

Teresa Bejan

Teresa Bejan

The discussion, a part of the Tocqueville Lecture Series, will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the President’s Room of the University Club in the Indiana Memorial Union.

“There has been a renewed interest in studying the virtues that undergird the functioning of our democratic institutions,” Craiutu said. “Without such virtues, they could not function properly. Civility and moderation are two such virtues in high demand and short supply in today’s society.

“Both my own book ‘Faces of Moderation’ and Teresa Bejan’s ‘Mere Civility,’ invite readers to take a fresh look at the twin virtues of civility and moderation and discover how they might help bring some much-needed sanity into our political discourse today,” he added.

The discussion will include responses by Allen Wood, Ruth Norman Halls Professor of Philosophy at IU Bloomington; Jeffrey Isaac, James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at IU Bloomington; and Alexander Smith, assistant professor of sociology at Warwick University in the United Kingdom.

Bejan draws on perspectives from early modern political thought to shed light on current questions in political theory and practices. Her work has appeared in a variety of edited volumes and journals, including the Journal of Politics, Review of Politics, and History of Political Thought. Before joining the faculty at Oxford, she taught at the University of Toronto and Columbia University.

Her book “Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration” looks back to the lack of civility that characterized the Protestant Reformation but draws a positive example from Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, who believed “mere” civility was needed to maintain order in societies with deep and strongly felt differences.

“As practiced by Williams, mere civility was more often an expression of mutual contempt than mutual admiration,” Bejan wrote this month in the Washington Post. “We might recognize it as the virtue governing those unpleasant-but-unavoidable interactions with ex-spouses and bad neighbors, as well as anyone who voted for the other gal (or guy).

“But even mere civility can be quite demanding: In attempting to understand other minds on the model of our own, people make sense of disagreement by concluding that our opponents are stupid, bigoted, evil or even insane. Yet mere civility demands that we keep the disagreement going, no matter how disagreeable, to continue the battle of words without resorting to violence.”

The discussion is free and open to the public. Sponsors include the Tocqueville Program, the Ostrom Workshop, the Center on Representative Government and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

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Ambassador Dennis Ross to speak on Middle East challenges http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/03/20/ambassador-dennis-ross-to-speak-on-middle-east-challenges/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/03/20/ambassador-dennis-ross-to-speak-on-middle-east-challenges/#comments Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:07:23 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2224 With a new administration in Washington raising questions about the future of U.S. Middle East policy, expect an Indiana University Bloomington lecture by Ambassador Dennis Ross to provide insight on what to expect.

Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross

Ross, a key figure in developing, implementing and analyzing U.S. policies in the Middle East for nearly three decades, will speak on “U.S. Foreign Policy: Challenge in the Middle East,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hodge Hall Room 2075. The lecture is free and open to the public. Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will introduce Ross and offer brief remarks.

“We are honored that Ambassador Dennis Ross will be speaking at Indiana University and grateful to all the sponsors who have joined with us in making this evening possible,” said Rabbi Sue Laikin Silberberg, executive director of the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, which is hosting the event.

“Ambassador Ross has a most distinguished career, and the depth of his skill, expertise and experience is indicated by the fact that he has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations,” she said. “It is not only a rare opportunity for students to hear someone of Ambassador Ross’ caliber and stature, but also an honor to be able to welcome to our campus someone with his depth of knowledge, passion and understanding of the Middle East peace process.”

Ross served as a key foreign policy aide for presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He worked closely with secretaries of state James Baker, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright and was Clinton’s Middle East coordinator and director of the State Department’s policy and planning staff in the first Bush administration. His most recent government service included two years as special assistant to President Barack Obama and one year as special adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He is a distinguished fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which provides research and policy expertise aimed at promoting peace and security in the Middle East.

In addition to his years in diplomacy, Ross has published extensively on the former Soviet Union, arms control and the greater Middle East. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.”

The lecture will be streamed online. Sponsoring organizations, in addition to the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, include Hillel International, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Israel Education Center and the Israel on Campus Coalition. Co-sponsors include the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program, the Center for the Study of the Middle East, the School of Global and International Studies and Students Supporting Israel.


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Lecture to explore links between Ostrom research, free-market environmentalism http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/02/20/lecture-to-explore-links-between-ostrom-research-free-market-environmentalism/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/02/20/lecture-to-explore-links-between-ostrom-research-free-market-environmentalism/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:59:10 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2218 Elinor Ostrom showed that groups and individuals working at the local level can manage shared resources without resorting to private ownership or government regulation. Vincent Ostrom explained polycentric governance, multiple centers of decision-making that operate independently and effectively.

Terry Anderson draws on both to explore the potential for free-market environmentalism, which applies markets and property rights to protect the environment from exploitation and neglect.

Terry Anderson

Terry Anderson

Anderson, an economist at the Hoover Institution and a widely published writer on environmental policy, will present the inaugural Ostrom Lecture on Environmental Policy Wednesday at Indiana University Bloomington. The lecture, “Who Owns the Environment? Lessons from the Legacy of Elinor Ostrom,” starts at 4:30 p.m. in Woodburn Hall 120.

The lecture is sponsored by the Ostrom Workshop, which IU Bloomington political scientists Elinor Ostrom and Vincent Ostrom established in 1973. Both Ostroms died in 2012. Video of the lecture will be streamed at the Ostrom Workshop website.

Anderson said he will contrast the dominant paradigm for environmental protection — a “command and control” approach that makes use of laws, regulations and taxes — with the argument that private ownership offers better incentives for protecting resources.

“In between those two is ‘governing the commons,’ as Elinor Ostrom described it,” he said. “That’s what I will talk about, and I will provide examples of how her ideas have manifested themselves in this area, addressing where they can be even more effective and where they may not be effective.”

Anderson is the John and Jean De Nault Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the William A. Dunn Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center. He is the author of numerous books including “Free Market Environmentalism,” co-authored with Donald R. Leal; and “Environmental Markets: A Property Rights Approach,” with Gary Libecap.

He says property rights can create incentives that produce more effective management of natural resources and better protection of the environment. Another premise of free market environmentalism is that markets produce greater wealth, which is needed to protect resources. But Anderson concedes the argument is often met with skepticism.

“Despite the work I’ve done, and despite Elinor Ostrom’s great, great work and example, by and large command-and-control remains the go-to approach for most people,” he said. “It isn’t because community approaches can’t work. It’s that politics dominates.”

In the lecture, Anderson will cite examples of how the Ostroms’ work aligns with successful examples of market-based environmental protection. In one case, explored in his book “The Not So Wild, Wild West,” cattlemen’s associations developed rules and enforcement mechanisms to prevent overgrazing. In another, Bolivian environmentalists worked with local communities to replace logging with beekeeping as a means of economic support.

Citing Elinor Ostrom’s research, Anderson says people closest to the resources tend to make better decisions about how to manage it. He believes states will manage much of the massive federal land holdings in the American West more appropriately than the national government. But he adds that not all resource management decisions can be made locally. If the issue is global — like reducing greenhouse gases — even a state as big and developed as California can’t have a significant impact acting on its own.

“The question is, ‘What is the appropriate jurisdiction?'” Anderson said. “The jurisdiction for managing migratory waterfowl can’t be Bozeman, Mont. – or even Montana. It has to be an international agreement involving Canada, Mexico and the U.S. On the other hand, if you’re talking about managing elk or pheasants or ground squirrels, that can be done at a more local level.”

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For journalists, no substitute for ‘getting out there,’ columnist says http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/02/09/for-journalists-no-substitute-for-getting-out-there-columnist-says/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/02/09/for-journalists-no-substitute-for-getting-out-there-columnist-says/#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:39:30 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2213 The proliferation of online news and information, much of it of dubious quality, is creating challenges for journalists and audiences alike, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen told students and faculty today at an Indiana University Media School symposium.

“There is a tremendous cacophony out there,” Cohen said. “American citizens need to be educated in how to sift, how to distinguish real journalism from some kid in Macedonia writing a story.”

Roger Cohen

Roger Cohen

The media landscape seems topsy-turvy, he said, with the president of the United States attacking the credibility of established news media on a daily basis and “fake news” circling the globe at the speed of data thanks to gullible readers sharing on social media.

“Once it’s out there, debunking it doesn’t have much effect,” he said. “Velocity trumps veracity. Speed trumps truth.”

Cohen, the inaugural Indiana University Poynter Chair, joined Indiana Daily Student editor-in-chief Hannah Alani and Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations managing editor Sarah Neal-Estes for a mid-day discussion titled with a question: “Sinking in a Swamp of News, Lies and Social Media?”

The panelists said advances in digital and online media have given newspapers and broadcast stations new ways of sharing news, engaging with audiences and finding sources and story ideas. Audiences increasingly expect to get their news online, not via newspapers or the evening newscast, they agreed.

At the New York Times, Cohen said, reporters and columnists are expected to interact with readers on Twitter and other social media platforms at the same time they cover their beats, cultivate sources and report and write in-depth stories.

“The thinking is 100 percent about the digital future,” he said. “We are totally driven by being a digital subscription business.”

But Cohen worried that journalists who are constantly online won’t develop the deep knowledge and face-to-face engagement with sources that the craft requires. Great reporting, he said, takes “immersion in place.” There is a tension, he said, between technological connection and journalism’s responsibility to bear witness to important events.

“Maybe I’m old-fashioned,” he said, “but there is no substitute for getting out there. If you want to understand something, go there.”

Cohen will speak tonight at 6:30 at an IU Office of the Provost Hot Topics program on “Fake or Fact? The Search for Real News in 2017.” Other panelists will include Filippo Menczer, co-director of the IU fake news tracking tool Hoaxy, and Caryn Baird, a news researcher with the Tampa Bay Times and PolitiFact.

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Firing of acting attorney general brings ‘vivid memories’ for IU professor http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/02/02/firing-of-acting-attorney-general-brings-vivid-memories-for-iu-professor/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/02/02/firing-of-acting-attorney-general-brings-vivid-memories-for-iu-professor/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 18:45:08 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2210 References to the co-called Saturday Night Massacre of 1973 abounded this week when President Donald Trump fired the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, for refusing to mount a legal defense for the president’s executive orders targeting immigrants and refugees.

For IU Bloomington law and public policy professor A. James Barnes, recollections of that night in 1973 were personal. He was at the Justice Department when the attorney general and deputy attorney general lost their jobs for refusing to fire the special prosecutor investigating President Richard Nixon.

A. James Barnes

A. James Barnes

“The event this week brought back very vivid memories,” said Barnes, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Maurer School of Law. “I had a front-row seat to history being made.”

Barnes was an assistant to William Ruckelshaus, the deputy attorney general. He also served as a special assistant and chief of staff to Ruckelshaus at the Environmental Protection Agency, where Ruckelshaus was the agency’s first administrator.

In the fall of 1973, special prosecutor Archibald Cox was demanding access to recordings of White House conversations as part of his investigation of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up. Nixon refused to hand over the tapes and demanded that Eliot Richardson, the attorney general, fire Cox.

On Oct. 20, Richardson refused and resigned rather than carry out an order to undermine the special prosecutor’s independence. That made Ruckelshaus the acting attorney general, and the order to fire Cox went next to him, via Gen. Al Haig, the president’s chief of staff. Ruckelshaus also refused and resigned in protest.

The three departures — of Richardson, Ruckelshaus and Cox — came to be labeled the Saturday Night Massacre. It caused public outrage, which eventually prompted Congress to launch its own investigation. Facing likely impeachment and removal from office, Nixon stepped down in August 1974.

“The Saturday Night Massacre ultimately was the catalyst that brought the impeachment proceedings along and put pressure on Nixon to resign,” Barnes said.

As unsettling as Watergate was, it wasn’t the only cloud over the nation’s government at the time. Spiro Agnew, the vice president, was being investigated for accepting bribes beginning when he was governor of Maryland. But Richardson arranged for Agnew to resign, averting a situation in which both the president and vice president could have been found unfit to serve.

In the days leading up to the Saturday Night Massacre, Barnes recalled, he had accompanied Ruckelshaus to a speaking engagement in Michigan. Two nights before the showdown, Ruckelshaus spent hours on the phone with Richardson and had a good idea what was about to happen.

“The next morning I put him on a plane to Washington,” Barnes said. “He said, ‘Get your khakis packed. We’re going to be leaving'” the attorney general’s office.

Barnes watched the news unfold while visiting his father in Michigan. When he returned to Washington, he went to the Justice Department offices and was struck to see piled on the floor “bag after bag” of telegrams responding to what had happened.

Trump’s firing of Yates on Monday was different in some ways from the Saturday Night Massacre but included some similarities, Barnes said. Unlike Richardson and Ruckelshaus, Yates was a career prosecutor at the Justice Department. Appointed deputy attorney general by President Barack Obama, she was confirmed in 2015 by the Senate. The Trump administration asked her to lead the department until Sen. Jeff Sessions, the attorney general appointee, could be confirmed.

Some critics said Trump’s executive orders were legal and Yates had an obligation to defend them. Some said she should have resigned if she disagreed. But her supporters said she reached a reasonable conclusion that the orders were not lawful and should not be defended.

“She had to make an assessment of how she took her responsibility,” Barnes said.

He said a key lesson from both the Yates firing and the Saturday Night Massacre — and a theme that Ruckelshaus often discussed — is that government officials need a strong moral compass to resist strong-arming by someone as powerful as the president of the United States.

“When you go into one of these positions,” Barnes said, “you really have to have a sense of where the line is that you’re not going to cross as a public official. You can’t always anticipate the pressure you’re going to be put under to comply.”

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Global trade topic of discussion at IU Europe Gateway http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/25/global-trade-topic-of-discussion-at-iu-europe-gateway/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/25/global-trade-topic-of-discussion-at-iu-europe-gateway/#comments Wed, 25 Jan 2017 20:08:32 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2205 Donald Trump is president of the United States, Great Britain is leaving the European Union, and nationalist parties are gaining support across Europe. Is the era of global free trade coming to an end, to be replaced by closed borders, tariffs and protectionism?

Scholars from Indiana University and Freie Universität Berlin will discuss the prospects Thursday at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin. And you don’t have to fly to Berlin to hear what they have to say; you can watch online via live video stream, starting at 12:30 p.m. Bloomington time (6:30 p.m. in Berlin).

David Fidler

David Fidler

Speakers will be David P. Fidler, the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law at the IU Maurer School of Law and an adjunct senior fellow on cybersecurity at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Steffen Hindelang, associate professor of constitutional and administrative law in the Department of Law at Freie Universität Berlin.

Stefan Maier, a member of the executive board of BDI — Federation of German Industries, will moderate the discussion, titled “The Future of Global Trade: Protectionism vs. Open Markets,” and lead a question-and-answer session.

Organizers of the event note that the past year has seen heated political discussion of the pros and cons of global trade, and it is unclear whether policymakers will continue to implement and develop trade agreements or whether they will move in a different direction. Trump has spoken disparagingly about the European Union, calling it “a vehicle for Germany.” On Monday, he signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the U.S. had helped negotiate but Congress had not ratified. With Britain in the process of leaving the EU, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel remains a leading champion of free trade and European unity.

The discussion is the third in a joint speaker series sponsored by IU and Freie Universität Berlin. In November, scholars discussed making sense of the 2016 U.S. election results.

The IU Europe Gateway opened in November 2015 in the Kreuzberg District of East Berlin. It is the university’s third facility for international faculty, student and alumni, launched after similar offices in New Delhi and Beijing.

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IU historian part of 75-year commemoration of key Holocaust event http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/19/iu-historian-part-of-75-year-commemoration-of-key-holocaust-event/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/19/iu-historian-part-of-75-year-commemoration-of-key-holocaust-event/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:06:32 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2198 Seventy-five years ago this Friday, German government officials met at a lakeside villa in Berlin’s Wannsee district to talk about implementing the “final solution,” Nazi Germany’s plan to kill the 11 million Jews in Europe.

Mark Roseman, director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program at IU Bloomington and Pat M. Glazer Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of history, wrote the definitive book on this event, “The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration,” published in 2003. This week, he is traveling to Germany for meetings marking the anniversary.

Mark Roseman

Mark Roseman

Roseman also authored a chapter in a new book, the German version of which will launch Sunday. The book, “The Participants: The Men of the Wannsee Conference,” looks at the 16 men who took part and the roles they played. An English version will come out this summer.

Historians didn’t learn about the conference until 1947, when a surviving copy of its minutes was discovered by a Nuremberg prosecutor in files seized from German government offices. The conference attained an almost mythic status as the point at which Germany embarked on genocide.

Roseman said the truth is more complicated, but the record of the conference provides important insight into the implementation of German policies.

“Whatever else it is,” he said, “it’s a very striking record of an important moment in the evolution of Nazism and the Holocaust.”

The meeting was organized and chaired by Reinhard Heydrich, a top German security official, and included officials from government ministries responsible for the treatment of Jews inside and outside of Germany. Adolf Eichmann, whose trial in 1961 and execution in 1962 increased attention to the Holocaust in the post-war generation, made arrangements and prepared the minutes.

Using euphemisms, the conference record nevertheless made clear that top German leaders intended to eliminate European Jews, both in lands that Germany controlled and in those that it planned to conquer. The proceedings included discussions of the evolution of that effort and the fate of Jews of mixed ancestry or in mixed marriages.

Some of the resonance of the meeting, Roseman said, results from the “juxtaposition of elegance and barbarity,” the way in which German officials gathered in an opulent setting for a calm discussion of mass murder. Afterward, cognac was served.

War crimes prosecutors saw the conference minutes as a smoking gun: evidence of German officials planning the systematic execution of Jews. But Roseman pointed out that top government officials were not present to make or approve decisions. And the mass murder of Jews was already underway: the Chelmno extermination camp had opened and the Belzec death camp was being built.

A possible rationale for the conference, Roseman said, is that Heydrich — told by Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Göring to develop a grand plan for addressing the Jewish question — orchestrated the conference explicitly to establish and show off his authority.

Today the conference site is a museum, called the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Education Site. It is hosting a full week of activities for the anniversary, including lectures, musical and theatrical performances, and panel discussions. Roseman will discuss his research Sunday in connection with the launch of “The Participants: The Men of the Wannsee Conference.”

His chapter in the new book examines how historians and others have assessed the role of individual German leaders in designing and carrying out the Holocaust. Historians, he said, have downplayed the agency of individuals and focused on Hitler and the “machinery” of the Nazi regime. But journalists and the public have taken a different angle.

“There’s this fascination with the Nazi elites,” he said. “It’s unrivaled, I would say, by any other dictatorship. We know the names: Goebbels, Göring, Himmler. Who knows the names of those who worked for Stalin?”

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Series to examine public education http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/17/series-to-examine-public-education/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/17/series-to-examine-public-education/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:50:46 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2187 Students and faculty in the Program in Social Foundations of Education at IU’s School of Education were planning a spring 2017 symposium that would highlight their field and make the case for its relevance to teacher education.

“And then the election happened,” said Caitlin Howlett, a doctoral student in philosophy of education.

The election of Donald Trump as president and his selection of Michigan school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education added a sense of urgency for those planning the initiative. Almost overnight, their vision expanded to include a semester-long series that will examine education policy and issues related to children, youth and social justice.

'What is Public Education' posterThe series is titled “What Is Public Education and Why Does It Matter?” It kicks off Wednesday with a teach-in and discussion on “Federal Education Under the New Regime.” The series is hosted by the Program in Social Foundations of Education with the School of Education.

Actually there will two teach-ins and discussions Wednesday: one at noon in the School of Education Atrium and the other at 7 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union Oak Room. The idea is to engage IU education students in the daytime event and reach out to the broader community in the evening.

A second set of teach-ins and discussions, this time on state education policy in Indiana, will take place Feb. 16 — at noon in the School of Education Atrium and at 7 p.m. at the Monroe County Public Library. The discussions will examine issues such as education funding, policymaking, legislation and the role of charter schools, private school vouchers and home-schooling.

Samantha Hedges, a doctoral student in education policy studies, has taken the lead in organizing the teach-ins on federal and state education policy.

Bradley Levinson, a professor in the School of Education, will introduce the Jan. 18 discussions, which will also include speakers from the School of Education and the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.

Levinson said the series draws from the Social Foundations of Education approach, which incorporates the historical, philosophical, social and political dimensions of education. It will take an inclusive approach, not limited to the education that happens in schools but including activities that promote learning and critical thinking by adults as well as children.

“We started out wanting to have a discussion within the School of Education about the value of inquiry,” Levinson said. “After the election, we felt we needed to broaden the discussion and get much more involved with the larger campus community and the Bloomington and Monroe County community.”

Other events in the series include:

  • 6 p.m. Jan. 24, School of Education auditorium, a screening and discussion of the film “13th,” director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the connections between America’s history of slavery and mass incarceration.
  • Noon Jan. 26, School of Education Atrium, a critical media literacy discussion of key competencies in public citizenship, led by graduate students in the School of Education’s literacy, culture and language education department.
  • Noon Feb. 10, teach-in and discussion of “Hate Speech vs. Free Speech,” location to be announced.
  • 4:30 p.m. Feb. 28, School of Education room 1210, a workshop on deliberative and participatory democracy.
  • Noon March 8, School of Education Atrium, an exercise in deliberative democracy on “How Can We Use $500 to Improve the School of Education?”
  • 6 p.m. April 4, Monroe County Public Library, a community book discussion of “Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics” by author-activist and University of Chicago political science professor Cathy Cohen.

The series will conclude April 7 with a daylong symposium on public education at the School of Education. More information and updates are available at the “What Is Public Education and Why Does It Matter” Facebook page.

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Ostrom Workshop adds program on internet governance and cybersecurity http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/12/ostrom-workshop-adds-program-on-internet-governance-and-cybersecurity/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2017/01/12/ostrom-workshop-adds-program-on-internet-governance-and-cybersecurity/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2017 21:16:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2183 A new Program on Governance of the Internet and Cybersecurity at Indiana University’s Ostrom Workshop is launching this semester with a range of activities, including a speaker series and an academic conference featuring invited papers and talks.

The program will build a network of scholars at IU and around the world to address timely questions regarding the security of cyber networks and effective governance of the internet, said Scott Shackelford, associate professor in the Kelley School of Business and director of the program.

The interdisciplinary program will organize presentations integrated into the weekly symposia series at the Ostrom Workshop. It will bring together experts from computing, law, business, economics, ethics, public policy, media, education, psychology, political science, international relations and other fields.

Scott Shackelford

Scott Shackelford

The academic conference, the inaugural Ostrom Workshop Colloquium on Cybersecurity and Internet Governance, will take place April 27-29 at the workshop, 513 N. Park Ave.

Shackelford said it makes sense to house such a center at the Ostrom Workshop because of the groundbreaking work conducted by the workshop’s founders, Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, on questions of governance, institutions and public economics.

“The Ostrom Workshop is a great place to do this, because they have a long history of pushing the boundaries on governance research,” he said. “We’re trying to use some of the same theories and concepts that were developed by the Ostroms and their colleagues and apply them to internet governance and cybersecurity.”

The program gets underway as cybersecurity and the internet have gained urgent attention, from concerns about Russian hacking of U.S. campaign emails to the proliferation of fake or unreliable news. Issues of net neutrality and access to online information also create challenges for policymakers.

In addition to the Program on Governance of the Internet and Cybersecurity, the Ostrom Workshop recently added a Program on Governance of Natural Resources and is developing a Program on Political, Economic and Legal Institutions and Organizations.

“A better understanding of the formal and informal rules and institutions at play in cybersecurity and the internet is timely and will have important policy implications,” said Lee Alston, director of the Ostrom Workshop and Ostrom Chair and professor of economics and law at IU Bloomington. “Scott Shackelford is world renowned for his work in this area, and the research program he directs will galvanize more scholars to produce cutting-edge research at IU.”

Political scientists Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU Bloomington in 1973 and, with their colleagues and students, established what came to be called the Bloomington School of scholarship in public economics, resource management and governance of the commons.

Elinor Ostrom received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009 for her research on economic governance, especially of the commons and common-pool resources. She remains the only woman to have received the award. Both Ostroms died in June 2012.

Cybersecurity and the internet may seem far removed from the governance of forests, grazing rights, fisheries and water resources, which Elinor Ostrom studied. But Shackelford noted that her work showed how groups of stakeholders could develop shared rules, norms and procedures that led to effective resource management — a fair description of the informal way the internet has developed.

Vincent Ostrom was known for his influential work on polycentricity, the idea that resource management often involves multiple centers of decision-making in the public and private sectors. His theories and insights have implications for governance of the internet, which includes a mix of government, academic, nonprofit and private organizations and businesses, Shackelford said.

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Ostrom’s legacy remains strong seven years after Nobel http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/12/20/ostroms-legacy-remains-strong-seven-years-after-nobel/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/12/20/ostroms-legacy-remains-strong-seven-years-after-nobel/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:26:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2174 Indiana University’s Elinor Ostrom received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in December 2009, becoming the first — and still the only — woman to receive the award.

Seven years later, there are nearly constant reminders of her influence, including academic studies that build on her theories, symposia that celebrate her work and policy analyses that credit her thinking.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie, right, inspects a display at the Ostrom Symposium in Beijing with Wang Jianxun, professor in the China University of Political Science and Law, who earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University with Vincent and Elinor Ostrom as thesis advisors.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie, right, inspects a display at the Ostrom Symposium in Beijing with Wang Jianxun, professor in the China University of Political Science and Law, who earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University with Vincent and Elinor Ostrom as thesis advisors.

“Professor Ostrom had a profound impact on development studies through her work on public choice, institutionalism and the commons,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said this month in Beijing at the “Ostrom Symposium on the Study of the Commons, Governance and Collective Decision.”  “Her work had — and continues to have — a major influence on scholars from around the world.”

Elinor “Lin” Ostrom and her husband, Vincent Ostrom, established the Ostrom Workshop at IU Bloomington in 1973 and mentored generations of scholars who study institutional governance, natural resource management and other topics. Both Ostroms died in June 2012.

She was a Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and both held the position of Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science. She received the 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, also known as the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, for her work on the economic governance.

The Ostrom Symposium in Beijing, organized by the university’s Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business and held at the IU China Gateway, highlighted the extraordinary influence the Ostroms had and continue to have among a group of Chinese scholars.

“You might say Lin is somewhat of a rock star here,” Ryan Piurek wrote Dec. 7 from China. “Not to make light of it, but the gateway office looked a little today like the outside of Elvis’ Graceland, the walls lined with large photos of Lin and Vincent, dozens upon dozens of translated books and, best of all, several T-shirts with Lin’s face emblazoned on them, one of which was presented to McRobbie after his remarks.”

Photographs and items from the Ostroms' visits to China are displayed at the symposium.

Photographs and items from the Ostroms’ visits to China are displayed at the symposium.

Less than a week after the China conference, IU News published a release about a study co-authored by an IU geography professor that found decentralized governance systems combined with engagement with local resources produced lower rates of deforestation in two Central American countries.

The study by Tom Evans of IU, Krister Andersson of the University of Colorado, Glenn Wright of the University of Alaska Southeast and Clark Gibson of the University of California, San Diego — all of whom worked with Elinor Ostrom — credits her work on the governance of common-pool resources, or CPRs.

“Specifically, we derive our argument from the work of Elinor Ostrom, who proposed eight design principles for sustaining CPRs,” the authors write.

Meanwhile, search Google News and you’ll find that Elinor Ostrom is being cited in publications that include Forbes, Bloomberg News and the Economist as well as European news and feature outlets. The articles include arguments over economic policy and a travelogue on Törbel, the village in the Swiss Alps that inspired Ostrom’s classic book “Governing the Commons.”

For all the fame and influence, people who knew Ostrom remember her as a cheerful, down-to-earth and hard-working scholar who cared deeply for colleagues and students.

“Lin Ostrom was a person who combined brilliance with collegiality, and exuberance with modesty,” McRobbie said in his China remarks. “She epitomized what it means to be a scholar and a true colleague.”

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Education research center helps lead project on undergraduate research http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/12/15/education-research-center-helps-lead-project-on-undergraduate-research/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/12/15/education-research-center-helps-lead-project-on-undergraduate-research/#comments Thu, 15 Dec 2016 19:40:03 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2167 The Center for Postsecondary Research in the Indiana University School of Education will help lead a five-year study aimed at strengthening undergraduate research and creating cohesive, research-based curricula for college-level biology, chemistry, physics and psychology.

The project is funded with a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to the Council on Undergraduate Research, a Washington, D.C.-based organization.

Jillian Kinzie

Jillian Kinzie

The IU center will work with 12 colleges and universities and 24 academic departments on the project. The institutions and departments are being identified.

“We know that undergraduate research matters, but we don’t fully understand what goes on in undergraduate research initiatives,” said Jillian Kinzie, associate director of the Center for Postsecondary Research and a co-principal investigator for the grant. “This project will allow us to look at them in more depth.”

The project, “Integrating and Scaffolding Research into Undergraduate STEM Curricula: Probing Faculty, Student, Disciplinary and Institutional Pathways to Transformational Change,” aims to produce a better understanding of how students benefit from undergraduate research and to make research opportunities more widely available to students.

The Center on Postsecondary Research at IU Bloomington is known for producing the National Survey of Student Engagement and several related studies that examine college students’ participation in high-impact practices known to promote learning. Working with a faculty member on research is one high-impact practice.

“We know that students, faculty and employers all like it,” Kinzie said, referring to undergraduate research. “Students who experience it benefit greatly.”

But while the advantages of doing research are known, opportunities are limited because of the way college curricula are designed and the roles that faculty are expected to play, she said. Typically, only a small number of highly motivated undergraduates get to do research.

The project will include surveys, interviews and observations of students and faculty to learn how student characteristics and academic cultures influence participation in undergraduate research. It will explore the potential for scaffolding, or building supports into the curricula that make room for ongoing research experiences.

“By interposing and scaffolding these experiences, the real hope is that we can make these experiences more widely available to students,” Kinzie said.

Elizabeth Ambos, executive officer of the Council on Undergraduate Research, is the principal investigator for the grant. Co-principal investigators include Kinzie; Mitchell R. Malachowski, professor of chemistry at the University of San Diego; Kerry K. Karukstis, professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College; and Jeffrey M. Osborn, dean of the School of Science and professor of biology at the College of New Jersey.

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Symposium at IU Bloomington to mark 25th anniversary of Nunn-Lugar program http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/12/07/symposium-at-iu-bloomington-to-mark-25th-anniversary-of-nunn-lugar-program/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/12/07/symposium-at-iu-bloomington-to-mark-25th-anniversary-of-nunn-lugar-program/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:32:43 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2159

“Historians should look back at what might have happened — but didn’t — thanks to Nunn-Lugar. The disintegration and discrediting of the power and ideology that commanded half the world for half a century passed peacefully, like evening into night, despite the fact that the Soviet empire’s writ ran over enough destructive power to end civilization as we know it. This is a major historic achievement for humankind, and historians not only decades but centuries from now will note the disaster that might have been — but which was averted through Nunn-Lugar.”

— Current Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, writing in 2005

Most Americans celebrated the breakup of the Soviet Union in late 1991, but Sens. Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn understood the rapid changes were producing danger as well as opportunity.

Thousands of nuclear weapons were spread across Russia as well as the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. With the collapse of central authority, how would they be controlled?

Former Sen. Richard Lugar, center, stands with former Sen. Sam Nunn, left, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter after a May 2016 Pentagon ceremony commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. (Defense Department photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz).

Former Sen. Richard Lugar, center, stands with former Sen. Sam Nunn, left, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter after a May 2016 Pentagon ceremony commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. (Defense Department photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz).

The answer came with the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, an innovative program in which, for over 20 years, the United States provided funding and expertise to dismantle nuclear weapons and secure dangerous materials in the former Soviet Union.

“It’s been estimated that the program was responsible for getting rid of at least 7,600 nuclear warheads,” Lugar said this week. “And, of course, they were powerful enough that any one or two of them could wipe a city the size of Indianapolis off the map.”

On Friday, Indiana University will mark the 25th anniversary of the program with a symposium at the Global and International Studies Building at IU Bloomington. Sponsored by the School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, it will include a public panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. featuring Lugar, Sen. Joe Donnelly and Sen.-elect Todd Young.

“I’m so pleased that these two friends are going to be with me,” said Lugar, a Distinguished Scholar at the School of Global and International Studies. “They have great opportunities to offer leadership in the Senate.”

Lugar, who represented Indiana in the Senate from 1977 to 2013, traced the origins of the program to the mid-1980s, when President Ronald Reagan involved a bipartisan group of senators in discussions of possible arms control agreements with the Soviets.

Lugar, an Indiana Republican, and Sen. Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat, had a common interest in mitigating the risk of nuclear wars or accidents, and they became acquainted with Soviet officials who shared their concern. When the Soviet Union was breaking apart, those officials visited Washington and took part in a meeting in Nunn’s office.

“They said, ‘You folks don’t know what trouble you’re in,'” Lugar recalled.

The Soviet economy was in a shambles, and military personnel weren’t getting paid. Guards who were supposed to be securing weapons arsenals and missile sites were deserting their posts. In some cases they were said to be stealing fissile materials to sell on the black market to support their families.

Aided by Ash Carter, then a faculty member at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and now the U.S. secretary of defense, Lugar and Nunn put together and won support for legislation to create the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Approved first by the Senate and then by the House, the program provided about $500 million a year to destroy weapons, secure nuclear and other dangerous materials, and put weapons scientists to work in productive fields.

Lugar recalled that some U.S. leaders were skeptical of the program and reluctant to provide that much assistance to longtime American enemies. But in 1992, Lugar, Nunn and other officials traveled to the former Soviet states and observed the weapons facilities first-hand.

“We all literally got religion together,” Lugar said. “We saw how difficult the situation was in those countries with regard to the maintenance and safety of the facilities.”

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Distinguished Scholar at the School of Global and International Studies and professor of practice in the School of Public and International Affairs, was — like Lugar — a widely respected foreign policy leader when he represented Indiana in Congress from 1965 to 1999.

He recalled that U.S. leaders were optimistic the cooperation produced by the Nunn-Lugar program could lead to friendlier long-term relations with Russia.

“We had high hopes, after the collapse of the Soviet Union,” he said. “We thought there was a chance Russia would become more democratic and a cooperative power in the international arena.”

Those hopes were dashed after Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000 and began aggressive policies aimed at restoring Russian power and prestige. By 2013, Russian leaders had made clear they saw no point in continued assistance via the Nunn-Lugar program.

“The relationship today has deteriorated,” Hamilton said. “We were going to reset the relationship when Obama came into office, but that has not really been achieved.”

Hamilton and Lugar pointed to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, also signed by the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China, as an example of U.S.-Russian cooperation. But such examples have become unfortunately rare in recent years, they said.

“There has not been, in the last few years, a desire to sit down and see if we can reduce the number of weapons,” Lugar said. “I hope that time will come.”

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IU experts helping Europe make sense of U.S. elections http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/11/16/iu-experts-helping-europe-make-sense-of-u-s-elections/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/11/16/iu-experts-helping-europe-make-sense-of-u-s-elections/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:34:25 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2152 Indiana University Bloomington political scientist Jean Robinson will discuss the 2016 election results Thursday as part of a panel discussion at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin.

Robinson, professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, will join Christian Lammert of the Freie Universität Berlin for a discussion of “The United States After the Elections: What’s Next for the U.S. and the World.” Sudha David-Wilp of the German Marshall Fund will moderate.

Berlin's Kreuzberg District , where the IU Europe Gateway is located

Berlin’s Kreuzberg District , where the IU Europe Gateway is located

The program, part of a speaker series on International Governance in a Multipolar Age sponsored by the IU Europe Gateway and Freie Universität Berlin, starts 12:30 p.m. Thursday Eastern Standard Time (6:30 p.m. Central European Time). The discussion of the election and its potential impact on international politics and policy will be live streamed.

Robinson recently completed a term as executive associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on gender and inequality, including inequality in education, same-sex marriage policies cross-nationally and other topics. Her recent publications include the book chapter “In Search of Equality in School Finance Reform” and the article “Democracy, Discursive Frames and Same-Sex Unions.”

In another post-election discussion focused on Europe, IU political scientists Regina Smyth and William Bianco discussed the results via remote TV connection with staff at the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 9. Smyth is project director of the new Russian Studies Workshop at IU Bloomington.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie inaugurated the IU Europe Gateway in November 2015. Located in the Kreuzberg District of East Berlin, it is housed in the Global Institute of the Council on International Educational Exchange. Hannah Buxbaum, professor and John E. Schiller Chair in Legal Ethics in the IU Maurer School of Law, is the academic director. Andrea Adam Moore is its director.

The IU Europe Gateway is the university’s third facility for international faculty, student and alumni activities, following the launch of similar offices in New Delhi and Beijing.


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IU’s Franklin Hall will be ‘election central’ Tuesday night http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/11/04/ius-franklin-hall-will-be-election-central-tuesday-night/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/11/04/ius-franklin-hall-will-be-election-central-tuesday-night/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:20:26 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2147 Planning to stay home and cower under the bed on election night? Here’s a better idea: Join IU Bloomington students, faculty and staff to watch election returns at Franklin Hall.

The Franklin Hall commons will be “election central” on the evening of Nov. 8, with its 24-by-12-foot TV screen tuned to election coverage starting at 4 p.m. Three panels of faculty and graduate student experts will provide commentary and analysis.

The Franklin Hall video screen will show election returns Tuesday night.

The Franklin Hall video screen will show election returns Tuesday night.

The Media School and the Department of Political Science are hosting the event, which grew out of efforts by students to be engaged in the 2016 elections. Those efforts have proceeded under the umbrella of the All In Campus Democracy Challenge, which seeks to promote civic engagement and boost student voting.

Bernard Fraga, an assistant professor of political science and a member of the campus’s All In Campus Democracy Challenge task force, said undergraduates had been working with IU political scientist Marjorie Hershey to organize an election night watch party.

“The Media School was interested in doing a similar event with a more academic focus,” he said. “We kind of combined forces, and The Media School really took charge.”

Panel discussions will include:

  • 5 p.m., a discussion of media coverage of the election with associate professor Julia Fox, assistant professor Jason Peifer and graduate student Edo Steinberg, all of The Media School, and Hershey from the political science department. Fraga will moderate.
  • 6:15 p.m., international perspectives on the election with assistant professor Julien Mailland and doctoral students Diana Sokolova of The Media School and Argentina-based political analyst Sergio Berensztein. Elaine Monaghan, professor of practice in The Media School, will moderate.
  • 7:20 p.m., ethics and norms of political journalism with Monaghan, Media School assistant professor Nick Browning and associate professor Mike Conway and undergraduate Sara Zaheer. Doctoral student Kyle Heatherly will moderate.

Election results should start appearing around 8 p.m., if previous presidential elections are a guide, Fraga said. Indiana’s polls are the first in the nation to close at 6 p.m. EST.

The Franklin Hall panel discussions will be live streamed on the Media School’s Facebook page, and public TV station WTIU will broadcast from the site. The Media School will live-tweet the events at @IUMediaSchool using the hashtag #MediaSchoolElectionNight.

IU Bloomington launched its participation in the nationwide All In Campus Democracy Challenge in August. Student groups including the Political and Civic Engagement Program, the IU Student Association and the Political Science Club have been leading the effort, which included voter registration drives and weekly walk-to-vote celebrations.

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Immigrant rights activist: People ‘have a voice, and it’s powerful’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/21/immigrant-rights-activist-people-have-a-voice-and-its-powerful/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/21/immigrant-rights-activist-people-have-a-voice-and-its-powerful/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:23:02 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2143 Politicians and organizations may claim credit, but real social change results from the determined work of ordinary people, immigrant rights activist Gaby Pacheco told a student audience at Indiana University Bloomington today.

“We need to put the communities who are being affected by the issues at the forefront,” she said. “They have a voice, and it’s powerful.”

Gaby Pacheco

Gaby Pacheco

Pacheco was a keynote speaker for “Moving the World Forward: Exploring a Future in Public Service,” a conference for diverse, high-achieving college students from around the U.S. The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs hosted the conference, which was created by the Public Policy and International Affairs program in partnership with the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.

An undocumented immigrant who speaks openly about her status and experiences, Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco has been a leading advocate for immigrants who arrived as children. Her work was instrumental in the 2012 adoption of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides opportunities for immigrants who arrived as children to stay in the U.S.

Her advocacy included working with politicians from both sides of the aisle, speaking up to powerful senators and refusing to be co-opted by the agendas of office-holders and organized groups. It took courage “but also just acting with my gut” to effect change, she said.

Pacheco came to the U.S. with her parents from Ecuador at age 8. She described her family as privileged: They arrived by air rather than slipping across borders. But like most immigrants, she said, her parents were motivated by the prospect of a better life for their children.

Her sensitivity to injustice was aroused when her older sister was denied enrollment in a local community college because she didn’t have the right documentation. Pacheco threw herself into high school academics, clubs and sports. She refused to accept the advice of a high school counselor who told her to “put that idea of college out of your head.”

A key event in her activism was organizing and participating in the Trail of Dreams, a four-month walk from Miami to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of and support for the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal status to childhood arrivals like herself.

In her talk, she said she and her friends were terrified as they walked through rural communities where anti-immigrant sentiment was strong. But along the way they “found some really incredible human beings,” she said. An elderly African-American woman gave them money she couldn’t afford to part with. A man who had been harassing them later apologized and offered his support.

“At the end of the day,” she said, “we’re all human beings, and we need to connect at that level.”

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Historian to speak on Republican Party ‘crackup,’ rejection of moderation http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/19/historian-to-speak-on-republican-party-crackup-rejection-of-moderation/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/19/historian-to-speak-on-republican-party-crackup-rejection-of-moderation/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:47:21 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2139 Historian Geoffrey Kabaservice examined the Republican Party for his 2012 book “Rule and Ruin” and concluded it was headed for disaster.

“What I saw was a party that had lost a lot of its moderate heritage,” he said. “It was moving away from seeing value in bipartisanship and compromise. And everything I more or less predicted has happened.”

Geoffrey Kabaservice

Geoffrey Kabaservice

The eventual result, he said, was this year’s “hostile takeover” of the party by presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters.

Kabaservice will be at Indiana University Bloomington this Friday to present a talk and take part in a panel discussion as part of the university’s Tocqueville Lecture Series.

From noon to 1:30 p.m., he will speak on “Trump and the Republican Party Crackup — A Moderate Historical Perspective.” From 4 to 5:30 p.m., he will take part in a discussion of “Is There a Role for Moderation in America’s Polarized Politics?” with IU faculty members Lee H. Hamilton and Leslie Lenkowsky. IU political scientist Edward Carmines will moderate.

The lecture and panel discussion will take place at the Ostrom Workshop, 513 N. Park Ave. Both are free and open to the public and will be streamed online. They were organized by the Tocqueville Program, which was founded at IU Bloomington in 2009.

In the New York Times Notable Book “Rule and Ruin: the Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party,” Kabaservice traces how the Party of Lincoln transformed into what would become the Party of Trump.

Into the 1960s, he said, the Republican Party was a coalition of distinctive groups, including stalwarts who were loyal to the party, conservatives, moderates and progressives.

“It’s kind of shocking to think the GOP used to have a progressive wing, but it did,” he said. Republican moderates and progressives proved crucial to passing civil rights legislation in the 1960s, when conservative Southern Democrats tried to block reforms.

But that changed, starting with the Republican Party’s embrace of the conservative icon Barry Goldwater as its presidential nominee in 1964 and continuing with Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Ronald Reagan’s two terms as president and the anti-government activism of the tea party.

“The conservative wing grew to the point that it swallowed the rest of the party and threw everyone else out,” Kabaservice said. “It became an ideological party.”

And ideological parties are not in the American tradition, he said, because coalitions of different groups are needed for political stability. He noted that, while Republicans enjoy huge majorities in Congress, they have won a majority of votes for president only once since 1988. George W. Bush recently fretted that he could be the last Republican president.

Kabaservice said a collapse of the party would not only be bad for Republicans; it would be bad for American democracy.

“I would argue it’s in the interest of the United States to have two fully functioning parties that seek to govern and that can live with each other,” he said.

Like IU political scientist Aurelian Craiutu, director of the university’s Tocqueville Program and Lecture Series, Kabaservice is a historian of political moderation. He says the U.S. loses an essential perspective as its politics grow ever more polarized.

“Moderation is like the air we breathe,” he said. “We don’t appreciate it until it’s gone. And yet it’s moderation that allows our civilization to go on.”

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Immigrant rights activist, scholar of segregation to speak at IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/17/immigrant-rights-activist-scholar-of-segregation-to-speak-at-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/17/immigrant-rights-activist-scholar-of-segregation-to-speak-at-iu-bloomington/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:39:11 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2128 A nationally recognized immigrant rights leader and a scholar who specializes in studying racial segregation in education and housing will present public keynote lectures this week at a national public service conference for college students taking place at Indiana University Bloomington.

Gaby Pacheco

Gaby Pacheco

The Oct. 20-23 conference, “Moving the World Forward: Exploring a Future in Public Service,” will bring a diverse group of 80 high-achieving students to campus for four days of meetings, conversations and presentations.

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington is hosting the conference, which was created by the Public Policy and International Affairs program in partnership with the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.

Immigrant rights activist Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco will speak at 10 a.m. Friday at Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union on “Outmaneuvering the Giant: How One Undocumented Woman Revolutionized Immigration Reform.”

Richard Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute, will speak at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Whittenberger Auditorium on “The Roots of Our Racial Crises: How Our Government Segregated the Nation.” Both keynote lectures are free and open to the public.

Pacheco arrived in the U.S. in 1993 at the age of 8 from Guayaquil, Ecuador. The family arrived with tourist visas and was unable to secure legal resident status. She gained national recognition in 2004 for her advocacy of the DREAM Act and immigration reform.

Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein

She co-started a Florida-based group advocating for in-state tuition for undocumented students in 2005 and later worked for passage of the DREAM Act. As political director for the organization United We Dream, she spearheaded efforts that led to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which exempted immigrants who arrived as children from deportation.

In 2013, she became the first undocumented Latina to testify before Congress.

Rothstein is a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Haas Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. His recent work documents the history of state-sponsored residential segregation, as in his Economic Policy Institute report “The Making of Ferguson.”

He is the author of “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right” and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap.” His most recent book, “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” documents how federal, state and local governments imposed residential segregation through racial zoning, public housing that excluded mixed communities and subsidies for whites-only suburbs.

Conference participants will also explore IU and Bloomington, visit the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center and take part in break-out sessions on health, education, crime and local government policy, international affairs, nonprofit organizations and other topics.

The conference receives support from the IU Bloomington Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the lectures are co-sponsored by the provost’s office and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

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Panel discussion will kick off new ethics conversations from IU Ethics Bowl http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/10/panel-discussion-will-kick-off-new-ethics-conversations-from-iu-ethics-bowl/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/10/10/panel-discussion-will-kick-off-new-ethics-conversations-from-iu-ethics-bowl/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:14:41 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2123 Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino

An Oct. 17 panel discussion about values that should guide working life will kick off a new series of ethics conversations organized by the IU Ethics Bowl program.

This first installment will begin a fresh dialogue about ethics geared toward undergraduate students. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dogwood Room of the Indiana Memorial Union.

IU Ethics Bowl team member Nikhil Nandu, center, directs a discussion at his table at a recent Ethics Night at the Hutton Honors College.

IU Ethics Bowl team member Nikhil Nandu, center, directs a discussion at his table at a recent Ethics Night at the Hutton Honors College.

The panel will feature IU faculty members Eliza Pavalko, the Allen D. and Polly S. Grimshaw Professor of Sociology and IU Bloomington vice provost for faculty and academic affairs; Jamie Prenkert, professor in the Department of Business Law and Ethics of the Kelley School of Business; and Joe Varga, assistant professor in the Department of Labor Studies in the School of Social Work.

This IU Ethics Bowl series is a new way to focus on students’ interests and experiences.

“The idea for the discussions grew out of a sense that college students are navigating a lot of challenges and a lot of high expectations, and that there’s a real need for a space where students can come together to think through some of the ethical dimensions of their own everyday experiences,” Ethics Bowl program coordinator Joe Bartzel said.

Bartzel has been working with Ph.D. candidate Sarah Adams to organize the upcoming discussions. In November, the conversation will focus on competing demands regarding a well-rounded education.

IU Ethics Bowl is a part of the Political and Civic Engagement program. It also has a longstanding relationship with the Hutton Honors College and is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Business Law and Ethics in the Kelley School of Business.

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‘Voting and Power’ panel sets stage for election-related events http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/29/voting-and-power-panel-sets-stage-for-election-related-events/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/29/voting-and-power-panel-sets-stage-for-election-related-events/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:14:16 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2118 IU Bloomington students will have plenty of opportunities to inform themselves about and engage with the 2016 elections thanks to a series of lectures, panel discussions and other events planned on campus.

logo-allin2xThe first Hot Topics event of the 2016-17 academic year, sponsored by IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel, will set the stage. The panel discussion on “Voting and Power” will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Moot Court Room of the Maurer School of Law.

Panelists will be Bernard Fraga, assistant professor of political science; Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, professor of law; and Marjorie Hershey, professor of political science. Law professor Steve Sanders will moderate and lead a question-and-answer session. After the panel discussion, audience members will have a chance to continue the conversation in several breakout sessions.

Other upcoming election events include:

  • On Oct. 6, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, the inaugural Indiana University Poynter Chair, will speak on “False Equivalence: Is Media Balance a Trap in an Atypical Election?” His talk will be at 7 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of the Maurer School of Law.
  • Also on Oct. 6, the School of Global and International Studies will present a discussion by IU faculty experts on cybersecurity, human rights and related topics. Panelists will be Vice President for Research Fred Cate; Emma Gilligan and Clemence Pinaud in international studies; and Adam Liff in East Asian languages and cultures. WFIU radio will broadcast the discussion, which takes place from 7-8 p.m. in the Global and International Studies Building.
  • On Nov. 1, IU Bloomington political scientists will discuss issues in the presidential election. Ted Carmines and Gerald Wright will offer perspectives on the issues, and Bill Bianco will moderate. The event will be at 7:30 p.m. in Woodburn Hall Room 120.

The School of Global and International Studies sponsored a panel discussion this week featuring IU experts on refugees, global health and international law and economic relations. Audio and video of that discussion are available online.

Students at IU Bloomington are also generating interest in the Nov. 8 election through participation in the All In Campus Democracy Challenge, a nationwide competition aimed at boosting student voting rates. Student groups have been organizing voter registration drives, and the Political and Civic Engagement program and its Student Leadership Council are planning weekly walk-to-vote events on Wednesdays, kicking off with a party at noon Oct. 12 in Dunn Meadow.

On Election Night, there will be a panel discussion and a returns-watching party in the Franklin Hall Commons. And a week later, on Nov. 15, Hershey, SPEA faculty member Paul Helmke, State Rep. Matt Pierce and others will offer post-election analysis at 7:30 p.m. in Woodburn Hall Room 120.

All events are free and open to the public.

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IU-based efforts during Liberia’s Ebola outbreak recognized http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/22/iu-based-efforts-during-liberias-ebola-outbreak-recognized/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/22/iu-based-efforts-during-liberias-ebola-outbreak-recognized/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:58:02 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2110 Friends of Liberia, an organization with deep connections to Indiana University, will be recognized Friday at the Peace Corps Connect Conference in Washington, D.C., for work that included activities carried out by the Liberian Collections Project at IU Bloomington.

Liberian President and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will be the featured speaker at the conference.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Friends of Liberia will receive the National Peace Corps Association’s 2016 Loret Miller Ruppe Award for Outstanding Community Service in recognition of its support of Liberia during the 2014-15 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. Friends of Guinea and Friends of Sierra Leone will also receive the award.

Key to the organization’s work was the compilation and distribution by the Liberian Collections Project of Ebola e-Dispatches, a weekly news digest focused on Ebola. The newsletter was sent to 3,000 subscribers, including Liberian diaspora organizations, public health authorities and diplomatic personnel, and was a widely shared source of Ebola news.

Madea Neyor, an IU student whose family is from Liberia, was in charge of compiling and distributing the newsletter as a Liberian Collections Project intern. Verlon Stone, who directs the Liberian Collections Project, chaired a Friends of Liberia task force that raised money and awarded small grants, primarily to rural organizations in Liberia that developed education and outreach projects to counter Ebola.

The newsletter was distributed until May 2015, the month the World Health Organization declared Liberia to be Ebola-free.

The Ebola outbreak killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa, including nearly 5,000 in Liberia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Subsequent small outbreaks were held in check by improved countermeasures, including public awareness and contact tracing.

Friends of Liberia is a nonprofit organization that seeks to positively affect Liberia and Liberians through education and humanitarian efforts and through advocacy. Indiana University has longstanding ties to Liberia through research and other programs. Sirleaf, the Liberian president, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from IU in 2008.

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Legal scholar: ‘Hydraulic system’ constrains elections, politics http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/19/legal-scholar-hydraulic-system-constrains-elections-politics/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/19/legal-scholar-hydraulic-system-constrains-elections-politics/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 19:32:54 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2102 We like to think elections are clear-cut affairs in which the people choose their representatives, but the reality is much more complex, legal scholar Pamela Karlan told an IU Maurer School of Law audience in a Constitution Day lecture today.

But in fact, elections are hydraulic systems, she said. Results are “constrained and channeled” like fluid in a closed environment. Previous elections and political events limit the options that voters have today and limit their ability to influence government.

Pamela Karlan

Pamela Karlan (Photo by James Boyd)

“Law produces elections every bit as much as elections produce laws,” said Karlan, a professor at the Stanford Law School and a former deputy assistant U.S. attorney for civil rights.

And this year’s elections reflect forces that were not widely understood, she said in her talk, “The Hydraulic Election of 2016: Vote Denial, Political Parties, the Rise of Donald Trump, and the Courts.”

Some constraints are shaped by the Constitution, Karlan said. The requirement that presidents and members of Congress are elected on set dates and serve fixed terms has led to “insanely long and expensive” campaigns. The Electoral College brings inordinate attention to swing states.

But other pressures rise and ebb with the make-up of the Supreme Court and its shifting interpretation of constitutional restrictions on voting. What she called the “new vote denial” — including voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting and elimination of same-day voter registration — is a case in point.

Until recently, the court required states to show strong evidence that voting restrictions were necessary, Karlan said. But in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, a 2008 Indiana case, it ruled the government’s interest in stopping fraud was grounds for requiring voter IDs, even if fraud was rare.

In 2000, Karlan said, only 14 states required voters to present identification. But after the 2000 presidential election, decided by a razor-thin margin, some state legislators adopted voting ID laws.

The trend accelerated after the Crawford decision and with growing control of state legislatures by Republicans, whose party often benefits from lower voter turnout. Today 33 states have voter ID laws, and some put strict limits on the IDs that can be used to vote.

Karlan tied the rise of Donald Trump and his upset victory in the Republican presidential primary to hydraulic forces largely outside government and law. One is the rise of new media, including social media and targeted cable TV networks. Insiders thought the GOP candidate who raised the most money, Jeb Bush, would win. But Trump’s celebrity gave him access to free media attention.

Another factor is the weakening of political parties. Party leaders, constrained by a confusing set of state and national rules, lost control of primary elections.

“The path-dependent nature of the nominating process has run amok,” Karlan said.

She said the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia presents another illustration of constraints on elections and governance. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ruled out considering any nominee for the court until a new president is elected, arguing that the American people should have a voice in the nomination.

But the Constitution’s framers didn’t think the American people should have any direct say in choosing justices, Karlan said. They decided justices would be nominated by the president with advice and consent of the Senate, when neither the president nor senators were chosen by direct election.

Karlan said the Senate’s refusal to fill the vacancy on the court is likely to “emerge downstream in unpredictable ways.” That’s what happens in a hydraulic system.

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Stanford legal scholar is featured Constitution Day speaker at IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/15/stanford-legal-scholar-is-featured-constitution-day-speaker-at-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/15/stanford-legal-scholar-is-featured-constitution-day-speaker-at-iu-bloomington/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 21:12:59 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2099 Pamela Karlan, a law professor at Stanford University and part of the legal team that overturned the federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriage in Windsor v. United States, will present a Constitution Day lecture Sept. 19 at the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington.

Karlan, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at the Stanford Law School, will speak on “The Hydraulic Election of 2016: Vote Denial, Political Parties, the Rise of Donald Trump, and the Courts” at noon Monday in the Baier Hall Moot Court Room.

Pamela Karlan

Pamela Karlan

The lecture will challenge the “romantic” vision of American democracy, which views elections as a process by which citizens pick leaders and determine future public policy. In reality, Karlan says, elections are constrained to certain paths by past politics and constitutional structures.

She will apply the “hydraulic” view to three features of the 2016 elections; new restrictions on voting, the rise of Donald Trump and the decline of organized political parties, and the continued vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Karlan is co-director of Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. She has been a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a deputy assistant U.S. attorney in the Justice Department Civil Rights Division.

“Pam Karlan is one of our generation’s leading civil rights advocates and scholars on the great issues of our day: voting rights, our democratic processes, racial equality, LGBTQ equality and women’s reproductive rights,” said Dawn Johnson, the Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law in the Maurer School. “She has been a personal inspiration to me since we attended law school together.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. Other Constitution Day events at IU Bloomington include:

  • “Voting Rights and Wrongs: Minority Voting Rights and (Dis)Enfranchisement,” a discussion from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in Room 125 of the Maurer School of Law. Panelists will be state Sen. Greg Taylor and Maurer School of Law professors David Williams and Luis Fuentes-Rohwer. School of Public and Environmental Affairs faculty member Beth Cate will moderate.
  • “Designing Constitutions to Work and Last,” a discussion from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, in SPEA Room 169. Panelists will be state Rep. Ed Delaney; David F. Hamilton, judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Susan Williams, law professor and director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy in the Maurer School of Law.

Constitution Day is an annual observance that commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia. Under a 2004 law, schools, colleges and universities that receive federal funds are expected to provide programming related to the Constitution on or around Sept. 17.

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Scholars to discuss race and education at IU Bloomington symposium http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/13/scholars-to-discuss-race-and-education-at-iu-bloomington-symposium/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/13/scholars-to-discuss-race-and-education-at-iu-bloomington-symposium/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 13:29:21 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2094 Four leading scholars of race and education will be at Indiana University Bloomington on Friday, Sept. 16, for a daylong symposium organized to engage graduate students, undergraduates and others in discussion of issues ranging from inequality in K-12 schools to affirmative action in college admissions.

posterThe symposium, in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, is sponsored by the Department of Sociology, the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, the Asian American Studies Program and the Latino Studies Program, with support from the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is an outstanding combination of national and internationally known scholars who take innovative but different approaches to the study of race and education,” said Brian Powell, James H. Rudy Professor and chair of the sociology department. “These differences should result in a lively, thought-provoking symposium that is especially timely given the many challenges facing education.”

Presentations will include:

  • 10 a.m.: Douglas Downey, professor of education at the Ohio State University, “Fifty Years Since the Coleman Report: Rethinking the Relationship Between Schools and Inequality.” Downey is highly regarded for his expertise on educational inequality, including the influence of non-school factors. He earned his Ph.D. from IU Bloomington.
  • 11 a.m.: Karolyn Tyson, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, “Is Special Education Racist?” Tyson’s research examines how school processes and student attitudes affect racial inequality. She is the author of “Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students and Acting White After Brown.”
  • 2 p.m.: Ruth López Turley, professor of sociology at Rice University and director of the Houston Education Research Consortium, “Connecting Research and Policy to Reduce Racial Inequality in Education.” Turley’s work uses social science research to help educators and policymakers close achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
  • 3 p.m.: Natasha Warikoo, associate professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “The Diversity Bargain and Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions and Meritocracy at Elite Universities.” Warikoo’s work examines cultural processes surrounding diversity in schools, especially colleges. She is the author of “Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City.”

A panel discussion will follow the research presentations at 4 p.m. The symposium is free and open to the public.


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Election series to feature party officials, IU politics experts http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/09/election-series-to-feature-party-officials-iu-politics-experts/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/09/election-series-to-feature-party-officials-iu-politics-experts/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2016 18:26:22 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2088 A series of election-related programs aimed at helping IU Bloomington students and others learn about the November 2016 election gets underway next week with a discussion featuring Indiana Democratic and Republican party representatives.

John Zody

John Zody

John Zody, chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, and Tim Berry, former chair of the Indiana Republican Party, will share a stage from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Activities Room of Briscoe Residence Center. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Zody, who lives in Bloomington, got involved with politics as an IU student. He was elected Indiana Democratic chair in March 2013. Before that, he served as Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic political director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Berry, a Fort Wayne native who lives in Indianapolis, stepped down as Republican chairman in March 2015. He served two terms as Indiana’s elected state treasurer and was in his second term as state auditor when Gov. Mike Pence selected him to become state party chairman in July 2013.

Tim Berry

Tim Berry

The nonpartisan IU election series is sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Political and Civic Engagement program, known as PACE, and the Civic Leaders Center. It is part of IU Bloomington’s participation in the All In Campus Democracy Challenge, a nationwide initiative aimed at increasing civic engagement and voting by college students.

Marjorie Hershey, professor of political science and coordinator of the series, said several groups were planning election-related programming and decided to join forces for a single series. Scheduled events include:

  • 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 19, location to be determined – A discussion on the 2016 elections featuring IU politics experts. Panelists will include Hershey; Paul Helmke, professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, director of the Civic Leaders Center and former mayor of Fort Wayne; Leslie Lenkowsky, professor emeritus in SPEA; and Jill Long Thompson, visiting clinical associate in the Kelley School of Business and former U.S. congresswoman.
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 4, Maurer School of Law Moot Court Room – “Voting and Power,” a Hot Topics discussion sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. Panelists will be Hershey; Bernard Fraga, assistant professor of political science; and Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, professor of law and the Harry T. Ice Fellow in the Maurer School of Law. Steve Sanders, associate professor of law, will moderate.
  • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, location to be determined – “Issues in the Presidential Election” discussion with IU Bloomington political scientists and other experts.

Also planned are a Nov. 8 election-night returns-watching party with refreshments, sponsored by the political science department and its undergraduate advisory board, the Political Science Club, PACE, the Civic Leaders Center and The Media School, and an election follow-up panel discussion Nov. 15.

The All In Campus Democracy Challenge also includes nonpartisan efforts to help students register and vote, with a goal of boosting student voter turnout to at least 50 percent. Along with panel discussions and forums, events will include an Oct. 12 kickoff party for IU Bloomington’s participation in the Walk2Vote program and organized walks to the polls for early voting Oct. 12, 19 and 26 and Nov. 2.

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IU Bloomington faculty, students recognized by American Sociological Association http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/01/iu-bloomington-faculty-students-recognized-by-american-sociological-association/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/09/01/iu-bloomington-faculty-students-recognized-by-american-sociological-association/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2016 17:34:14 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2079 Indiana University Bloomington sociologist Brian Powell received a Distinguished Career Award and other faculty members and graduate students in the Department of Sociology were recognized for books and articles during the recent annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Powell, James H. Rudy Professor and chair of the sociology department in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Distinguished Career Award from the ASA Sociology of the Family Section.

Brian Powell

Brian Powell

“The award recognizes Brian’s position as one of the most esteemed sociological scholars of the family,” said Jane McLeod, Provost Professor of Sociology at IU Bloomington. “His ground-breaking research into how Americans conceptualize family, and their opinions on gay marriage and adoption, place Indiana University at the center of national legal and political debates, provide unparalleled training opportunities for our students, and bring honor to our department.”

Faculty and students were recognized by the American Sociological Association and by other organizations that met in conjunction with the ASA annual meeting last month in Seattle. In other recognition of IU Bloomington faculty and students:

  • Dina Okamoto, professor, received the ASA Section on Asia and Asian America’s Best Book Award for “Redefining Race: Asian American Panethnicity and Shifting Ethnic Boundaries”; and the Section on International Migration’s Louis Wirth Best Article Award for “Legitimating Contexts, Immigrant Power and Exclusionary Actions” (co-authored with Kim Ebert).
  • Brea Perry, associate professor, received the ASA Education Section’s James Coleman Award for Best Article and the Law and Deviance Section’s James F. Short Distinguished Article Award for “Suspending Progress: Collateral Consequences of Exclusionary Punishment in Public Schools” (co-authored with Edward Morris).
  • Graduate student Matt Grace received the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Development Award.
  • Bianca Manago received the ASA Medical Sociology Section’s Howard B. Kaplan Graduate Student Award. Manago and Trenton Mize received the Society for the Study of Social Problems Sexual Behavior’s Politics and Communities Division Graduate Student Paper Award for “Stereotypes of Sexual Orientation.”
  • Roshan Pandian received the ASA Development Section Graduate Student Paper Award for “Does Manufacturing Matter for Economic Growth in the Era of Globalization?”
  • Natasha Quadlin received the ASA Sociology of Education Section David Lee Stevenson Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper for “Gender and Time Use in College: Converging of Diverging Pathways.”
  • Graduate student Landon Schnabel received the Association for the Sociology of Religion McNamara Paper Award for “Secularism and Fertility Worldwide” and the ASA Altruism, Morality and Social Solidarity Section Student Paper Award for “More Religious, Less Dogmatic.” He also received the ASA Sociological Practice and Publication Section Dentler Award for Outstanding Student Achievement.
  • Orla Stapleton received the Society for the Study of Social Problems Community Research and Development Division Graduate Student Paper Award for “From Myth to Means: Place and Organizational Processes in the Gowanus Canal Superfund, New York.”
  • Tom Van Heuvelen received the ASA Section on Inequality, Poverty and Mobility Section Student Paper Award for “Recovering the Missing Middle: A Mesocomparative Analysis of Within-Group Inequality.”

Also, Fabio Rojas, professor of sociology, received the Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award from the American Political Science Association Political Organizations and Parties Section for “Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11” (co-authored with Michael T. Heaney).

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Conservation Law Clinic fights to protect Indiana bat http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/08/23/conservation-law-clinic-fights-to-protect-indiana-bat/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/08/23/conservation-law-clinic-fights-to-protect-indiana-bat/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:07:15 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2063 Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

After almost four years of litigation, the Conservation Law Clinic made headway in a case being fought to protect Indiana bats from EverPower’s Buckeye Wind Project. Through semester-long internships with the clinic, Indiana University Maurer School of Law students get hands-on experience with litigation in potentially precedent-setting cases like this one, Union Neighbors United v. Sally Jewell in her Official Capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, et al Appellees.

“It took a good deal of our time for at least four years,” said W. William Weeks, director of the Conservation Law Clinic. This kind of time and attention is not uncommon for a law firm.

W. William Weeks

W. William Weeks

The Conservation Law Clinic at IU’s Maurer School of Law serves three main purposes: to represent conservation organizations free of charge; to improve conservation law and policy; and to give a hands-on introduction to the practice to second- and third-year law students.

Weeks said the case began with filing a comment on the Buckeye Wind Project’s environmental impact statement. Originally, the project was granted an incidental take permit, which allowed for injuries of the endangered Indiana bat at a rate of about five bats per year.

Weeks said he and the Conservation Law Clinic took an interest in the case because they felt the government was allowing more incidental deaths than the law permits and that in awarding the permit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t seek a practical operating plan for the wind facility that would kill fewer bats. Based on the clinic’s interpretation of the Endangered Species Act, it wasn’t a matter of whether the number of bats killed affected the population. Instead, it was about doing the least harm to the population and finding reasonable alternatives to avoid potential harm.

This month, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., reversed and remanded the case in part and affirmed it in part, which means the people challenging the permit got some of what they wanted. Now the government and EverPower have about a month to appeal, Weeks said. If they don’t appeal, the case will return to the District Court, where a new order will be issued that is consistent with the findings of the appeals court decision. The Fish and Wildlife Service will be required to consider a full range of reasonable alternatives before issuing an incidental take permit that will allow the EverPower project to cause the death of any Indiana bats.

Because the decision set a new interpretation of the National Environmental Policy Act, all environmental impact statements reviewed under that act will now have to meet the new standards set in this case, Weeks said.

“That’s why it’s a win for us,” he said. “It has pretty wide implications.”

Second- and third-year law students who have been working on the case benefited as well, Weeks said.

“It’s just an incredible introduction to federal litigation for them,” he said.

Depending on when the students have a semester-long internship with the Conservation Law Clinic, they may be a part of anything from the first comment that is filed in a case to the circuit court appeals process, he said. All of the elements of litigation are shared with the students.

Student-staffed clinics are now an important part of legal education, but IU’s clinic is one of the few that focus on conservation and litigate cases, Weeks said.

“It prepares them better to be lawyers,” he said.



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Journal links Ostrom research to study of nonprofits and voluntary action http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/08/09/journal-links-ostrom-research-to-study-of-nonprofits-and-voluntary-action/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/08/09/journal-links-ostrom-research-to-study-of-nonprofits-and-voluntary-action/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 19:45:42 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2051 A special August 2016 issue of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly celebrates the legacy of the late Indiana University scholar Elinor Ostrom and applies her insights and theories to new research in the area of nonprofit organizations and voluntary action.

Edited by three researchers who studied with Ostrom while earning Ph.D. degrees at IU Bloomington, the journal features theoretical articles as well as studies on such varied topics as neighborhood dog parks, voluntary support of U.S. national parks and Brazilian microfinance programs.

Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom

The issue brings together the body of scholarship produced by Elinor Ostrom and her collaborator and husband, Vincent Ostrom, with the academic study of nonprofit and voluntary action, known as NVA. Both areas of research, the editors say, are concerned with similar problems: How institutions are governed and how people organize for collective action.

“The Ostroms were really effective at creating a toolbox of methods and theories that they were able to test in interesting settings,” said Brent Never, associate professor of nonprofit leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and one of the editors. “We felt strongly that the toolbox had a lot of value for scholars in our area, and that it had been underused.”

Other editors of the issue are Brenda K. Bushouse, an associate professor of political science and public policy at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Robert K. Christensen, associate professor of management at Brigham Young University.

Among the authors of the articles are IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs faculty members Beth Gazley of IU Bloomington, and Douglas Noonan, Saba Siddiki and Suzann Lupton of IUPUI, as well as researchers at other institutions who earned doctorates at IU.

Elinor Ostrom, a distinguished professor of political science at IU Bloomington, received the 2009 Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, commonly known as the Nobel Prize in Economics, for her analysis of economic governance, especially of the commons. She is the only woman who has received the award.

She and Vincent Ostrom established the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU Bloomington in 1973. Both died in June 2012.

Bushouse, Christensen and Never began discussing a special issue soon after the Ostroms died. They arranged for publication in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, a premier journal in the social sciences, put out a call for papers and received many high-quality responses. Each paper was read by three reviewers, including one familiar with the Ostroms’ work and one grounded in nonprofit and voluntary action studies.

In an introductory article, the editors describe the range of research in the issue and provide a primer on terms and tools developed and used by scholars at the Ostrom Workshop. They write that the integration of Ostrom Workshop and nonprofit and voluntary action research centers on three questions: What conditions lend themselves to collective action? How does ‘the nature of a good’ impact governance? And how do rules and norms incentivize voluntary action?

“Our hope for the special issue is that this is going to direct future research – that this is just a starting point,” Bushouse said.

The editors also note that Ostrom Workshop research and scholarship on nonprofit organizations and voluntary action have something else in common: Both are highly interdisciplinary, bringing together expertise from social and natural sciences and the humanities.

“This is an effort to synthesize and integrate work from different disciplines that wouldn’t normally have a lot of interaction,” Christensen said. “I think Lin and Vincent would be proud.”

Financial support for the issue comes from the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and the School of Public and Environmental  Affairs at IU and the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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IU professor’s book: Brazil may be making ‘critical transition’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/08/04/iu-professors-book-brazil-may-be-making-critical-transition/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/08/04/iu-professors-book-brazil-may-be-making-critical-transition/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 18:56:21 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2042 The world’s attention is focused on Brazil with the start of the Rio Olympic Games. And according to Indiana University economic historian Lee Alston, the country is worth watching – and not just for the world-class athletic competitions taking place there this summer.

In the new book “Brazil in Transition: Beliefs, Leadership and Institutional Change,” Alston and his co-authors argue that Brazil has the potential to make a critical transition to become one of the relatively few nations with a strong, sustainable economy and a stable system of governance. They attribute this to Brazil’s embrace of “fiscally sound social inclusion” and a resulting change in institutions.

Lee Alston

Lee Alston

“Very few countries make that transition,” Alston said. “If we look at the countries that were wealthy and successful in 2000, they are pretty much the same countries as in 1900.”

Alston is Ostrom Chair and professor of economics and law at IU Bloomington, where he directs the Ostrom Workshop. Co-authors of “Brazil in Transition” are Marcus André Melo of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil, Bernardo Mueller of the University of Brasilia and Carlos Pereira of the Brazilian School of Administration at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro.

The question of why nations so rarely manage to break into the exclusive club of successful and sustainable states has long challenged political scientists, economists and other scholars. Alston and his co-authors address the question with a new way of thinking about the process of national development, focusing on the role of beliefs, institutions, leadership and windows of opportunity.

They apply their framework to the example of Brazil, following its history for the past 50 years as it transitioned from a military dictatorship through a populist system plagued by hyperinflation to its current state: a stable nation that may have the resilience to withstand political and economic shocks.

It’s significant that this transition has been accomplished by Brazil, one of the world’s largest nations with a population of over 200 million, Alston said.

“Brazil is half of South America,” he said. “It’s the same size as the continental U.S. By GDP, it’s the world’s fifth or sixth largest country. We think of China and India, but Brazil is right up there.”

A military junta ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1984, pursuing a “developmentalist” approach of top-down management and centralized planning. After civilian rule was restored, there followed nearly a decade of chaotic, populist governance when inflation reached 10,000 percent.

Alston and his co-authors attribute Brazil’s turnaround to the leadership of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and his economic team. Cardoso was appointed finance minister in 1993 and elected president in 1994 and 1998. Cardoso implemented economic and monetary reforms that tamed inflation and that remained in place through the successive two terms of the populist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

brazil_in_transition_coverKey to the approach was the belief, which came to be widely shared in Brazil, that the nation’s assets should be shared with all levels of society but the economy should be tempered by sound fiscal and monetary policies.

“The media gave Lula a lot of credit when, we argue, Cardoso did the heavy lifting. Importantly though, Lula sustained fiscally sound social inclusion and, because he inherited a sound fiscal economy, he expanded social programs while still running budget surpluses,” Alston said.

It’s clear that Brazil’s path to sustainability hasn’t been without some bumps. The nation’s economy grew strongly in the early 2000s on the crest of exports and energy production. But with the collapse of world commodity prices in recent years, the growth reversed.

Despite Brazil’s current economic, political and social problems, its institutions are holding up, Alston said. There is a sense that “no one is above the rule of law.” Although much of Congress appears corrupt, the institutions upholding checks and balances are doing their job: for example, the judiciary, the accounting office and the federal police. Added to this are the new policies embarked upon by acting President Michel Temer. Brazil is signaling to the world that it is returning to fiscal orthodoxy. It is no longer papering over the problems, Alston said.

“They’re telling the truth, and outside money is flooding in,” he said. “Foreign direct investment this year in Brazil is way up. The outside world sees Brazil right now as a stable place in which they can invest.”

Poverty and economic inequality, while problematic, have declined from historic levels, Alston said. And Brazil has a large middle class that has embraced the belief in fiscally sound social inclusion and does not want economic stability to slip away.

At the same time, corruption scandals and political intrigue are buffeting Brazil. The current president, Dilma Rousseff, has been impeached for alleged financial misconduct and is facing a Senate trial that could permanently remove her from office. Lula, the popular former president, has been charged with obstruction of justice in connection with a scandal involving the Petrobras oil company.

But Alston said it’s significant that Brazilian officials are following the rule of law in a time of great conflict. Rousseff’s critics are pursuing the constitutional process of impeachment – she hasn’t been removed by a coup. And powerful business and political figures are facing the prospect of prison time.

“Is corruption good? Well, of course not,” Alston said. “But has it always been there? Yes, and now they’re starting to do something about it. I would argue that Brazil is approaching a situation where no one is above the rule of law.

“And that’s significant, because there aren’t many countries where that’s true.”

What Brazil really needs now, he said, is to win the gold medal in soccer in the Olympics. Spirits would soar.


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SPEA study: Tolls, gas taxes most ‘tolerable’ road funding sources http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/07/19/spea-study-tolls-gas-taxes-most-tolerable-road-funding-sources/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/07/19/spea-study-tolls-gas-taxes-most-tolerable-road-funding-sources/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2016 14:49:55 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2020 Most Americans really don’t want to pay more money to maintain the nation’s highways, according to a study from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. But given a choice, they prefer tolls and fuel taxes to broad-based income or sales taxes as a funding mechanism.

SPEA faculty member Denvil Duncan is the lead author of a study on public attitudes about highway funding.

SPEA faculty member Denvil Duncan is the lead author of a study on public attitudes about highway funding.

And that should get the notice of policymakers, the study suggests, because government officials —  worried about opposition to “new taxes” tied to road funding — have been turning to general budgets funded by income and sales taxes to make up for lagging fuel taxes.

The study, “Searching for a Tolerable Tax: Public Attitudes Toward Roadway Financing Alternatives,” is published in the journal Public Finance Review. Authors are Denvil Duncan, Venkata Nadella, Ashley Bowers and John D. Graham, all of SPEA, and Stacey Giroux of the IU Center for Survey Research.

The study, based on a survey of a representative sample of 2,087 U.S. adults conducted by SPEA in the summer of 2013, was designed to gauge the level of public support for various ways of raising money to pay for highway maintenance and improvements. Among its findings:

  • None of the alternatives had anywhere near majority support, but the strongest support was 34 percent for tolls and 29 percent for a higher gasoline tax rate.
  • The lowest support was for increasing income taxes, 13 percent, and sales taxes, 18 percent.
  • Many of the respondents who opposed the funding mechanisms said they were “strongly” opposed. Those who favored the ideas were less likely to favor them strongly.

The topic matters because officials have struggled to find ways to fund highways and other infrastructure. Historically, road funding relied on per-gallon gasoline taxes. But that source has shrunk as vehicles have become more efficient. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, there’s a gap of about $94 billion between what the U.S. spends each year on highways and what it should spend.

The survey also measured support for a mileage user fee, in which motorists would pay according to how many miles they drive. Support for that idea was in the middle at 20.9 percent.

Economists like the idea of mileage user fees because they correspond with the “benefit principle,” which holds that people should pay for government goods and services in proportion to the benefits they receive. That is, the more people drive, the more benefit they receive from having good highways; therefore the more they should pay.

A previous study by the same authors, drawing on the same survey data, found only modest support for using the benefit principle for highway funding. But the current study finds considerably more support for funding sources that are tied to road usage, like tolls and gasoline taxes, than for the alternatives.

“The findings suggest that policy makers at the federal level and some state officials are pursuing policies that enjoy less public support than a mileage user fee,” the authors write.

For example, the Federal Highway Trust Fund is being supplemented by transfers from the general fund, which is funded primarily by income taxes. And some states are turning to sales and income taxes to offset shortages in highway funding.

In Indiana, the legislature approved a plan this year to spend $230 million over two years on roads and bridges by drawing down the state budget surplus and tapping income tax reserves.

Another finding of potential interest to policymakers: 70 percent of respondents thought the federal gasoline tax was higher than the current rate of 18.4 cents per gallon. And those who believed that were, not surprisingly, more likely to oppose an increase in the tax.

The finding suggests that making the public more aware of the actual level of the gasoline tax, possibly by posting the rate on gas pumps, could increase support for raising the tax rate to pay for road improvements, the authors write.

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IU study: Religious differences between men and women fade at higher income levels http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/07/01/iu-study-religious-differences-between-men-and-women-fade-at-higher-income-levels/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/07/01/iu-study-religious-differences-between-men-and-women-fade-at-higher-income-levels/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 14:14:18 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2016 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Scholars typically agree that women are more religious than men. New Indiana University research shows, however, that there is little difference between women and men who are high earners. When factoring in income, the greater differences in religiosity appear within, not across, genders.

Landon Schnabel, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington, conducted the study, “The Gender Pray Gap: Wage Labor and the Religiosity of High-Earning Women and Men,” to measure differences of religiosity both between high-earning women and men and within genders.

Landon Schnabel

Landon Schnabel

Schnabel’s findings reaffirm scholars’ assumptions that women are more religious than men on all measures and that income is generally associated with less religiosity regardless of gender.

“In my previous research I found that the nonreligious have the most egalitarian gender attitudes and that secularism seems to promote gender equality worldwide. So, I was puzzled by why women seem to be more religious than men,” Schnabel said.

“Scholars have argued that this pattern of women being more religious than men​ is universal and maybe even based on biology. But I suspected that social status and what people get from religion might be important factors that could help explain why women tend to be more religious than men.”

Schnabel goes a step further in his analysis of the 1994-2012 cumulative General Social Survey to find that higher-earning women are less religious than other women across all measures.

Income is strongly related to religiosity of men, too, but the results for men are less clear-cut, Schnabel said. Higher-earning men are more religious than lower-earning men on some measures, but not others.

Comparing these differences within gender explains why differences between women and men shrink at high income levels, Schnabel said.

“Rather than being able to assume that earnings have a similar effect on everyone, we have to think about the different experiences and social norms that men and women face that could make something like work operate differently for them,” Schnabel said.

“Women differ from other women, and men differ from other men, just as much as the two groups differ, on average, from one another,” he said.

Current data and available measures fall short of explaining why the relationship between earnings and religiosity is different for women than for men. Social-psychological identity theories that explain how and why women and men are validated as community or family members might explain the underlying causes of gender differences in religiosity, Schnabel said.

The research reaffirms social location, as opposed to essential gender differences, as an important indicator of religiosity, he said differences exist not only between men and women, but within the gender groups as well.

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Supreme Court immigration decision: No precedent but a setback for immigrants http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/30/supreme-court-immigration-decision-no-precedent-but-a-setback-for-immigrants/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/30/supreme-court-immigration-decision-no-precedent-but-a-setback-for-immigrants/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:26:23 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2011 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

On June 23, a 4-4 split Supreme Court reaffirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in United States v. Texas No. 15-674. The ruling upheld an injunction against President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.

DAPA would allow unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of lawful residents to apply for work permits and avoid deportation.

Linda Kelly

Linda Kelly

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and 25 other Republican governors immediately challenged the program. They argued that DAPA caused the states irreparable monetary harm.

The one-line decision was both lauded and denounced along party lines as a defeat for immigration reform advocates.

But the court’s decision will not be as legally influential as typical Supreme Court opinions, said Linda Kelly, the M. Dale Palmer professor of law at the IU McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

“It’s just an injunction. The case is still ongoing,” Kelly said.

The Supreme Court’s ruling does not affect the case as it continues to be tried in Texas.

In the case heard by the Supreme Court, the Texas litigants argued for an injunction against DAPA while the case was playing out more slowly through the system.

“The injunction is a temporary hold,” Kelly said. “It’s not a full challenge to President Obama’s authority. At this stage, it’s narrower.”

The ruling affects only the future of DAPA, not other immigration programs already in place, Kelly said.

“The ruling prevents new programs from starting. That’s bad from an immigrant’s and an advocate’s perspective. It’s heartbreaking,” Kelly said. “But there’s no immediate damage done to existing programs.”

And the ruling won’t affect future immigration cases either.

“The case doesn’t have precedential authority,” Kelly said. “All they did was reaffirm the decision. It can’t be cited by anybody.”

But the ruling does leave the nearly five million immigrants who meet DAPA’s eligibility requirements in limbo as they await the full case’s decision.

The litigation now continues back at the federal district court. It is possible that, in the coming years, it will be appealed to the Fifth Circuit and again to the Supreme Court.

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Research continues as Indiana’s Mount Baldy reveals secrets of dune dynamics http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/28/research-continues-as-indianas-mount-baldy-reveals-secrets-of-dune-dynamics/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/28/research-continues-as-indianas-mount-baldy-reveals-secrets-of-dune-dynamics/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 18:33:57 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2006 Post by IU Northwest media communications specialist Erika C. Rose

Erin Argyilan has no doubt covered miles while traversing the sand dunes of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore over the past several years.

After logging all those miles, there was perhaps no happier day for the Indiana University Northwest geologist than the day she stumbled over an 8-foot hole hidden beneath the fine sand.

In 2013, Nathan Woessner, a 6-year-old boy from Sterling, Ill., was rescued after falling into a similar hole and being trapped under 11 feet of sand. It was, in fact, the boy’s close call that sparked all those miles Argyilan covered as she sought answers to the mystery.

Erin Argyilan

Erin Argyilan (Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications)

Argyilan’s discovery was a defining moment that validated more than a year of research. She had believed that the mysterious holes revealing themselves atop the 120-foot-tall Mount Baldy were caused by rotting oak trees buried beneath the shifting dune. And while her outings exploring the dune yielded many small holes here and there, each giving her hypothesis more credibility, it wasn’t until she could photograph a buried branch leading to a hollowed-out tree trunk that Argyilan could so convincingly prove what she believed to be true.

It was well known that the moving dune had, over time, buried a 70- or 80-year-old forest. Everyone had assumed that any trees buried under the sand would simply decompose. The discovery was that the rotting trees somehow maintained a hollow and hazardous structure and that their collapse could create holes in the dune.

The resulting study, published in the journal Aeolian Research, made the discovery official and gave the phenomenon a name: dune decomposition chimneys. Argyilan and her colleagues introduced the discovery to the world at the Geological Society of America conference in November. Argyilan’s co-authors, including IU Northwest associate professor of biology Peter Avis, contributed their specialized expertise — such as Avis’ knowledge of fungus living within the trees — to make the case.

More dune discoveries to come

The discovery laid the groundwork for more research, which promises to be equally historic. Argyilan and colleagues are well into the second phase of their research. This time they are investigating exactly how the holes — or, more accurately, tree branches and trunks — are able to maintain their hollow shape. Figuring out how this happens, and what conditions contribute to it, will have significant implications for understanding similar phenomena in sand dunes throughout the world.

Argyilan reveals a couple of key factors that are informing the researchers’ early hypotheses, such as the formation of calcium carbonate “cement” between the trees and surrounding sand. Since the sand is made up primarily of quartz, a non-reactive mineral, she wonders how the cement is being created.

“Where is that coming from?” she ponders. “It’s not in the sand. Is it the tree itself? Is it the fungus? The sediment? What is the key factor that is making this happen? The work we are doing now will show the pathway for how the materials got there. It’s still an evolving system throughout the time that it is encapsulated within the dune.”

Argyilan’s early speculation is that human activity is somewhat to blame.

“This has not really been studied before,” Argyilan says. “This is significant because there are actually a lot of places around the country, not just the Indiana Dunes, where dunes are covering trees. Learning about the real mechanisms behind it will help us assess risk in other locations.”

The ‘official university’ of the Indiana Dunes

Largely due to Argyilan and her colleagues’ discoveries, and because the Indiana Dunes lakeshore offers the perfect lab environment for students and faculty, it’s hardly a stretch to refer to IU Northwest as the Indiana Dunes’ university — the place where the dynamics of dunes are observed, explained and researched. Students are doing real science at the very place where the world’s most significant work on the dunes originated, under the wing of the scientists who published it.

Students like Eric Torness, a sophomore geology student who is working with Argyilan to analyze the chemical components of Mount Baldy’s soil and sand. He said that working under Argyilan is giving him the experience he needs for his application to graduate school.

“Dr. Argyilan has been a big part of my success at IU Northwest,” Torness said. “I was doing senior-level research as a freshman. The opportunities we get here on a smaller campus are amazing.”

Torness anticipates receiving a double bachelor’s degree in geology and atmospheric sciences in 2019.

He hopes to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder, ultimately pushing toward a degree in planetary science and a job at NASA.

“I don’t want students leaving this university thinking they haven’t done what ‘real’ geology students do,” Argyilan said. “Especially with the dunes in our backyard, they are truly engaging in relevant scientific research.”

Other happenings on Mount Baldy

This summer, National Park Services officials are keeping Mount Baldy closed while they wait for another study, expected soon from the Indiana Geological Survey. The study, which commenced two years ago, will yield a 3-D map of the internal architecture of the dune.

The Indiana Geological Survey, a research institute of Indiana University based in Bloomington, brought two ground-penetrating radar systems to Mount Baldy two years ago. The 100-megahertz and 250-MHz rigs were used to image the internal structure of the dune, similar to how a CT scan would image the inside of a body. The researchers also used a Geoprobe to bring up sediment from deep inside the dune.

Argyilan said the Indiana Geological Survey researchers have done phenomenal things with their technology, including digitizing every single tree and landmark from a collection of 1938 photographs. That includes the tree that produced the hole that Nathan Woessner fell into in 2013. She anticipates that one day, visitors to the Indiana Dunes could view a simulation of the dune moving over the forest since 1938.

“What we can do now is amazing,” she said. “We are going to understand everything about the dune.”

Of course, from now on, Argyilan says she will always be expecting the unexpected.

This article originally appeared in Indiana University Northwest News.

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IU professor: House sit-in moves the conversation on gun control http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/24/iu-professor-house-sit-in-moves-the-conversation-on-gun-control/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/24/iu-professor-house-sit-in-moves-the-conversation-on-gun-control/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:49:09 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=2002 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The Democrat-led sit-in on the floor of the House chamber ended Thursday, hours after Republicans brought a major appropriations bill to a vote and adjourned the session. But the standoff over legislation that would expand background checks and prevent anyone on a terrorist watch list from buying a gun is unlikely to end anytime soon.

The partisanship was palpable. Democrats chanted ”No bill, no break” all night, at one point drowning out Speaker Paul Ryan. Aides restrained Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, when he tried to respond to and provoke Democrats on the floor.

Paul Helmke

Paul Helmke

But gun legislation isn’t intrinsically partisan, said Paul Helmke, former president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, former Republican mayor of Fort Wayne and current professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington.

“One of my concerns is that it’s turned into Republicans versus Democrats. It wasn’t always that way,” Helmke said. “President Reagan supported the Brady Bill and assault rifle ban. You used to see urban Republicans supporting measures to restrict gun purchases by dangerous people and rural Democrats supporting gun rights.”

The debate has devolved into a partisan shouting match based largely on fears, Helmke said.

“It plays on people’s fears that some bad guy is going to attack you in the middle of the night. It plays on the fear that the government or civilized society isn’t going to be around to protect you,” Helmke said. “I’m not anti-gun. If you’re in a remote area or a dangerous profession, it might make sense. But a lot of it is just playing on people’s fears.”

Fear fuels gun sales and gun sales are big business.

“Money is one of the factors in the partisan debate,” Helmke said. “People make money selling these guns. Every time people get scared that there is going to be a change in the laws, gun sales go up. And sales mean profit. People are making money off the fear and violence.”

It is no secret that money speaks in Washington. And the National Rifle Association lobby is a wealthy voice in the debate. It is not the NRA members who shape the debate in Congress, Helmke said, but the NRA leadership, who write the checks and issue the political messaging.

Public opinion polls show overwhelming support for background checks. But the legislature has failed to act, leading to the House sit-in.

“After the Sandy Hook shooting and continuing since the Orlando shooting, close to 95 percent of American people support background checks on nearly all sales of guns,” Helmke said. “Eighty-five percent of gun owners support background checks, and 75 percent of NRA members support them.

“Too many legislators are more concerned about what the NRA leadership, not membership, says about the issue because it affects money and endorsements down the road.”

Helmke acknowledges the House sit-in as a step in the right direction toward gun control measures.

“One of the most frustrating things when I was heading the Brady Campaign was how elected officials, on both sides, would do almost anything they could to avoid talking about the issue. They would focus just on the mental health or terrorism component. After a tragedy, they’d say it wasn’t the appropriate time,” Helmke said. “I’m happy to see folks in Congress taking the step to move the conversation.”

For Helmke, the debate doesn’t have to be anti-gun or anti-gun-owner, but it should be anti-violence.

“This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky dream that we are going to end all violence. These are just common-sense steps to make it harder for dangerous people to get guns,” Helmke said.

“Along with gun rights, there are gun risks, and we have to consider gun responsibilities. People ought to be able to find some middle ground that both protects the interests of those who want to have guns and acknowledges the risks and responsibilities of gun ownership.”

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‘Brexit’ vote pits independence and identity against economic concerns http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/23/brexit-vote-pits-independence-and-identity-against-economic-concerns/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/23/brexit-vote-pits-independence-and-identity-against-economic-concerns/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:48:59 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1998 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Today’s “Brexit” vote will decide the future of the United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe. Public opinion polls have swayed and show a divided U.K. Results are expected early Friday.

The vote is a manifestation of an underlying problem for European integration: The European Union fosters multilateral institutions but not a shared European identity.

Timothy Hellwig

Timothy Hellwig

The “Leave” camp argues that the EU’s influence on culture and judicial matters transcends the economic concerns that originally enticed the United Kingdom to join the European Economic Community in 1973.

“The major argument of the ‘Leave’ camp pertains mainly to appeals for independence and self-destiny for Britain,” said Timothy Hellwig, director of the Institute for European Studies in IU’s School of Global and International Studies. “Many, if not most, Britons are skeptical of the EU and see it as an unaccountable bureaucracy, located far away in Brussels, which is not in tune with the needs and desires of the British public.”

The “Remain” camp argues that the EU offers Britain security, increased influence and economic benefits.

“Britain will likely be worse off in terms of trade, commerce, investment and finance if it leaves Europe,” Hellwig said. “Also, advocates for the Remain side emphasize Britain’s historic role as a global and regional leader and point out that without influence throughout the EU, Britain’s economic and political role in the world would diminish.”

Today’s referendum asks U.K. voters: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Voters can choose either “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union.”

If Britons vote to leave, EU treaties dictate a process whereby European authority and regulations in the U.K. would incrementally recede over the next decade.

“Since Britain lies outside the Eurozone, macroeconomic policy would not change, though it is not certain how financial markets and London’s role in global finance will be affected,” Hellwig said.

An exit vote also signals the failure of European integration, which has been the bedrock of U.S. policy in Europe since World War II.

But U.S. politicians are also split on the vote. Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump backs the Leave camp, while President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton are urging the U.K. to remain in the EU. Obama traveled to the U.K. in April to deliver a joint press conference with David Cameron in favor of staying.

“In many dealings with Europe today, the U.S. works closely with the European Commission. This is the case regarding trade policy, attempts at environmental policy harmonization and policies to regulate privacy laws and data sharing,” Hellwig said. “With major partner country Britain no longer in the EU club, this will involve one more step in negotiating agreements.”


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IU anthropologist urges collaboration with local peoples in creating climate mitigation policies http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/14/iu-anthropologist-urges-collaboration-with-local-peoples-in-creating-climate-mitigation-policies/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/14/iu-anthropologist-urges-collaboration-with-local-peoples-in-creating-climate-mitigation-policies/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2016 19:07:28 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1985 Post by Kevin Fryling, who normally writes at the Science at Work blog:

Large-scale, international conservation and climate change mitigation efforts must engage with the voices and needs of local and indigenous people, IU anthropologist Eduardo S. Brondizio writes in an essay published June 10 in the journal Science. The essay was written in collaboration with Francois Michel Le Tourneau of the New Sorbonne University in Paris.

Science commentary image

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Stringer/Getty Images

The paper was partially inspired in part by the Paris Climate Change Conference, officially called the Conference of the Parties in Paris, or COP21, in December, which brought new hopes and commitments from public and private sectors to mitigate climate change. Among the goals to emerge from the conference were landscape restoration, protection of watersheds, carbon sequestration and the expansion of renewable energy programs.

“This was good news, but it also raises questions about where and how such commitments will be realized. The types of cooperation between stakeholders, including researchers, needed to connect a complex matrix of ideas, goals, cost-benefit, resources and governance approaches,” said Brondizio, a professor in the IU College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology.

A significant portion of international efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change focus on sparsely populated areas, he added, especially in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Northern latitudes. But Brondizio writes that the onus of these plans — in terms of costs and restrictions on local livelihoods or unfair distribution of the benefits — increasingly falls on the shoulders of rural and indigenous populations, whose needs are pressing and often not heard.

“Although we tend to think about sparsely populated landscapes in distant regions and corners of the world as encompassing small segments of the population, in many regions, in fact, they include large sectors of society,” said Brondizio, a member of the IU faculty since 1998.

About 57 percent of Asia, 81 percent of North America and 94 percent of Australia have population densities under 1 person per square kilometer. These areas comprise the world’s small towns, agricultural spaces and pasturelands, extractive economies, indigenous lands and conservation areas. Even in the United States, over 70 percent of the country’s continental area presents population densities lower than 10 habitants per square kilometer.

“The people of these regions are increasingly expected to take a growing role as environmental stewards, but often they’re simply struggling to survive, to protect ways of life and to find opportunities for their families,” said Brondizio, who is also director of the Center for the Analysis of Social-Ecological Landscapes and affiliated faculty member of the Ostrom Workshop, both of which help support his work on these issues. “If we want global conversations and climate mitigation efforts to succeed, we’ve got to do more to recognize the voices, cultural perspectives and economic needs of local populations from the start.”

If the voices and needs of local populations are not heard, it may foster potential conflicts of legitimacy between those who own, or are legally entitled to, the land and those who may impose rules on its use, he added. The absence of these voices “risks projecting climate change mitigation and nature conservation as environmental colonialism that will undermines the effectiveness of even the most well-conceived institutional arrangements to manage resources and greenhouse gas emissions.”

In the Brazilian Amazon, for example, where Brondizio has conducted extensive field studies since the 1980s, large-scale corporate logging, ranching, mineral extraction and hydro-electrical dams continue to expand despite over 40 percent of the region being designated indigenous reserves and conservation areas, creating “islands of cultural and biological diversity” that undermine their long-term effectiveness. In the Tibetan plateau, the Chinese government has imposed environmental restrictions on 1.5 million square kilometers of grasslands for over 30 years, including the resettlement of the region’s nomadic herders. Their environmental policies have produced controversial conservation outcomes, including potential degradation of grasslands and waterways, endangering rivers that provide water to 1.6 billion people.

Eduardo Brondizio

Eduardo Brondizio. Photo by Indiana University

There are also examples of local and regional conservation models that address these problems, which Brondizio said should be “valued and mainstreamed” as part of national and international efforts.  Collaborative networks such as the Global Landscape Forum, led by the Center for International Forestry Research, have fostered new ways to approach landscape governance that “bring together a wide range of stake-holders to share ideas, propose solutions and make commitments for the inclusive management of landscapes.”

Around the world, other approaches include integrated rural development projects, co-management of forests, grasslands and conservation areas, and programs that encourage multifunctional management of landscapes.

These new approaches to inclusive governance of landscapes and resources are urgently needed to meet the goals of projects such as COP21 — as well as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a multinational treaty signed by 159 states and the European Union to increase the planet’s protected land and inland waters by over 3 million square kilometers over the next four years.

“Amid the superlative financial commitments to technological innovations and carbon compensation announced at COP21 in Paris, the social dimensions of climate and environmental mitigation of vast sectors of the population remain largely unaddressed, unresponsive to strong local demands for political inclusion, service provisioning and economic development,” Brondizio said. “New forms of representation and collaborations involving indigenous communities — as well as farmers and ranchers and other stakeholders — are needed if the overarching aim is to achieve long-lasting integrated landscape governance. If local societies managing vast landscapes continue to feel as though they are not integrated into solutions involving their territories, the successes of these efforts will be compromised.”

Brondizio’s work combines field-based longitudinal studies of the transformation of rural and urban areas and populations in the Amazon with research on global change and sustainability. His current research includes analysis of social-environmental vulnerabilities of the Amazon delta and application of complexity systems approaches to analyze the coevolution of rural, urban, conservation and indigenous areas in the Amazon. He is also member of the science committee of the Future Earth program and co-editor-in-chief of Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainability.

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Lecture explores importance of trauma-sensitive schools http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/10/lecture-explores-importance-of-trauma-sensitive-schools/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/10/lecture-explores-importance-of-trauma-sensitive-schools/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2016 15:59:12 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1962 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

What teachers don’t know could be hurting their students’ educational and social development, Michael Gregory said.

Gregory, Harvard Law School professor, was the keynote speaker Thursday for the annual Martha McCarthy Education Law and Policy Institute: The Future of Professional Ethics Conference.

Michael Gregory

Michael Gregory

He addressed the issue of knowing where students come from and what their home and community environment are like when trying to help students learn.

Gregory works with the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, a collaboration between the Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School. It was founded in 2004 with the mission to “ensure that children traumatized by exposure to violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in schools.”

At present, the collaboration focuses on uniting schools, families and policy in a way that benefits students in schools, he said.

“I think our project is somewhat unique among advocacy organizations because we consider our constituents to be both kids and families, and schools,” Gregory said.

Co-author of the two volumes of “Helping Traumatized Children Learn,” Gregory said there are five core ideas that resonate most with educators and states. The first two points are the problem, the third is the solution and the fourth and fifth are the steps that people need to take to see results.

Looking at the issue

The first point Gregory explained was that many students have had traumatic experiences. In talking about the Adverse Experience Study, Gregory said experiences involving abuse and household dysfunctions are startlingly common.

“Staggering numbers of people have had these experiences as a kid,” he said.

The aforementioned study concluded that, of the group of people surveyed, just over half experienced at least one of the listed traumatic experiences, he said. With that kind of commonality, Gregory said every classroom everywhere has children who have endured traumatic experience.

The second point stated that trauma can impact learning, behavior and relationships at school.

Gregory explained that trauma is a response to adversity, and as such is something unique to an individual.

“Not everybody who has the same experience will respond in the same way,” he said.

People cannot be labeled by the type of trauma they may have experienced, he said. Risk factors may increase as a result of trauma, but they still cannot create a singular, ubiquitous response.

Gregory said children who have experienced trauma can often perceive threats everywhere they are, including at school. They are constantly working to find a safe environment, impeding a student’s ability to learn and form healthy relationships in school.

“For many kids, traumatic explanations might underlie the behaviors you’re seeing in schools,” he said.

From aggressors to attention seekers to perfectionists, the underlying cause of certain characteristics may not be simply “that’s just how he is.”

For this reason, Gregory said it is important that educators pay attention to students and try to understand what happens in their lives outside of school.

What can be done?

Gregory’s third point, the solution, is that trauma sensitive school can help children feel safe so they can learn.

He defined a trauma sensitive school as “one in which all students feel safe, welcomed and supported, and where addressing trauma’s impact on learning on a school wide basis is at the center or its educational mission.”

Simply put, Gregory said a trauma-sensitive school understands the whole student, not just what it sees during the school day. This understanding helps to define attributes of trauma-sensitive schools such as a shared understanding between leadership and staff of trauma’s impact on learning and the need for a holistic approach to helping students learn.

In looking at his last two points, Gregory said first that trauma sensitivity is a whole-school effort. The fourth point states that educators need a process that helps them integrate trauma sensitivity into their educational process.

Finally, Gregory said helping traumatized children learn should be a major focus of education reform. Despite its importance, though, he said it cannot be forced and morphed into a checklist.

“You can’t legislate people to care about a certain issue,” he said.

Legislation like that is not sustainable, Gregory said. Instead, the question legislators and educators will be asking themselves in the future is how law and policy can help set the conditions of but not force the requirements for a holistic and functional practice.

“Let’s give schools a common framework to work in,” he said.

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Study ties ‘achievement gap’ to racial disparities in school discipline http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/09/study-ties-achievement-gap-to-racial-disparities-in-school-discipline/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/09/study-ties-achievement-gap-to-racial-disparities-in-school-discipline/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 15:34:27 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1959 Disparities in school discipline are estimated to account for about one-fifth of the “achievement gap” between white students and black students in U.S. schools, according to a recent study co-authored by an Indiana University Bloomington sociologist.

The study, “The Punishment Gap: School Suspension and Racial Disparities in Achievement,” was published in the journal Social Problems. Brea Perry, associate professor of sociology in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, is co-author with University of Kentucky sociologist Edward Morris.

Brea Perry

Brea Perry

Using student disciplinary records and test scores from an urban school district, the researchers show that black students were significantly more likely than white students to be suspended from school. And they found that students who were suspended were likely to fall behind in achievement.

Their conclusion: The difference in the degree to which black and white students are disciplined — which they refer to as the “punishment gap” — is a crucial but under-examined factor in explaining unequal test scores, the so-called achievement gap. It accounted for 20 percent of the difference between white and black students in reading scores and 17 percent of the difference in math scores.

“If you want to think about interventions or policies for reducing the achievement gap,  our research suggests that reducing the punishment gap is a good place to start,” Perry said.

Previous research, including studies by Indiana University education professor Russell Skiba, has shown that students of color face more frequent suspensions and expulsions than others, with black students likely to receive harsher discipline than white students even when they committed the same offenses.

It also is well established that being suspended can cause students to disengage from school and to struggle academically and socially. But the current study is the first to take a comprehensive look at the relationship between suspension and student achievement.

The study examined longitudinal data for over 16,000 students in grades 6 to 10 attending 17 schools in a Kentucky school district. Black students in the sample were much more likely than white students to be suspended from school. Socioeconomic status, family structure and other factors beyond school control accounted for some of the discrepancy, but not all of it.

Students who were suspended were likely to already be behind their peers academically. But after being suspended one or more times, they fell further behind on measures of achievement such as standardized test scores.

“Particularly for African American students in our data, the unequal suspension rate is one of the most important factors hindering academic progress and maintaining the racial gap in achievement,” Morris and Perry write.

The study shines a light on the impact of “zero tolerance” school discipline policies, developed in the 1990s, that led to higher rates of suspension and expulsion, often with students of color and students in high-poverty schools more likely to be disciplined. In recent years, activists have highlighted unequal school discipline as a civil rights issue, and the U.S. Department of Education has urged schools to find alternatives to suspension and expulsion.

“I think that, by truly identifying the magnitude of the problem, you can get people to wake up and pay attention to these issues,” Perry said. “Twenty percent of the difference, that’s a lot.”

In the school district that provided the data for the study, seeing the results did make a difference, Perry said. The district implemented a comprehensive alternative-to-suspension program. In at least one school, the number of suspensions dropped significantly, and academic performance improved.

But nationally, there is plenty of evidence suggesting schools have a long way to go to close the punishment gap. Just this week, the U.S. Department of Education released data showing that black preschool children were 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white preschoolers.

“A lot of schools are trying to address the problem with a focus on high schools,” Perry said. “But at that point it may be too late. Some of those students have been suspended multiple times, and the bond with school has already been broken.”

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IU expert: Attempts to dictate restroom use by transgender people likely to become a non-issue http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/25/iu-expert-attempts-to-dictate-restroom-use-by-transgender-people-likely-to-become-a-non-issue/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/25/iu-expert-attempts-to-dictate-restroom-use-by-transgender-people-likely-to-become-a-non-issue/#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 18:24:12 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1951 Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino

Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced that public schools must allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that coincide with their gender identity as opposed to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Failing to do so, the administration said, would amount to a form of sex discrimination that is barred by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Brian Powell

Brian Powell

“The policy is that schools can’t discriminate against people who identify as a particular gender,” said Brian Powell, James H. Rudy Professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington.

Because of the administration’s guidance, it may now be possible for a school to lose federal funding for effectively discriminating against its transgender students, Powell said. If a school violates a federal law, it is at risk of losing federal funding.

This guidance has sparked much public controversy over an issue that Powell said is not new.

For years, transgender people have used the restrooms they felt safe and comfortable in with few if any ramifications, he said. Now, however, measures like North Carolina’s House Bill 2 – which requires people to use public restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates — have interrupted normal social actions and interactions and are prohibiting people from behaving as they have behaved for years.

As a result of this bill, North Carolina has been hurting financially as well as socially as people refuse to move, vacation or host events in the state, he said. It’s a backlash very similar to what Indiana experienced with its Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year.

Powell said most of the arguments in favor of legislation like North Carolina’s are founded on hypotheticals and not real situations that have occurred.

And despite all of the controversy sparked by this interpretation of Title IX, Powell said the public has yet to clearly indicate what it believes.

“I don’t think the public at large is paying attention,” he said.

Instead, there is a much bigger issue to be settled: how does the public at large feel about transgender people and the transgender community as a whole?

Powell, known for his research on public opinion regarding same-sex marriage and definitions of family, said the polls he’s seen show the public to be split on the question. He said a slight majority did favor transgender people using the restrooms that match their birth gender, but a notable number also said they didn’t have a specific opinion.

Powell said he does expect public opinion to shift to favor allowing people to use the restroom coinciding with the gender with which they identify, and he expects this change to come sooner rather than later.

While the discussion about acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage went on for a long time and the consideration of civil rights for the transgender community has just begun, he said this new social front is moving very quickly.

The issue of transgender civil rights was virtually unheard of a few years ago, Powell said. Now it is center stage in political and social debate.

Powell said this happened because bills started prohibiting what had been accepted behavior.

“It’s a very odd thing to imagine policing,” he said. “There are so many problems with enforcement.”

To enforce policies like North Carolina’s would do more harm than good, he said. It would be likely to create considerable discomfort and safety concerns both for transgender men and women and for men and women who are not transgender.

Powell said the debate, though seemingly appearing out of nowhere, may have been a kind of backlash against the legalization of same-sex marriage and other fast-moving changes in societal attitudes about sex and gender.

He said it took a long time for people to become comfortable with same-sex marriage, and this is no different.

Looking ahead, Powell predicted politicians in North Carolina and elsewhere who are supporting restrictions on restroom use will likely soften the language of such laws or lose in upcoming elections to politicians who will eliminate the bills completely. It is not likely that this kind of legislation will become popular.

“In a few years, it’s going to be a non-issue,” he said.

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IU expert: Obama’s Vietnam visit seen as ‘historic opportunity’ to strengthen relations http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/24/iu-expert-obamas-vietnam-visit-seen-as-historic-opportunity-to-strengthen-relations/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/24/iu-expert-obamas-vietnam-visit-seen-as-historic-opportunity-to-strengthen-relations/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 15:04:02 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1935 Anh Tran is an associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington. His research focuses on governance issues in developing countries. He directs Vietnam Initiatives at IU, a global policy think tank, and he co-founded and directs the Vietnam Young Leaders Award, which brings Vietnamese officials to the U.S. for postgraduate study. He has consulted for national governments, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Anh Tran

Anh Tran

With President Barack Obama visiting Vietnam, Tran answered questions from Policy Briefings about the relationship between the two countries and the significance of the U.S. president’s visit.

Q: How would you describe the potential value of President Obama’s visit for the people of Vietnam?

A: President Obama’s visit is furthering the strategy to “pivot” U.S. foreign policy toward the Asian continent. The Vietnamese people look forward to this visit as a historic opportunity for the two countries to achieve profound comprehension, heal past wounds and reshape the future bilateral cooperation between two countries.

Q: What does the United States gain from its improving relationship with Vietnam?

A: The U.S. primarily expects to gain more potential profits from the trade. Since 2001, bilateral trade has grown dramatically, from $451 million in 1995 to nearly $35 billion in 2014. U.S. exports to Vietnam were worth $5.5 billion in 2014; they included agricultural products, machinery, yarn/fabric and vehicles.

Vietnam — with the 14th largest population in the world, more than 94 million people — is experiencing significant economic growth and is a huge potential market for U.S products. On top of that, the U.S. may gain a remarkable ally in addressing China’s expansionism in the region.

Q: President Obama and President Tran Dai Quang announced Monday that the U.S. was lifting its arms embargo against Vietnam. Why is this important to Vietnam at this time?

A: The lifting of the arms embargo gives Vietnam some strategic opportunities in its disputes with China over the South China Sea and freedom of navigation in international waters. It helps Vietnam reduce its reliance on buying defensive arms from Russia. It also shows a warming of relations between the U.S and Vietnam and opens a new chapter for the relationship between U.S. and Vietnam in various areas.

Q: White House statements about the visit have focused on trade and the Trans Pacific Partnership. Are there other issues regarding the relationship that should also get attention?

A: A noticeable issue is the inconsistent perspective between two countries regarding human rights in Vietnam. Obviously, the U.S will not try to “impose” a democratic system on Vietnam, but it will try to bring out problems related to human rights that both countries believe are universal. These include, in President Obama’s words, “freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, and … the right of civil society to organize and help improve their communities in their country.”

Q: In addition to meeting with leaders and visiting cultural and historic sites, President Obama is scheduled to take part Wednesday in a Young Southeast Leaders Initiative town hall meeting. What is the significance of his decision to participate in this event?

A: The initiative was launched in 2013 as President Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia as well as ties between the U.S and Southeast Asia. The U.S. president’s participation in the town hall meeting emphasizes the position of the young people in reshaping the future of Vietnam and the future of the Southeast Asia. This participation also sends a message about the U.S. commitment to support and encourage the young people to lead the country and region forward. This dialogue is also expected as the building deeper partnership between U.S and Vietnam in the future.

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‘Yo Sí Puedo’: How Cuba eradicated illiteracy http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/12/yo-si-puedo-how-cuba-eradicated-illiteracy/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/12/yo-si-puedo-how-cuba-eradicated-illiteracy/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 19:26:48 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1928 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Some 99.8 percent of Cuban adults are literate, one of the highest literacy rates in the world and better than the rate in the United States.

Luisa Yara Campos, director of the Literacy Museum in Havana, was one of the 230,000 Cuban teenagers who left home in 1961 to eradicate illiteracy in the countryside.

Luisa Yara Campos speaks at IU's Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

Luisa Yara Campos speaks at IU’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

Campos spoke about her experience as a teacher and the ongoing global efforts in the lecture “Yes I can, Yo Sí Puedo,” Wednesday at IU’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Arlene Diaz, IU Bloomington associate professor of history, translated the lecture.

“Fidel made a call to city students so that they would volunteer to be the teachers of these peasants,” Campos said.

After delivering a speech to the United Nations promising to eradicate illiteracy within the year, Fidel Castro encouraged urban housewives, retirees and students to mobilize, train and move to the countryside.

A total of 230,000 volunteers worked from February until December of 1961. But despite the eventual success, not all country residents were initially welcoming.

“There was a lot of resistance in the beginning. Adults didn’t want to admit they couldn’t read and write,” Campos said. “The teachers had to use persuasion and a lot of love and patience to encourage them to go to the school.”

The adults expected formally trained teachers but in most cases received young girls aged 10-16 who were trained for only 15 days before moving to the rural communities.

“Because the teachers worked with them every day, they were able to persuade them to attend,” Campos said.

The lessons served two purposes: eradicate illiteracy and educate residents about the Organization of American States, which suspended Cuba’s membership in the organization from 1962 to 2009.

Teachers emphasized the organization – OEA in Spanish — in lesson plans because the vowels O, E and A are traditionally the first letters taught.

After months of night classes, teachers administered the final exam: Write a letter to Fidel Castro.  The Literacy Museum displays the letters, which illustrate the Cuban peoples’ appreciation for Castro’s role in facilitating the program.

The campaign was so effective, Campos said, because Castro emphasized the possibilities of teaching from the known to the unknown. Under his advice, the curriculum specialists created a concise six-page workbook that taught the alphabet by correlating letters to numbers.

“The teachers needed to teach it in a way that was familiar to the adults,” Campos said.

By matching letters with numbers based on frequency of use and learnability, the teachers helped the adult learners make connections with the number system they already understood from daily bartering and shopping.

Although the 1961 campaign failed to reach the country’s small population of Haitians and Jamaicans who spoke Creole and English, Cuba began exporting the literacy campaign and training teachers worldwide in 1976.

In 2003, the Cuban literacy campaign reorganized under the name “Yo Sí Puedo,” or “Yes I Can.” It spread to 30 countries and has taught 5 million people to date. It has been adapted in dozens of languages, including Braille.

The program uses TV, radio and video programming presented by native speakers. Cuban officials and Yo Sí Puedo workers hand over the curriculum but maintain quality control and help the new countries problem-solve.

“Cuba has made possible to teach this program around the world,” Campos said. “For us, it’s a gift Cuba can give to the world.”

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Foreign journalists tour Indiana for primary, get elections primer at IU http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/05/foreign-journalists-tour-indiana-for-primary-get-elections-primer-at-iu/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/05/05/foreign-journalists-tour-indiana-for-primary-get-elections-primer-at-iu/#comments Thu, 05 May 2016 20:29:48 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1923 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Foreign journalists struggle just as much as domestic pundits trying to make sense of the lead-up to and results from this week’s unusually decisive Indiana primary. Twenty-four foreign journalists observing and reporting on the primary process concluded their 10-day trip studying electoral politics with a visit to the IU campus on Wednesday.

As part of the Foreign Press Center-sponsored trip, embassies nominated top journalists who also speak English fluently. The Foreign Press Center at the U.S. State Department then chose journalists who were able to obtain a visa and represented the full spectrum of print, online, radio, TV and wire service reporters. A few of the represented countries included Belarus, Bhutan, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, New Zealand, Nigeria, Thailand, Tunisia and Venezuela.

IU political scientist Marjorie Hershey speaks to visiting journalists from around the world.

IU political scientist Marjorie Hershey speaks to visiting journalists from around the world.

The group convened in Washington, D.C., on April 25. They attended briefings on the nuts and bolts of the U.S. electoral process and met with leaders of the Republican and Democratic national committees and elected party leaders. The journalists traveled to Indianapolis on April 27 to immerse themselves in the primary process, attending rallies for Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

On the last leg of their trip, the group bused to Bloomington for a conversation with Marjorie Hershey, professor and associate chair of political science, as well as College Republicans and College Democrats.

Hershey offered her observations on the nomination process.

“No sane person would have created a nominations process like that of the U.S.,” Hershey said.

Rather, it evolved over time and reflects the decentralized history of the country.

“This is nothing new, despite what the media coverage tells us,” Hershey said. “From the beginning we had a very decentralized system. It’s easy to forget this because of the focus on the presidency.”

After running through the roughly 200 years of electoral history, Hershey answered questions about a likely Trump-Clinton race.

Like many domestic reporters, the foreign journalists were flummoxed by Trump’s rise to prominence and the dilemma it seems to have created for the GOP. Hershey suggested that voters may still feel disenfranchised in November, but history suggests Republicans will fall in line behind Trump eventually.

“Voters who are saying ‘Never Trump’ will come back into the fold by November,” Hershey said. “It happened with Obama and Clinton in 2008. After exposure to Clinton, they’ll see their alternative.”

Because of the two-party system, deep divisions have always and will always exist within parties, Hershey said.

“We are in an extremely large and diverse country. It’s hard to encompass everyone’s needs in two parties,” Hershey said, pointing to the strained relationship between Christian evangelicals and business moguls in the Republican Party. “It’s like a bad marriage. They’re stuck with each other.”

The journalists pressed Hershey for her November predictions. They reached for the same unknowns and hypotheticals posited by the national press. Who would win, Trump or Clinton? Will “Never Trump” voters turn to Clinton or refuse to vote? Will the GOP establishment run a third-party candidate?

With over five months before the election, Hershey pointed to the possibility that major events such as an economic downturn or terrorist attacks might drastically change the election. Otherwise, she predicted Trump will likely lose and lose substantially.

After Hershey provided the historical framework and a brief analysis on the current electoral landscape, the journalists turned to three College Democrats and three College Republicans from IU Bloomington for their take on Trump and Clinton as the presumptive nominees.

Both groups expressed concern about their bases turning out to vote. While none of the College Republicans supported Trump from the onset, they were split between rallying behind Trump or turning to Clinton or a third-party candidate.

The College Democrats expressed concern that without Sanders in the race, the current large number of young mobilized voters may dwindle in November.

The College Republicans’ uncertainty about their own votes reinforced the journalists’ confusion about what will unfold in the coming months of the campaigns.

But Hershey reminded everyone that, as chaotic as the campaign seems with the two presumptive nominees polling at high unfavorable rates, the divisive nature reflects the history of electoral politics and is not unprecedented.

“We’ve disconnected campaigns from governance,” Hershey said. “This isn’t anything new, and we will see it again.”

Hershey is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about her expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Scholar: Islamic State ‘twists and manipulates’ jihad, Muslim history http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/28/scholar-islamic-state-twists-and-manipulates-jihad-muslim-history/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/28/scholar-islamic-state-twists-and-manipulates-jihad-muslim-history/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:36:03 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1917 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The promises of the Islamic State continue to attract young Muslims from around the world to fight under a declared combative jihad. By appropriating a new and broader reference to jihad, which traditionally refers to self-defense in the face of an imminent outside threat or an internal struggle, the patriarchal group attracts both young men and women worldwide.

Amin Saikal, a University Distinguished Professor of political science, public policy fellow and director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, delivered the lecture “Jihad and Women in the Muslim Middle East” on Thursday.

Amin Saikal (photo by Marine Brichard)

Amin Saikal (photo by Marine Brichard)

“Many in the West and in the Muslim domain have either misinterpreted jihad or deliberately manipulated the term for political strategy,” Saikal told a capacity audience at the IU Bloomington Global and International Studies Building.

Muslim legal scholars continue to debate interpretations of the Quran to decide who is qualified to declare combative jihad and whether women are able to serve in combative roles.

“There is no one in today’s world who speaks for all Muslims,” Saikal said. “Presently, no such organization exists that could rally the majority of Muslims.

“Islam is open to a range of interpretations. You can cherry-pick based on what you really want to achieve. There is no single Islam.”

While groups like al-Qaida only accommodate women in limited supportive roles, the Islamic State has adopted women in combative roles and various other capacities, including morality activists, police and jihadi brides.

“The Islamic State is able to skillfully twist and manipulate Muslim events and history to come up with their own retelling, making their jihad actionable,” Saikal said. “They exploited the power vacuum in Syria and Iraq, the wealth of oil and relics in the region, the sectarian-driven Saudi-Iranian rivalry, socio-economic disparities across the Middle East and the humiliation of disempowerment.”

The Islamic State operates distinctly from extremist groups that have employed women as suicide bombers, including Boko Haram and Hamas, based on the larger number of women joining. With various theological, social and cultural motivations, about 3,000 women from around the world joined the Islamic State.

“The question remains, how can one persuade women not to join IS and persuade those already part of the Islamic State to pursue a more peaceful solution?” Saikal said. “As long as the conditions exist that gave rise to the Islamic State, there will continue to be extremist groups.”

Saikal called for a regional and international strategy to address the growth of both men and women joining in combative jihad.

“We need an interlocking regional and international consensus between Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the U.N. Security Council on how to roll the Islamic State back and address the conditions like disempowerment that gave rise to extremism,” Saikal said.

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Students awarded grants for sustainability research http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/27/students-awarded-grants-for-sustainability-research/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/27/students-awarded-grants-for-sustainability-research/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:37:37 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1907 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability has awarded 12 Student Research Development Grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. This year’s awards totaled just over $50,000 and will aid student sustainability research focused on stewardship, mitigation of human activity’s environmental impacts and societal responses to environmental problems.

The grants help pay for research equipment, travel to research locations and living expenses while working, among other costs associated with individual projects.

Jordan Blekking (left) takes a turn at the blow while working in Zambia.

Jordan Blekking (left) takes a turn at the blow while working in Zambia.

A multidisciplinary team of professors selected the grant awardees based on several criteria, including sustainability framework engagement, social equity, innovation, timeliness and impact.

“With help from this grant program, past recipients have published in academic journals and anthologies, presented at conferences and received additional grant funding, such as from the National Science Foundation and the Waterhouse Family Institute,” said Kathleen de Onis, Ph.D. candidate in communication and culture and graduate intern in the Office of Sustainability’s Education and Research Working Group. “Having received this grant myself in 2014, I can say that this award is instrumental in offering the support necessary to move projects from ideas into action on the ground.”

The 2016 grant cycle ties with last year for the largest number of awarded projects in the program’s eight-year history. This is the second year that undergraduate students were considered for the award.

The grants help facilitate undergraduate projects from the research phase into the publication phase. The funds help graduate students add additional research components to their master’s thesis or dissertation that might be outside the funding from their faculty mentor.

“We wanted to honor the IU Bicentennial emphasis on engaged learning for all students, including undergraduates, and were aware of all the great outcomes that often come from undergraduate research,” said Andrew Predmore, associate director of sustainability. “We knew we would be launching an undergraduate research program, 2020 Sustainability Scholars, this academic year. Knowing this, we felt that opening up the grants to undergraduates would potentially provide some of the scholars support to continue the work they began in 2020 Sustainability Scholars program.”

The IU Education and Research Working Group evaluated the applicants and allocated the awards for both domestic and international research.

“These grants are highly competitive and offer students the financial resources and recognition needed to conduct quality sustainability research,” de Onis said. “Funded projects address diverse contexts, spanning from Indiana to Iceland to India.”

Grant recipient Jordan Blekking, a master’s student in the Department of Geography, will travel to Zambia to work on his research question, “Dryland Food Security through Diversification.” He became interested in Zambia’s food security issues while working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the country for 3 1/2 years.

“I was always amazed at how far farmers would go to purchase seeds for their farms, sometimes using huge amounts of their savings and time to travel in order to buy them,” Blekking said. “To me, accessibility to resources seemed like an enormous constraint, and I wanted to know how those remote distances, and even what’s available by seed dealers, affects their ability to achieve food security.”

Blekking’s research will focus on a region grappling with climate change’s serious and palpable impacts on small farming operations.

“I’m really honored and excited about this opportunity,” Blekking said. “I think it speaks volumes about IU’s commitment to creating a better world that the university would fund projects based within the United States, as well as projects in such remote regions of the world, like mine in Zambia.”

Emma McDonnell works on her project in the Peruvian highlands.

Emma McDonnell works on her project in Peru.

Emma McDonell, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, will also use the grant to look at global food systems. The grant will help fund her dissertation fieldwork on the development of quinoa in the Puno region of Peru as a local, traditional food grown for international markets.

“As indigenous communities around the world seek to simultaneously engage in global markets while preserving traditional ways through commercializing traditional foods, it is imperative we identify factors influencing the success and sustainability of these initiatives,” McDonell said.

McDonell’s project, “Creating Local Quinoa for Global Marketplace,” examines the sometimes conflicting nexus of local tradition and the global economy.

“I’m most excited about learning about the diverse experiences of those involved in creating a ‘local’ quinoa and how they see the potential for reconciling economic imperatives and local tradition,” McDonell said.

Additional recipients and their research projects are:

  • Corben Andrews, undergraduate environmental science major in SPEA, “Analyzing Turfgrass as a Pretreatment for Prairie Restoration.”
  • Martin Delaroche, Ph.D. candidate in public affairs, “Environmental Management: Decision-Making Processes Among Large-Scale Landowners in Brazil.”
  • Paulo Dos Santos Massoca, Ph.D. candidate in environmental science, “Fighting Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Environmental Policy Effects on Landowners’ Decision-Making and on Land-Use and Land-Cover Change.”
  • Shree Harsha Sridharamurthy, master’s student in computer science, and Ian Ford, undergraduate major in computer science, “Water Works: A Game to Teach Water Systems Thinking.”
  • Jennifer Huang, undergraduate math and environmental anthropology major, “Group Formation and Stewardship of Renewable Energy Resources: A Case Study of Iceland.”
  • Jacob Mills, undergraduate environmental management major, “Cultural Competency in the Sustainable Agriculture Movement.”
  • Olivia Ranseen, undergraduate environmental management major, “Sustainable Production in Theatre.”
  • Tyler Schlachter, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, “Linking Household Perceptions and Ecosystem Impacts.”
  • Clair Wright, dual Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology and anthropology, “Soundscape Analysis of Human-Environment Interactions in the Cloud Forests to Ecuador.”

Those interested in supporting the Student Research Development Grants can donate online.


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Panelists pessimistic about addressing college costs http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/22/panelists-pessimistic-about-addressing-college-costs/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/22/panelists-pessimistic-about-addressing-college-costs/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2016 19:53:10 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1903 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Addressing the cost of college tuition is a challenge of politics, educational equality and policy. The risks are high. Rising tuition leads to overwhelming student debt and puts college out of reach for some. But despite the urgency, policy experts do not have the data to propose a definitive state or nationwide response.

Panelists at the “Rising Cost of Higher Ed” symposium April 21 at IU Bloomington discussed the pitfalls of current research and the major obstacles in potential policy solutions. Panelists included Jacob Gross, professor of strategic planning in higher education at the University of Louisville; Matt Hawkins, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Nick Hillman, professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Phil Schuman, director of financial literacy at IU MoneySmarts.

Jacob Gross, left, makes a point, while fellow panelists Nick Hillman, Phil Schuman and Matt Hawkins listen.

Jacob Gross, left, makes a point, while fellow panelists Nick Hillman, Phil Schuman and Matt Hawkins listen.

“From the scholarly angle, we are trying to answer the same question as students: What’s the best way to take out and repay loans?” Hillman said. “But the theme of tonight is going to be how little we know about repayment.

“We use a shotgun method to policy-making when in reality, we don’t know what works,” he said.

The lack of data on different repayment plans and their effectiveness is only one part of the problem, however. The panelists were pessimistic about what they described as unrealistic plans from presidential candidates.

Hawkins pointed to candidate Bernie Sanders’ plan to make tuition free at public universities. The plan relies on state funding, he said, but states continue to reduce funding for higher education. Hawkins was skeptical that a state would fulfill such a large unfunded mandate.

“It’s easy to propose impossible remedies,” Hawkins said.

Schuman remained optimistic that, at least in Indiana, universities are starting to take the lead to mitigate debt.

“The numbers aren’t as bad as we are taught to believe. The average debt of a student at IU is $22,000,” Schuman said, citing the figure for federal loans. “And IU froze tuition for in-state students. Schools are starting to take an initiative.”

But even with frozen tuition and financial literacy classes, middle-class students are hit the hardest.

“This conversation is really about the middle class,” Hawkins said. “Low-income students have access to Pell Grants, the 21st Century Scholars program and other scholarships. The affluent are taken care of, but the middle class are left over.”

Panelists were pessimistic about any policy to address tuition increases in the near future, pointing to the decades-long narrative of a crisis in higher education.

“For decades we have been talking about the crisis of cost” Gross said. “Since the ’70s, there’s been a conversation about the crumbling of higher education. I’m not sure what will happen, but the conversation isn’t going away.”

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Archives exhibit features student movements throughout IU history http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/21/archives-exhibit-features-student-movements-through-iu-history/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/21/archives-exhibit-features-student-movements-through-iu-history/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 20:02:50 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1892 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Coming to a university often provides students their first opportunity for free self-expression. Indiana University has a long history of self-expression and public reactions to local, national and global events like the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, the refugee crisis of World War II, McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa and the AIDS crisis.

Student Reform Movements at IU,” an IU Archives exhibit, highlights a few of the student protest movements on campus since the university’s founding in 1820.The exhibit is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Wells Library E460 through June 19.

A 1940 letter from a Viennese Jewish refugee thanks the IU president and trustees for making it possible for her to continue her education

A 1940 letter from a Viennese Jewish refugee thanks the IU president and trustees for making it possible for her to continue her education. (Click to enlarge).

“I wanted to show a span of time,” said Carrie Schwier, public services and outreach archivist at the IU Archives. “Protest movements aren’t a new thing, and it wasn’t just in the 1960s and 1970s that students were finding their voice. Students have been involved in protest and civil rights movements throughout the history of the university, not just the time periods you normally think of.”

The exhibit was curated by Schwier, and Department of Information and Library Science graduate students Alessandro Meregaglia and Elizabeth Peters.

“I started thinking about the idea of protest movement in light of the 30-year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” Schwier said. “I knew about refugee dances during World War II and realized that the same issues are really relevant. Issues we’ve dealt with in the past, we’re still dealing with today.”

The exhibit features,  among other movements, IU’s 19th-century literary societies and their pushback against university censorship; Theodore Dreiser’s inspiration drawn from the Bloomington community; the 1968 Little 500 sit-in; the 1950s student green feather movement; and a nine-month shantytown in Dunn Meadow, protesting apartheid.

Curating an exhibit that spans the entirety of IU’s history takes time. Schwier and her graduate assistants spent six months combing the archives for letters, photos, publications and fliers. Knowing where to begin looking among IU’s 40,000 cubic feet of archives and 2 million photographs requires a familiarity with the archives that comes only after years of experience.

“I knew I wanted to focus on student groups that made a difference and movements that are still relevant today,” Schwier said. “We made a short list, which was actually a long list, then narrowed it down by what movements we found with engaging items.”

Advertisements for refugee dances sit alongside one of the most personal items in the exhibit, a letter from a Viennese woman thanking the university for making her studies possible years after Nazi control of Austria. IU students had held refugee dances to raise money to help displaced European Jews study at IU.

“I love that letter,” Schwier said. “She writes so elegantly, and it just puts you right there with her.”

Without explicitly making a connection to the modern immigration crisis, the intimacy of the letter parallels the current situation of refugees leaving Syria and Iraq.

Schwier said one of her favorite pieces in the collection is a copy of the Vagabond. A satirical publication of poetry, visual art and essays, the Vagabond was published by students from 1923 to 1931.

“It’s the early-1900s equivalent of the Onion,” Schwier said.

The paper tackled issues including women’s dorm curfews, racial inequality and the KKK.

Also featured are modern movements including feminist Take Back the Night walks, university observance of MLK Day, the creation of the Latino Studies Department and the Asian Culture Center, LGBT protests and AIDS demonstrations.

“Not everything in the exhibit is an intensely provocative issue,” Schwier said. “But the exhibit shows students reacting to current events and the world around them. Every generation does so in some way.”



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IU panel: Divided Supreme Court complicates predictions http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/20/iu-panel-divided-supreme-court-complicates-predictions/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/20/iu-panel-divided-supreme-court-complicates-predictions/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2016 21:10:39 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1886 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Many law and political science professors who follow the Supreme Court will playfully, but often seriously, gamble on decision outcomes. They bet on who will vote which way, what the dissent will argue and any other part of an anticipated decision. But with a split court, both the legal and political outcomes before the court remain uncertain and, in some cases, are left undecided.

President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland muddies any forecast of what a future Supreme Court looks like. More than ever, predicting legal outcomes is a gamble.

During the “Supreme Court Roundup: Can there be justice without a justice?” panel on April 19, panelists Beth Cate, associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Paul Helmke, professor of practice in SPEA, and Andrea Need, lecturer and director of undergraduate academic affairs in SPEA, grappled with the uncertainties and walked through a few issues on the court’s docket. The SPEA law and public policy program sponsored the panel.

Panelists, from left, Andrea Need, Paul Helmke and Beth Cate discuss current Supreme Court cases.

Panelists, from left, Andrea Need, Paul Helmke and Beth Cate discuss current Supreme Court cases.

Panelists discussed the politics around Garland’s appointment, diversity on the court, the possibilities of the University of Texas affirmative action case in its second round, the implications of a splintered court in the Fifth Circuit abortion case and the implications of the recently argued Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and voting cases.

The seat on the bench left empty with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia renders future cases increasingly speculative. The fight for and against Garland is primarily political, not legal, Helmke said.

“By elephant in the room, we are referring to the Republican refusal to consider Garland’s nomination,” Helmke said, making a joke about the Republican elephant iconography. “It fascinates me that they’ve been able to get away with this.”

Republicans have controlled the court for 46 years and any movement further to the right concedes control and admits a degree of defeat, Helmke said.

“Garland was an olive branch candidate,” Cate said. “But he isn’t being perceived that way.”

One possibility, Helmke said, is for the Obama administration to speed past the confirmation process. The Senate has a responsibility to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. If it refuses to advise, Obama might have the power to accept silence as consent, he said.

Helmke posed what he considered a more realistic possibility: that more Republican senators will agree to meet with Garland as the general election approaches. The Democrats need five seats to take control of the Senate. Republican senators in contested races are increasingly likely to meet with Garland as public opinion shifts towards a confirmation hearing and their seats become increasingly endangered.

Meanwhile, controversial abortion and affirmative action cases hang in the balance while the confirmation process continues. After a deadlocked court failed to rule, the March labor union victory in a case involving California teachers illustrated the impact of Scalia’s absence.

Fisher v. University of Texas is less stagnant because Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the Texas affirmative action case, rebalancing the liberal-conservative split. The case evaluates the use of race as a narrowly tailored deciding factor in college admissions to achieve diversity.

“We accept diversity is a compelling government issue,” Need said. “But what does diversity mean? How do we know when we have achieved it?”

Justice Kennedy, the likely swing vote, seems to want more data on the impact of the racial policies, panelists said.

“This is a clear difference between law and policy,” Helmke said. “The case is narrowly focused on diversity and can’t also grapple with equalizing educational opportunity before higher education.”

Cate formerly served as in-house counsel at IU and noted how keenly universities nationwide track decisions related to race and admissions, aware of imminent upheavals in the admissions process.

The Fisher case comes 13 years after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s famous opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which said, “…the Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”

Kennedy holds the crucial vote again in the ongoing abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The case challenges Texas laws requiring doctors who provide abortion services to have hospital admitting privileges and requiring abortion care facilities to meet stringent ambulatory surgical requirements. The Texas case parallels Indiana’s controversial HB 1337, which passed last month.

Depending on Kennedy’s vote, the court could end with a 4-4 gridlock decision, in which case the Fifth  Circuit Court’s ruling in favor of the Texas laws would stand. However, the laws would not create precedent outside of the circuit’s jurisdiction.

Much of the argument focuses on the number of clinics that will be forced to close without the money or facilities to accommodate the new laws.

“The courts seem frustrated with attorneys who can’t tell them how many clinics have closed or will close,” Need said.

The panel also discussed the court’s potential maneuvering to avoid a ruling on United States v. Texas, a challenge against enforcement of Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, or DAPA. But even if Obama wins the case and DAPA enforcements are upheld, the case presents political obstacles.

“If Obama wins, this will be a Republican rallying cry,” Helmke said. “And it’s all arguing around an executive order. The next president can easily overturn the policy. But the case will likely leave lasting rhetoric about the powers of the presidency.”

An op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times by former Sen. Richard G. Lugar, a distinguished professor of practice in the IU School of Global and International Studies, argued in favor of Obama’s authority.

While an empty ninth seat implicitly politicizes the remaining term’s cases, panelists emphasized the ability of the court to unfold to the left or right. If the nomination process is stalled long enough and Hillary Clinton is elected president, the next candidate will almost undoubtedly be less palatable for Republicans. While replacing a justice during an election year is not unprecedented, the absence leaves pivotal cases up in the air.

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Sustainability Scholar takes on tough transportation challenge http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/19/sustainability-scholar-takes-on-tough-transportation-challenge/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/19/sustainability-scholar-takes-on-tough-transportation-challenge/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2016 19:14:00 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1877 Eric Gu has faced one of Indiana University’s thorniest policy challenges in his role as an IU Bloomington Sustainability Scholar: how to move hordes of pedestrians, motorists and cyclists along and across the traffic bottleneck that is the East 10th Street corridor.

“It is challenging,” said Gu, a freshman studying policy analysis in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “When I was working on this, I realized: When you make policy, you can’t satisfy everyone.”

But, he said, maybe you can adjust policies to make things better for most people. Possibly you can create incentives that encourage people to make better decisions. Those are the modest goals of his project, a study of transportation safety and mobility.

Eric Gu

Eric Gu

Working with Scott Robinson, planning services manager with the Bloomington Planning and Transportation Department, Gu carried out original research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the challenges involved in moving people through campus by car, by bike and on foot.

He observed and recorded traffic patterns and administered a survey of campus behavior and opinion. He also drew on City of Bloomington traffic data and previous studies and reports, including the IU Bloomington Campus Master Plan and a 2012 IU Transportation Demand Study.

The Shanghai native, who attended high school in Michigan, is one of 15 undergraduates participating in the 2020 Sustainability Scholars program through the IU Office of Sustainability and the Integrated Program in the Environment. The program pairs undergraduates with faculty mentors to conduct high-quality research in sustainability. More information about the program and links to stories about other Sustainability Scholars are on the Student Experience blog.

Gu approached his project from the perspective of transportation demand management, which seeks to manage the demand for transportation services rather than increase the supply. He looked for ways to discourage people from driving on 10th Street and encourage people to walk, ride bikes or take the bus.

He also focused on the mid-block pedestrian crossing island that was installed on 10th Street in front of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs building in August 2010. Does it improve safety? Did it worsen traffic congestion? How should those results be balanced and prioritized?

Reducing motor vehicle traffic can have multiple benefits: It reduces pollution, lessens the burning of fossil fuels that causes climate change, and potentially improves health and safety. But it’s not easy on 10th Street, one of the few east-west through corridors that carry traffic across Bloomington and funnel commuters to the heart of campus.

There’s no shortage of people walking. Residents of IU residence halls on Fee Lane flood across 10th Street every day, and so do students attending business, SPEA, geology and psychology classes. But many students who live off campus drive to class. Some motorists are students who drop off their housemates at classes and pick them up afterward.

And despite Bloomington’s reputation as a bike-friendly city, few students use bicycles to get around, possibly because they are perceived as unsafe. Seventy percent of respondents to Gu’s survey favored more bike lanes, although a lack of space would make it difficult to install them.

“My recommendation, really, is to have more bike lanes where you can,” Gu said. “And we should make biking more appealing to people.”

As for the pedestrian crossing island, Gu’s observations and city and IU data show it has clearly helped. Accidents dropped by 40 percent after the island was installed, and both the volume and speed of vehicle traffic was reduced by 30 percent.

But not everyone is happy. In Gu’s survey, about one-third of respondents complained that the island adds to congestion and slows traffic flow. Another one-third said there were pros and cons, and the other third liked the island. Some of those would go further and ban traffic from 10th Street.

Along with other Sustainability Scholars and student interns, Gu will present the results of his work April 29 during the 15th Sustainability Symposium sponsored by the IU Office of Sustainability.

Robinson, his project mentor, praised Gu for his engagement with the topic and his commitment to developing and carrying out a well-designed work plan. The results, he said, will contribute to city and IU planners’ understanding of the challenges of making 10th Street safer and more efficient.

Gu said he learned a lot from his first experience conducting research, and he wants to continue working on traffic policy and sustainability. He hopes to land an internship with the IU Office of Sustainability to work on those issues. And through his involvement with the IU Student Association, he intends to work with student government to advance campus sustainability initiatives.

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IUPUI scholar: ‘Divisive, sexist’ rhetoric still part of U.S. political culture http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/18/iupui-scholar-divisive-sexist-rhetoric-still-part-of-u-s-political-culture/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/18/iupui-scholar-divisive-sexist-rhetoric-still-part-of-u-s-political-culture/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:40:56 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1872 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Kristina Horn Sheeler, professor in the Department of Communication Studies and interim associate dean of academic programs in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has done extensive research on women in politics and the role of feminist and post-feminist culture in American elections. She is the co-author of the book “Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture” and the Presidential Studies Quarterly article “Texts (and Tweets) from Hillary: Meta-Meming and Postfeminist Political Culture.”

Sheeler responded to questions from Policy Briefings about the current climate for female candidates — a timely topic in advance of Tuesday’s New York primary election, which is considered a key contest for Hillary Clinton as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president.

Q: What are the main takeaways from your book “Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture,” and what was your impetus for writing it?

Kristina Horn Sheeler

Kristina Horn Sheeler

A: Our research on U.S. first ladies and women governors led to close examination of presidential spouses and women in positions of executive leadership. That led us back, repeatedly, to the question: What will it take for a woman to be elected as U.S. president?

Lots of books have attempted to answer that question, but the vast majority talk about what individual women candidates should do differently to make themselves more electable. We came to believe that the problem was a cultural one. We need a cultural transformation so that women who are as qualified, accomplished and ambitious as men can be seen as credible, desirable presidential candidates.

Much of our book focuses on the 2008 campaign, when Hillary Clinton was an early frontrunner for the Democratic nomination and Sarah Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. Those developments prompted lots of people to say that 2008 was a good year for women in politics.

Our research found that both Clinton and Palin were subjected to explicitly sexist and misogynistic attacks, and not just from their political opponents. The attacks also showed up in mainstream journalistic coverage, satirical television programs and digital discourse.

We argue that the 2008 campaign is a case study in the pernicious backlash against women presidential candidates, one that is expressed in both political and popular culture.

Q: Countries including Thailand, Liberia, Costa Rica, Australia, Argentina and Germany, just to name a few, have or have had women in their highest leadership positions. Are there national political factors or gender attitudes that keep the U.S. from joining this list?

A: The important thing about the countries mentioned here is that all elect their legislative branch through some level of proportionality, as opposed to winner-take-all elections in the U.S. Proportional systems tend to have twice as many women in political office as majority systems.

For example, instead of having a winner-take-all system as in the U.S., with each member of Congress elected by popular vote and each winner filling one seat in the House or Senate, proportional systems fill the legislature based on percentage of votes earned by the party. So a party that earns 30 percent of the vote fills 30 percent of the seats.

In Germany, for example, Angela Merkel worked her way to party leadership. As party leader, she negotiated the coalition that would take office. As the party leader of the coalition, she became chancellor. While this is a simplistic explanation, the voting system is a key aspect of accounting for numbers of women in political office around the world. I wouldn’t say that gender attitudes in Germany, or many of these countries, are particularly progressive, so what accounts for the difference may have something to do with the voting system.

Q: How does the backlash against female candidates that you describe in your book manifest in elections? Are there any specific examples so far from the 2016 presidential election?

A: The backlash manifests itself in a simultaneously progressive and troubling mindset of “women can do what it takes to run a credible campaign and be elected president.” It’s progressive because it assumes “we’ve made it.” It’s troubling because it blinds us to other problems. We stop short of asking why women haven’t been elected to the highest office in the land and whether the answer could have something to do with sexist and misogynistic attitudes that are perpetuated in the media.

In 2016 we see the backlash manifest itself in a similar contradiction that is sometimes expressed by young women who choose not to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m not suggesting that young women should vote for Clinton because she is a woman. But I am suggesting that they feel like “they don’t have to.” The contradiction has to do with a similar progressive attitude of “women can do what it takes to run a credible, successful campaign” along with the attitude of “Hillary is running a formidable campaign so she doesn’t need my support.” In other words, she is strong enough without me; I can vote for another candidate.

Q: Your book places emphasis on the 2008 election, in which Hillary Clinton did not win. Is the political climate today different enough to make a Clinton win more likely?

A: I wouldn’t say the political climate now is any more welcoming of women. The divisive, sexist and misogynistic rhetoric that we see from some of our candidates in the 2016 race is particularly troubling. Take, for example, Donald Trump’s comments about women in general or Carly Fiorina, Megan Kelly and Heidi Cruz specifically.

Moreover the way young women voters are portrayed in sexualized ways is also demoralizing. In 2012, Obama for America ran an ad titled “First Time” that featured Lena Dunham. Romantically pairing young women with older men is a common phenomenon in Hollywood, which might be one reason that Obama’s campaign strategists saw nothing troublesome about casting a 26-year-old woman, Dunham, to urge her peers to “do it with” the married, 51-year-old commander in chief. Problematically, the narrative of the ad depicts having sex with and voting for men as female rites of passage which usher in womanhood.

In 2014, “Say Yes to the Dress” was the College Republicans’ answer to “First Time,” with similar ads running in several states. On the surface it might appear that the young women in this ad are portrayed as making reasonable political decisions. Yet the young women are portrayed not only as consumers but as objects of affection of the political candidates as suitors, ultimately saying yes to the dress, the suitor and the candidate of their dreams.

I don’t think the climate is any more welcoming of women, but I do think that the list of candidates is different, making a Clinton nomination and win possible.

Clinton added “social media icon” to her resume in 2013 when the enormously popular Texts from Hillary Tumblr account began posting memes of Clinton texting with politicians and celebrities. Social media remains an integral campaigning tool. Do female candidates navigate social media strategies differently than their male counterparts?

In June 2014, Karrin Vasby Anderson and I published an article on this topic in Presidential Studies Quarterly. In that article we argue:

Although social media provide political figures like Clinton the opportunity to communicate directly with citizens outside of filtered news sites, it was not Twitter’s open conduit that made it a particularly useful communicative mode for Clinton in the summer of 2013. Instead, Twitter’s unique format allowed Clinton to revise and strategically deploy the favorable ‘Texts from Hillary’ meme, capitalizing on positive momentum created by the 2012 Tumblr sensation. Of particular importance was Clinton’s attempt to create a new meme using an existing one. Her tweet united the popular ‘Texts from Hillary’ photograph with the new ‘#tweetsfromhillary’ hash tag. Rather than addressing the concerns of her critics through a speech, press conference, or email message, Clinton side-stepped the criticism entirely, reminding her audience of what Talking Points Memo’s Benjy Sarlin called her ‘own brand of badass cool.’ Consequently, Clinton’s Twitter debut illustrates a new type of strategic image management: a political meme mash-up in which politicians attempt to capitalize on existing memes that originate from outside the sphere of information elites.

I don’t think that women have to navigate social media differently. To the contrary, social media gives all candidates a forum that is unfiltered by mainstream media and one that possesses opportunities to capitalize on virtual relationship-building with citizens and voters.

What kinds of conversations are the Clinton campaign having that the other campaigns aren’t, because of gender? In other words, what strategies or perception problems does the Clinton campaign have to grapple with based on gender?

Clinton still has to deal with the charge that her ambition is unnatural, whereas ambition in a male candidate is an asset. For example, Google “Clinton and ambition” and these headlines pop up: “unbridled ambition,” “too ambitious,” “pathologically ambitious” and “ruthless ambition.” Google Trump and ambition and you get “drive,” “success,” “strong ego drive” and “extraordinary candidacy.” In other words, ambition is a dirty word for a woman politician, and Hillary Clinton always has to keep that in mind.

In terms of conversations, the Clinton campaign is having a large number of campaigns related to gender and pay equity, human rights, women’s health and Planned Parenthood, and the like which we don’t hear to the same degree in the Sanders campaign and especially in the Republican campaigns.

Do voters treat gender differently in a primary versus a general election? Can we expect changes in gender attitudes as the election evolves?

Since a woman has never been at the top of the ticket during a general election, this question is difficult to answer. Two women have been in vice presidential roles during a general election, but that role, according to some researchers, is feminized. In other words, it’s a support role because everything you do is in support of the presidential candidates. The vice president isn’t his or her own person and cannot tout his or her accomplishments. It’s about the accomplishments of the person on the top of the ticket.

Can we expect changes in gender attitudes as the campaign evolves? I would like to think so, but the Republican primaries are so divisive, antagonistic and sexist that I don’t think so. We seem to be devolving rather than moving forward.

Sheeler is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about her expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Panel to address rising cost of college http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/14/panel-to-address-rising-cost-of-college/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/14/panel-to-address-rising-cost-of-college/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 16:06:57 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1865 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Both college tuition and the necessity of a college degree in the job market are on the rise. Grants and scholarships often ease the sticker shock, but navigating federal, state, university and external aid channels is difficult.

In turn, students take out loans and graduate with significant debt. Borrowers in the 2015 class of college graduates face an average of just over $35,000 in student loans. The class of 2016 is on track to top that.

Amanda Rutherford

Amanda Rutherford

An Indiana University panel on “The Rising Cost of Education” will consider why tuition is rising, who is to blame for the increase, where the money is going and what policy solutions are possible. The panel will take place from 5:30-7 p.m. April 21 in Woodburn Hall 009. The event is free and open to the public.

“Affordability is one of the most pressing challenges facing institutions of postsecondary education in the U.S. today,” said Amanda Rutherford, assistant professor of higher education policy in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Tuition at many colleges and universities outpaces inflation, and policymakers have begun considering a variety of measures to limit such growth.”

Panelists include Jacob Gross, professor of strategic planning in higher education at the University of Louisville; Matt Hawkins, COO and CFO at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Nick Hillman, professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Phil Schuman, director of financial literacy at IU MoneySmarts.

“Rising costs are important because a college education shouldn’t be available only to those who can afford it,” Hillman said. “States play a central role in helping make college affordable and accessible for all students, especially those from working-class backgrounds.”

The panel brings together scholars and policy practitioners to discuss pragmatic possibilities and obstacles to creating effective state and federal policies.

“This event helps students to understand who sits at the table in state and national conversations about tuition and financial aid as well as what types of policies have or have not been effective in keeping college affordable,” Rutherford said.

The panel is sponsored by the education policy minor, a joint program between SPEA and the School of Education, and the Education Policy Student Association.

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ACLU official: Religious refusals deny rights, not just services http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/12/aclu-official-religious-refusals-deny-rights-not-just-services/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/12/aclu-official-religious-refusals-deny-rights-not-just-services/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 18:45:56 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1862 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Religious refusals to provide reproductive care such as abortions, contraception and sterilization directly discriminate against women, said Louise Melling, the American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director and director of the organization’s Center for Liberty.

Melling delivered the lecture “Religious Refusals and Reproductive Rights: Conscience as Discrimination and Shaming” in the Maurer School of Law on Tuesday. Melling first noted Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the 2015 Purvi Patel case, pointing to the poignancy of reproductive rights in Indiana’s legal context.

Louise Melling

Pictured: Louise Melling Photo: ACLU/Molly Kaplan ©2014 ACLU All Right Reserved

Debate around religious refusals, involving any institution or individual that refuses to provide services based on religion, ballooned in the aftermath of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation.

“RFRA was striking for what happened and what didn’t happen,” Melling said. “Major companies stood up saying that the policy was discriminatory against LGBT populations. But there was no outcry for women, no so-called “fix” imposed. It was all quiet on the reproductive rights front.”

Melling suggested that the first step to overturn legislation that discriminates against women is to reframe the questions and assumptions of reproductive services.

She pointed to a group of New Jersey nurses who sued their hospital, arguing that they should not be required to provide care for a woman who received an abortion. They argued that care such as helping women change into a hospital gown or asking if she has a ride home makes them complicit in a sin, infringing on their religious freedom.

“Would we tolerate this in any other context?” Melling asked. “Refusal to provide care carries a stigma in any other situation. But in this case the nurses are saying that the patient is untouchable.”

In related cases on LGBT rights or racial integration, the court and the public recognized that the refusal to provide services is a form of discrimination against the person seeking services.

“In an LGBT case, we see that being denied a cake at a bakery isn’t about a cake. It’s about people,” Melling said. “Why aren’t reproductive rights talked about in the same way?”

Melling suggested three reasons the conversations around LGBT rights and reproductive rights remain so different: norms, moral stigmas and the emphasis on a service instead of a protected class of people.

“We just accept it that doctors and nurses can provide services. The laws allowing for refusal began just months after Roe, and now we have been living with that for 40 years,” she said, referring to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that established a right to abortion.

Abortion’s stigmatization is normalized now as well, Melling said. Women who receive abortions and the health care workers who provide the service are often stigmatized as immoral. The imposition of morals hampers any chance of a robust conversation on rights.

Abortion and women receiving reproductive health care are reduced to the services they seek and the high stakes of dignity are lost in the rhetoric, Melling said. Instead of considering women as a protected class of people whose rights are being infringed, conversations on reproductive rights focus on abortion, contraception or sterilization as a discrete entity.

“To cast reproductive rights as about a good — abortion, contraception or sterilization — is a failure to recognize the extent of liberty at stake,” Melling said. “We have the right to define our own lives. This isn’t just about a service.”

Improving the rhetoric and the underlying assumptions of reproductive care reflects long held stereotypes and carries broad implications for the future of gender equality.

“Refusals are rooted in gender stereotypes,” Melling said. “Women are sent away or refused based on a stereotype of the proper role of women and child rearing.”

In past Supreme Court cases focused on abortion, the Court ruled that abortions and reproductive care are vital to achieving gender equality. Equality relies on the ability of women to engage in the workforce and female self-determination broadly.

“If we really understood that this was about discrimination, we would have a very different sense of what is at stake,” Melling said. “If we can reframe the questions, hopefully we will have a different conversation after the next state passes RFRA legislation.”

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Workshop to address ethical issues in national security work http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/08/workshop-to-address-ethical-issues-in-national-security-work/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/08/workshop-to-address-ethical-issues-in-national-security-work/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:45:49 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1854 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Surveillance technology, big data analysis, national security threats and global demographics continue to evolve alongside intelligence and security work. As technologies and protocols change, so do the ethical frameworks that guide them.

Ethics in the National Security Professions,” a half-day workshop April 15 at IU Bloomington, will grapple with ethical questions, new and old, in the intelligence sector.

Alexander Joel

Alexander Joel

“Today’s students and professionals seek career opportunities that span traditional boundaries,” said David Delaney, the deputy director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University. “This kind of event helps people envision possibilities across such boundaries that may improve research, professional environments and ultimately governance in national security activities.”

The workshop begins with a keynote address, “Ethics, Transparency and Trust: The Ethical Intelligence Professional,” by Alexander Joel, civil liberties protection officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Joel’s lecture will explore the changing ethical landscape in the intelligence sector and pose ongoing and future strategies for increased transparency throughout the intelligence community.

A panel of IU faculty will follow the keynote to discuss whistleblowing, cryptography and the law. Panelists include Gene Coyle, former CIA agent and professor of practice in the School of Global and International Studies; Janet Near, Dale M. Coleman Chair and professor of management in the Kelley School of Business; and Steven Myers, associate professor and director of security informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing.

“I hope students come away with an appreciation of how complicated it is to find a balance between maintaining legitimate individual privacy concerns and for federal agencies to do their jobs of providing security to Americans,” Coyle said. “Our federal national security agencies generally depend on achieving proper behavior by having hundreds of regulations on how employees are to act. But can you count on people following those regulations, when in many instances, no one else would know what a person did?”

Panelists will grapple with pivotal cases such as the Snowden files and the unfolding Apple and FBI controversy.

“Since 2012, the U.S. Intelligence Community has espoused a set of common ethics principles to guide professional conduct. But only a small number of national security professionals — for example, lawyers and doctors — are subject to enforceable ethics codes,” Delaney said. “Ethical dimensions of all government work are matters of public concern that should be open to research and thoughtful public discussion.”

The workshop runs from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Maurer School of Law, room 125. It will also be available through a live stream and live tweeted with the Twitter hashtag #FutureEthics. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP by April 11.

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Wells Scholars Professor: Lessons in balancing stewardship and ownership http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/07/wells-scholars-professor-lessons-in-balancing-stewardship-and-ownership/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/04/07/wells-scholars-professor-lessons-in-balancing-stewardship-and-ownership/#comments Thu, 07 Apr 2016 15:38:56 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1847 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

On Oct. 19, 2011, Terry Thompson opened the cage doors of each of his 56 personal exotic animals and subsequently committed suicide. Fearing for public safety, police in Zanesville, Ohio, shot and killed 49 of the wandering bears, leopards, lions, primates, tigers and wolves.

Since dubbed the “Zanesville animal massacre,” the event brought worldwide attention to ownership rights and the treatment of exotic animals.

Douglas Kysar

Douglas Kysar

Douglas Kysar, the Joseph M. Field ’55 professor of law at Yale Law School, recounted the fateful fall Ohio day this week and offered lessons in property rights gleaned from the incident.

Kysar attended IU as a Wells Scholar and returned to deliver the Addison C. Harris Memorial Lecture at the Maurer School of Law and teach a two-week segment of the Class of 1941 Wells Scholars Program. He is the first professor in the program’s 25-year history who was also a Wells Scholar.

The lecture, “Living with Owning,” explored the relationship between stewardship and subjugation in modern society.

“Thompson shows us where stewardship fails, and responses that day show how stewardship might go forward,” Kysar said.

Stewardship offers a counter narrative to ownership. With 5,000 privately owned tigers in the United States, questions of ownership related to the concerns of exotic animal releases remain niche but necessary, Kysar said.

At the time of the release, Ohio had some of the least developed exotic animal restrictions nationwide. There were relatively few obstacles to purchasing any animal and raising it on private property. With few restrictions, Ohio became a haven for exotic animal lovers like Thompson.

The oscillating natural tendencies to both love and fear exotic animals played out in the days following the animal release. Subsequent legislation cracked down on exotic animal ownership, and exotic animal owners unsuccessfully challenged the legislation in the courts, unwilling to give up control of their animals.

Kysar said control is relinquished daily, to peers, political systems and technocracy.

“In the modern state, surrendering control is necessary,” he said.

But for exotic animal owners like Thompson, life, liberty and property rights are inseparable. For Thompson, his animals – his property — were necessary to his self-determination, Kysar said.

But ownership rights were squelched in the months following Thompson’s stunt. New laws required owners to implant microchips into the animals, even if the implantation procedure was life threatening, and the state levied exorbitant yearly fees to exotic animal owners unaffiliated with a zoo.

Ohio spent $3 million to build a containment center to house the large number of exotic animals it expected to confiscate following the new legislation.

Kysar’s research on the Zanesville incident points to the delicate and complex relationship between stewardship and ownership. Despite lessons Kysar gleaned from the Zanesville incident, he suggested the lessons are not generalizable.

“I wanted to lead with the story and tell it as empathetically as possible,” Kysar said. “And then I waited to see what lessons emerged, as opposed to imposing a narrative order.”

Even though Kysar insists his lessons cannot be generally applied, the push and pull of stewardship and ownership continue to color almost all property rights cases.

“If ownership and stewardship are a dichotomy, both ends of that dichotomy continually rely on each other to exist,” Kysar said.

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‘Indiana in the World’ panelists link food production, global engagement http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/31/indiana-in-the-world-panelists-link-food-production-global-engagement/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/31/indiana-in-the-world-panelists-link-food-production-global-engagement/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:39:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1840 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Despite representing a relatively small proportion of the global population, Indiana has a large international footprint. Indiana’s industries, the legacy of Indiana public officials and the role of IU as a global institution put Hoosiers at the forefront of foreign policy concerns.

The final session of the “American’s Role in the World: Issues Facing the Next President“ conference brought the global challenges home and considered the role of the local abroad. The panel, “Indiana in the World,” included Dan Coats, U.S. senator for Indiana; Lee Hamilton, retired congressman; Richard Lugar, retired senator; and James Morris, a member of the IU Board of Trustees and former director for the UN World Food Program.

'Indiana in the World' panelists were, from left, Dan Coats, Lee Hamilton, James Morris, Richard Lugar and moderator Lauren Robel.

‘Indiana in the World’ panelists were, from left, Dan Coats, Lee Hamilton, James Morris, Richard Lugar and moderator Lauren Robel.

Hamilton and Lugar were convenors of the conference and are distinguished scholars at the IU School of Global and International Studies, which sponsored the event. Lauren Robel, provost and executive vice president at IU Bloomington, moderated the discussion.

The panelists focused on Indiana’s role in food security and the waning political will to support humanitarian food assistance efforts at home and abroad.

“Hunger and food have been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for the past 75 years,” Morris said.

Lugar shared anecdotes on his years growing up on an Indiana farm and the advancements he witnessed in farming as a testament to the potential of genetically modified organisms. Indiana can be a leader in food security if it capitalizes on the GMO movement, Lugar said.

The panelists added that military might alone will not maintain the prominence the U.S. in the world.

“At the end of the day, the world will be changed by wheat, not weapons,” Morris said.

Issues of food security are directly related to almost all aspect of foreign policy, the panelists agreed. But without an improved level of foreign policy discourse by the presidential candidates, America’s ability to impact food security and world affairs hangs in the balance.

“I am appalled by the quality of the debate of our presidential candidates,” Hamilton said. “Given the kinds of problem and challenges we face in the world, there is a huge gap between that and what they talk about.”

“I throw my hands up watching these presidential debate,” Coats said. “Where is the substantive debate?”

Coats also critiqued the level of debate among those already elected, recalling only one example of substantive foreign policy debate in the Senate, involving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

IU students have the power to reverse the discouraging level of debate and foster Indiana’s reputation through civic engagement, the panelists said.

“This is the exciting part of Indiana’s contribution to the world: We take foreign policy seriously,” Lugar said, lauding the large student turnout.

“It’s not a time for silence and grumbling,” he said. “It is a time to be articulate. Express ideas here at IU and also express those ideas to people in authority.”

Hamilton is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about his expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Panelists question prospects for ‘grand strategy’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/31/panelists-question-prospects-for-grand-strategy/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/31/panelists-question-prospects-for-grand-strategy/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 18:18:54 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1836 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Despite an effort to plan, the habitual reliance on old scripts and the impossibility of predicting future events leave U.S. foreign policy vulnerable. A grand strategy might offer a roadmap toward achieving the nation’s intersecting, and sometimes conflicting, goals abroad.

“Presidential administrations have long sought the holy grail of having a grand strategy,” Nick Cullather executive associate dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies and panel moderator, said.

IU faculty member Sarah Bauerle Danzman discusses grand strategy. At right is Phillip Zelikow.

IU faculty member Sarah Bauerle Danzman discusses grand strategy. At right is Phillip Zelikow.

As part of the IU School of Global and International Affairs conference “America’s Role in the World: Issues Facing the Next President,” panelists considered the feasibility of creating an American grand strategy and what role such a strategy would play in national security.

Panelists in the seventh session, “National Security and Grand Strategy,” included Fred Cate, vice president for research and Distinguished Professor of Law and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law at IU; Sarah Bauerle Danzman, SGIS assistant professor; Gen. Gene Renuart, retired air force general and commander for the North American Aerospace Defense Command; James Steinberg, dean of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University; and Philip Zelikow, the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

Panelists agreed that a grand strategy would aid international policy making. But formulating a strategy is only the first step, they said.

“Presidents bring strategies to office,” Zelikow said. “But in reality, it’s a lot of improvisation.”

Historically, most presidential candidates lack the foreign policy experience necessary for a grand strategy. Regardless, they bring a worldview that shapes their administration’s decision making.

While presidential advisers help create implementation plans, presidents create their administration’s broad international objectives based on their personal worldviews, Steinberg said.

Creating a grand strategy requires the president to consider all the global players, the interactions between the U.S. and these players and the internal domestic politics of each player.

Despite the odds, officials regularly weigh, or attempt to weigh, all factors when making foreign policy decisions. But even the most concerted efforts that consider the lessons of history inevitably fall short.

“We are 100 percent wrong at predicting the future,” Renuart said.

Cate suggested starting smaller.

“We should abandon the word grand,” Cate said. “Strategy is desirable, necessary and achievable.”

For Zelikow, a comprehensive strategy must address a changing political order in the post-Cold War world.

“We are entering a new era of world history,” Zelikow said.

The distinction between domestic and foreign policy is increasingly blurred, he said, and the domestic policy of foreign countries, allies or not, impacts U.S. interests at home and away.

Any attempt at a grand strategy today must also include a response to some American weariness of globalization.

“I think that the concern about globalization is misplaced,” Danzman said. “But it reflects that the U.S. has failed at explaining trade policy to the electorate.”

A modern grand strategy must address the training and rehabilitation of displaced workers, alongside growing concerns of cyber security and global access to clean water.

The panelists acknowledged the overwhelming obstacles facing a grand strategy but suggested that the first steps toward a feasible plan begin today.

“Don’t just think about a grand strategy in the abstract,” Steinberg said. “We need to think about the choices we are making now and their impact in the long term.”

Cullather and Danzman are also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about their expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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SGIS panelists: Next steps in nonproliferation will be challenging http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/31/sgis-panelists-next-steps-in-nonproliferation-will-be-challenging/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/31/sgis-panelists-next-steps-in-nonproliferation-will-be-challenging/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:33:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1833 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Although presidential hopefuls may debate nonproliferation concerns in terms of ideals, the next president will be forced to forge a path within the constraints of America’s historical strategies, experts said at an Indiana University conference. Past nuclear nonproliferation strategies may not dictate future plans but they do construct the environment around modern nonproliferation talks, they said.

The School of Global and International Studies conference, “America’s Role in the World: Issues Facing the Next President,” closed its first day with a panel that considered what the history of nonproliferation’s trials and triumphs can offer as lessons for the next president.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar comments on nonproliferation.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar comments on nonproliferation.

Panelists included Siegfried Hecker, professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University; Richard Lugar, former U.S. senator from Indiana; George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and William Potter, professor of nonproliferation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Dina Spechler, associate professor of political science at IU Bloomington, moderated.

Despite the fear nuclear rhetoric inspires, cooperation colors much of the international legacy of nuclear proliferation relations. Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. and the USSR remained allies in preventing proliferation.

After the Cold War, Russia made significant improvements to its nuclear weapon facilities and the security of these facilities, making U.S. involvement in the Russian nuclear program increasingly unnecessary, Hecker and Lugar said.

“To some extent, this is good news,” Hecker said. “The bad news is that when you talk about nuclear safety, you’re never done. When you become complacent and think you’re done is when you have problems.”

Although the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was hotly debated, the limited American education on nonproliferation stunts the debate, Potter said.

“Two of the major challenges we face today are ignorance and complacency,” he said. “We have to invest far more than we have in nonproliferation education.”

Perkovich and Hecker agreed that this lack of education inhibits the ability of U.S. policymakers to have an “adult conversation” with international allies regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapon program.

Perkovich suggested shifting the conversation away from the threats of a nuclear North Korea and toward pragmatic positions.

“The talk about the threat doesn’t motivate me very much because we’ve known about them for so long,” Perkovich said. “The issue is what we are going to do about it.”

Hecker suggested a strategy for North Korean nuclear relations that includes “no more bombs, no better bombs and no exports of bombs.” In exchange for North Korea’s cooperation on the nuclear nonproliferation, the U.S. must be prepared to offer security measures and economic and energy assistance, Hecker said.

Domestic political divisions and hyperpartisanship do not make global nonproliferation policy easy, the panelists said.

“It was miraculous that the 2012 nonproliferation treaty got across the finish line,” Lugar said, recounting the Republican Congress’ stalwart opposition.

Panelists said the next American president will face unprecedented challenges as the nature of nonproliferation shifts the spotlight away from players like Iran toward emerging and unknown non-state actors.

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Like it or not, US must engage with Middle East, panelists say http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/30/like-it-or-not-us-must-engage-with-middle-east-panelists-say/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/30/like-it-or-not-us-must-engage-with-middle-east-panelists-say/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 20:50:45 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1826 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Foreign policy decisions never exist in a bubble. Whichever presidential candidate takes office in 2017 will inherit, willingly or not, a Middle Eastern geopolitical scene with not only competing regional players but also a history of conflicting American policies.

Future policymakers will be forced to follow a series of political and military failures, shaping the ongoing regional instability flowing from Syria into the Levant and Middle East at large.

Hussein Banai, moderator of the “Untangling the Middle East” session in the “America’s Role in the World” conference, began with a reminder of Dean Lee Feinstein’s unofficial motto for the School of Global and International Affairs, “In order to change the world, we must first seek to understand it.”

Panelist Robin Wright makes a point.

Panelist Robin Wright makes a point.

With that context, Banai, an assistant professor in the School of Global and International Studies, challenged panelists to characterize America’s role in the Middle East today and how that role might change under the next American president.

Panelists were Feisal Istrabadi, founding director of the IU Center for Study of the middle East and former ambassador to Iraq; Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security; Tamara Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution; and Robin Wright, American foreign affairs analyst and journalist.

Wittes said the Obama administration only hesitantly stepped back into the Middle East after campaigning on pulling out of the region.

“Obama was driven, against his own inclination, back into the Middle East and Syria,” she said.

Wright, pointing to a philosophy that her father taught her — “Stand on the top of the world and look down” — lauded the Obama administration’s deliberate and hesitant inclinations.

“In stark contrast to the Bush administration, there is a sense in the Obama administration that the U.S. cannot always define what democracy is going to look like in other parts of the world,” Wright said. “Obama really tries to define policy goals in a long term and wider world perspective. Even though there are shortcomings, I think he has been quite effective.”

Almost all questions of foreign policy in the Middle East eventually come back to the question of border stability. The Obama administration’s legacy in the region is not insulated from the legacy of Sykes-Picot Agreement – the 1916 pact that set the boundaries of British and French control — and its impact on the global power struggle in the region.

“A lasting legacy of the Obama administration’s policy in the Middle East is a new Sykes-Picot,” Istrabadi said. “There is a new redrawing, not of the borders but of the spheres of influence.”

Any strategy to combat the violence of the Islamic State group, known as ISIS, requires considering these questions of borders, power and influence, panelists said.

“Without addressing civil wars and power vacuums, ISIS may be defeated but sons of ISIS and grandsons of ISIS will emerge,” Fontaine said.

With American troops in Iraq and Syria, ongoing military operations in Syria and Yemen and billions of dollars in aid flowing to the region, the U.S. remains deeply embedded in the region.

“Any perception that the U.S. is leaving the region doesn’t line up with the facts,” Fontaine said.

While the panelists stopped short of offering policy solutions, they agreed that the region will remain a primary foreign policy interest in the next administration.

“No matter the price of oil or other energy alternatives, it is clear that the Middle East continues to be important to American national interest and to the world,” Wittes said. “We need stability in the region. It is important to the U.S.”

Istrabadi is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about his expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Human rights in the world: SGIS panelists optimistic despite challenges http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/30/human-rights-in-the-world-sgis-panelists-optimistic-despite-challenges/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/30/human-rights-in-the-world-sgis-panelists-optimistic-despite-challenges/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 18:52:27 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1821 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

After a decades-long global decline in democracy, the next American president’s ideals and pragmatic approach loom large for the trajectory of human rights worldwide. But no singular solution is obvious as issues of human rights grow out of almost every other policy area and usually require complex multilateral approaches.

Panelists remained optimistic, however, in the “State of Democracy and Human Rights in the World” session during the IU School of Global and International Studies conference “America’s Role in the World: Issues Facing the Next President. ”

Global and International Studies Building

Global and International Studies Building

Panelists included experts on human rights in Africa, China and Russia: Gardner Bovingdon, associate professor of Central Eurasian studies; Emma Gilligan, associate professor in SGIS; Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First; and Michelle Moyd, associate professor in the Department of History.

“Human rights are often viewed by foreign policy officials just as something nice to have,” said panel moderator Christiana Ochoa, professor of law and Charles L Whistler Faculty Fellow at the Maurer School of Law.  “But I would like to posit that virtually all of the major foreign policy challenges are the result of the failure to respect human rights.”

Massimino posed three primary challenges to the flourishing of global human rights: the global refugee crisis, violent extremism and authoritarian governance.

“We need a blueprint for a bilateral advancement between the U.S. and the world,” Massimino said. “We have to approach this with great humility. The U.S. can only lead effectively when we lead by example.”

In creating this blueprint, policymakers must consider the connection between poverty and the rise of extremism, Moyd said.

“Poverty and all the factors that come along with it are often driven by or exacerbated by the violence by groups like Al Shabaab,” Moyd said, referring to the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda affiliate.

Extremist groups continue to grow in Eastern Africa, she said, by capitalizing on a lack of opportunities for youth and purported ideas that Islam is on a global defensive and young men have a stake in trying to assert a particular Muslim identity.

To address these African issues, the next administration must adopt a 21st century understanding of Africa as a modern and urban place, Moyd said.

Sino-American relations remain strained due to a history of similarly failed unilateral strategies. Instead of achieving practical policy conversations, the U.S. tried to lecture the Chinese, prompting a natural response of stubbornness, Bovingdon said.

“For a long time, U.S. policy has had ideals but not been pragmatic,” Bovingdon said.

China and Russia present similar international policy problems, said Gilligan, an authority on contemporary Russia. Both countries continue to curb the work of internal and foreign human rights organizations through legislative and police crackdowns.

Despite the challenges, Gilligan remains optimistic as internal organizations continue to innovate and find ways to challenge the restrictive laws. And while Russian laws limit the ability of foreign organizations to support political activity, Gilligan pointed to effective internal civil disobedience campaigns.

“We have to make sure that we can keep these organizations alive, keep them functioning and keep their work as public as possible,” Gilligan said. “This means finding ways to support them, even if we can’t monetarily support them.”

Ochoa lauded the optimism of the panelists, despite the odds stacked against human rights in much of Africa, China and Russia.

“The arc of history may bend toward justice, but only if you make it bend,” Massimino said. “Change only comes from within societies. I see America’s role in the world as fostering that.”

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IU Bloomington Spring 2016 Energy Challenge is under way http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/29/iu-bloomington-spring-2016-energy-challenge-is-under-way/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/29/iu-bloomington-spring-2016-energy-challenge-is-under-way/#comments Tue, 29 Mar 2016 19:32:28 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1817 You turn off the lights when you leave the room, you unplug your phone charger when you aren’t using it and you don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth. What else can you do to reduce electrical and water use for the Spring 2016 IU Energy Challenge?

Here are a couple of tips, courtesy of University Information Technology Services and the Sustainable IT Working Group at Indiana University Bloomington:

  • Turn off your computer monitor when you leave your desk for an extended time.
  • Disable your power-gobbling screen savers, which aren’t needed on modern machines, and instead set the display to turn off automatically when the computer is inactive.

Energy Challenge logoThe Energy Challenge began March 21 and continues through April 11, with students, staff and faculty across campus competing to save the most energy and achieve the greatest reductions in water consumption in residence halls, Greek houses and academic buildings.

Launched in 2008 as one of the first initiatives of the IU Office of Sustainability, the Energy Challenge seeks to instill the ethic and habits of conservation by rewarding small behavioral changes that collectively can have a substantial impact on the environment.

“The Energy Challenge is important because it promotes sustainable behaviors across IU’s campus in order to lessen our impact on the world around us,” said Shelly Salo, an IU junior who helps promote the project as an Office of Sustainability intern.

New activities this spring include a social media challenge, in which participants can win gift cards if they take pictures of themselves in energy-saving activities and post them to the IU Energy Challenge Facebook page or tweet them to @HoosierEC; and head-to-head competitions between designated pairs of academic buildings.

Ian Yarbrough of the IU Utility Information Group serves as meter data analyst, collecting and analyzing data to track how much energy and water the buildings have saved from baseline usage.

“I think the Energy Challenge is important as a demonstration that individual effort makes a difference,” he said. “Talking about sustainability is all well and good, but demonstrating an impact is really the goal, and the Energy Challenge does that on a moderately large scale.”

In the Fall 2015 Energy Challenge, the campus reduced usage by 750,256 gallons of water, more than enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool; and 570,128 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which could power more than 50 homes for a year.

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Just ahead of Obama, SPEA students visit Havana http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/25/just-ahead-of-obama-spea-students-visit-havana/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/25/just-ahead-of-obama-spea-students-visit-havana/#comments Fri, 25 Mar 2016 13:29:08 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1810 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Sixteen Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs undergraduates passed over popular spring break destinations in favor of a weeklong, one-credit public policy exploration last week in Havana, Cuba.

Students in the class pose for a group photo in Cuba.

Students in the class pose for a group photo in Cuba.

“The course is interactive, intensive and hands-on,” course professor Dan Preston said. “This involves guest lectures from academics, professionals and government officials related to health care, education and economic development, to name a few. It also seeks to allow students to see Cuban policy and systems in practice.”

Preston designed the comparative policy course in 2014 and took the first group of students to Cuba in 2015.

“The course provides students the opportunity to see how a different socioeconomic model functions as a contrast to the system of the U.S.,” Preston said. “It also helps students to appreciate and have a better understanding of Cuban culture and history.”

The students spent time at a primary school, cooperative farm, health clinic, women’s rights organization and retirement home. However, other planned visits — a briefing at the U.S. Embassy and a professional baseball game — were canceled while the country hurried to prepare for President Barack Obama’s visit just days later.

Paint fumes lingered throughout the entirety of Havana as rushed refurbishments took place, said SPEA sophomore Michelle Long. Other developments, like an increased police presence on the streets and new pavement wherever Obama’s motorcade would pass, signaled the upcoming visit and newly normalized relations.

One of Long’s favorite memories from the trip grew out of these inconveniences. Long and classmate Rob Duffy jogged through Havana. On their return route, they realized that the only way to reach the hotel was to run through recently poured tar. Duffy lost a shoe and came out with asphalt on his bare feet.

“I just remember laughing, looking around and thinking that Old Havana will never be the same,” Long said.

Beyond these tangible repairs, Preston noted a renewed excitement and optimism among both the Cuban officials and citizens.

The spring break trip to Cuba was the first trip outside the U.S. for Olivia Malone, a sophomore in SPEA.

IU sophomore Olivia Malone stands with a young girl girl she met in Cuba.

IU sophomore Olivia Malone stands with a young girl girl she met in Cuba.

“It all happened so fast and was so new that my mind was always racing to catch up with everything I was experiencing,” Malone said. “Walking around Old Havana was almost too much to take in, with all of the music and colors. It was beautiful and interesting, despite the sensory overload.”

For Long, the Cuban culture and people generally matched up to her expectations.

“Their true devotion to the Castros and Che Guevara was quite astonishing,” Long said. “I can’t begin to accurately portray the adoration and devotion among the Cuban people. Similarly, the respect citizens had for one another was what one might suspect from a communist society.”

But Long was not expecting the gaps between the American and Cuban policy lexicon.

“Understanding what Cuban officials and ministers are explaining becomes a game of comprehension,” Long said. “Key issues of assembly, protest and democracy are deeply embedded within the Cuban government and its people, but not in the same way that those from the U.S. might understand. Without an analytical understanding of these constructed definitions, you might think that the U.S. and Cuba are far more similar than they are.”

Unlike Long, Malone embarked without any expectations of what Cuba would offer.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Possibly the only thing I was expecting was the warm weather,” Malone said. “The reality of Cuba is colorful and fascinating but damaged and poor. It was a sobering contrast to see such a beautiful place in such disarray.”

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Free Market Road Show to visit IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/24/free-market-road-show-to-visit-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/24/free-market-road-show-to-visit-iu-bloomington/#comments Thu, 24 Mar 2016 14:07:56 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1807 Opinion leaders from the worlds of academia, business and journalism will make the case for free-market economics next week when the Austrian Economics Center brings its Free Market Road Show to Indiana University Bloomington.

The road show, “Learning Lessons on the Road to Serfdom: From Austria to America,” will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 30 in the Georgian Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. Hosted by the IU Bloomington student chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, it will include panel discussions on “Freedom and Responsibility” and “The Role of the State and the American Dream.”

Austrian-British economist Friedrich Hayek wrote "The Road to Serfdom," a major influence on advocates of free-market economics.

Austrian-British economist Friedrich Hayek wrote “The Road to Serfdom,” a major influence on advocates of free-market economics.

Bloomington is one of cities on the organization’s current U.S. tour, along with Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, New York and Miami.

“Young Americans for Liberty is excited to host representatives from the renowned Austrian Economics Center who will speak on the role of government in the American Dream and whether freedom of action can be justified in this modern age,” said Andrew May, finance director for IU Young Americans for Liberty and campus coordinator for Students for Liberty, another group supporting the event.

“We encourage students, staff and community members to drop in for the panels to hear perspectives on U.S. positions as seen by European political scientists, journalists, and economists,” May said.

Panelists for the IU Bloomington event will include:

  • Terry Anker, chairman of the Anker Consulting Group Inc. in Carmel, Ind., and an owner of or investor in several other Indiana businesses.
  • Federico Fernandez, senior fellow at the Austrian Economics Center and president of Fundacion Bases in Rosario, Argentina.
  • Hannes Gissurarson, professor of political science at the University of Iceland and a frequent commentator on economic and political affairs for Icelandic media.
  • Barbara Kolm, director of the Austrian Economics Center, president of the Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institute, and president of the European Center for Economic Growth.
  • Karl-Peter Schwarz, a journalist currently with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Germany and formerly the editor-in-chief of Die Presse in Austria.

The Austrian Economics Center, based in Vienna, Austria, is an independent research institute committed to disseminating the ideas of the Austrian School of Economics, including the work of influential 20th century economics such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek.


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Liberian president helps launch archival website developed with help from IU http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/23/liberian-president-helps-launch-archival-website-developed-with-help-from-iu/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/23/liberian-president-helps-launch-archival-website-developed-with-help-from-iu/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:22:59 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1802 Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has unveiled a national history website that was developed with assistance from Indiana University and its Liberian Collections Project.

The site, “A Liberian Journey: History, Memory and the Making of a Nation,” features photographs, short videos, diaries and other documents from a 1926 Harvard University exploration of the West African land. It also includes related oral histories collected in contemporary Liberia.

Chief Plenyono Gbe Wolo and his wife pose in native Vai costumes in this archival photo from the Liberian Journey site. Wolo, the first African to graduate from Harvard, assisted with the 1926 expedition and later worked for Firestone. (Courtesy of IU Liberian Collections/Loring Whitman).

Chief Plenyono Gbe Wolo and his wife pose in native Vai costumes in this archival photo from the Liberian Journey site. Wolo, the first African to graduate from Harvard, assisted with the 1926 expedition and later worked for Firestone. (Courtesy of IU Liberian Collections/Loring Whitman).

Attending a launch celebration Monday, Johnson Sirleaf commended the agencies and universities that developed the site and said it will play an important role in informing Liberians about the past.

“By that, it will make all Liberians to know about their true history and the roles their forefathers played in the past in bringing all of their children up to this point,” she said in a news release.

Staff from Indiana University’s Liberian Collections Project and from IU Libraries’ African Studies Collection and Digital Collections Services played a central role in creating the site, including digitizing and posting archival materials. Many of the photos, videos, diaries and letters from the Harvard expedition are part of the Liberian Collections Project and are the property of the IU Board of Trustees.

The 1926 expedition took place after the Liberian government granted Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. a 99-year lease to establish a rubber plantation on up to 1 million acres. Firestone sponsored a team of scientists and doctors to conduct a four-month survey of Liberia’s interior to assess the challenges it would face.

Loring Whitman, a Harvard graduate and later a medical student, served as official photographer. He captured video images that are the earliest known surviving motion pictures from Liberia along with hundreds of still photographs. The materials provide a glimpse of Liberia at a time of rapid change from a viewpoint shaped by white privilege and the racial attitudes of American scientists.

“A Liberian Journey” is a collaborative project of Liberia’s Center for National Documents and Records, the Liberian Collections Project at Indiana University, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A National Science Foundation grant provided funding.

Indiana University has long been involved with Liberia through research, scholarship, and economic and medical assistance projects. Johnson Sirleaf received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from IU in 2008.

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Sociologist makes the case for open borders http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/08/sociologist-makes-the-case-for-open-borders/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/08/sociologist-makes-the-case-for-open-borders/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 14:44:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1798 Politicians may be talking about building walls and turning away migrants, but a group of academics and activists hope to eventually take the debate in the opposite direction – to a campaign for giving people the freedom to move without restriction across international boundaries.

The group, which includes Indiana University sociologist Fabio Rojas, has organized a series of activities this month around the third annual Open Borders Day, which is March 16.

Fabio Rojas

Fabio Rojas

Rojas, an associate professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the case for open borders is based on ethics and economics. Ethically, it’s simply wrong to prevent people from moving to another place where they can live a happier, more productive life. And economically, closed borders and restrictions of movement limit economic activity and keep people poor.

“Sociologists and economists have started to realize that immigration isn’t a problem. Immigration is the solution,” Rojas said. “If you want to move to Canada and work, you should be able to do that. If you want to retire to Mexico, you should be able to do that.”

Rojas will give a talk on “The Case for Open Borders” at 4 p.m. March 16 at Northwestern University. Other Open Borders Day events include:

  • March 9, a panel discussion at Harvard University
  • March 16, a debate between policy experts at the Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C.,
  • March 16, a reading in San Francisco by Tanya Golash-Boza from her book “Deported.”

Rojas said American support for open borders goes back to the Declaration of Independence, in which colonists criticized King George III for restricting movement and migration. U.S. law welcomed immigrants for 100 years, until the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act barred laborers from China.

The recent movement developed a few years ago after Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, published an article that said economic benefits from ending border restrictions would be like finding “a trillion dollar bills on the sidewalk.”

The idea, Rojas said, attracts supporters from the right and the left: libertarians who oppose government restrictions and progressives who favor human rights and social justice. And a policy of open borders would be simple to implement, he said.

“Going to war, jump-starting the economy, building superhighways – that’s hard,” he said. “This is easy. You simply tell people who work at the border stations, ‘Don’t show up.’”

The usual argument against open borders is that waves of immigrants will rush from poor to wealthy countries where they will compete for jobs and increase the demand for social services. But Rojas said those fears are overblown.

“There’s almost 100 years of research on whether immigrants take jobs, and the answer is, not really,” he said. “When a migrant shows up in your neighborhood, not only are they working, they’re also paying. They’re paying taxes, they’re paying for a place to live and for food.”

Rojas said open borders supporters have no illusion that they will persuade most people right away. And they aren’t discouraged that anti-immigration politicians are attracting big followings.

“Politicians generally follow public opinion,” he said. “They don’t shape public opinion. And we already know that most people don’t support more immigration. On the other hand, Martin Luther King said history bends the right way. The arc of history bends in the right direction.”

Rojas is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about his expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Lecture, panel discussion to address carbon taxes and climate change http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/07/lecture-panel-discussion-to-address-carbon-taxes-and-climate-change/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/07/lecture-panel-discussion-to-address-carbon-taxes-and-climate-change/#comments Mon, 07 Mar 2016 18:06:44 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1792 How can taxes on carbon emissions be an effective tool to fight climate change? A guest speaker and a panel of experts will examine the question Tuesday at Indiana University.

Ian W.H. Parry

Ian W.H. Parry

Ian W.H. Parry, principal environmental fiscal policy expert with the International Monetary Fund, will be the keynote speaker for the event, which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Frangipani Room at the Indiana Memorial Union and is sponsored by IU’s Integrated Program in the Environment.

Sarah Mincey, associated director of the Integrated Program in the Environment, said the idea for the event grew out of a March 2015 discussion that featured Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes, who was visiting IU Bloomington as a Patten lecturer.

“Panelists and audience members spent a considerable amount of time discussing a carbon tax and it was clear that we needed to follow up on that topic,” Mincey said.

She noted that a broad coalition has been calling for a global carbon tax to reduce fossil-fuel pollution and slow climate change in the wake of climate agreements reached in December 2015 at a United Nations conference known as COP21. Questions remain about how such taxes affect the economy.

“Several dozen countries have implemented some form of carbon pricing and the U.S. is facing this issue, so our community needs to be informed about the costs and the benefits,” she said. “There could be no stronger panel of experts on this topic to address these questions.”

Kenneth Richards, professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, will moderate the panel discussion, and panelists will include:

  • Antung Anthony Liu, assistant professor in SPEA, whose research areas include climate change policy and the environment in developing countries
  • Joseph Robertson, global strategy director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the author of “Building a Green Economy: On the Economics of Carbon Pricing and the Transition to Clean, Renewable Fuels
  • Gerhard Glomm, professor and chair of economics in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, whose research includes economic growth and political economy.

Parry, the keynote speaker, joined the IMF in 2010 after working at Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan research organization. His research focuses on analytical models to measure the impacts and efficiency of environmental, energy and transportation policies. He is co-editor of the forthcoming “Implementing a US Carbon Tax: Challenges and Debates” and of “Fiscal Policy to Mitigate Climate Change: A Guide for Policymakers” and the author of over 50 journal articles and other publications.

The lecture and panel discussion are free and open to the public.

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Study examines Ferguson protesters’ views of race, crime and policing http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/03/study-examines-ferguson-protesters-views-of-race-crime-and-policing/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/03/study-examines-ferguson-protesters-views-of-race-crime-and-policing/#comments Thu, 03 Mar 2016 15:00:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1789 In 1968, a commission headed by former Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner examined causes of the civil unrest that had swept through America’s cities and famously warned that the U.S. was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.”

The protests that followed police shootings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and others suggest too little has changed. And a newly published study, co-authored by IU criminologist Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, finds that many protesters see “separate and unequal” policing as both real and part of a larger problem.

Akwasi Owusu Bempah

Akwasi Owusu Bempah

“The protesters did not view police discrimination as an isolated phenomenon but argued it’s reflective of broader society,” he said. “They recognize that police are a state institution, and they operate in a society that’s structured along racial, class and other lines.”

The study, “Perceptions of race, crime and policing among Ferguson protesters,” was published by the Journal of Crime and Justice. Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor of criminal justice at IU Bloomington, is co-author with Jennifer Cobbina and Kimberly Bender of Michigan State University.

The study is based on in-depth interviews with 81 people who participated in protests after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014. Most of the respondents were Ferguson residents, and all lived in the greater St. Louis area. Findings included:

  • A majority did not believe there was a correlation between race and crime; that is, they thought blacks were neither more nor less likely to commit crimes than whites.
  • A majority said police, as a group, view blacks as more likely than whites to commit crimes and therefore target blacks more aggressively for enforcement.

Owusu-Bempah said substantial research has shown that white people and Americans in general over-estimate the extent to which African-Americans are responsible for crime. But there have been few studies, he said, of how minorities see the connections between race and crime.

Also, little research has been done on how marginalized populations believe they are viewed by police. The Ferguson protesters said police viewed African-Americans as “worthless” and “animalistic,” reflecting previous studies that have found implicit racial bias among police officers.

The protesters had “a rather nuanced view” of the relationship between race and crime, Owusu-Bempah said. Some attributed black crime to social conditions and poverty. Some suggested black people were more likely to commit “street crime” motivated by financial need and white people were more likely to engage in white-collar crime motivated by opportunity.

The findings matter, Owusu-Bempah said, because perceptions matter. Studies have shown that attitudes toward and experience with police have an effect on social behavior.

“If you believe police are biased, you are less likely to cooperate with police,” he said. “And importantly, if you think police are biased, you are more likely to engage in crime. Distrust of police also increases the likelihood that social unrest will occur.”

Owusu-Bempah is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about his expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Panel to discuss future of big-time college sports http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/02/panel-to-discuss-future-of-big-time-college-sports/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/02/panel-to-discuss-future-of-big-time-college-sports/#comments Wed, 02 Mar 2016 14:02:40 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1784 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

College sports are big business. Amid the nationally divisive debates on paying college athletes, amateurism, academic standards, media rights and excessive spending, the financial enormity of college athletic institutions is undeniable. As a sports powerhouse, IU is no exception.

The law and public policy program at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs will host Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, and Fred Glass, IU athletic director, in a discussion on the future of college sports. Jayma Meyer, an IU visiting scholar of sports law, will moderate the discussion.

Mark Emmert

Mark Emmert

The panel will take place March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Moot Court Room, room 123, in the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. The event is free and open to the public.

While the athletes are usually central in sports policy discussions, entire communities are affected by the outcomes, Meyer said.

“Sport brings together diverse groups of people in a common endeavor like no other extracurricular activity in college or activity in a community,” she said. “Just think about the movie ‘Hoosiers’ and how the tiny town of Hickory came together. Or, think about Nelson Mandela and his speech about sport having the power to change the world. Those explain it all.”

The debate over whether to pay college athletes is reignited every March as college basketball teams compete in the NCAA tournament. The tournament has become big business for the broadcasters, corporate sponsors and the NCAA. In 2012, CBS and Turner broadcasting profited over $1 billion from the tournament, due in part to a $700,000 ad rate during the Final Four and the $1.3 million rate during the championship game for a 30-second spot.

Media rights bring in money not only to the media conglomerates but the universities as well. Half of the $53 million budget for IU’s School of Global and International Studies came from IU’s Big Ten Network revenues.

Sports can have such an impact that even Pope Francis is getting in on the conversation. This October, the Vatican will host “Sports at the Service of Humanity,” a three day event examining the impact sports can have on education, health and wellness.

“This really is a public policy question because of its implications on inclusion, equality, respect and diversity,” Meyer said. “It shouldn’t be put in an athletic silo. It’s a big deal.”

IU athletics are a bit of a curveball in the traditional college sports finance debate. IU offers an impressive 24 sports, six fewer than Purdue. But with comparatively modest financing, IU has the second smallest budget, next to Rutgers, per sport in the Big Ten.

The financial challenge in Bloomington is football. Unlike most universities, IU’s biggest moneymaker is men’s basketball, not football. The other sports are nonfactors for making money.

“Our men’s basketball team makes about $11 million. Our football team makes about $4 million. And our other 22 sports together make about $200,000. That’s it. Soccer and baseball don’t move the dial,” said Glass in an interview with the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.

Glass, trained as a lawyer, has kept IU athletics ahead of the debate on student rights. Among the anti-trust lawsuits that popped up nationwide in 2014, Glass wrote a 10-point Student-Athlete Bill of Rights. The document outlines IU’s commitment to student-athlete values such as academic and medical support. It also outlines a Hoosiers for Life program that allows student-athletes who leave IU in good standing to return to IU later in life with a guaranteed tuition scholarship.

“IU is doing it right,” Meyer said. “This is a comprehensive plan. Other schools are copycatting it now and developing similar provisions”

Beyond commercialization and paydays, Glass and Emmert will take questions on amateurism, concussions and student-athlete time demands.

“Some of these issues are real problems,” Meyer said. “Getting paid for autographs is a tiny problem. But we need to get all of it right or the structure of college sports could change dramatically with everyone worse off.”


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IU geographer: Syrian refugees present complex humanitarian challenge http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/01/iu-geographer-syrian-refugees-present-complex-humanitarian-challenge/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/03/01/iu-geographer-syrian-refugees-present-complex-humanitarian-challenge/#comments Tue, 01 Mar 2016 14:57:26 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1779 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Around 12 million Syrians, nearly half of the country’s population, are displaced. More than 42,000 try to leave the country each day. As refugees seek basic living conditions worldwide, regional countries are increasingly strained financially and questions about the European response grow progressively tense.

Beyond the financial or logistical questions, the refugee crisis remains a humanitarian catastrophe first and foremost, an Indiana University faculty member made clear on Monday.

Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of geography at IU Bloomington, addressed the current refugee landscape and subsequent global response in her talk “Refugees From Syria: A Global Humanitarian Crisis.”

The current encampment solution is failing, Dunn said.

The United Nations Refugee Agency’s Azraq camp in the Jordanian desert is heralded as the premier refugee camp in the world. It features flat pack metal shelters designed by IKEA and outhouses nearby. The camp was built to house people for the medium term, as opposed to typical tent housing that deteriorates in four to six months.

Despite Azraq’s ability to house up to 150,000 people and its supposed amenities, only 18,000 refugees reside in the camp.

“Refugees refuse to go there,” Dunn said. “This points to the death of the camp as a solution. It is about one to one-and-a-half hours from Amman. It is completely isolated from urban markets, and that is on purpose. It makes the likelihood of attaining any employment very low.”

Azraq’s allegedly modern camp lacks sewage treatment, water treatment facilities, adequate electricity and climate control.

“This is a place where summer temperatures can reach 120 degrees,” Dunn said. “120 degrees and you’re housed in a metal shipping container.”

For the majority of Syrians who are middle class and have the means to get to Europe, or send one family member ahead, the life-threatening journey is largely a political construct, Dunn said.

“One out of 25 who board a boat will not make it to Europe,” she said. “The death rate is really high and then things get more dangerous. These are people who could fly. The only reason they’re not allowed to get on a plane and fly is because European governments have refused transportation means.”

“These are not inevitable deaths,” Dunn said. “We need to lay these kinds of risks at the proper door.”

Adding to the complexity of a long-term solution, European Union countries fall at all points along the spectrum of support for and aversion to placement of refugees in their own countries.

“This is not just a just a clash of civilizations, as some are calling it, but a real clash of values,” Dunn said. “What is the value of European liberalism if you don’t stand up for human rights?”

U.S. efforts to help have been comparatively inadequate, Dunn said. Despite efforts by the Obama administration, the United States is accepting only 10,000 refugees out of the 11 million. Even if U.S. borders are relaxed, it is not likely that large numbers of refugees will be able to easily relocate here. Last year only 891 Syrian refugees made it the United States.

“The greatest need isn’t going to be for refugees here,” Dunn said. “The greatest need is for refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. It’s important we don’t localize this problem.”

Accepting larger numbers may help with the crisis logistically but more importantly would signal a political shift.

“The question of resettling people is of political will, not a question of finances or logistics in the long run,” Dunn said. “We need to think of ways to reframe the discourse on resettlement. It has been radicalized by those opposed to it and we have to get away from that.”

Dunn pointed to the many lingering questions of resettlement, long term planning, effects on the international community and psychological effects on the refugees.

The questions involve individuals, not just huddled masses, Dunn said. Drawing on the many water metaphors used, such as a flow or stream of refugees, Dunn reminded the audience that the resettlement skills and needs of an architect from Damascus vary significantly from those of a rural goat farmer.

Despite a gloomy prognosis on the current international coordination efforts, Dunn pointed to the potential of localized problem-solving as a response to the crisis.

“The institutional infrastructure we have is not adequate to handle the magnitude of this crisis,” Dunn said. “We face a series of distinct crises that require a series of distinct solutions based individual geographical areas.”

Dunn is also available for comment on the 2016 election season. You can learn about her expertise and more at Decision 2016, a comprehensive online media guide for elections resources at IU.

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Civil discussion of abortion? PACE students show it’s possible http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/29/civil-discussion-of-abortion-pace-students-show-its-possible/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/29/civil-discussion-of-abortion-pace-students-show-its-possible/#comments Mon, 29 Feb 2016 15:56:45 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1769 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Students filtered back into the auditorium of the IU Education Building after returning from a working lunch. Some looked over their notes and assigned readings while others finished lingering discussions from their last small group session.

Sacrificing a sunny Saturday, over 100 students spent six hours deliberating — but not debating — the legal, political, social and ethical issues surrounding abortion in the U.S.

Dawn Johnsen answers a question while fellow panelists, from left, Judith Allen, Jason Eberl and Judy Klein listen.

Dawn Johnsen answers a question while fellow panelists, from left, Judith Allen, Jason Eberl and Judy Klein listen.

PACE, the Political and Civic Engagement Program, hosts an annual one-credit-hour forum tackling a different divisive issue each year. This year’s topic, abortion and reproductive rights, brought students from all disciplines to engage in productive and respectful conversation on the contentious issue.

A keynote panel discussion followed personal conversations in the morning session and sparked heated discussions in the afternoon small group session. Panelists offered historical, legal, philosophical and medical perspectives, framing the debate from multiple points of view.

Panelists included Judith Allen, professor in the Department of History and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute; Jason Eberl, the Semler Endowed Chair for Medical Ethics in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Marian University; Dawn Johnsen, the Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law at the IU Maurer School of Law; and Judy Klein, staff physician at the IU Health Center.

Allen began the panel by offering historical context to the modern debate on abortion.

“The pro-life and pro-choice dualism we see is recent,” Allen said. “Often younger people assume this has always been the debate.”

Allen pointed to the importance of working through the historical precedent of abortion to put the modern legal debate in context. She reminded students of the “non-fixity of abortion’s definition.”

To properly understand the modern context, Allen began in 1803, almost 4,000 miles away, with the British criminalization of abortion that influenced American laws.

Eberl grounded his presentation not in history but in philosophical theory. He walked the students through the two main philosophical approaches to discussing abortion, beginning with the ontological and ending with the moral permissibility of abortion.

Eberl added to Allen’s historical context but used philosophy to show how modern divisions between Democrats and Republicans or the religious and non-religious might be a reality in the political debate over abortion but are not inherent divisions.

Johnsen brought decades of experience working full time as a reproductive rights advocate and lawyer, moving from Eberl’s philosophical questions to legal and political realities.

“When you work on these issues from a law and policy perspective, the question is not what I would do, what you hope I do or even what Indiana legislators want me to do,” Johnsen said. “The policy question should be whether the state of Indiana should make that choice for me with the force of criminal law.”

Klein reminded students that while the historical, philosophical and legal discussions are necessary, the reality of the individual level is never so abstract.

“Abortion is reduced to simplistic terms in public debate,” Klein said. “But personally it can be excruciatingly nuanced.”

After rattling off statistics supporting both the safety and ease of an abortion, Klein expressed concern not only for women worldwide who face criminal charges for having an abortion but also for the future safety of women in the U.S. who might turn to risky black market procedures if state restrictions make a safe procedure impossible.

“Abortion is not going away,” Klein said. “The question is, will it continue to be safe and legal in the U.S.?”

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Annual student forum seeks civil engagement on abortion and reproductive rights http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/24/annual-student-forum-seeks-civil-engagement-on-abortion-and-reproductive-rights/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/24/annual-student-forum-seeks-civil-engagement-on-abortion-and-reproductive-rights/#comments Wed, 24 Feb 2016 18:09:01 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1765 Indiana University Bloomington’s Political and Civic Engagement program, PACE, will host a one-day, one-credit-hour course on abortion and reproductive rights from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 27.

Nearly 100 undergraduates will participate in the forum, which aims to promote productive civil discourse on difficult topics, teach students to challenge their own assumptions and emphasize deliberative democracy.

PACE logoThe annual forum is in its seventh year. Past topics included policing in the U.S., national security, climate change and Internet security.

“PACE hosts this event in order to train students to engage in what President Obama called in his last State of the Union address ‘rational, constructive debates,’” said Sandra Shapshay, PACE director. “Our format offers a safe space for undergraduates to discuss issues of tremendous public importance, informed by experts from various perspectives and in moderated small-group deliberations that enable all voices to be heard and engaged with respectfully.”

The forum brings panelists and experts from various backgrounds and perspectives together to complement the student small group discussions.

This year’s guest speakers include Judith Allen, professor in the Department of History and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute; Jason Eberl, the Semler Endowed Chair for Medical Ethics in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Marian University; Dawn Johnsen, the Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law at Maurer School of Law; and Judy Klein, staff physician at the IU Health Center.

The practice of deliberation is vital to a democratic democracy, Shapshay said. The PACE forum allows students to both work through the difficulties of public disagreement and reveal new solutions made possible by engaging in a community discussion.

“We hope that students will learn that even highly contentious issues like abortion and reproductive rights can be discussed in a rigorous, productive and civil fashion,” Shapshay said.


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National Teacher of the Year focuses on hope and inspiration http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/19/national-teacher-of-the-year-focuses-on-hope-and-inspiration/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/19/national-teacher-of-the-year-focuses-on-hope-and-inspiration/#comments Fri, 19 Feb 2016 19:06:53 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1759 Ignore the naysayers, follow your passion and don’t let fear slow you down, 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples told an audience of aspiring educators at IU Bloomington today.

“Any time someone tries to tell you you’re just a teacher – or just an education major – I want you to think about the warrior line of people you’re joining,” she said. “Fear is easy. Fear is cheap. And that’s why we see so much of it.”

Shanna Peeples (Council of Chief State School Officers photo)

Shanna Peeples (Council of Chief State School Officers photo)

Peeples, a high school English teacher in Amarillo, Texas, spoke at the Indiana University School of Education in a program sponsored by Inspire Living-Learning Center and the Office of Recruitment and Retention for Underrepresented Students in the School of Education.

Introduced by 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year Kathy Nimmer of Lafayette, Peeples said she avoided the classroom for years because she thought teaching lacked glamour. She worked as a disc jockey, a Beverly Hills pet-sitter, a medical assistant and a newspaper reporter but didn’t find fulfillment.

So she left California, went home to Texas and listened to the inner voice calling her to be a teacher.

“Teaching gives you a chance to live a life of meaning and true purpose,” she said. “Only teaching can do that, for me.”

Peeples said she takes inspiration from her students and also from the teachers she has met in travels for the Teacher of the Year program, sponsored since 1952 by the Council of Chief State School Officers. In particular, she was in awe of teachers she met on a trip to the Middle East.

In Gaza, she said, Palestinian teachers are “bearers of hope” who use makeshift materials to rebuild schools that are destroyed by rocket attacks. They keep teaching despite uncertainty about when and even whether they will be paid.

In Lebanon, teachers work double shifts to serve an influx of 100,000 students who fled the civil war in neighboring Syria yet worry about another 200,000 refugee children who aren’t enrolled in school.

“When you rip your teachers out of society, you’ve ripped your future out,” Peeples said. “What is a schoolhouse except a symbol of the future?”

Peeples and Nimmer lamented what they called the “negative narrative” that America’s public schools are failing and teachers are at fault. While much of the public may share that view, they said, most parents – the people in the best position to know – think their children’s schools are pretty good.

Peeples said teachers should “teach who’s in front of you,” focus on the positive and make a difference where they can.

“If you are a teacher,” she said, “you know that hope isn’t an abstract concept. You know that hope is a real thing. And you know that hope is the only thing we have to beat back fear.”


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SPEA panel to explore impact of Scalia’s death http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/18/spea-panel-to-explore-impact-of-scalias-death/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/18/spea-panel-to-explore-impact-of-scalias-death/#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2016 21:42:13 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1755 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last weekend ushered a flurry of controversy. Conspiracy theorists aside, Democratic and Republican elected officials and presidential hopefuls remain locked in a standoff, not yet over who should assume Scalia’s chair, but who should nominate his successor. The result is a hyper-partisan duel over historical precedent and constitutional interpretation.

Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia (Supreme Court photo)

A panel of experts from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington will discuss Scalia’s influence and the debate following his death on Friday, Feb. 19, from noon-1 p.m. in SPEA 167. The event, titled “After Scalia,” is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided.

Panelists will include Beth Cate, associate professor in SPEA; Andrea Need, director of SPEA undergraduate academic affairs; Paul Helmke, SPEA professor of practice; and Les Lenkowsky, SPEA professor of practice.

Both Republicans and Democrats are testing the waters in the appointment process, largely because the appointment possibility and the political climate are unprecedented. It has been over a century since a Supreme Court justice died during an election year and over 20 years since a White House and Senate were controlled by different parties when a Supreme Court justice was nominated.

Scalia’s death leaves the Supreme Court with four conservative justices and four liberal justices. Although Justice Anthony Kennedy is sometimes a swing vote, the court is now expected to reach a 4-4 tie in upcoming landmark cases on abortion, immigration and birth control. A tie upholds the lower court’s ruling.

Amidst the political argument over the Supreme Court’s most outspoken conservative, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most outspoken liberal, showed that a space still exists for politicians and scholars to disagree passionately but respectfully.

In her statement following Scalia’s passing, Ginsburg said, “He was a jurist of captivating brilliance and wit, with a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh.”

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Studies examine religious attitudes toward gender equality, sexual orientation http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/18/studies-examine-religious-attitudes-toward-gender-equality-sexual-orientation/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/18/studies-examine-religious-attitudes-toward-gender-equality-sexual-orientation/#comments Thu, 18 Feb 2016 15:31:11 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1752 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

New research suggests that religious affiliations in both the United States and worldwide correlate with gender equality and views toward gender and homosexuality. Landon Schnabel, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University Bloomington, published two recent articles considering the effects of religion in the aggregate on gender equality and the evolution of American evangelical views on gender and homosexuality.

In “Gender and homosexuality attitudes across religious groups from the 1970s to 2014,” Schnabel considers the views of American evangelicals, who traditionally erect moral boundaries on issues such as gender and homosexuality, to distinguish their community from those outside their religious tradition.

Landon Schnabel

Landon Schnabel

“I was fairly certain there would be differences in gender and sexuality attitudes across religious groups in any given point in time,” said Schnabel. “But I wanted to understand how the attitudes of different religious groups have changed compared to one another over time.”

Using General Social Survey data to compare attitudes toward gender roles and same-sex relationships, Schnabel found that evangelical attitudes toward women are different than other religious groups but move together over time. Evangelical and historically black Protestant views toward same-sex relationships are different than other religious groups, and diverge over time.

The separate findings suggest that evangelical views on gender and sexuality are decoupled. Evangelicals are adapting to standards of gender equality but continue to distinguish themselves with negative attitudes toward same-sex marriage.

“Conservative Protestants aren’t a majority and laws that many evangelicals and historically black Protestants disagree with can get passed,” Schnabel said. “But conservative Protestants still compose a third of the public and, since the legalization of same-sex marriage, we are seeing reactionary actions that disadvantage sexual minorities. In almost all of the cases of denial of services to same-sex couples, those refusing services are conservative Protestants.”

In “Religion and Gender Equality Worldwide,” Schnabel moves outside of the American religious context and looks at the effect of world religions at the macro level of equality. While most sociological research on religion evaluates the effects of individual religiosity on views of gender or sexuality, Schnabel’s research looks at the religious compositions of countries and subsequent macro-level gender equality.

He finds that the proportion of non-religious people in a country is distinctly associated with greater gender equality. Further, women in a country with a higher number of non-religious peers are more empowered.

“Countries with more non-religious people are better for women,” Schnabel said. “There are some small differences in the relationship between Christian and Muslim populations on gender equality, but the main distinction I found was between non-religious populations and people of all religions.”

Schnabel found the effect of non-religion is similar for both the United Nations and Social Watch indices of gender equity.

“One might assume that development explains both secularism and gender equality, and development does account for some of the relationship,” said Schnabel. “But even when accounting for societal development, the more non-religious people in a country, the better that country is for women.”

Schnabel’s findings also dispel the Western critique of a strong correlation between Islam and the poor treatment of women.

“Despite popular rhetoric in the Western world about Islam being bad for women, there are only small differences between the effect of Christianity and Islam on gender equality when accounting for societal development,” Schnabel said.

There are, however, large difference between the major world religions — Christianity, Islam and Hinduism — and non-religion. Countries with higher proportions of non-religious people consistently treat women more equally than countries with almost exclusively religious populations.

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Scholar to discuss Holocaust and 9/11 memorials http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/17/scholar-to-discuss-holocaust-and-911-memorials/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/17/scholar-to-discuss-holocaust-and-911-memorials/#comments Wed, 17 Feb 2016 14:14:39 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1744 James E. Young, an internationally known scholar of Holocaust studies and the design and role of memorials, will present a free public lecture Saturday at Indiana University Bloomington.

Young, Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, will speak at 12:30 p.m. in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union on “The Memorial’s Vernacular Arc: Between Berlin’s Denkmal and New York City’s 9/11 Memorial.”

James E. Young

James E. Young

The lecture, sponsored by the Department of History at IU Bloomington and the Cornelius O’Brien Lecture Series, is the keynote address for the 2016 annual meeting of the Indiana Association of Historians, the theme of which is “1816 and All That: History/Memory/Commemoration.”

Young will draw on his scholarship and his experience serving on memorial commissions, including the five-member panel that selected the design for Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial and the jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial, which was completed and dedicated in 2011.

“James Young has been both a scholar and a practitioner of what we sometimes call ‘public memory,’ the job of making sense of collective experiences in the past,” said Eric Sandweiss, history department chair. “Through his work on both Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial and New York’s 9/11 Memorial, Professor Young shows that tragic events need not be trivialized in public monuments, and that a society can learn from even its most terrible moments.”

The lecture will discuss what Young refers to as “the memorial’s arc” from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial designed by Maya Lin to the German Holocaust memorials and the national 9/11 Memorial in New York City. He wrote about this in Harvard Design Magazine:

Like other cultural and aesthetic forms in Europe and America, the monument — in both idea and practice — has undergone a radical transformation over the course of the 20th century. As intersection between public art and political memory, the monument has necessarily reflected the aesthetic and political revolutions, as well as the wider crises of representation, following all of this century’s major upheavals … The result has been a metamorphosis of the monument from the heroic, self-aggrandizing figurative icons of the late 19th century, which celebrated national ideals and triumphs, to the antiheroic, often ironic and self-effacing conceptual installations that mark the national ambivalence and uncertainty of late 20th-century postmodernism.

Young directs the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts. He is the author of “Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust,” “The Texture of Memory” and “At Memory’s Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture” and is completing an insider’s view of the World Trade Center Memorial, titled “The Stages of Memory at Ground Zero: A Juror’s Report on the World Trade Center Site Memorial.”

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Syrian scholar explores deterioration from democracy to dictatorship http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/16/syrian-scholar-explores-deterioration-from-democracy-to-dictatorship/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/16/syrian-scholar-explores-deterioration-from-democracy-to-dictatorship/#comments Tue, 16 Feb 2016 21:34:57 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1746 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

While consolidated authoritarian rule and devastating civil war color the Levant’s modern landscape, Syria’s history offers a glimmer of what could have been. “The democratic years,” 1954 to 1958, exemplify the easily forgotten reality of a Syria enjoying free speech, free press and free elections.

The consolidation of authoritarian power and the deterioration of the state was anything but predestined, Kevin Martin argues in his book “Syria’s Democratic Years: Citizens, Experts, and Media in the 1950s,” published in 2015 by IU Press.

Syria: The Democratic YearsMartin, assistant professor of Near Eastern language and cultures and adjunct assistant professor of history, introduced students and faculty to his publication Feb. 16 in a talk outlining the book’s fourth chapter, “Punishing the Enemies of Arabism.”

He also discussed Syria’s prescriptive 1950s history through three Syrian figures: lawyer Najat Qassab Hasan, doctor and activist Sabri al-Qabban and, in particular, military man Adnan al-Malki.

“The Syrian elite and institutions attempted to craft an ideal citizen from post-independence up until the 1990s,” Martin said.

This organized effort through the press and government programs to model the ideal Arab citizen pledged modernity.

“Citizenship since devolved from the citizen as defined by rights to that of ‘objects’ for the Syrian government,” Martin said.

The 1955 death of al-Malki, the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian army, marks the abortive move from modern citizenry toward authoritarian rule in Syria.

Despite his high position in the army, al-Malki was relatively unknown to the Syrian public. But the army capitalized on his assassination to both raise al-Malki to the level of a secular martyr while also vilifying the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the party blamed for al-Malki’s death.

The army mobilized al-Malki’s death as a platform to dampen political discourse, attempting to polarize Syrian worldviews as Syrians versus the SSNP and all other enemies.

Immediately, al-Malki became a Syrian household name; magazines and newspapers featured him as the epitome of heroism, upstanding character and what it means to be Syrian. The Syrian army used this carefully crafted narrative to direct Syria’s future, consolidating its increasingly authoritarian control. The perfect citizen and heroism narrative dovetailed with the army’s message that any fringe political organizations posed a risk to both Syrian safety and the very core of what it means to be Syrian.

“The narrative tried to turn Syrian history into a monochromatic scheme,” Martin said. “It wanted to say that Syrians are good and enemies are bad.”

The narrative following al-Malki’s death lacked the nuance necessary for successful democratic processes, Martin said

Although international factors, such as Syria’s relationship with Israel and the CIA, increasingly nudged the Syrian regime toward authoritarianism, “Al-Malki’s death is the single most prominent example [of the push toward authoritarianism], if you survey the press,” he said.

In the book, Martin points to the state-constructed narrative around al-Malki’s death as one locus of Syria’s democratic deterioration.

“By giving people alternate examples from the past, how Syrians on their own volition were able to create democratic governance, this model may offer some hope,” Martin said of Syria’s future stability and governance.

Despite the promise of Syria’s democratic years as a positive history lesson and al-Malki’s death serving as a preventive example of how authoritarianism may guilefully evolve, Martin is not optimistic that a recognizable Syria will re-emerge during his career.

Modern Syrian politics have devolved to a zero sum game, he said. At best, he expects a recognizable and independent Damascus may re-emerge.

“Amidst the ongoing peace talks, what can happen?” Martin asked. “Even if they are successful tomorrow, how many refugees will go back and how? Everything has been severed.”

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Economist: Property rights an underappreciated response to resource issues http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/12/economist-property-rights-an-underappreciated-response-to-resource-issues/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/12/economist-property-rights-an-underappreciated-response-to-resource-issues/#comments Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:56:43 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1742 Indiana University political scientist Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues and students famously showed that people and organizations can work together to prevent overuse of natural resources through the creation of informal institutions and mutually agreed-upon rules.

But what happens when forces compete for “open-access resources” in larger settings that don’t respond to such informal governance? How can we keep from exhausting limited supplies of essential resources such as water, clean air, energy supplies and fishery stocks?

Gary Libecap

Gary Libecap

Economist Gary Libecap, who presented the Ostrom Memorial Lecture this week at IU Bloomington, argues the answer may be to think in terms of competing property rights – rights that can be bought, sold and traded to establish and maintain the value of the resources.

“The idea is, when parties don’t own the resource, they do not bear the full social cost of their actions, and they will use too much of it or too little,” he said. “A clear way to deal with that is to assign ownership. If I own the resource, I bear the full cost of its use; and if I’m unconcerned with that, it will be more valuable to someone else, who will buy it from me.”

Libecap, a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Policy and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presented the second annual Ostrom Memorial Lecture on Wednesday at the IU Maurer School of Law. The lecture honors the memory of Elinor Ostrom and Vincent Ostrom, influential and longtime IU faculty members who both died in 2012.

In the lecture and an interview, Libecap elaborated on his ideas, which he said build on the Ostroms’ work in analyzing governance, institutions and natural resources. He drew primarily on the work of economist Ronald Coase, including Coase’s influential 1960 paper “The Problem of Social Cost.”

Coase brought a novel approach to addressing what happens when the actions of businesses produce effects on others, a problem that economists call externalities. Historically, Libecap said, the response was for government to regulate or tax the harmful activities – the principle of “polluter pays.”

But while the approach sounds good, Libecap said, it often doesn’t work as well as it should. Taxes rarely reflect the true social costs of the activity that is being taxed. And regulations are often poorly designed, ineffective and wasteful but persist because affected parties resist change.

Coase argued that it may be more effective and create more overall social benefits to think of such situations as a market in which the polluter and the people affected by pollution can bargain for a solution. If the government were to assign clear property rights – a right to pollute or a right to be free of pollution – the parties could strike a deal that reflects actual costs and benefits.

In recent decades, Coase’s ideas influenced the development of “cap and trade” regulatory schemes that have been used in areas such as air pollution and fishery rights. But many of those attempts, Libecap said, haven’t been effective because they were “over-engineered” or poorly designed.

One problem, he said, is that governments typically haven’t assigned true property rights but only credits or permits that can be revoked or modified, which weakens their market value. Another is that too many restrictions are placed on selling and trading the permits.

“This undermines what a property right is supposed to do, because it makes it very uncertain,” Libecap said. “The value of a property right is to instill incentives for parties to take stewardship measures, conserve the resource and think long term. They won’t do that if the value is uncertain.”

Libecap cited Vincent Ostrom’s work on “polycentric governance” to raise questions about the role of government officials who design and implement regulatory schemes. In addition to business-related “market failure,” he said, economists should examine “what can loosely be called government failure.”

Government officials, he said, “don’t own the resource. Therefore they do not fully capture the costs and benefits of the resource. So you might get too much regulation or too little regulation.”

Libecap said elected officials are likely responsive to voters, so they do have incentives to approve regulations that are fair and equitable – assuming the interest groups that lobby for and against them are competitive and broadly representative of society’s interests.

But the situation is more difficult, he said, with the career government agency employees who actually do the work of drafting and carrying out regulations. It isn’t clear what signals and incentives they are likely to respond to or what motivates them to make decisions.

“I’m not saying I have an answer to these problems,” Libecap said. “What’s astonishing is how little focus there has been on these potential sources of social costs from politicians and agency officials.”

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Book edited by IU scholar Rosenfeld examines ‘new antisemitism’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/10/book-edited-by-iu-scholar-rosenfeld-examines-new-antisemitism/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/10/book-edited-by-iu-scholar-rosenfeld-examines-new-antisemitism/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:52:07 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1737 It has been nearly two years since 45 scholars from 10 countries gathered at IU Bloomington for four days of intensive analysis and discussion of a disturbing development: the rise of antisemitism as a global and multifaceted phenomenon.

But the newly published book that their work produced – “Deciphering the New Antisemitism” – is as timely as a work of scholarship is ever likely to be, said Indiana University professor Alvin Rosenfeld, who convened the April 2014 conference and edited the volume.

Deciphering the New Antisemitism“It’s all too relevant,” said Rosenfeld, who holds the Irving Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies and is professor of English and director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at IU Bloomington. “Most scholars who study this would agree that antisemitism has been on the upsurge for the past 15 to 16 years. It is widespread and has a lot of momentum. And the kind of issues we address are, unfortunately, still occurring.”

Published by Indiana University Press, “Deciphering the New Antisemitism” is part of a series edited by Rosenfeld titled Studies in Antisemitism.

It includes essays on a range of topics, such as antisemitism and Islamophobia, anti-Zionism, attempts to delegitimize Israel, developments in the Holocaust denial movement and regional manifestations of antisemitism in Europe, Iran and the Middle East and among the American political left.

Contributors, in addition to Rosenfeld, include French writer and intellectual Pascal Bruckner; Bernard Harrison, the author of “The Resurgence of Antisemitism: Jews, Israel and Liberal Opinion”; Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Matthias Küntzel, German political scientist and the author of “Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11.”

Rosenfeld ties awareness of what scholars call the new antisemitism to the 2002 execution of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by Islamist militants while reporting in Pakistan. In a video recorded and posted by his captors, Pearl said, “My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish.”

“That’s tantamount to a capital crime,” Rosenfeld said. “It’s a death sentence for these people.”

Since then, acts of violence against Jews have become routine news across much of the world. Terrorists who carried out large-scale attacks in India and France targeted Jews and Jewish institutions; Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials have been vandalized; and in recent months, Palestinian assailants have attacked Jews at bus stops and on city streets.

“We’re in an age where antisemitism is back,” Rosenfeld said. “And it’s back in some very violent ways.”

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UC Santa Barbara economist to present Ostrom Memorial Lecture http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/08/uc-santa-barbara-economist-to-present-ostrom-memorial-lecture/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/08/uc-santa-barbara-economist-to-present-ostrom-memorial-lecture/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:02:57 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1733 Economist Gary D. Libecap, a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Policy and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will present the second Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Memorial Lecture this week at IU Bloomington.

Libecap, whose research focuses on issues related to entrepreneurship and sustainable business practices, will speak at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Moot Court Room of the IU Maurer School of Law.

Gary Libecap

Gary Libecap

The lecture, presented by the Ostrom Workshop at IU Bloomington, honors the memory of Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, longtime Indiana University professors who founded the workshop in 1973. Both died in June 2012. Elinor Ostrom received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009.

“We are excited to have Gary Libecap as our second Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Memorial lecturer. Libecap is one of the world’s leading scholars on the governance of natural resources,” said Lee Alston, Ostrom Workshop director and Ostrom Chair and professor of economics at IU Bloomington, who established the memorial lecture series.

Libecap’s lecture, “Environmental Externalities and Coasean Exchange,” will examine issues of natural-resource governance in light of classical economic literature and commentary by other scholars – Elinor Ostrom; Oliver Williamson, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize; and Ronald Coase, a  British economist and author who influenced Elinor Ostrom’s work and received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1991.

In an abstract for the lecture, Libecap adds:

Because interest groups, politicians, and agency officials do not bear the full social costs of their actions, there is a second source of externality along with market failure — government failure. Potential distortions have been neglected in the literature. Vincent Ostrom’s work is a basis for understanding bureaucratic behavior. I then examine how the literature and policy have responded to Coase’s arguments, particularly with cap and trade schemes. I argue that neither has fully incorporated transaction costs in property rights definition and market design. This has important implications for market performance. I conclude with recommendations for further research.

Barry Weingast, the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, presented the inaugural Ostrom Memorial Lecture in February 2015 on “The Violence Trap: Why Democracy and Rule of Law Fail in the Developing World.”

Libecap joined the faculty of UC Santa Barbara in 2006 after more than 20 years at the University of Arizona, where he developed and directed the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship program. At UC Santa Barbara, he played a critical role in developing the Eco-Entrepreneurship focus, a joint venture between the Bren School and the university’s School of Engineering. His current research is focused on legal, economic and policy aspects of water allocation in the western United States.

Video of Libecap’s Ostrom Memorial Lecture will be streamed live by the IU Maurer School of Law. A reception will follow the lecture in the law school’s faculty lounge.

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EPA falls short on environmental justice, IU expert says http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/05/epa-falls-short-on-environmental-justice-iu-expert-says/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/05/epa-falls-short-on-environmental-justice-iu-expert-says/#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:33:03 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1731 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fallen short in its efforts to include environmental justice considerations in its enforcement of federal environmental regulations, Indiana University faculty member David Konisky told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today.

Konisky, an associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, addressed the commission in a Washington, D.C., hearing on its 2016 report “Environmental Justice: Toxic Materials, Poor Economies and the Impact on the Environment of Low-Income, Minority Communities.”

David Konisky

David Konisky

The hearing included five panels with 20 witnesses focused on EPA Plan EJ 2014, a 2011 initiative to integrate environmental justice in federal environmental programs. The plan was named in recognition of the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s executive order on environmental justice.

Testifiers included residents affected by environmental injustices, physicians, coal industry executives and lobbyists, coal ash activists and environmental justice advocates. Although Konisky testified with the coal ash activists and advocates, he does not consider his own testimony activism.

Konisky outlined three reflections on the shortcomings of EPA Plan EJ 2014:

  • The EPA has a poor record of integrating environmental justice into its decision-making.
  • The EPA has not effectively encouraged or required state agencies to consider environmental justice in their implementation of federal pollution control laws.
  • The enforcement of the new coal ash regulations is likely to be hindered by these two systemic and enduring problems, with potentially important implications for communities living near coal ash disposal facilities.

After research for his 2015 book “Failed Promises,” which evaluates the federal government’s environmental justice policies from the 1970s onward, Konisky concluded that the EPA has repeatedly failed to accommodate environmental justice considerations in core programming such as agency permitting, economic analysis, regulatory enforcement and standard setting.

Despite these inadequacies, Konisky argued in his testimony, Plan EJ 2014 shows promise for improvements, but outcomes will take years to evaluate.

Konisky also spoke to the shortcomings of EPA oversight of policy implementation on the state levels. Significant state discretion on implementation procedures led to large disparities between states. And a breakdown of regulation enabled practices such as state agencies ignoring waste handling violations in poor and minority communities.

Pointing to the vital role of state officials in enforcement of EPA policies, Konisky suggested that the EPA must more rigorously oversee state agencies but that Plan EJ 2014 fails to include such measures.

“Without more active federal oversight, variation in permit and enforcement outcomes will continue, with likely disproportionate impacts for some poor and minority communities,” Konisky said.

The systemic failure of the states to prevent the practice of targeting vulnerable communities is a concern when it comes to the EPA’s new regulation on coal ash disposal facilities, he said. All regulation of such facilities is under state control, and the EPA offers no formal oversight or enforcement measures of coal ash facilities.

“This does not in itself mean that poor and minority communities will be unfairly treated or subjected to unequal pollution burdens,” Konisky said. “However, if history is any indication, there is reason for concern.”

Konisky concluded by offering four suggestions to improve the EPA’s oversight of coal ash.

  • The EPA should set federal guidelines mandating that state agencies conduct environmental justice analyses.
  • The EPA should involve environmental justice communities and state agencies in public participatory processes for new state solid waste management plans.
  • The EPA’s Office of Civil Rights should be better funded to handle all coal ash disposal-related complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
  • The EPA should work more closely with state agencies to regulate coal combustion residual disposal units and share the monitoring results with the public.

“Collectively, these actions can start to address, if only incompletely, some of the potential environmental justice impacts that are likely to result from implementation of the new rules for coal ash disposal,” Konisky said.

The public may submit written comments on the briefing topic until March 6 to EJcomments@usccr.gov.

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Affordable Care Act shifted childbirth coverage to private insurance http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/04/affordable-care-act-shifted-childbirth-coverage-to-private-insurance/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/04/affordable-care-act-shifted-childbirth-coverage-to-private-insurance/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:43:44 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1728 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

In a research letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Indiana University researchers show that the young-adult provision in the Affordable Care Act led to a decrease in Medicaid coverage of childbirth among women ages 19 to 26.

Authors of the letter, titled Dependent Coverage under the ACA and Medicaid Coverage for Childbirth,” include Yaa Akosa Antwi, professor of economics at IUPUI; Jie Ma, a Ph.D. student in the IU Bloomington Economics Department; Kosali Simon, professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington; and Aaron Carroll, professor in the IU School of Medicine.

Woman in labor

National Institutes of Health photo

Until the health care law passed in 2010, Medicaid covered birthing costs for women earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, roughly half of all births in the U.S. Childbirth services have traditionally been financed differently than other health care services.

The new IU research looks at the effect on Medicaid’s childbirth financing of the young adult provision in the health care law, an allowance for children and dependents to remain on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old.

“In a set of prior research projects that we published, we had investigated the effects of the young adult provision on insurance coverage for all young adults and their use of health care services,” said Simon. “This made us think about the kinds of health care services that young adults use. They are generally healthy and don’t use hospital care much, for example. But there is a pretty high rate of hospital use among young adults for one specific reason, and that is childbirth.”

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the authors looked for impacts on payment sources for childbirth. The study compared these ‘young’ mothers – age 26 and under — against a control population of mothers ages 27-29, who were ineligible to receive insurance benefits from their parents.

Findings show that the young adult provision led to a 2.5 percentage point increase in private-insurance reimbursement, a 10 percent increase from the baseline, and notably impacted unmarried mothers. The findings suggest a significant shift in financing childbirth from Medicaid coverage to private insurance in mothers ages 19 to 26.

“There are many changes in financing of care that are happening right now, because of the ACA,” said Simon. “It will take a long time and much research to understand the full ramifications of all those changes, and this is one example of a specific service, childbirth, for a specific population, young adults. There will be many more research studies understanding effects of the ACA as we as a nation address health care access and financing through public policy.”

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Obergefell shares personal take on Supreme Court marriage case http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/02/obergefell-shares-personal-take-on-supreme-court-marriage-case/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/02/02/obergefell-shares-personal-take-on-supreme-court-marriage-case/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:52:01 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1725 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Speaking to a room full of predominantly law students and lawyers, Jim Obergefell offered a legal perspective often left out of a legal education: the social and emotional experience of a plaintiff. Obergefell is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the June 2015 landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.

The case combined six District Court cases grappling with both the right to marry and the right for recognition of marriages. Obergefell’s District Court case fought for recognition of his Maryland marriage to his late husband, John.

Jim Obergefell

Jim Obergefell

The couple married in 2013, weeks after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down and in the midst of John’s battle with ALS.

United States v. Windsor “is why we got married. When the news came out, I simply leaned over, kissed John and said, ‘Let’s get married,’” Obergefell said. “We weren’t thinking about court cases. We simply wanted to get married and say ‘I do.’”

At the time, considering the broad legal or political implications of their marriage was too painful.

“Our high school government classes kicked in and we knew it could end up in the Supreme Court,” Obergefell said. “But I wasn’t thinking about the broader significance; I was thinking day by day. Otherwise meant thinking about John’s death.”

In October 2013, John passed away after his fight with ALS. In the same year, a series of Circuit Court cases struck down state DOMA laws, major successes in the fight for equal rights. But the 6th Circuit, which covers Obergefell’s home state of Ohio, broke the streak. The federal appeals court upheld bans on same-sex marriage in November 2014.

Obergefell quit his job as an IT consultant in 2013, traveled for a year following John’s death and returned to Ohio to obtain his real estate license. But Obergefell never listed nor sold a house. Instead, he became a public face for same-sex marriage. By March 2015, he was focused full time on the legal fight for gay rights.

“Being involved in this and fighting for this helped my grieving process,” Obergefell said. “By the time the June decision came around, I was in a much healthier grieving place.”

Being a named plaintiff in a Supreme Court case does not guarantee you a seat on decision day, Obergefell said. Because the court does not announce which decisions will be delivered on which days, he waited in line with hundreds of others in the morning on five decision days. Then, on June 26, Chief Justice John Roberts announced the case number and began reading the opinion.

“I was sitting between friends and I realized that we may have won,” Obergefell said. “I grabbed the hands of my friends and when it sunk in that we won, I broke into tears.”

After the majority 5-4 decision, Roberts read his dissent, the first time a chief justice has ever orally presented a dissenting opinion.

“I completely ignored him. I sat there thinking ‘blah blah blah,’” Obergefell said. “I was ready to celebrate.”

Despite the win, Obergefell said there is still much to do for the LGBT community. He called for further same-sex protections in the workplace and improved gender protections for the transgender community.

Obergefell pointed to the ruling by Judge Tim Black in the federal District Court. The first line of his 2013 opinion that deemed Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional begins, “This is not a complicated case.”

“[Judge Black] brought it back to what matters,” Obergefell said. “It’s not just a legal case. It’s about people, people and their stories.”

Obergefell will speak again from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union. The talk is free and open to the public. Both events are sponsored by Union Board, the Maurer School of Law and the IU GLBT Alumni Association.

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‘PBS NewsHour’ correspondent addressing ‘under-told’ stories in lecture http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/01/28/pbs-newshour-correspondent-addressing-under-told-stories-in-lecture/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/01/28/pbs-newshour-correspondent-addressing-under-told-stories-in-lecture/#comments Thu, 28 Jan 2016 21:38:33 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1716 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

“PBS NewsHour” correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro will present a lecture Jan. 29 on the nexus of international reporting, under-reported social and political topics, and ethics.

Fred de Sam Lazaro

Fred de Sam Lazaro

In addition to reporting from more than 60 countries, de Sam Lazaro has worked at “PBS NewsHour” since 1985, contributes regularly to PBS’ “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” founded the Under-Told Stories Project in 2006 and directed documentaries in Asia and Africa for eight years.

His lecture, “Making the Foreign Less Foreign: The Under-Told Stories Project,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the Global and International Studies Building auditorium.

The talk is sponsored by the Center on American and Global Security and is supported by the IU Media School speaker series. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“[De Sam Lazaro’s] work aligns with CAGS’ mission because it dovetails with the concept of human security,” said Sumit Ganguly, director of the center. “Individuals and societies face threats not only from military conflicts but from the lack of provision of health care, shelter and other basic human needs. His work has touched on all these issues.”

De Sam Lazaro’s talk will feature the Under-Told Stories Project, a reporting program he directs at the University of St. Thomas. PBS funds the project through grants and donations.

The collaborative project combines global journalism and teaching to produce high-quality multimedia storytelling for under-reported subjects. It teaches university students high-level reporting skills while encouraging them to reflect on what type of stories the mainstream media ignores. The project aims to “reawaken the generous curiosity of Americans” about the lives of global citizens that can no longer be ignored.

“My hope is that [the attendees’] curiosity about various global developments that are not routinely covered in mainstream media will be piqued as a consequence of his talk,” Ganguly said.

Recent project stories focused on India’s ban on beef consumption, Mexico’s diabetes crisis, reproductive health care in the Philippines and Pakistan’s tech boom.

De Sam Lazaro is particularly equipped to teach these reporting skills because he reports regularly on AIDS, development issues, social entrepreneurship, immigration, corruption, public health, religion and ethics. He also led the first American crew to report on the war in Darfur.

De Sam Lazaro’s work has been recognized with multiple honors, including a CINE Golden Eagle award, a Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media and several other awards from journalism organizations.

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SPEA research: Affordable Care Act didn’t cause loss of full-time jobs http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/01/08/spea-research-affordable-care-act-didnt-cause-loss-of-full-time-jobs/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/01/08/spea-research-affordable-care-act-didnt-cause-loss-of-full-time-jobs/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 20:37:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1707 New studies co-authored by Indiana University researchers push back against one of the most persistent criticisms of the Affordable Care Act: that its requirement for employers to provide health care coverage would push workers out of full-time jobs.

The studies, published this week in the journal Health Affairs, draw on analyses of workforce and labor statistics to conclude there was little shift from full-time to part-time work – and no significant reduction in hours worked – after the employer mandate took effect in 2015.

Kosali Simon

Kosali Simon

“Whatever changes that have happened have been small,” Kosali Simon, a professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a co-author of the studies, told Marketplace radio.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 100 or more employees were required starting in 2015 to offer health insurance to full-time workers, defined as those who work 30 or more hours per week. Critics said the mandate was sure to cause a large shift from full-time to part-time work and a reduction in hours worked by part-time employees.

Another prediction was that the expansion of Medicaid benefits provided by the health-care law in some states would cause low-paid employees to work fewer hours or quit jobs in order to qualify.

The Health Affairs articles concluded that neither result has panned out in large measure — or at least there is no statistically significant evidence of it.

One article, “Little Change Seen in Part-Time Employment as a Result of the Affordable Care Act,” was written by Simon with Asako S. Moriya and Thomas M. Selden of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Drawing on Census Bureau data, the researchers found no statistically significant shift from full-time to part-time work and no significant increase in people working under 30 hours per week.

The study did find a small increase in the likelihood of working part time among two groups of workers: those with little education and those between ages 60 and 64.

A second Health Affairs article, “Medicaid Expansion Did Not Result in Significant Employment Changes or Job Reductions in 2014,” was authored by SPEA doctoral student Angshuman Gooptu, Simon, Moriya and Benjamin D. Sommers of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study looked at whether the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act caused low-paid workers to quit their jobs or work fewer hours in order to qualify for benefits. Quitting a job could be bad; but it also could be beneficial, freeing workers from “job lock” and letting them try something new.

Either way, the study found little evidence it was happening.

“Medicaid expansion did not result in significant changes in employment, job switching, or full- versus part-time status,” the authors write. “While we cannot exclude the possibility of small changes in these outcomes, our findings … suggest that the Medicaid expansion has had limited impact on labor-market outcomes thus far.”

In addition to the Marketplace story, the research has produced media coverage by CNBC, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post and other news outlets.

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Remembering Douglass North, friend to IU’s Ostrom Workshop http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/18/remembering-douglass-north-friend-to-ius-ostrom-workshop/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/18/remembering-douglass-north-friend-to-ius-ostrom-workshop/#comments Fri, 18 Dec 2015 16:20:09 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1698 Nobel Prize-winning economist Douglass C. North, who died last month at age 95, was a longtime friend and admirer of Indiana University faculty members Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. His death was duly noted on the website of the Ostrom Workshop, which posted a link to the New York Times obituary.

North was one of a handful of non-Indiana colleagues who spoke at a university-sponsored celebration of life for the Ostroms. Both Elinor and Vincent Ostrom died in June 2012.

Douglass North with Elinor Ostrom

Douglass North with Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2009, becoming the first (and still only) woman in the elite group that North joined when he received the prize in 1993.

At the October 2012 celebration of life, North said the Ostroms showed that true understanding of the complexity of human interactions and the workings of institutions requires combining academic disciplines, including political science, sociology, anthropology, law and others.

“Lin and Vincent are probably the two most spectacular members of the social sciences disciplines that tried to do that,” he said, “Vincent by putting the fundamentals together and Lin by going out and getting her hands dirty and watching irrigation systems or whatever, and by actually understanding the nature of institutions and how they evolve through time.

“They were really terrific.”

Similar descriptions have been applied to North. From The New York Times:

The son of a high school dropout, Professor North traced an unlikely path to academic renown and the halls of government in China, Latin America, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, where he was a sought-after consultant.

In academia, where his teaching career spanned seven decades, and in his many books and articles as an economics historian, he became known for challenging traditional methods of economic analysis, in which markets hold sway, finding that they often fell short of explaining long-term economic growth.

In casting his net wider, he took into account, among other things, the economic impact of social and political institutions, of laws and customs regarding property rights, and of religious beliefs and human cognition.

North said in 2012 that the world of higher education tends to reward research that stays within the confines of a single academic discipline. Doing work that crosses boundaries “makes you unpopular in your discipline, I can tell you from experience.”

For both North and the Ostroms, professional recognition came late but in abundance.

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Sonneborn lecture: Range of causes, ‘no easy solutions’ on college costs http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/11/sonneborn-lecture-range-of-causes-no-easy-solutions-on-college-costs/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/11/sonneborn-lecture-range-of-causes-no-easy-solutions-on-college-costs/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 19:25:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1693 Don Hossler wrapped up his Indiana University Sonneborn Lecture on the rising cost of a college education with a paraphrase of the classic quote from a 1970 Pogo comic strip:

“We have met the enemy and they are us.”

Don Hossler

Don Hossler

At least, he argued, university faculty and administrators should recognize that they are responsible for establishing priorities and making spending decisions that influence what students pay.

Hossler, professor emeritus of educational leadership and policy studies in the IU School of Education, received Indiana University’s 2015 Tracy M. Sonneborn Award, given each year to a faculty member selected for excellence in both teaching and research.

He wasn’t able to present the Dec. 8 lecture himself, so his School of Education colleague Barry Bull read the remarks that Hossler had prepared for a mostly faculty audience in Whittenberger Auditorium.

It’s true, Hossler wrote, that tuition at public universities has risen in part because state funding for higher education has failed to keep pace with growing enrollment.

That’s unlikely to change, he said in the lecture, titled “Why Does College Cost So Much? Some Notes on Institutional Agency.” But universities can exercise some control over how they spend their money, and those decisions do influence the costs that students pay.

Hossler emphasized that his remarks addressed national trends for public research universities, not Indiana University in particular. Drawing on his own research and data from other sources, such as the Delta Cost Project funded by the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation, he examined the evidence for and against several models and theories designed to explain college cost trends.

One framework that describes recent trends, he said, is “the academic ratchet and the administrative lattice,” the idea that faculty have focused more narrowly on research responsibilities while administrative duties have expanded to require more management and professional staff.

Research has become more expensive, with costs growing for labs, computer infrastructure and increasingly complex legal compliance. Research requires subsidies, which can come from tuition.

Meanwhile, universities hire more part-time and non-tenure-track faculty to teach courses and more staff for student advising and other tasks that once would have been the responsibility of professors.

Another factor, he said, is that institutions engage in “prestige-seeking behaviors.” That can mean spending more money on enrollment management, public relations, fundraising and merit-based financial aid to boost their scores in college rankings.

Hossler said in the lecture that there are “no easy solutions” to the problem of rising college costs. But his own bias, he said, is that faculty should address the issue via collaborative governance rather than letting government officials and other external forces dictate what will happen.

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IU experts share insights on 2015 Paris Climate Conference http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/08/iu-experts-share-insights-on-2015-paris-climate-conference/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/08/iu-experts-share-insights-on-2015-paris-climate-conference/#comments Tue, 08 Dec 2015 20:15:41 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1686 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Just days away from the Dec. 11 conclusion of COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, agreements continue to fall short in the face of heightened stakes on the environment and security.

David Konisky

David Konisky

For the first time since international environment talks began in the 1970s, the global community is working toward a universal binding agreement, a one-size-fits-all solution that will keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

The talks — the latest in a two-decades-long United Nations attempt to rein in greenhouse gas emissions — brought together nearly 25,000 official government, U.N. and NGO delegates. An estimated 25,000 corporate and public sector participants are also involved.

As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, unchecked warming will threaten reliable food and water supplies. Droughts, wildfires and rising sea levels will displace more people worldwide. Some small island countries will be engulfed entirely by rising sea levels, and resource scarcity will force others from their homes, throwing the global community into a climate refugee crisis. It is likely that the coming decades and centuries will see wars fought over climate change symptoms, such as the upheaval of resource availability and the increasing scarcity of food and water.

Despite the global threats, David Konisky, associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, finds in his book “Cheap and Clean: How Americans Think About Energy in the Age of Global Warming” that climate change has yet to affect energy consumption.

“American’s energy preferences are more strongly related to their concerns about local environmental impacts and the cost of energy,” Konisky said. “[People] are not too motivated by a concern of climate change. Even if they are concerned about climate change, it is not a driving force behind their energy consumption.”

The political will may or may not exist to address all of these issues and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that the earth can absorb without raising temperatures. It is promising that, before the talks began in late November, over 150 countries submitted voluntary national plans on how to cut emissions, increase the use clean energy or preserve resources.

But a disagreement about culpability between developing and developed countries has yet to be resolved. Countries like India argue that they cannot cut emissions while trying to industrialize and bring millions of people out of poverty. Developing countries feel slighted that many Western countries benefited from industrial revolutions without carbon emission caps.

Stephen Macekura

Stephen Macekura

Stephen Macekura, assistant professor in the IU School of Global and International Studies, points out that this tense dynamic between the global North and South is not new nor confined to climate change.

“The tensions between the global North and South, and who will pay for emissions, is often talked about like these are new issues related to climate change,” Macekura said. “But they have a much longer history, which means they aren’t going to be solved easily. The tensions get to deeply rooted ideas about equality and historical equality grievances that can’t just be wished away.”

Macekura’s book “Of Limits and Growth: The Rise of Global Sustainable Development in the Twentieth Century” explores the tense trinitarian history of decolonization, environmentalism and modernization in the Third World.

The goal of the Paris talks is to create a short and straightforward agreement with the signatures of almost 200 countries.

“The most important thing that can come out of Paris is a commitment that we are in this together,” Konisky said. “This doesn’t mean a single, top-down approach, but rather a framework that allows countries to find solutions that work at home.”

Konisky recognized that this needed elasticity simultaneously works as the glue of any possible agreement but also as its greatest weakness. Even if a deal is reached, problems of accountability, transparency and inequality could potentially derail the possible benefits.

But even worse, if the talks do not carry any bite, the reliance on fossil fuels will make any future collaborations that much more expensive and difficult to implement in the face of increased global damage.

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Historian and political economist Alperovitz to give three talks on IU visit http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/02/historian-and-political-economist-alperovitz-to-give-three-talks-on-iu-visit/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/02/historian-and-political-economist-alperovitz-to-give-three-talks-on-iu-visit/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2015 22:03:51 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1680 Historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz is coming to town, and Indiana University and Bloomington will make the most of his visit.

Gal Alperovitz

Gar Alperovitz

An author and activist who writes frequently for national news media and has been the subject of documentary films, Alperovitz will give three public talks Thursday and Friday:

The president of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives and the founder of the Democracy Collaborative, Alperovitz has been the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland for 15 years and was previously at Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; and the Brookings Institution.

An abstract for Alperovitz’s Themester lecture provides a sense of the range of his thinking:

What is the nature of a political economic system in which rising productivity accompanies stagnant (or even declining) wages, endemic and persistent poverty, looming ecological crises, and growing wealth inequality?  How can these outcomes be contested when the traditional engine of the progressive politics of redistribution — the labor union — is at a historic nadir? And what kind of system would we want instead? Political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz will explore these critical questions, sketching the outlines of a next system grounded in democratizing the economy and building off promising experiments in cooperative, community and public ownership.

Alperovitz is the author of books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New Republic, The Nation, The Atlantic and other publications and has been a guest on TV programs including “Meet the Press” and “The Charlie Rose Show.”

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IU panel to discuss Trans-Pacific Partnership http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/01/iu-panel-to-discuss-trans-pacific-partnership/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/12/01/iu-panel-to-discuss-trans-pacific-partnership/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 21:58:45 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1676 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

After nearly a decade of secret negotiations, the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are finalized and the full text is now public. Supporters say the trade deal will create jobs, boost innovation and productivity, raise living standards, reduce poverty, increase transparency and improve labor and environmental protections.

TPP logoBut critics, including U.S. conservatives and labor unions as well as health, Internet freedom and environmental activists worldwide, remain skeptical because of the secret nature of negotiations and the massive scope of the legislation.

Less than a month after the full text of the TPP was released, an Indiana University panel “TPP: Genuine Breakthrough or Fast-Track Backwards?” will grapple with the contentious nature of the agreement. Panelists include:

  • Sarah Bauerle Danzman, assistant professor of international studies in the School of Global and International Studies
  • David Fidler, James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law in the Maurer School of Law
  • Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, Willard and Margaret Carr Professor of Labor and Employment Law in the Maurer School of Law

IU’s Oxfam chapter will host the panel at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Hodge Hall, Room 111. The event is free and open to the public.

Uncommon in an era of hyper-partisanship, support for the TPP did not split evenly along American party lines. Politicians like Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio have switched their stances. And in a rare feat, the 6,000-page agreement serves as common ground between presidential hopefuls who criticize the deal, such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Secretary of State John Kerry has been a steadfast proponent of the agreement since the U.S. joined the talks in 2009.

Wednesday’s panel will unpack the political consequences of the TPP both at home and abroad and will try to answer questions on the efficacy of the agreement.

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Indiana University faculty recognized for contributions to Russian, Czech studies http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/19/indiana-university-faculty-recognized-for-contributions-to-russian-czech-studies/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/19/indiana-university-faculty-recognized-for-contributions-to-russian-czech-studies/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2015 21:43:18 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1670 Alexander Rabinowitch, professor emeritus of history at Indiana University Bloomington, has been selected to receive the 2015 Distinguished Contributions award from the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Alexander Rabinowitch

Alexander Rabinowitch

The award will be presented Friday at the association’s 47th annual convention in Philadelphia.

“No historian has done more than professor Alexander Rabinowitch to demythologize the history of the Russian Revolution, one of the most important events of the 20th century,’ the association said in announcing the award. It cited Rabinowitch’s “inspiring teaching, mentoring and tireless administrative work to advance the study of Russia and the USSR.”

Also, Owen Johnson, associate professor emeritus of journalism at IU Bloomington, will receive the Stanley B. Winters Award for distinguished contributions to the field of Czechoslovak studies. The award is given periodically by the Czechoslovak Studies Association to recognize members for their work for the organization and the field as a whole. It will be presented Friday during the association’s meeting.

Rabinowitch is the third Indiana University faculty member to receive the association’s Distinguished Contributions Award, given annually since 1971 for lifetime achievements in the field. IU professors Barbara and Charles Jelavich received the award jointly in 1992.

Also receiving the award this year is Archie Brown, professor emeritus of politics at the University of Oxford, who is credited with reshaping the study of Soviet and Russian domestic politics in the English-speaking world.

Rabinowitch is the author of three highly influential books: “Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising,” “The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd” and “The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd.” The books received international acclaim and have been translated into multiple language. He is working on a fourth book, which will extend the story to 1919-20.

Owen Johnson

Owen Johnson

“The Bolsheviks Come to Power” was the first Western study of the October Revolution to be published in Russian. In 2013, Rabinowitch was honored as an affiliated research scholar of the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

He taught at IU from 1968 until 1999, introducing generations of students to the study of Soviet history and society. He directed IU’s highly regarded Russian and East European Institute from 1975 to 1984 and served for many years as the IU representative to the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Johnson is a journalism historian whose work has focused on journalism in Central and East European societies and selected topics in U.S. journalism history.

He is co-author of “Eastern European Journalism: Past, Present and Future,” author of “Slovakia 1918-1938: Education and the Making of a Nation” and editor of the recently released “At Home With Ernie Pyle,” published this month by IU Press.

He taught at Indiana University from 1980 to 2014 and served as director of the Russian and East European Institute and acting director of the Polish Studies Institute.

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IU experts discuss Paris attacks, ‘homegrown’ terrorism threat http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/18/iu-experts-discuss-paris-attacks-homegrown-terrorism-threat/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/18/iu-experts-discuss-paris-attacks-homegrown-terrorism-threat/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 22:04:12 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1665 The attacks that struck Paris on Friday produced understandable fear among Europeans and Americans, a panel of Indiana University faculty experts said Wednesday. But the widespread response of cracking down on refugees fleeing the violence in Syria is misguided, they said.

“We’re looking at homegrown terrorists,” said Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of geography and international studies. “And this has been the preferred modus operandi for ISIS. Paris has been attacked by Belgians, but our attention has been turned to Syrian refugees.”

IU faculty member Elizabeth Dunn speaks as part of a panel that includes, from left, Feisal Istrabadi, Robert Kravchuk, Leslie Lenkowsky, Rajendra Abhyankar and Mark Levin.

IU faculty member Elizabeth Dunn speaks as part of a panel that includes, from left, Feisal Istrabadi, Robert Kravchuk, Leslie Lenkowsky, Rajendra Abhyankar and Mark Levin.

Experts from the School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs discussed the attacks with an overflow crowd of about 150 people in the Global and International Studies Building auditorium. Besides Dunn, panelists included Feisal Istrabadi of SGIS and Rajendra Abhyankar, Mark Levin, Leslie Lenkowsky and Robert Kravchuk of SPEA.

The discussion came days after attackers from the Islamic State group – also known as ISIS or ISIL – carried out shootings and bombings at locations in Paris, killing 129 people and injuring more than 350.

Istrabadi, director of the IU Center for the Study of the Middle East and former Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, said the attacks were terrifying, but people in much of the Middle East have lived with such terror for years.

“As horrific as the events in Paris are, events like this have been happening in the Middle East for over a decade,” he said. “ISIL and al-Qaida and their fellow travelers have killed far more Muslims than non-Muslims, by orders of magnitude.”

Abhyankar, who served as India’s ambassador to Syria, said the Paris attacks were almost identical to attacks in Mumbai, India, that took place in November 2008, killing 164 people. In each case, he said, the cities showed their resilience by quickly returning to normal life. While supporting the need to fight back against terrorists, he cautioned, “It’s not a fight against Islam. It’s a fight against ISIL.”

Lenkowsky, also a professor in SPEA, agreed that the Paris attackers were homegrown and not recent immigrants. But he argued that Western democracies may be ill equipped to respond to threats from those who don’t share their values of tolerance and freedom.

Several panelists criticized U.S. officials, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for trying to bar entry for Syrian refugees. But Lenkowsky said it’s not just U.S. officials who worry about refugees. Denmark, he said, has produced a vibrant anti-immigration movement “that even Donald Trump would love.”

Dunn, who spent six years following refugee camps in the Republic of Georgia, said it’s a mistake to think Syrian refugees, many of them Muslim, are unlikely to integrate into American society. She said people had the same worry about hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who immigrated during the Vietnam War and Cubans who fled to Florida after the 1959 revolution.

“In fact,” she said, “they integrated very well.”

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Labor historian to discuss Bloomington labor history, ‘just wages’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/17/labor-historian-to-discuss-bloomington-labor-history-just-wages/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/17/labor-historian-to-discuss-bloomington-labor-history-just-wages/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2015 19:53:38 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1662 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Outsourcing an American call center to India or a factory to China hardly feels like news today. Often outsourcing is talked about as a uniquely modern facet of the labor market, a necessary evil of expanding globalization in the post-Internet world.

Jefferson Cowie

Jefferson Cowie

But in Bloomington, the community felt these labor tensions before the turn of the century when Thomson Consumer Electronics, RCA’s successor, left Indiana for Mexico. The 1998 move took over 1,000 jobs from Bloomington.

Thompson’s outsourcing move was not uncommon for the electronics company. RCA came to Bloomington in 1940 after fleeing a strong union and higher wages in Camden, N.J. No stranger to moving, Thomson has since relocated a third time to Asia.

Jefferson Cowie, author of “Capital Moves: RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor” and professor of labor history at Cornell University, is an expert in the relationship between Thomson’s move and Bloomington’s labor market. His most recent book is “Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class,” which received a number of awards.

Cowie will present two lectures at IU as part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ fall 2015 Themester “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.” The lectures are free and open to the public. Topics and times are:

  • “Bloomington Labor History” – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the Monroe County History Center, 202 E. Sixth St.
  • “Just Wages: The World History of an Idea” – 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave.

During Wednesday’s event, Cowie will discuss Bloomington’s labor history alongside Joseph Varga, assistant professor in IU’s Department of Labor Studies, and local labor leaders.

On Thursday, Cowie will discuss the complexity of the wage relationship between freedom and manipulation, the historical flux and instability of wages, and the transition and the move from slavery and servitude to labor wages.

The talks are sponsored by the College Arts and Humanities Institute and Themester.

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Philanthropy doesn’t offset reduced school funding, IU economist finds http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/11/philanthropy-doesnt-offset-reduced-school-funding-iu-economist-finds/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/11/philanthropy-doesnt-offset-reduced-school-funding-iu-economist-finds/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:29:19 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1658 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Nonprofit and philanthropic activity is not enough to offset reduced state spending on K-12 schools, a study by an IU faculty member has found. Tax and expenditure limitations, known as TELs, cap state budgets, but the budget gap is not bridged by a counter and equal monetary response from private fundraising.

Ashlyn Nelson

Ashlyn Nelson

New research scheduled for publication by Ashlyn Nelson, associate professor of economics in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is the first to examine the effects of TELs, austerity measures that limit state revenue and spending, on philanthropic activity benefiting elementary and secondary schools. While TELs are designed to limit state government budgets and revenue streams, they can also apply to county, school district and municipal budgets.

In the paper, “The Effect of Tax and Expenditure Limitations on Voluntary Contributions to Public Schools,” Nelson looked for evidence that local nonprofits and philanthropic groups like Parent Teacher Associations and booster clubs responded to the austerity measures and used fundraising to counterbalance the reduced budgets.

“TELs are often put in place by people who think government is wasteful,” Nelson said. “Some of these folks believe that the nonprofit sector should be paying for certain things instead of taxpayers.”

Nelson did not find a causal connection between TELs and private fundraising, however. And any increased fundraising efforts disproportionately benefited wealthy districts, while the districts that needed the most help raised the least money. The findings, which Nelson described as disappointing, were highlighted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“A big argument made by the same groups of people who want to put these austerity measure in place is that, if local government does not want to fund certain budget items, then nonprofit or philanthropic activity should fund them,” Nelson said. “But there isn’t any evidence that this actually happens. While philanthropic support is important for many communities and individuals, philanthropy is not an adequate subsidy for government funding of services.”

As TELs are implemented and education budgets are hit, wealthy school districts are more likely to benefit from parents who are able to donate the resources that counterbalance state cuts. The poor districts are hit harder. Subsequently, the inequality gap between the wealthy and poor districts widens.

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Army War College researcher to speak on deceit in the military http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/09/army-war-college-researcher-to-speak-on-deceit-in-the-military/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/09/army-war-college-researcher-to-speak-on-deceit-in-the-military/#comments Mon, 09 Nov 2015 14:37:32 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1655 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

New research from an Army veteran and military researcher shows that repeated exposure to strenuous demands and the necessity to sacrifice honor for compliance has rendered many Army officers ethically numb.

As a result, deception and dishonesty are rampant in the Army bureaucracy, the study finds. Deceit is now increasingly necessary and sanctioned as a measure to maneuver through the military institution.

Leonard Wong

Leonard Wong

Leonard Wong, researcher at the U.S. Army War College and author of “Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession,” will present a Veterans Day public lecture on trust and deceit in the military Wednesday, Nov. 11, at IU Bloomington.

The lecture will take place at 5 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Frangipani Room. It is free and open to the public.

“A culture of dishonesty inhibits oversight and accountability by senior civilian leaders, Congress and the public,” said David Delaney, visiting assistant professor at the Maurer School of Law and member of the National Security Ethics Faculty Working Group. “Dr. Wong’s work cautions that a culture of dishonesty harms the Army, erodes public confidence and follows veterans into their civilian lives. A disregard for truthfulness and other ethical norms in early, formative professional experiences has long-lasting consequences for the individual and our society.”

Wong previously served as an Army officer, teacher of leadership at West Point and analyst for the Chief of Staff of the Army. His research in ethics, leadership, civil liberties and changing institutional culture recently led him to a discussion with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the ethical and bureaucratic shortcomings of the military.

“Lying to Ourselves” is unusual and has the potential to make a great impact because it was commissioned by the military. The Army then asked Wong to educate senior leaders on his findings and suggest reform tactics.

In the report, Wong suggests that the first step in changing a culture of dishonesty is the acknowledgement of organizational fallibilities. Wong recommends that policies at every level be analyzed and re-evaluated.

“At the highest levels, leading truthfully includes convincing uniformed and civilian senior leadership of the need to accept a degree of political risk in reducing requirements,” Wong writes in “Lying to Ourselves.” “At other levels, leading truthfully may include striving for 100 percent compliance in all areas, but being satisfied when only 85 percent is reported in some.”

Wong’s visit is sponsored by the National Security Ethics Faculty Working Group, the Center for American and Global Security, the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, Hutton Honors College and the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions.

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Campus debaters to address minimum wage http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/06/campus-debaters-to-address-minimum-wage/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/06/campus-debaters-to-address-minimum-wage/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2015 15:29:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1646 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The intra-IU debate will crown the IU champion campus debater this weekend. Twenty-six students will debate this year’s topic “Resolved: The minimum wage should be substantially increased” from noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, in the SPEA Undergraduate Lounge.

The varsity IU debate team won’t be behind the podium for these debates, but instead will serve as judges and coaches. The debate team provides the competitors with research, training, talking points and debate instructions, making debate accessible for all students. The intra-IU debate provides an opportunity for students who are interested in the art of persuasion but who may not have time to participate in the debate team full time.

IU debate team members and coach Brian DeLong (in suit) pose with a trophy.

IU debate team members and coach Brian DeLong, front row, right, pose with a trophy.

In the team’s second annual partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences Themester, this year’s topic was chosen to align with the theme “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.” The IU debate team also partnered with the College, SPEA and the Office of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Affairs to provide funding for the debates and extend the educational benefits of debate across the campus.

Debaters improve their argument articulation, learn how to think quickly on their feet and improve listening skills of how to critically evaluate an argument, explained IU debate coach Brian DeLong. These are skills that can benefit chemistry majors, business students and everyone in between.

Debaters are guaranteed six speeches at the event — the equivalent amount of speaking required in a semester-long public speaking course. Not only will students from all backgrounds pick up some of these basic debate skills quickly, but the interdisciplinary nature of the debate enhances the conversation.

“We rarely have dialogues that are so interdisciplinary when debating policy,” said DeLong. “Because the debaters will turn to different secondary literature and approach problems differently, the dialogue itself changes.”

This will be the fourth annual intra-IU debate. But DeLong suspects that the tradition actually dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. One hundred years ago, IU debate was so popular that competition was fierce to join the varsity debate team. Although no clear records were kept, DeLong’s research through IU student media archives suggests that the intra-IU debate served as an internal competition to select the IU debate team.

The debate program dissolved in 1994 and was reestablished in 2009, shifting the aim of the intra-IU debate to an inclusive and introductory debate event.

“This is something that has existed historically at IU and we are reinventing it and bringing it back,” DeLong said.

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Labor, civil rights leaders call for solidarity http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/05/labor-civil-rights-leaders-call-for-solidarity/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/05/labor-civil-rights-leaders-call-for-solidarity/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2015 16:32:29 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1637 The Rev. William Barber and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka outlined a vision Wednesday of civil rights and labor organizations working together to advance social justice, create economic opportunity and defend the rights of workers, people of color, women and other groups that have been left behind.

The Rev. William Barber speaks while William Morris, left, and Richard Trumka listen.

The Rev. William Barber speaks while William Morris, left, and Richard Trumka listen. (Photo by Max Tortoriello).

“It works if we believe America is ready for a grown-up conversation,” Barber told an IU Bloomington audience at Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall.

Barber, leader of the North Carolina NAACP and organizer of that state’s widely acclaimed Moral Mondays movement, and Trumka, president of the nation’s largest labor organization, spoke at the IU College of Arts and Sciences’ signature Themester event titled “Labor and Civil Rights: Bold Legacies and New Directions.” William Morris of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission moderated.

A video of the discussion is available online.

Both Barber and Trumka drew on history – their own and their organizations’ – to make the case that organizations are more powerful when working together than when acting separately.

Trumka, who has led the AFL-CIO since 2009, cited the 1890 founding of his own union, the United Mine Workers of America, as a multiracial and multiethnic organization that included a ban on discrimination by race, creed or national origin in its first constitution.

Unions also supported and helped organize the 1963 March for Jobs and Justice at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech, he reminded the audience. But many union members moved away from supporting racial justice and focused on their own economic interests.

Now, he said, the AFL-CIO is reaching out to and partnering with those with common interests, including civil rights organizations and groups representing domestic workers and immigrants.

“We have remembered what we knew in 1890 but what we had forgotten,” he said. “When they can discriminate against any of us, they can discriminate against all of us. When we allow ourselves to be divided, we can be defeated by echelon.”

Richard Trumka gestures from the podium. (Photo by Max Tortoriello).

Richard Trumka gestures from the podium. (Photo by Max Tortoriello).

Trumka said a key message is that the economy is not a zero-sum game in which gains for one group must be offset by losses for another.

“The economy is not like the weather,” he said. “The economy is nothing but a set of rules. These rules decide winners and losers, and these rules are made by people.”

Barber said the nation is “in the embryonic stages of a third Reconstruction,” a movement for justice that mirrors the era following the Civil War and the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ‘60s. And just as with the previous advances, there is political resistance.

“Extremists have figured out just how powerful the labor and civil rights movements can be if we come together,” he said.

He cited the surprising success of the Moral Mondays movement in organizing marches around the idea that justice is a moral cause – and opposing cuts in health care, education, unemployment and other programs – in areas of North Carolina that are nearly all white and heavily Republican.

“The first goal of any movement,” he said, “must be to transform the imagination. To say what is possible and what must be.”

Barber decried attacks on voting rights, including decisions by North Carolina and other states to restrict early voting and require voter IDs and a Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Defending voting rights and increasing voter turnout are essential, he said.

“If we vote,” he said, “they can’t win.”

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State appeals court to hear case at School of Public and Environmental Affairs http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/04/state-appeals-court-to-hear-case-at-school-of-public-and-environmental-affairs/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/04/state-appeals-court-to-hear-case-at-school-of-public-and-environmental-affairs/#comments Wed, 04 Nov 2015 19:13:33 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1633 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Indiana’s traveling Appeals on Wheels program will make a stop in Bloomington this Friday to hear oral arguments in Pribie v. State, a case on appeal from the Clinton Circuit Court.

Jordan Pribie is appealing his class B felony rape conviction on the grounds that the trial court excluded certain DNA evidence. His lawyer will argue that a misrepresentation of the Rape Shield Law and juror misconduct violated Pribie’s constitutional rights.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Indiana Court of Appeals

The oral arguments before a panel of judges from the Indiana Court of Appeals will begin at 10 a.m. Nov. 6 in IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs building, room 167, on the IU Bloomington campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Appeals on Wheels is an Indiana program helping Hoosiers better understand the role of the judiciary. Just like appeals made in the Indiana Statehouse courtroom, a bailiff calls the court into session, the judges enter and lawyers present their arguments and answer any questions from the judges. Unlike in the Statehouse courtroom, after the arguments, the judges will also answer general law questions from the audience.

“Appeals on Wheels shines a light on the workings of the court and the real-world legal issues its judges must decide,” said Martin DeAgostino, communications director for the Court of Appeals. “Audiences also get to observe skilled legal arguments and advocacy by the participating attorneys, against a framework of specific facts, the Constitution and state law.”

Since the court’s centennial in 2001, Appeals on Wheels has heard over 430 cases in 72 counties in Indiana high schools, colleges, law schools, libraries, conference centers and court rooms.

SPEA’s Law and Public Policy Program is hosting the program, hoping to give undergraduates who are considering a career in law or government a glimpse at the law in action.

“These are real judges and real attorneys grappling with difficult issues of criminal law that affect real people,” said Beth Cate, SPEA associate professor and director of the Law and Public Policy Program.

After the oral arguments, students and the public will be invited to direct questions to the panel of judges. The judges will also help to put this particular oral argument in a wider context of how legal arguments and the courts work to resolve disputes nationwide.

“The Law and Public Policy Program hopes to highlight features of the work of appeals courts that are vital to the rule of law,” said Cate. “For example, engaging in reasoned analysis of constitutional principles and how they should apply to specific circumstances; probing the bases for disagreements and attempting to persuade others to one’s viewpoint in a civil manner; holding the government accountable for behaving constitutionally when taking away someone’s liberty; and doing all of this in public so that we the people can hold the courts accountable too.”


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Expert on African-American education to give public talk in Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/02/expert-on-african-american-education-to-give-public-talk-in-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/11/02/expert-on-african-american-education-to-give-public-talk-in-bloomington/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2015 18:37:22 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1630 The IU School of Education is partnering with the Monroe County Community School Corp. in Bloomington to sponsor a free public talk tonight by Tyrone Howard, professor of education and director of the Black Male Institute at UCLA.

Howard will speak on “Awakening the Genius in the African-American Child” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Fairview Elementary School, 500 W. Seventh St.

Tyrone Howard

Tyrone Howard

A renowned scholar of educational equity, the African-American educational experience and urban schooling, Howard is the author of “Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap in America’s Classrooms” and other books.

Stephanie Power-Carter, associate professor of literacy, culture and language education in the IU School of Education, said IU faculty helped organize the event after learning from MCCSC officials that Howard would be providing professional development on cultural competency for local teachers Tuesday.

“In conversation with them, we thought it would be nice for Dr. Howard to also do something for the Bloomington and IU community while in town,” she said “The School of Education saw it as an opportunity to partner with MCCSC and host another session with Dr. Howard in the community.”

Power-Carter said the event also highlights work taking place to support student learning under second-year principal Justin Hunter at Fairview, the Bloomington elementary school with the most students from low-income families and the largest percentage of African-American and multiracial students.

Howard is founder and director of the Black Male Institute, established at UCLA to conduct research and develop interventions to improve educational opportunities for African-American men and boys. He also has been faculty director of Center X, an associate member of the Bunche Center for African American Studies and faculty associate director of the Academic Advancement Program, all at UCLA.

Child care will be provided during the talk for children ages 5 and up, and light refreshments will be served. A book-signing with Howard will follow.

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‘The China Challenge’ launches East Asia speaker series http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/28/the-china-challenge-launches-east-asia-speaker-series/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/28/the-china-challenge-launches-east-asia-speaker-series/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2015 19:23:26 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1625 A former State Department official will lead off the IU School of Global and International Studies’ “East Asia and the World” speaker series with a talk next week on U.S.-China relations.

Thomas J. Christensen

Thomas J. Christensen

Thomas J. Christensen, a professor at Princeton University and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, in the atrium of the Global and International Studies Building.

In addition to having served in the State Department from 2006 to 2008 with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia, Christensen is the author of “The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power.” The new book argues China is not powerful enough to be considered a “peer” to the U.S. but is strong enough to destabilize East Asia and influence world affairs. From the publisher’s site:

Many see China as a rival superpower to the United States and imagine the country’ s rise to be a threat to U.S. leadership in Asia and beyond. Thomas J. Christensen argues against this zero-sum vision. Instead, he describes a new paradigm in which the real challenge lies in dissuading China from regional aggression while encouraging the country to contribute to the global order. Drawing on decades of scholarship and experience as a senior diplomat, Christensen offers a compelling new assessment of U.S.-China relations that is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of the globalized world.

The “East Asia and the World” speaker series was founded and is directed by Adam Liff, assistant professor of East Asian international relations in the School of Global and International Studies. Liff said the series will provide diverse perspectives on the region and will enable IU students and faculty and the Bloomington community to engage in discussions with leading scholars and policymakers on East Asia.

The series will continue with a talk Dec. 7 by Mark Minton, a professor of practice at the School of Global and International Studies and former U.S. ambassador to Mongolia and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, Korea. A spring semester series will launch Feb. 12 with a talk by MIT professor Richard Samuels, a leading scholar of Japanese politics and foreign policy. Additional speakers will be announced as they are confirmed.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates: No ‘5-day plan’ for justice http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/23/ta-nehisi-coates-no-5-day-plan-for-justice/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/23/ta-nehisi-coates-no-5-day-plan-for-justice/#comments Fri, 23 Oct 2015 20:53:58 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1618 The vulnerability of African-Americans to violence and poverty isn’t an accident but an intended result of policy, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates told an Indiana University audience today. And behind policy stands the nation’s “long, long history” of slavery and inequality, much of it driven by economic self-interest.

One lesson: Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a society in which little black boys and girls can hold hands with little white boys and girls isn’t enough to create a just world.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

“The problem isn’t getting people to hold hands,” said Coates, author of the bestselling “Between the World and Me.” “The problem is to get people’s hands out of other people’s pockets.”

Coates spoke to a capacity audience in the 1,460-seat Musical Arts Center in a talk sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Media School, the College Arts and Humanities Institute and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. He also met with students attending the Public Policy and International Affairs Program conference at SPEA.

Coates said he was inspired to write “Between the World and Me” by re-reading James Baldwin’s classic book-length essay “The Fire Next Time” and marveling at its power.

“I just wondered why people did not write with that sort of poetry, that sort of fire, that vigor that Baldwin did,” he said.

At the same time, the book resulted from his lingering anger over the senseless death in 2000 of Prince Carmen Jones, a fellow student at Howard University who was followed and killed by undercover police officers who mistakenly thought he was driving a stolen car.

Coates’ son was one month old at the time. “I would look at him and an entire fear would come over me,” he said. “I nursed that fear for 15 years. And ‘Between the World and Me’ came out of that.”

Written as an extended letter to Coates’ now teenage son, the book merges the author’s own personal story with descriptions of the effects of racism and analysis of policies such as crime laws and neighborhood redlining. New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani called it “a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”

Coates said the same policies that led to police assuming criminality in Prince Carmen Jones, a college student and a favored child of a highly successful family, also created racially and economically isolated ghettos where people live in fear of crime.

“What I wanted, when I wrote the book, was I wanted you to feel it,” he said.

Pressed in a question-and-answer session on how to pursue social and racial justice, Coates insisted there are no quick or easy answers to America’s racial dilemma.

“There is no five-day plan,” he said. “There is not a five-year plan. I don’t even think there’s a lifetime plan. There’s a next-generation plan and a generation-after-that plan.”

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‘Bacha bazi’ presents cultural challenges for U.S. troops http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/22/bacha-bazi-presents-cultural-challenges-for-u-s-troops/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/22/bacha-bazi-presents-cultural-challenges-for-u-s-troops/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2015 19:06:43 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1613 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

On the coattails of a September New York Times article that seriously questioned the U.S. foreign policy position to ignore the practice of bacha bazi in Afghanistan, IU undergraduate and former U.S. Marine Miles Vining shared his experience regarding the gap between high-level policy and the reality of what happens on the ground. Cultural barriers often make bridging the gap extremely difficult, Vining said.

Bacha bazi, literally meaning “boy play,” is Afghan slang for the sexual abuse of boys age 12 to 21, usually by Afghan military and police commanders. The boys are often referred to as tea boys, may perform dances at bacha bazi parties and typically live with their owner.

Miles Vining on deployment

Miles Vining on deployment

The practice drew particular American outrage when The New York Times reported that the abuse often happens on U.S. military bases by the Afghan troops and police who receive U.S. funding and are stationed there.

“How do we deal with bacha bazi?” said Vining, referring to current U.S. foreign policy and military procedures. “We just don’t touch it.”

Vining presented a lecture, “The U.S. Military’s Response to the Dilemma of Bacha Bazi in Modern Afghanistan,” on Wednesday in the Global and International Studies Building. Vining completed two combat deployments to the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, serving as an automatic rifleman and tactical interpreter, among other positions.

The U.S. military has a hardline nonpermissive cultural interaction policy in Afghanistan, he said. This means that all U.S. troops are taught repeatedly before they are deployed to be especially sensitive toward women, mosques, the month of Ramadan and detainee conduct. Never make eye contact with women, never go inside a mosque, never ask Afghan troops to patrol during Ramadan and never treat detainees poorly.

“It was this same policy of complete cultural non-interaction that led to allowing bacha bazi to be left alone and ignored by the U.S. military,” Vining said.

He said American troops in Afghanistan work along a fine line, cradling the respect from the community that allows their security operations to run successfully.

“If we had violated any of these cultural boundaries, searching women or mosques, etc., we would have compromised the relationship with the local communities, which are absolutely vital for safety and success,” Vining said. “Bacha bazi is seen in the same nonpermissive cultural interaction category.”

At the platoon level, that left Vining and other troops without a means to interfere. But even if they could intervene, bacha bazi can be difficult to spot.

“The New York Times article makes it sound like all the bacha are chained to beds, screaming out for help,” Vining said. “And while that does happen, most bacha are just hanging out on base.”

After looking back on photos from his deployment, Vining counted six teenage boys who he is now sure were bacha bazis. But while stationed in Afghanistan, he knew of only two, since none of the boys showed clear signs of abuse. Vining never heard of the bacha bazi practice until returning to the U.S and never received training from the military on how to spot or react to it.

Security concerns with the bacha bazi go beyond community trust. Often the bacha on Vining’s base were sent out by their Afghan commanders to accompany U.S. troops on patrols despite the fact that the teenage boys never received any military or police training.

Bacha bazi is complicated for the U.S. military and for the Afghan civilians. The practice is rooted in some cultural traditions, Vining said. But the vast majority of Afghan civilians denounce the practice as abusive and un-Islamic.

In some regions of Afghanistan, bacha bazi is used as a revenge tactic against rival families or warlords. In other areas, the boys are kept solely for sexual pleasure. The practice varies dramatically from region to region and cannot be categorized so uniformly, Vining said, criticizing the New York Times article.

“What’s the way forward?” Vining asked. “The only military solution has to come from the top down to lower levels. At the lower platoon level, we are powerless to do anything without a complete U.S. policy shift.”

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Sister Helen Prejean: ‘The death penalty is about us’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/19/sister-helen-prejean-the-death-penalty-is-about-us/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/19/sister-helen-prejean-the-death-penalty-is-about-us/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:19:26 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1600 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

Following the New York Times bestselling book “Dead Man Walking” and the subsequent movie and opera adaptations of the same name, Sister Helen Prejean’s anti-capital punishment advocacy has permeated religious, legal, cultural and social debates.

Prejean is visiting the IU campus to talk about the power of art performances in the anti-capital-punishment movement. Her visit comes in the middle of the four “Dead Man Walking” opera performances at the Musical Arts Center.

Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean

Prejean told a crowd Sunday evening that she was from Louisiana, and “We’re storytellers in Baton Rouge. You won’t be getting any lecture from me.” She proceeded to unveil her journey as a spiritual advisor to convicted murderers, an experience she never expected nor sought. The similar story is told in the opera.

“I grew up in a privileged white household and in the Jim Crow days down in Louisiana,” she said. “I never questioned (racism) because that’s what culture tells us to ignore.”

Her “awakening” came in 1981 when she became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier and recorded her experiences as an eyewitness to an execution in “Dead Man Walking. “

“I was in over my head,” Prejean repeated continually. She struggled to balance the needs of the convict and the victims’ families. Despite her staunch disapproval of capital punishment, she never blamed the families of the victims for any thirst for the ultimate punishment.

“There is that ambivalence in each one of our hearts,” Prejean said. “What would we do if it was our child who was killed? What would we want then?”

The book version of “Dead Man Walking” is full of statistics painting the brokenness of the criminal justice system in the U.S. But the opera brings viewers on an emotional and visceral journey, Prejean said, one that they most likely could not experience otherwise.

“The death penalty is a secret ritual,” Prejean said. “It happens behind prison walls. And we rely on art, like the opera and movies, to take us there.”

Prejean applauded the opera for not being propaganda and for presenting, in art form, all sides of the debate. It allows a space for understanding the pain of all parties involved, she said. Art, unlike statistics alone, “takes us on a journey,” Prejean said.

“The heart of it all is this moral question: What about the guilty?” she said. “I know people do unspeakable crimes. But the death penalty is about us. How will we respond?”

A panel discussion on social justice and the death penalty will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Musical Arts Center and a video interview with composer Jake Heggie will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Sweeney Hall. Performances of the “Dead Man Walking” opera will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Musical Arts Center.


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Labor Activist, Ai Jen Poo: “We have the opportunity to choose life and love.” http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/16/labor-activist-ai-jen-poo-we-have-the-opportunity-to-choose-life-and-love/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/16/labor-activist-ai-jen-poo-we-have-the-opportunity-to-choose-life-and-love/#comments Fri, 16 Oct 2015 20:12:48 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1594 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

Fifty years after passage of the 1965 Immigration Act, the debate surrounding immigration, domestic workers and elder care remains contentious and colored by issues of race and class. Labor activist and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Ai-Jen Poo recently spoke at Indiana University Bloomington about the complexity of the immigration debate and her vision for a society that “chooses love.”

Ai-Jen Poo

Ai-Jen Poo

“There is a crisis in immigration, a crisis in domestic jobs and a crisis in caregiving. As a nation, we are at a crossroads,” Poo said. “Will we choose life and love or racism and hate?”

Poo delivered the keynote address “Caregiving and the Future of our Democracy” as part of the IU Themester’s Politics, Promises and Possibilities symposium in the Whittenberger Auditorium on Friday.

Poo’s parents moved to the U.S. from Taiwan in 1971, making her a self-proclaimed “child of the 1965 legislation.” As an undergraduate, Poo successfully organized an occupation of the Columbia University library, which led to the creation of Columbia’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. She has since worked at CAAV Organizing Asian Communities and founded the organizations Domestic Workers United and Caring Across Generations.

The 1965 legislation eliminated immigration quotas that previously favored Europeans and attempted to democratize immigration. But she said the racism that fueled opposition to the bill at the time continues to pervade the debate today.

Poo referenced recent legislation like Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.

“The goal of the legislation was to make immigrants want to self deport by creating a climate of fear,” Poo said. “It’s the same rhetoric heard by a certain presidential candidate today  — Donald Trump.”

Poo pointed to Trump’s June speech on Mexican immigration where he said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

In Poo’s experience, not only are these broad assumptions wrong, they also have tangible effects on immigrants nationwide. Poo told the experience of Sylvia, a Mexican immigrant now working in Seattle as a housekeeper and nanny, two days after Trump’s comment.

Sylvia was stopped on the road by a civilian who demanded she produce her passport. The civilian then followed her two blocks and physically assaulted her.

“The politics are complex,” Poo said. “But the answer is not. The fundamental choice is either love or hate.”

Despite struggles against intolerance, Poo’s organizations have overseen major successes, including the adoption of domestic workers bill of rights by seven states. These bills are the first to assure domestic workers with mandated paid leave.

“This is incredible progress in just a few years,” Poo said. “But it is not enough. We are on the horizon of an elder boom.”

Because of healthcare and technology, Americans are living longer than ever before. As a result, people age 85 and over are the fastest growing demographic. Poo cited statistics such as: 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the U.S.; by 2050, 27 million people will need basic caregiving; and 1.4 million caregiving jobs will need to be created by 2018.

That is where Caring Across Generations steps in, Poo said. The organization is currently working both to introduce legislation that will create a path for undocumented domestic workers to become citizens and on comprehensive immigration reform.

“I have faith as this entire nation changes and ages that we will have a unique opportunity to choose life and love over hate,” Poo said. “We have the chance to become mostly love.”

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IU STEPS program recognized by White House initiative http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/15/iu-steps-program-recognized-by-white-house-initiative/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/15/iu-steps-program-recognized-by-white-house-initiative/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 18:47:38 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1590 STEPS, an Indiana University program that prepares students to provide speech-language services to Latino children and their families, has been recognized by the White House as one of the Bright Spots in Hispanic Education that are helping ensure educational attainment by the Hispanic community.

STEPS, which stands for Speech Therapy Education, Practicum and Services for Latino Children and Families, provides research-based courses, clinical and field experiences and service-learning opportunities as an optional track for master’s students in IU’s speech-language pathology program.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics logo“We are honored to have been included as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education,” said Raquel Anderson, director of the STEPS program and professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.

“It has been the goal of our program to both recruit talented Latino and Latina students to our graduate program and to provide quality services to an ever-increasing but underserved population within our field. We have been able to do both, not only at the state and local level, but nationally as well. I am delighted that our hard work and successes are being recognized.”

The Bright Spots selections were announced recently by Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The program’s goal is to encourage collaboration through the sharing of data-driven approaches, promising practices, peer advice and effective partnerships focused on educational achievement.

Its national online catalog features STEPS as one of 230 programs, models, organizations and initiatives that are supporting and investing in the educational attainment of Hispanics, from cradle to career.

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement,” Ceja said in a statement, “and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential.”

The STEPS program was developed as a means of addressing the lack of qualified speech-language practitioners who could work with Latino children with communication disorders and their families. According to a White House citation, its provision of direct services to primary-school-age Latino children creates a ripple effect among IU speech-therapy students and provides evidence-based training for students and families. Since its inception in 2009, it has graduated 24 students, nine of whom were Latina.

The Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs nominated the program for White House recognition.

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IU historian to speak on race, labor and armies http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/13/iu-historian-to-speak-on-race-labor-and-armies/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/13/iu-historian-to-speak-on-race-labor-and-armies/#comments Tue, 13 Oct 2015 13:19:26 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1581 The Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society‘s fall speaker series at Indiana University Bloomington continues this week with a talk by Michelle Moyd, associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Moyd will speak Thursday, Oct. 15, on “Race, Labor and Armies of Empire in Africa and the United States, 1850-1918.” The talk will take place at 4 p.m. in the College Arts and Humanities Institute seminar room, 1211 E. Atwater Ave.

moyd_lgMoyd is a historian of eastern Africa with special interests in the region’s history of soldiering and warfare. She also is interim associate director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

Her first book, “Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa,” explores the social and cultural history of African soldiers in the colonial army of today’s Tanzania. Her current research includes an examination of the experience of African soldiers and workers in World War I and a study of the 1979 Kagera War between Tanzania and Uganda

The speaker series began last month with a talk by Stanford University historian Allyson Hobbs, author of “A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life.”

Future talks in the series include:

  • “Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools” by Amanda Lewis, associate professor of African-American studies and sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The talk will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Bridgwaters Lounge of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.
  • “The Colored Insane: Mental Illness and 19th-Century American Life” by Diana Martha Louis, visiting assistant professor of African-American and African diaspora studies at IU Bloomington. She will speak at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Indiana Memorial Union Maple Room.

The Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society at IU Bloomington is an interdisciplinary academic center with a mission of promoting research on race and ethnicity, bringing together scholars across interdisciplinary units and training the next generation of scholars. Its speaker series feature Indiana University researchers and scholars as well as experts from other universities.

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Journal examines non-state provision of public goods in Africa http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/06/journal-examines-non-state-provision-of-public-goods-in-africa/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/10/06/journal-examines-non-state-provision-of-public-goods-in-africa/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:01:25 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1574 Nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and faith-based groups have greatly extended their activities in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, taking on the provision of public goods and services that in other settings might be the responsibility of the state.

The current issue of the journal Africa Today, edited by Lauren MacLean of IU Bloomington and Danielle Carter Kushner of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, takes an in-depth look at that trend and its implications for politics and democratic engagement.

Lauren MacLean

Lauren MacLean

“There are some important questions about who wins and who loses from this different paradigm,” said MacLean, associate professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences. “If you get most of your goods and services from private companies and NGOs, does it change the way you think about your relationship with the state? Does it change the way you think about citizenship?”

The Africa Today issue grew out of a 2012 American Political Science Association-sponsored workshop in Botswana, which brought together scholars and researchers from Africa and the United States. Several shared an interest in the larger role that non-state actors were playing in Africa, and they decided to collaborate on a research agenda.

The resulting issue includes articles on faith-based universities in Nigeria, access to housing in Ghana, health services in Uganda and private security organizations in South Africa. MacLean and Jennifer Brass, assistant professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, examine the role of NGOs, the private sector and foreign aid in providing renewable energy in Kenya and Uganda.

While nongovernmental organizations have long played significant roles in much of Africa, the trend has accelerated in the past decade or so. For example, the number of NGOs operating in Ghana grew from 80 in 1980 to nearly 5,000 in 2010. In South Africa, private security businesses increased by 61 percent over the course of 10 years.

And while the provision of public goods by non-state entities has been widely studied in the United States and other developed nations, Africa presents unique issues and challenges.

“This was a very different context, where we thought it was important to think theoretically and empirically about what was happening on the ground,” MacLean said.

MacLean, Kushner and Jeffrey Paller of Columbia University write about the issue for the Monkey Cage, a political science blog hosted by the Washington Post, where they offer a “top five list” of things people should know about the politics of non-state provision of public goods in Africa:

  • It’s not just happening in weak states. In some cases, businesses and NGOs have stepped in because governments weren’t doing the job. But in others, democratization and the spread of market economies created space for new organizations to operate.
  • It’s not new but different. In the past, village communities, traditional authorities and missionaries played important roles. Today it’s international NGOs, multinational corporations and entrepreneurs.
  • It doesn’t always produce goods that are truly “public.” We typically think of public goods as being available to everyone. But in Africa, there’s often unequal access, leading to conflict over who gets education, health care and public utility services.
  • It does not mean there are no politics. Religious, nonprofit and community organizations are often deeply involved in political activity, supporting or opposing governing parties and encouraging or discouraging political action by their clients.
  • It matters for democracy. It can let governments off the hook, letting them ignore the needs of citizens. And it can have the effect of institutionalizing inequality, with only well connected groups having access to goods and services.

“I think inequality is something we really haven’t paid enough attention to, in the U.S. or elsewhere,” MacLean said. “In some of these African countries, even the ones we think of as success stories, as the economies have achieved higher rates of growth, we’re seeing rising inequality.”

Africa Today is a quarterly academic journal published by Indiana University Press. Its editorial offices are in the Global and International Studies Building at IU Bloomington. The current issue and previous issues are available online.


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Middle East expert to speak Wednesday on Iranian politics, religion and the nuclear weapons http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/29/middle-east-expert-to-speak-wednesday-on-iranian-politics-religion-and-the-nuclear-weapons/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/29/middle-east-expert-to-speak-wednesday-on-iranian-politics-religion-and-the-nuclear-weapons/#comments Tue, 29 Sep 2015 16:34:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1566 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, will kick off the Iran nuclear agreement lecture series at Indiana University Bloomington this Wednesday, Sept 30.

Juan Cole

Juan Cole

After a summer filled with partisan politics and a power struggle over a nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action adoption day is expected in October. Ninety days after approval by the UN Security Council, the agreement will be implemented in early 2016, lifting sanctions on Iran. But its effect on regional and global security concerns and its impact on foreign policy throughout the region remain subject to speculation on both sides of the aisle.

Cole is a frequent commentator on the Middle East and is a regular contributor at Truthdig. He has written widely on Islam, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and parts of South Asia. His latest book, “The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East,” was published last year. In addition to his academic and journalistic work within the U.S., Cole lived in the Arab world for almost 10 years and continues to travel extensively within in the region.

“Professor Cole’s lecture is a consideration of the issues from the Iranian perspective from one who knows that perspective well,” said Feisal Istrabadi, founding director of IU’s Center for the Study of the Middle East and professor of practice in the School of Global and International Studies and the Maurer School of Law. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to host one of the country’s true experts on modern Iran.”

Cole’s lecture, titled “The Iran nuclear agreement: Shiite Doctrine, Iranian Politics and Nuclear Weapons,” is free and open to the public, 5-6:30 p.m. in the Maurer School of Law, room 122.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Middle East and The Center on American and Global Security, the four-part fall lecture series continues on Oct. 5, Nov. 5 and Nov. 16.

Upcoming speakers in the series include: F. Gregory Gause III, professor of international affairs at Texas A&M, on regional consequences; Alan Kuperman, professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, on debunking Obama’s claims; and Steven Miller, director of the international security program at Harvard University, on nuclear diplomacy. All the talks will be in the Maurer School of Law, room 122.

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Legal and policy experts to discuss accountability and decisions in Middle East http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/28/legal-and-policy-experts-to-discuss-accountability-and-decisions-in-middle-east/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/28/legal-and-policy-experts-to-discuss-accountability-and-decisions-in-middle-east/#comments Mon, 28 Sep 2015 19:28:15 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1561 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

Foreign policy is often shrouded in mystery behind the closed doors of Washington’s intelligence agencies. But members of Congress — the officials we elect and imbue with power — also play a role in deciding U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Beth Cate

Beth Cate

And with civil war wreaking havoc in the Levant, the rise of ISIS destroying borders and the international community struggling to respond to a refugee crisis, questions about ethical foreign policy and U.S. engagement with the Middle East are looming large.

On Friday, Oct. 2, Beth Cate, associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington, and Nicholas Connon, SPEA alumnus and Mideast legal expert, will lead a discussion on these power structures that decide policy and factors such as ISIS, Iran, torture, drones, data leaks and non-government actors that influence the decision-making of both Congress and intelligence agencies.

In the wake of the American backlash to foreign policy set by Congress and presidents, such as the invasion of Iraq and operation of Abu Graib, questions of who decides foreign policy and who audits its ethical guidelines remain hazy, if not unanswered. The panel will tackle these issues of transparency, accountability and struggles for control that cloud the decision-making process, all of which make responsibility difficult to establish in domestic and foreign politics.

Cate and Connon will be joined by John Rizzo, former CIA chief counsel; Lee Hamilton, IU Distinguished Professor of Practice and former congressman and 9/11 commission co-chair; and Jeffrey Spears, former Baghdad judge advocate, for a panel discussion titled “Question Authority: Congress, the CIA and You” at 4 p.m. in SPEA room 167.

In addition to unpacking nuanced foreign policy dynamics and implications, the panel will offer students advice on preparing for and pursuing professional careers in related fields.

Rizzo, author of “Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA” will sign books following the panel, with free books available to the first 50 students.

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Civil rights legend John Lewis: ‘We can change things’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/22/civil-rights-legend-john-lewis-we-can-change-things/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/22/civil-rights-legend-john-lewis-we-can-change-things/#comments Tue, 22 Sep 2015 14:35:58 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1551 John Lewis hopes his autobiographical graphic novel “March” will inspire a generation of young people to transform society just as he and other civil rights activists did 50 years ago.

“I hope they will find a way to get in the way – find a way to get into good trouble, necessary trouble,” he said. “’March’ Book 1 and Book 2 are saying to all of us that we can do it, we can change things.”

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, left, interviews John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on the IU Auditorium stage.

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, left, interviews John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on the IU Auditorium stage.

Lewis and co-authors Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell spoke to 1,630 people Monday night at the IU Auditorium as part of the Power of Words series presented by the Monroe County Public Library and Friends of the Library. Indiana Memorial Union Board co-sponsored the event.

A Georgia congressman since 1987, Lewis was a key leader of the civil rights movement. He participated in lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, Tenn., was beaten and arrested on the 1961 Freedom Rides and organized and spoke at the August 1963 civil rights march in Washington, D.C.

Having grown up the child of sharecroppers in the segregated South when very few African-Americans were able to vote in much of Alabama and Mississippi, he is quick to celebrate racial progress.

“We live in a different America, a better America,” he said. “But we’re not there yet.”

“March” Book 1 and Book 2 use comic book form to tell the story of Lewis’ life and the civil rights struggle from his childhood in rural Alabama through the March on Washington. A third book is scheduled for publication next year.

The idea came from Aydin, a comics fan and a member of Lewis’ congressional staff. When he mentioned during a meeting that he planned to attend a comic book convention, Lewis recalled that a comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery bus boycott had been influential in raising awareness among young people in the early years of the civil rights movement.

Aydin began pestering Lewis to write a comic book about the movement, and eventually he said yes.

“He said, ‘OK, let’s do it. But only if you write it with me,’” Aydin said. “And that moment changed my life.”

Nate Powell, an artist who lives in Bloomington, joined the project, providing dynamic illustrations that give cinematic immediacy to the larger-than-life figures and events of the civil rights movement. Powell said he follows Lewis’ mantra: “Tell the whole story. Make it real. Make it plain.”

Book 3 of “March,” the authors said, will take the story to the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Ala., credited with inspiring passage of the Voting Rights Act. In March, President Barack Obama joined Lewis and others in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march and rallying support for voting rights.

“The vote is precious,” Lewis said Monday. “The vote is almost sacred given what people did to win it. It’s the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.”

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Constitution Day speaker: Gender matters on the court http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/17/constitution-day-speaker-gender-matters-on-the-court/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/17/constitution-day-speaker-gender-matters-on-the-court/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 19:38:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1547 Having women on the U.S. Supreme Court – something that never happened until 1981 – has changed the dynamic of court discussions and led justices to start listening to people with experiences different from their own, author and journalist Dahlia Lithwick told an IU Maurer School of Law audience Tuesday.

And having three women on the court since 2010 has taken change to a new level, she said, enabling Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to express their own approach to justice in unique ways, unburdened by being a “woman’s voice” on the court.

Dahlia Lithwick speaks at the IU Maurer School of Law

Dahlia Lithwick speaks at the IU Maurer School of Law

“Three is a magic number,” she said. “When you put three women on a board, they start talking. Suddenly they don’t have to speak for all women.”

Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate who has written for The New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker and other publications, spoke to a full house in the law school’s Moot Court Room in a Constitution Day program sponsored by the school, the Office of the Provost, and the American Constitution Society. Constitution Day is observed every Sept. 17 to mark the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

The talk charted the history of women on the Supreme Court from Sandra Day O’Connor’s appointment to the present. While O’Connor received a great deal of attention as the first woman justice, Lithwick said, she fiercely resisted the idea that her legal reasoning was different from her male colleagues.’

Yet when O’Connor was asked her opinion on John Roberts’ appointment as chief justice, she said he was perfect for the job – except that he wasn’t a woman.

On gender and judging, Lithwick said, “We want to think it doesn’t matter except when it matters.”

Ginsburg joined the court in 1993, and for 13 years it was extraordinary to watch the contrast between the two women: O’Connor politically moderate and traditionally feminine in her approach, Ginsburg deeply serious and a longtime advocate for legal rights of women. They were approximately the same age but “separated by an entire generation of feminism.”

Lithwick said O’Connor and Ginsburg agreed on only half of all decisions but on 90 percent of cases involving gender, a suggestion that their experience as women did make a difference.

She cited a study of three-judge panels in federal sex discrimination claims as stronger evidence that having female judges matters. When there was at least one female judge on a panel, researchers found, male judges were 15 percent more likely to cast their vote in favor of the women plaintiffs.

After O’Connor retired in 1996 to care for her ailing husband, Ginsburg became more outspoken as the court’s voice of female experience. Lithwick said Ginsburg truly took on that role with a 2009 case involving a school that strip-searched a 13-year-old girl suspected of possessing Advil.

“The male justices seemed to think this case was laugh-out-loud funny,” she said. During oral arguments, they made light-hearted comments about having to undress in school gym class. Ginsburg insisted it was serious and even told a newspaper reporter that the male justices seemed unable to comprehend the experiences of a teenage girl.

Lithwick said you can get a good idea of how having women on the court has produced change by comparing arguments from Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 case that legalized birth control, and the 2004 Hobby Lobby decision that struck down the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

In Griswold, she said, contraceptive methods were never named, and there was a sense that justices didn’t know what they were talking about. In Hobby Lobby, “you couldn’t listen without ‘IUD, IUD.’”

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Multidisciplinary panel unpacks the pope’s encyclical http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/16/multidisciplinary-panel-unpacks-the-popes-encyclical/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/16/multidisciplinary-panel-unpacks-the-popes-encyclical/#comments Wed, 16 Sep 2015 18:25:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1537 Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

The papal encyclical released in June still has scholars wondering what changes in both policy and attitude can be expected, if any, from the holy document. A panel of Indiana University scholars gathered on Tuesday to discuss just that.

Constance Furey, professor of religious studies; Philip Stevens, professor of chemistry and environmental science; Dan Cole, professor of law and Eduardo Brondizio, professor of anthropology brought their respective disciplines to the table, bridging the theological, legal, political and social impacts. The Center on American and Global Security hosted the discussion, which took place before a large crowd at the IU Maurer School of Law.

At left, IU faculty members Constance Furey, Philip Stevens, Dan Cole and Eduardo Brondizio discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical in a forum at the Maurer School of Law.

At left, IU faculty members Constance Furey, Philip Stevens, Dan Cole and Eduardo Brondizio discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical at the Maurer School of Law.

Pope Francis’ encyclical left little room for doubt on whom to blame for climate change. Although an encyclical is understood as a specifically Catholic document, Pope Francis addressed the blanket of humanity and blamed “reckless behavior” of all for pushing the planet to its “breaking point.”

Furey opened the panel by posing a question to the audience: “Is this theology?”

Outlining first the ways in which the encyclical does not seem like theology — with its key themes of capitalism and inequality and its embrace of “every living person” — Furey then asked the audience to consider Saint Francis of Assisi, the current pope’s namesake. Saint Francis’ emphasis on care for nature, the poor and inner peace is a kind of vernacular or mystical theology, Furey explained.

“This is a theological critique of systems that oppress the poor and degrade the environment,” said Furey.

Switching from the spiritual realm to the scientific, Stevens said it was his job to convince the room that climate change is absolutely a real phenomenon. Although Stevens’ introductory comment was met with chuckles of obvious agreement, he addressed how easy it is to find climate change deniers in the comment sections of new stories online or in conservative media.

Stevens debunked the common myths surrounding climate change: climate change is the same as weather, climate change like this is normal, CO2 does not cause warming, the earth stopped warming in 1998 and models are not reliable for predicting consequences.

“Not believing in climate change is like still believing that smoking doesn’t cause cancer,” said Stevens.

Cole brought the focus back to the encyclical itself, trying to answer whether it will have any foreseeable legal or political ramifications. Papal encyclicals are not backed with the force of law, either within or outside the church, but can impact policy initiatives and social-normative views.

“I would be surprised if [Pope Francis] expects immediate results,” said Cole. “But we can expect long-term cultural changes, and I expect it will be put to use at December’s UN conference on climate change.”

For Cole, the encyclical’s calls for environmental change seem limited by the world’s current financial challenges. For developing countries to increase their adaptive capacities for climate change, they will have to improve their economic development. And right now, Cole said, this will be achieved through non-renewable energy sources, a paradoxical setback for environmental advocates like Pope Francis.

Brondizio’s Catholic upbringing brought a different shade to his interpretation of the encyclical. He lauded the encyclical’s “deep engagement with science” but argued that developed countries have now exported the large chunks of the industries that harm the environment to poor countries. This creates an aggregate deficit worldwide, which is often ignored in developed countries.

“You cannot separate global environmental change from global inequality,” said Brondizio.

The panel agreed that the actual effects of June’s encyclical remain up in the air and dependent on its power at future conferences on climate change.

The enduring optimism of the encyclical was counterbalanced by the panel’s pessimism for any likely global policy changes. “The pope is hopeful,” said Furey. “But he gets how deeply depressing the situation is.”

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Author of history of racial passing to speak Thursday at IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/15/author-of-history-of-racial-passing-to-speak-thursday-at-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/15/author-of-history-of-racial-passing-to-speak-thursday-at-iu-bloomington/#comments Tue, 15 Sep 2015 19:21:44 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1532 Rachel Dolezal sparked outrage and scorn this summer when her parents said the Spokane, Wash., activist had lied about her race. But according to Stanford University historian Allyson Hobbs, the lack of sympathy for Dolezal was both revealing and disheartening.

“The harsh criticism of her sounds frighteningly similar to the way African-Americans were treated when it was discovered that they had passed as white,” she wrote in the New York Times. “They were vilified, accused of deception and condemned for trying to gain membership to a group to which they did not and could never belong.”

Allyson Hobbs

Allyson Hobbs

Hobbs will speak this week at Indiana University Bloomington, launching the 2015-16 speaker series sponsored by the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society. Her talk, at 4 p.m. Thursday in Bridgwaters Lounge at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, will focus on her recent book “A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in the United States.”

The talk is free and open to the public.

“We chose Allyson to launch the speaker series because her work fits so well with our fall theme of ‘Boundaries and Inequalities,’” said Dina Okamoto, director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society and associate professor of sociology.

“Racial passing is a hidden and understudied social phenomenon which has important implications for both racial identity and inequality,” she said. “We now live in an age when diversity and multiraciality are new realities, when individuals have more freedom to choose their identities. But in fact, as cases like Rachel Dolezal’s have demonstrated, identity choices are still fraught and controversial.”

Hobbs will discuss the challenges and possibilities that faced countless African-Americans who chose to pass as white between the 18th and mid-20th centuries, often leaving behind family and community.

She notes that the significance of passing evolved with changes in race relations. Before the Civil War, African-Americans sometimes passed to escape slavery. After emancipation, it was often seen as an act of betrayal. But during the long Jim Crow era, it became a path to social and economic advancement.

“Although black Americans who adopted white identities reaped benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility,” Hobbs said, “my talk helps us to recognize and understand the grief, loneliness and isolation that accompanied — and often outweighed — these rewards.”

Hobbs is an assistant professor of history at Stanford, where she teaches courses on American identity, African-American history and other topics. In addition to academic work, she has written recently for the New Yorker, the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications. “A Chosen Exile” received the Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American History and the Lawrence Levine Award for best book in American cultural history.

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Decision time on Iran: IU panel discusses domestic, regional and foreign impact of deal http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/09/decision-time-on-iran-iu-panel-discusses-domestic-regional-and-foreign-impact-of-deal/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/09/decision-time-on-iran-iu-panel-discusses-domestic-regional-and-foreign-impact-of-deal/#comments Wed, 09 Sep 2015 19:24:52 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1523 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Speaking to an overflow crowd of over 200, Indiana University experts discussed the domestic, regional and foreign attitudes and implications of the pending Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, colloquially called the Iran nuclear deal, in a Sept. 8 panel discussion.

The panel had much to discuss, especially because it followed only hours after U.S. Democrats claimed to have the Senate votes necessary to block a Republican resolution expressing disapproval of the agreement.

From left, panelists Jamsheed Choksy, Asma Afsaruddin, Feisal Istrabadi and Lee Hamilton discuss the Iran nuclear agreement.

From left, panelists Jamsheed Choksy, Asma Afsaruddin, Feisal Istrabadi and Lee Hamilton discuss the Iran nuclear agreement.

The panel, “Decision Time on Iran,” was the first event in the new School of Global and International Studies auditorium and included Asma Afsaruddin, professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures; Jamsheed Choksy, Distinguished Professor of Central Eurasian Studies; former U.S. Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, Distinguished Professor off Practice at SGIS; and Feisal Istrabadi, founding director of the IU Center for the Study of the Middle East and former Iraqi ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

Nick Cullather, associate dean of SGIS, moderated the panel until Lee Feinstein, dean of the school, took over about 30 minutes in, straight out of a Chicago taxi.

Cullather began by explaining the qualities of the agreement itself. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action grew out a framework reached by the foreign ministers of Iran, the P5+1 (U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China + Germany) and the European Union in April. The formal plan proposal was announced July 14 with a Sept. 17 deadline to vote on it in the U.S.

“The agreement was met with a resounding silence by Americans — a silence that boded a political firestorm,” said Cullather after describing the jubilation of most Iranians and other involved countries.

Congress now has the opportunity to vote to disapprove the agreement. If it were voting for approval, the panel most likely would never have come together, because a majority in Congress opposes the deal. While the House clearly has the votes to disapprove the agreement, 42 Democratic senators have said they will support President Obama on the plan, enough to prevent a Senate vote.

After explaining the terms of the deal, Cullather turned to Hamilton and asked him to draw on his experience in Washington, including his time as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to describe what members of Congress are feeling during a decision like this.

“This vote is hugely consequential,” began Hamilton. “This is a vote that will define a member of Congress … and defines the institution of the Congress.”

With big money pressuring members of Congress and constant phone calls, letters, emails and personal appeals — not to mention all the lobbyists, campaign contributors, constituents and presidential aides – both sides are mobilized in the tug-of-war attempt to change votes.

Afsaruddin spoke to sentiments further from home but equally consequential: those of the intellectual elite in Iran.

“There is a very healthy dissident mentality that is prevalent among the thinking elite,” said Afsaruddin. This is in stark contrast to how Iranians are often portrayed in U.S. media. But Iran has hardliners just like those in the U.S. Congress, she explained.

Drawing further parallels between the U.S. Congress and Iran, Choksy described the limited powers of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and pointed to past international agreements that failed when Iranian presidents tried to take action without the consent of parliament.

But conservative Iranian lawmakers remain stalwart that the deal diminishes Iranian nuclear achievements, and they do not believe that the U.S. will lift sanctions and grapple with enduring anti-American sentiments in the post 1979 revolution world.

Successfully implementing the agreement requires overcoming the Iranian conservatives but also American allies in the region, explained Istrabadi. There is an uneasiness growing that the U.S. might be willing to throw its allies Israel and Saudi Arabia under the bus to improve relations with Iran.

“I don’t think the Middle East was in this much turmoil even in the colonial period,” said Istrabadi. “There is a fear in the region of a rampant rising Iran.”

Despite the apparent success of the Democrats in the U.S. so far, panelists said, the deal remains up in the air because any demonstrations or unrest in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran or other parts of the region still have the possibility of derailing the efforts.

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The college information gap: Universities miss out on talented Latino students http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/08/the-college-information-gap-universities-miss-out-on-talented-latino-students/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/08/the-college-information-gap-universities-miss-out-on-talented-latino-students/#comments Tue, 08 Sep 2015 21:01:39 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1517 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

After Indiana University celebrated an August enrollment that broke academic and diversity records, one professor argues that the college information gap still leaves entire groups of high school students behind. Sylvia Martínez, associate professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the IU School of Education, has conducted research suggesting that many Latino students are “qualified and able but under-enrolling” in four-year universities.

Martínez defined the college information gap as both the lack of information and the misinformation in the Latino community on how to get in and then navigate college life.

Sylvia Martínez

Sylvia Martínez

“The high school dropout rate for Latinos is at an all-time low,” she said in a Sept. 4 presentation on her research. “But this is not transitioning to university enrollment, which creates a significant talent loss.”

Often advocates of minority group representation in universities stress getting high school students college-ready. However, as Martínez points out, readiness alone is not sufficient to transition students to a four-year university.

“Latino students have valuable social capital. I won’t go as far as to argue a social deficit,” she said. “But they often don’t have the specific kind of social capital needed to navigate the institutional college preparation and application process.”

Martínez identified two major problems in seeing higher numbers of Latino students join four-year university programs: Latino students are often educating their parents on the college system, not the other way around; and there are gatekeepers of college information, like high school counselors, who are not doing an adequate job in educating students on their college options.

Martínez began by looking at survey data collected nationally on how high school students get their information about college. Then she focused on Latino students specifically. (Martínez acknowledged the limitations of this data: The surveys offer quantitative findings but do not offer qualitative insights to the depth or length of conversations students have with their parents, teachers and guidance counselors).

The information gap is problem enough, Martínez said, but disseminating information about college is not always enough for Latino students to enroll. Latino students with basic college information are still more likely to join a community college or less selective two-year program instead of pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Martínez pointed to programs such as the Balfour Pre-College Academy at IU as promising interim solutions. The Balfour program brings high school juniors to the Bloomington campus for five days and provides them with personalized college counseling. The Balfour Scholars then continue to receive remote college advice throughout their senior year.

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Labor and civil rights leaders coming to IU Bloomington for Themester http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/07/labor-and-civil-rights-leaders-coming-to-iu-bloomington-for-themester/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/07/labor-and-civil-rights-leaders-coming-to-iu-bloomington-for-themester/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2015 13:02:38 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1509 Labor Day is a good time to take note of a blockbuster lineup of speakers from the organized labor and civil rights movements coming to IU Bloomington for the College of Arts and Sciences’ 2015 Themester, titled “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.”

They include Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, and the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, who will discuss the legacies and future of the labor and civil rights movements; and Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who will discuss immigration.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Trumka has been president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor organization, since 2009. Before that, he served as its secretary for 14 years. He worked in southwestern Pennsylvania mines and at age 33 was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America.

Barber spent his early childhood in Indianapolis before his family relocated to North Carolina. As head of the state NAACP, he has spoken out against voter restrictions and cuts in state education and social service spending. He has received national acclaim as the organizer of Moral Mondays, a movement that has drawn thousands of people to protests at the North Carolina statehouse.

Barber and Trumka will share a stage for “Labor and Civil Rights: Bold Legacies and New Directions,” a discussion at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 in Presidents Hall of Franklin Hall.

Ai-jen Poo began organizing female immigrant workers nearly 20 years ago and co-founded Domestic Workers United in New York in 2000. Along with 11 other organizations, that group launched the National Domestic Workers Alliance in 2007. She was named a McArthur fellow in 2014 and was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2012.

She will be the keynote speaker for “Politics, Promises and Possibilities: The 1965 Immigration Act at 50,” a daylong program of talks, discussions and performances Oct. 16 at the Indiana Memorial Union.

While it’s common to think of Labor Day as just a three-day weekend and a last chance for summertime leisure, the holiday began 130 years ago as a tribute to contributions workers have made to the nation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.”

The IU Bloomington themed semester won’t focus entirely on organized labor, of course. It will include a broad-based and multidisciplinary look at dramatic shifts in the ways that Americans are experiencing work and an exploration of the history and the future implications of these changes.

In addition to lectures, panel discussions and academic symposia, it will include courses, films, plays, exhibitions and other activities and events. A complete schedule is at the Themester website.

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State archaeologists to speak at IU in celebration of Archaeology Month http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/04/state-archaeologists-to-speak-at-iu-in-celebration-of-archaeology-month/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/09/04/state-archaeologists-to-speak-at-iu-in-celebration-of-archaeology-month/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 19:16:17 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1502 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

This September is the 20th celebration of Archaeology Month in Indiana, and the Glenn A. Black Lab will present the talk “Public Service Work: Archaeology and the State of Indiana” as one of over 30 archaeology events statewide throughout the month.

The talk, on Sept. 11 at 12:15 p.m. in Indiana University’s Glenn A. Black Laboratory, will feature Amy Johnson, state archaeologist, and Rachel Sharkey, staff archaeologist, from the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. They hope to shed light on what their staff does — not typically digging in a field but rather serving as a management service for all of Indiana.

State Archaeologist Amy Johnson

State Archaeologist Amy Johnson

“There are some basic misconceptions out there about what archaeologists do,” said Johnson. “Sometimes we are out in the field. But we certainly aren’t looking for dinosaur bones — those are paleontologists. And most of our work takes place after the fieldwork.”

Daily activities of a state archaeologist range from compiling environmental reviews and grant assistance to reviewing archaeological sites such as cemeteries and cultural heritage locations.

“We help with grant funds from various offices and programs, not just archaeological projects,” said Sharkey. “Our office often functions as a liaison between the grant recipients and historical preservation sites.”

After decades of housing developments and an expanding highway system that was demolishing historic sites in its path, preservation activists found success in the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act. The new legislation created the State Historic Preservation Office and built partnerships from the federal level down to local levels for preservation activities. Today the Indiana office works closely with town and county governments as well as the U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service.

Johnson and Sharkey hope to convey to the audience a new sense of what archaeology can look like as a government actor and how it affects the daily lives of Hoosiers.

“We are coming from a state government perspective,” said Johnson. “This is a very different perspective than people who are in the field every day.”

The talk is complemented by a full calendar of events celebrating Archaeology Month in Indiana. Other events include public archaeology days for all ages at state parks and field days. A full list of events can be found on the Indiana Department of Natural Resource’s website. The celebration concludes with the Sept. 26 Indiana Archaeology Symposium, which will bring back speakers from the last 20 years of Archaeology Month events.

Other Archaeology Month events at the Glenn Black Lab include “When Americans Dug their Past: Doing Archaeology during the Great Depression,” a talk by Bernard K. Means, director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University, at 4 p.m. on Sept. 18.

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IU economist at Jackson Hole: Analysis should make room for ‘confounding dynamics’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/31/iu-economist-at-jackson-hole-analysis-should-make-room-for-confounding-dynamics/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/31/iu-economist-at-jackson-hole-analysis-should-make-room-for-confounding-dynamics/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:06:38 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1488 Central bankers and academic economists often see the job of monetary policy as keeping the economy on a steady path guided by a target rate of inflation and an ideal rate of growth in economic output.

But Indiana University economist Eric Leeper and a co-author argue that they should be paying more attention to so-called disparate confounding dynamics — factors such as unstable prices in some sectors and puzzling behavior of long-term rates that are often ignored in setting policy.

Leeper and Jon Faust of Johns Hopkins University made their case in a paper titled “The Myth of Normal: The Bumpy Story of Inflation and Monetary Policy,” which they presented Saturday at the annual Jackson Hole, Wyo., Economic Policy Symposium sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Eric Leeper

Eric Leeper

They argue that economics and policymakers need to make a concerted effort to include disparate confounding dynamics, or DCDs, in their modeling and analysis.

“We can do better,” Leeper said. “Over time, we will be able to slowly add the most important of these disparate confounding dynamics to our more rigorous frameworks.”

The invitation-only Jackson Hole meeting includes high-level discussions by central bankers, policymakers and economists from around the world. Attendees this year included Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, as well as several regional Federal Reserve presidents.

The paper co-authored by Leeper, a professor in the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences and a former Federal Reserve Board economist, is one of four academic papers that were presented and discussed at the symposium.

He and Faust take issue with what they call the “nice view” that dominates macroeconomic policy, which holds that the goal is to keep the economy as close as possible to a steady state undisturbed by external shocks. Under that approach, policymakers and economists either ignore confounding dynamics or “look through” them, using statistical methods that wash out their effects. Cyclical shifts in economic activity are accounted for, but long-term and structural changes are outside the realm of policy.

The name “nice view” is a play on the so-called NICE decade of 1995-2005 – an acronym for noninflationary and consistently expansionary. But Leeper and Faust argue that, even during the NICE period, it was a myth that confounding dynamics were not significant.

The authors analyze several examples of DCDs that should be incorporated into analysis and modeling.

One is labor share, the fraction of total income that goes toward compensation for workers. It has been shrinking for 20 years, a trend associated with growing economic inequality. If labor share were to grow, that would arguably be a good thing. But under the nice view, policymakers should push back by raising interest rates to prevent overheating of the economy.

Another confounding dynamic is demographic change such as the aging of populations, which affects productivity and consumption. An older population, for example, uses more medical care, raising prices and leading to higher-than-expected inflation for services.

Leeper and Faust commend central bankers for their efforts to allow for confounding dynamics in guiding policy through the recovery from the financial crisis of 2008-09. But they worry that, with the crisis receding, decision-makers could “go back to a policy framework founded on myth.”

In the long term, they write, central banks and policy organizations should shift resources into studying disparate confounding dynamics in an effort to develop more useful and accurate models. Until that happens, they say, officials should continue to bring an awareness of DCDs into their policy discussions in a transparent and systematic manner.

You can read more about the Jackson Hole symposium, including coverage of Leeper’s paper, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News Service, Financial Times, Market News International, MarketWatch and elsewhere.

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IU Bloomington sociologists honored http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/19/iu-bloomington-sociologists-honored/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/19/iu-bloomington-sociologists-honored/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 16:01:01 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1474 Indiana University Bloomington sociologists will take home some of the top research and teaching awards from the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association and associated meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and Sociologists for the Study of Women.

ASA logoThe meetings are taking place this weekend in Chicago. The main event, the 110th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, is Friday through Tuesday.

Faculty research awards

  • Youngjoo Cha, assistant professor of sociology, will receive the ASA Inequality, Poverty and Mobility Section’s Outstanding Article Award for “Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Earnings Gap,” co-authored by Kim Weeden of Cornell University and published in American Sociological Review.
  • Jennifer Lee, associate professor of sociology, will receive the ASA Asia and Asian America Section’s Research Paper Award for “Marginalized Model Minority? An Empirical Examination of the Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans,” co-authored by Indiana University alumnus Jun Xu of Ball State University and published in Social Forces.

Graduate student research awards

Bianca Manago will receive the ASA Social Psychology Section’s Graduate Student Investigator Award for her project “The Role of Labels in Processes of Stigmatization and Stratification.”

  • Long Doan, Annalise Loehr, and Lisa Miller will receive the ASA Social Psychology’s Section Graduate Student Paper Award for “Formal Rights and Informal Privileges for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment,” published in American Sociological Review.
  • Doan, Loehr and Miller also will receive the ASA Sex and Gender Section’s Sally Hacker Graduate Student Paper Award for “The Power of Love: The Role of Emotional Attributions and Standards in Heterosexuals’ Perceptions of Lesbian and Gay Couples,” published in Social Forces.
  • Will McConnell will receive the ASA Medical Sociology Section’s Howard B. Kaplan Graduate Student Award.
  • Natasha Quadlin will receive the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ Youth, Aging, and Life Course Division’s Best Graduate Student Paper Award for her article “Gender and Time Use in College: Converging or Diverging Pathways?” published in Gender and Society.
  • Landon Schnabel will receive the Sociologists for the Study of Women Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for his paper “The Gender Pray Gap: Wage Labor and the Religiosity of High-Earning Women and Men.”

Teaching awards

  • Matthew Gougherty, Rachel La Touche, Annalise Loehr, and Emily Wurgler are among 25 recipients of the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Development Award, which honors teaching accomplishments and contributions of sociology graduate students and assistant professors. As in several recent years, IU Bloomington had the most recipients of the award.

Brian Powell, James H. Rudy Professor and chairman of the IU Bloomington sociology department, will serve as a panelist for a plenary session on Saturday titled “The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage: Public Opinion and the Courts.”

The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

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IU awarded consultation grant for Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/10/iu-awarded-consultation-grant-for-native-american-graves-protection-and-repatriation-act/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/10/iu-awarded-consultation-grant-for-native-american-graves-protection-and-repatriation-act/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 18:11:40 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1469 The National Park Service has awarded Indiana University a $46,348 grant to support consultation with representatives of Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations about matters related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, known as NAGPRA.

The grant will enable IU to bring representatives of at least 10 tribes to the Bloomington campus in the spring of 2016, said Jayne-Leigh Thomas, the university’s NAGPRA director. The visits will include roundtable discussions and tours of IU archives and repositories.

Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology.

Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology.

The IU grant is one of 37 grants, totaling $1.5 million, announced recently by the National Park Service. They were awarded to 15 Indian tribes and 16 museums and institutions.

“These grants address the basic desire to have stewardship over one’s own heritage,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a news release. “The NAGRPA process provides the opportunity for ancestral remains and cultural items to be returned to American Indian and Native Hawaiian peoples.”

Enacted in 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires museums and government agencies to inventory Native American human remains and cultural objects in their collections and consult with federally recognized Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations with the goal of repatriating those collections. The National Park Service, which administers the law, is authorized to award grants to assist with its implementation.

Indiana University houses collections that include human remains and cultural items at repositories at IU Bloomington. The collections, primarily from Indiana and Illinois, were acquired as a result of anthropological research, archaeological excavations, and private donations.

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IU experts reflect on Voting Rights Act at 50 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/06/iu-experts-reflect-on-voting-rights-act-at-50/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/08/06/iu-experts-reflect-on-voting-rights-act-at-50/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 19:33:21 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1465 Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, calling it “a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield.” And he wasn’t stretching the truth by much, according to Indiana University legal experts.

“It was a powerful and remarkable piece of legislation,” said Timothy Lovelace, associate professor in the IU Maurer School of Law. “The effect was the creation of thousands of new African-American voters. And not just voters; it also impacted the number of black elected officials.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965. (White House photo).

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1870, was supposed to guarantee the right to vote for black men. But local jurisdictions, especially in the South, routinely used poll taxes, literacy tests and other methods to prevent voting. And challenging those tactics in court was an uphill battle.

That changed with the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting and included detailed provisions allowing the federal government to enforce the right to vote.

“It was a sea change in our nation,” said Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, professor and the Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow in the Maurer School of Law, who has written extensively about the law. “It was effective; there’s no question about that.”

Fuentes-Rohwer said the law worked for decades because the three branches of government cooperated to support its provisions. Even when President Richard Nixon backed away from civil-rights enforcement as part of his Southern Strategy, the Supreme Court held fast to the law. But no longer.

“That cooperative era is clearly over,” Fuentes-Rohwer said. “The Supreme Court is not interested in playing along any more. They think the act has served its purpose. A majority of members think the mission’s been accomplished and it’s time to go home.”

The key turning point came in in 2013 with the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which ruled unconstitutional a provision of Section 5 of the act, requiring certain Southern states and jurisdictions to receive federal “pre-clearance” to enact significant changes in voting.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the law was designed for a different era and could no longer be justified. “Our country has changed,” he wrote. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

The IU professors say it’s ironic that conservatives, who typically decry “judicial activism” and argue that courts should defer to legislators, overturned a law with strong legislative support. When Congress last reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006, the votes were 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House.

“The majority on the Supreme Court deviated from a well-established tradition of judicial deference,” Lovelace said. “They did not take into full account the congressional record and the widespread, bipartisan support for reauthorizing the act.”

Recent cases suggest the Voting Rights Act may have a bit of life left. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled that a Texas voter identification law violated the act because it had a disparate impact of discouraging voting by blacks and Latinos. A similar case is being considered in North Carolina.

But the same legal logic that killed Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is likely bad news for other provisions of the law, said Fuentes-Rohwer, who writes about the issue in The New York Times.

“The act is on its last legs,” he said. “It’s dying.”

Both he and Lovelace said it may be time for voting-rights advocates to turn back to the political arena, rather than the courts, to strengthen access to the polls. They point to North Carolina’s Moral Mondays movement and to a current NAACP voting-rights march from Selma, Ala., to Washington, D.C.

Just as it took the civil rights movement to get the Voting Rights Act approved in 1965, they said, it will take a political movement to get lawmakers to expand access to registration and voting for all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity.

“Think about American history,” Fuentes-Rohwer said. “It’s never been any other way.”

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IU expert: Harsh discipline doesn’t work, disproportionately affects students of color http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/07/31/iu-expert-harsh-discipline-doesnt-work-disproportionately-affects-students-of-color/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/07/31/iu-expert-harsh-discipline-doesnt-work-disproportionately-affects-students-of-color/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:42:58 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1460 Research shows that “zero-tolerance” school discipline policies don’t make schools safer and are likely to have negative effects on the students they’re supposed to help, Indiana University education professor Russell Skiba told a national radio audience Friday.

The get-tough approach to discipline was widely adopted in the 1990s because officials thought suspension and expulsion would deter students from misbehaving and create a more orderly learning environment for others, he said on the public radio program “Science Friday.”

Russell Skiba

Russell Skiba

But in fact they have had the opposite effect. Students who experience harsh discipline are more likely to fall behind and disengage from school. And schools with high levels of suspension and expulsion have a worse behavioral climate even when controlling for socioeconomic factors.

“Studies are showing that zero-tolerance policies, while they’re intuitive, haven’t panned out in practice,” Skiba said on a segment of “Science Friday” devoted to alternative school discipline.

Skiba, director of the Equity Project in the School of Education, is a national authority on school discipline. Joining him in the “Science Friday” discussion were Edward Fergus, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at New York University, and Yamanda Wright, a data scientist with the nonprofit social justice organization Texas Appleseed.

Not only are harsh discipline practices ineffective, the panelists said, but they tend to be used disproportionately for youth of color. Skiba said African-American and Latino students are several times as likely as white students to be suspended or expelled for the same infractions.

Critics point to zero-tolerance discipline and hair-trigger referrals of students to the criminal justice system as significant factors in what’s often called the school-to-prison pipeline.

The “Science Friday” segment focused on alternatives to zero tolerance, such as restorative justice and positive behavioral support. Skiba said there’s no single approach that will work in every school – what’s effective in one school or region of the country may be less so in another.

“One of the most promising approaches is simply building relationships,” he said. “Teachers who have better relationships with their kids are more likely to engage in disciplinary practices that work.”

He also cited research that found positive outcomes when teachers who have a record of successfully managing classrooms and student interactions are paired as mentors with other teachers.

Panelists conceded that a lack of resources can make it less likely that some schools will implement progressive discipline policies. But Skiba said office referrals and suspensions have often been used for low-level offenses, a wasteful approach that eats up lots of teacher and principal time.

“If there are preventive measures put in place, those will actually, in the long run, save time,” he said. “You’re not going to be spending a lot of time chasing after minor issues.”

To listen to the segment, see the “Science Friday” website.

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IU scholar Sawyer honored in Liberia on 70th birthday http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/07/10/iu-scholar-sawyer-honored-in-liberia-on-70th-birthday/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/07/10/iu-scholar-sawyer-honored-in-liberia-on-70th-birthday/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 20:36:58 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1449 Longtime Indiana University faculty member Amos Sawyer turned 70 this month, and the occasion was a big deal in Liberia, his home country.

Amos Sawyer

Amos Sawyer

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, praised Sawyer at an international symposium held to celebrate his birthday. Sawyer, an affiliate faculty member and former co-director of IU’s Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, was interim president of Liberia from 1990-94.

In recent years he has chaired and served on the Governance Commission of Liberia at the appointment of the country’s president. According to a news release from the Liberian executive mansion:

 President Sirleaf observed that Dr. Sawyer in his political quest has not only been able to display exemplary leadership, but was also able to serve as a motivator and a leader who was able to simplify the most complex situations during his term as interim leader.

The Liberian Chief Executive pointed out that the former interim president has over the years also been able to demonstrate a spirit of humility as well as exhibit carefulness of thought, rationality and good reasoning. “He is an outstanding thinker; promoting peace, security and democracy has always been his interest,” President Sirleaf noted.

Also speaking at the symposium was Ghanaian diplomat Mohammed Ibn Chambas, former executive secretary of the Economic Community of West African States, who cited Sawyer’s leadership as interim president in ending the nation’s 14-year civil war.

The event included the reading of a letter from IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel, thanking Sawyer for his service to Indiana University.

“Your three decades of contributions to the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis have helped to create deep and meaningful connections between the Bloomington campus and the international community, particularly the people of Liberia,” Robel wrote.

“Vincent and Elinor Ostrom shared your dedication to a more equitable and democratic Liberia, and I am certain they would be very proud of the strides you continue to make toward this most admirable goal. In fact the entire Bloomington campus shares this sense of pride.”

A political scientist by training, Sawyer has been associated with the Ostrom Workshop in various capacities since 1986. He gave the inaugural lecture in IU’s J. Gus Liebenow Memorial Lecture Series in 2001, marking the 40th anniversary of the university’s African Studies Program.

From 2005-07 he served as co-director of the Ostrom Workshop with Elinor Ostrom, who later would receive the Nobel Prize in economic sciences. Sawyer received the 2011 Gusi Peace Prize, an international award given to individuals who work for peace and respect for human life and dignity. He has served as an African Union observer of elections in Ghana and Nigeria.

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Financial literacy can mean ‘live like a student’ now, not later http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/06/30/financial-literacy-can-mean-live-like-a-student-now-not-later/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/06/30/financial-literacy-can-mean-live-like-a-student-now-not-later/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 21:03:55 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1437 Indiana University put together its student financial literacy program with few models or guidelines but a lot of passion and an openness to new ideas, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer MaryFrances McCourt told an audience of college and university officials this week.

But something clicked. The program, launched in 2012, has been cited as a national model and is credited with helping reduce undergraduate borrowing by 16 percent over two years, resulting in $44 million in reduced debt for students.

MaryFrances McCourt

MaryFrances McCourt at the National Summit on Collegiate Financial Wellness. Photo by Eric Rudd.

“How can you not be engaged in one of the most critical issues facing our nation?” McCourt said.

McCourt was one of three keynote speakers for the National Summit on Collegiate Financial Wellness, which took place at IU Bloomington and wrapped up today. IU and Ohio State University served as hosts for the meeting, which drew over 200 people from across the country.

IU President Michael McRobbie introduced McCourt, a clear signal that student financial wellness is supported at the highest level of the university. Controlling costs and providing students with the capability to manage debt is included in the principles of the IU Bicentennial Strategic Plan.

The university rolled out its program amid rising national concern about student debt, which had topped $1 trillion and surpassed the nation’s consumer credit-card debt in 2012. The quickly developed MoneySmarts initiative includes for-credit courses, peer-to-peer advising, an interactive website and a podcast series titled “How Not to Move Back In With Your Parents.”

“We wanted everything right away,” McCourt said, and many of the early ideas were implemented.

McCourt said it’s a fact that many families are squeezed to pay for college as a result of stagnant real incomes, declining family wealth and the growing gap between haves and have-nots. But she said much of the conventional wisdom about a crisis of affordability in higher education is not correct. Tuition isn’t skyrocketing. Low-income students have better access to higher education than ever before. A college degree remains a good investment, and it’s getting better.

And while debt is a problem for many students, she said, much of the media and policy attention focuses on the small number of people with extremely high college debt – and on those who borrow excessively to attend the most expensive colleges and universities.

“But again, perception is reality,” McCourt said. And higher education institutions have an obligation to address the perception that students are mired in debt and to head off real problems when possible.

Along with programs aimed at making students more financially literate, IU has taken steps to make it clearer to students just how much they are borrowing – and what it will take to repay their loans. Many students have to borrow, McCourt said. But they’ll be better off if they borrow no more than they need.

“We call it optimal borrowing,” she said. “Not no borrowing, but optimal.”

And that can mean choosing to “live like a student” rather than to rent high-end apartments, go out frequently to restaurants and bars and buy flat-screen TVs and other toys.

“If you’re not living like a student now,” McCourt said, “you’re going to be living like one for the next 10 years.”

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Historian: Church attack makes for a somber Juneteenth http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/06/19/historian-church-attack-makes-for-a-somber-juneteenth/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/06/19/historian-church-attack-makes-for-a-somber-juneteenth/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:31:55 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1431 Today is Juneteenth, an important African-American celebration that marks the occasion 150 years ago today when word reached Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War was over and slaves were free.

But this year’s observances will be weighted with grief and outrage after a young white man shot and killed nine black people taking part in a Bible study session at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime; police arrested 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who reportedly said he wanted to start a race war.

Amrita Myers

Amrita Myers

“To me this is heartbreaking,” said Indiana University historian Amrita Chakrabarti Myers. “These are people in prayer, reading scripture and welcoming a stranger into their midst. And then he stands up and murders them.”

Myers lived for a year in South Carolina while conducting research for her first book, “Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston,” which analyzed the way black women in Charleston sought freedom in the years before the Civil War.

Emanuel AME Church, where the killings took place Wednesday night, has been central to the religious and civic life of black Charlestonians for all of its 200-year history, Myers said. One of its early leaders was Denmark Vesey, a free black man who made elaborate plans for a slave uprising in 1822. The plans were foiled, Vesey and others were hanged, and the church was destroyed.

Its pastor, Morris Brown, escaped to Philadelphia, where he helped establish the mother church of the African Methodist Episcopal congregation. Emanuel’s remaining members, barred from worshipping on their own for 40 years, effectively went underground.

“There was no independent black church in Charleston again until after the Civil War,” Myers said. Emanuel was rebuilt in 1872.

Given that history and the importance of Emanuel AME in the 20th-century civil rights movement, it is unlikely Roof picked his target at random, Myers said. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinkney, who was killed, was a state senator and a prominent political figure.

“It’s also important to understand (Roof) didn’t destroy this church,” she said. “This young man devastated a community, but this is not a community that’s going to disappear.”

Coming at a time of mass protests of police killings of black men and boys, the church killings “upped the horror quotient,” she said, suggesting people of color aren’t safe from being targeted for their race even when they gather to worship.

“Every story that comes out seems to be worse and worse, but this, I think, takes it to a new level,” Myers said. “Churches are supposed to be sacred space. They are supposed to be places where people should be able to gather and be treated with respect.”

Across the country, she said, people will still gather for Juneteenth, remembering the struggle that brought an end to slavery and subsequent battles to overcome injustice.

“But we’re going to be gathering to celebrate with broken hearts,” she said, “because freedom apparently hasn’t yet arrived. The Civil War ended 150 years ago, but the battle for human freedom and dignity will continue.”

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Expert on segregation to speak Thursday at IU http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/06/10/expert-on-segregation-to-speak-thursday-at-iu/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/06/10/expert-on-segregation-to-speak-thursday-at-iu/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 19:55:21 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1425 “Brown at 60,” a lecture series last fall at the IU Maurer School of Law, used legal and historical analysis to explore how America backed away from its commitment to school desegregation in the decades following the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Look for UCLA scholar Gary Orfield to tell the other part of the story – how a retreat from integration has damaged schools and harmed students – at an IU School of Education symposium Thursday.

Gary Orfield

Gary Orfield

Orfield, the co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, will be the keynote speaker for the daylong Martha McCarthy Education Law and Policy Institute, sponsored by the School of Education. He will speak at 1:45 p.m. in Willkie Auditorium.

Orfield has been sounding the alarm for years at the ways in which U.S. schools have become increasingly segregated by race and poverty after reaching a high-water mark of integration in the 1970s. The Civil Rights Project has produced reports detailing resegregation in states and regions of the country, along with research on racially disparate school discipline and unequal access to college.

The center cites evidence that integration of schools was in fact associated with improved educational achievement during the few years when it was tried. And Orfield argues that isolating students of color and poor children in segregated schools makes it less likely that schools can close the achievement gap.

“Segregation is an educational and social disease,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. “Sometimes its impacts are ameliorated for a while in some places, but the broad relationship is clear and strong. Isolation by poverty, language and ethnicity threatens the future opportunities and mobility of students and communities excluded from competitive schools, and increasingly threatens the future of a society where young people are not learning how to live and work effectively across the deep lines of race and class in our region.”

The daylong McCarthy Institute also will include a panel discussion on Indiana school law issues, breakout sessions on education reform, free-speech issues for students, special education and technology, a panel on LGBT issues and a showcase of student research. The day will conclude with a barbecue sponsored by the Indiana University School Administrators Association.

The annual institute on education law and policy was named in 2013 for Martha McCarthy, a longtime IU School of Education professor and an expert on school law. More information, including a conference schedule and details on free registration, is available online.

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Liberia is Ebola-free, but recovery will take time http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/28/liberia-is-ebola-free-but-recovery-will-take-time/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/28/liberia-is-ebola-free-but-recovery-will-take-time/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 19:18:20 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1418 May 9 brought a hugely important milestone for Liberia: It was the day the World Health Organization declared the West African nation to finally be free of Ebola virus disease.

Nearly 5,000 people had died from Ebola in a country with a population of 4 million. More than 10,000 confirmed or suspected cases were reported in Liberia in 14 months. Today, a few cases continue to be diagnosed in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, but not in Liberia.

But the path forward is anything but easy for the country, which still struggles with the legacy of a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

Ebola survivors leave their handprints on a wall of the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit. (Photo by Adam Parr, USAID)

Ebola survivors leave their handprints on a wall of the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit. (Photo by Adam Parr, USAID)

Recovering from Ebola “is like recovering from the war,” said Kathleen Sobiech, program manager with the IU Office of International Development. Schools were closed for much of the past year. The fragile Liberian economy was devastated. Hospitals were overwhelmed. Thousands of children were orphaned.

Indiana University has longstanding ties with Liberia, through research and other activities. Starting in 2011, IU partnered in a U.S. government-funded project, called the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences, to build the nation’s capacity for educating health-care professionals.

But Ebola intervened, forcing IU-affiliated personnel into the emergency work of tracing infection contacts, teaching the public how the virus was spread and developing strategies to contain the disease.

Ebola cases spiked sharply last summer, prompting fear that the epidemic would spread beyond control. The spread slowed as an initially skeptical public accepted the slogan “Ebola is real” and adapted to simple techniques for preventing the spread of infection.

Heroic efforts by health and medical professionals also played a role. Time magazine, naming West Africa’s Ebola fighters its 2014 Person of the Year, profiled a number of them, including IU School of Medicine alumnus Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted Ebola in Liberia, and Harvard-trained epidemiologist Mosoka Fallah, a key consultant for the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences.

Ebola chart

This Liberia Ministry of Health chart shows the sharp rise and fall in Ebola between August and December 2014.

The World Health Organization credited quick recognition of the importance of community engagement – along with decisive leadership by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who received an honorary degree from IU in 2008 — with turning the tide.

“Health teams understood that community leadership brings with it well-defined social structures, with clear lines of credible authority,” the WHO said in a May 9 statement. “Teams worked hard to win support from village chiefs, religious leaders, women’s associations and youth groups.”

Also part of that effort was Tiawanlyn Gongloe, a Liberia native who spent her teenage years in Bloomington and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. She worked for the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as part of a task force that conducted Ebola contact tracing and public health outreach about preventing infection.

Now, as the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences project nears an end, Gongloe is teaching Ministry of Health employees to train field workers in the basics of public health. They are using an IU School of Public Health-Bloomington curriculum, Public Health & You, modified for Liberia.

“Strengthening public health,” Sobiech said, “is a basic that needs to happen.”

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Former ambassador: Iraq ‘on the verge of becoming a failing state’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/20/former-ambassador-iraq-on-the-verge-of-becoming-a-failing-state/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/20/former-ambassador-iraq-on-the-verge-of-becoming-a-failing-state/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 21:01:30 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1411 The fall of Ramadi this week is a serious setback and suggests Iraq is close to becoming a failing state and a safe haven for international terrorism – precisely what the U.S. has tried prevent for 12 years — said Feisal Istrabadi, founding director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East at IU Bloomington.

Istrabadi, who served as Iraq’s ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in 2004-07, is a professor of practice of international law and diplomacy in the IU Maurer School of Law and the School of Global and International Studies. He commented on the situation in Iraq in the wake of the Islamic State group’s capture of the Iraqi city of Ramadi this week.

What does the fall of Ramadi mean in the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIL?

Istrabadi“This is a strategic setback for the U.S. and for Iraq and for all countries in the region ostensibly fighting ISIL. It shows that 10 months after the U.S. began its bombing campaign and 11 months after ISIL captured Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, ISIL can still seize the initiative and rout Iraqi regular troops. ISIL now controls the resupply routes between Ramadi and its capital in Syria, Raqqa. Psychologically, as well on the ground, this is a major defeat.”

Why has the Iraqi army collapsed yet again?

“The destruction of the Iraqi army is the legacy of the previous prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki; and whatever strategies have been put in place to rebuild that force have clearly not worked, as they are being implemented at the same time as the fighting is going on. In the meantime, regional powers have prioritized fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen over defeating ISIL.

How could the U.S. be more effective in its actions regarding Iraq?

“Iraqis have still not articulated a shared or compromised vision of Iraq. Last year, U.S. policy was that it would support a new Iraqi government if that government articulated a political vision for the country. That policy was, in my view, correct. Yet over the intervening year, U.S. and Iraqi policy has focused almost exclusively on the technical military issues. The recent U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council joint statement had a tip of the hat to political reconciliation, but there has been no articulated and sustained U.S. policy on genuine reconciliation and the rebuilding of an Iraqi polity to confront ISIL.

“In the absence of such a policy, a military confrontation with ISIL by itself will not suffice. Further, Iraq has moved beyond the stage of being merely manageable.  It requires the sustained and concentrated engagement of senior U.S. policy-makers. Finally, destroying and defeating ISIL — the announced U.S. policy in the region — will take significantly more resources than are currently pledged to the effort.”

U.S. officials have been saying that ISIL is on the ropes. How did they get it wrong?

“I believe U.S. officials are too focused on technical military issues — numbers of sorties, high-value targets killed — and not on a deteriorating situation in Iraq, which is on the verge of becoming a failing state. Indeed, Iraq is becoming what U.S. policy has sought to prevent since 2003:  A safe-haven for international terrorism.

“Optimism is not a policy. Let us recall Vice President Cheney said the insurgency in Iraq was in its last throes in 2004, 11 years ago. Calling ISIL a JV team fails to take into account its basic abilities that it can obviously field to good effect on the ground.  Again, there is inadequate engagement by the senior U.S. leadership with Iraq. The Iranian defense minister is in Baghdad today. Where are senior U.S. officials?”

Iraq has sent Shia militias to try to re-take Ramadi. Could that make things worse?

“Yes.  There have been serious allegations that some of the pro-Iranian militias have committed war crimes, including ethnic cleansing, in areas they have helped to liberate from ISIL.  Prime Minister al-Abadi is right to have called for investigations into these allegations. Now, however, given Ramadi’s fall, he also seems to have no choice but to send all available troops into the area. The Iraqi government needs to be much more active in delivering arms to local tribes and volunteers to fight ISIL.”

Can ISIL be defeated? What will it take?

“We already have a combination of U.S. air strikes, and Iraqi and Iranian involvement. I suggest the U.S. does need to invest more assets in taking on ISIL and it needs to speed up delivery of weapons to the government in Baghdad, while also assuring that Baghdad, in turn, adequately arms local fighters in Anbar and Mosul, as well as the Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan. This fight will also require regional involvement, yet U.S. allies in the region have taken their eyes off the dangers that ISIL represents to the entire Middle East and international community in this ill-conceived campaign in Yemen.”

You can also watch recent interviews with Istrabadi on CNN Today and Al-Jazeera America.

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Nepal aftershocks highlight need for assistance http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/14/nepal-aftershocks-highlight-need-for-assistance/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/14/nepal-aftershocks-highlight-need-for-assistance/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 13:18:16 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1407 It has been another disastrous week for Nepal – and for people who hail from or care about Nepal, here in Bloomington and around the world.

Just as relief efforts were gearing up in response to the massive earthquake that devastated the Himalayan country on April 25, a second large quake struck Tuesday morning. The 7.3 magnitude quake killed dozens more people and injured nearly 2,000.

IU Bloomington geologist Michael Hamburger, an expert on earthquakes who has helped organize community support for Nepal, said Tuesday’s quake would be considered an aftershock, but an unusually large one. “It is at the far eastern edge of the rupture zone of the April 25 main shock, and may represent an extension of the fault into an adjacent area of the plate boundary,” he said.

Children attend school in a temporary classroom in Kathmandu built using plastic sheeting.

Children attend school in a temporary classroom in Kathmandu built using plastic sheeting.
(Photo by Stephanie Bluma, USAID).

The question weighing on Nepalis is whether the series of earthquakes and aftershocks have run their course or whether further damaging quakes are likely. Hamburger said it’s hard to know the answer.

“There is a typical decay pattern, which would take months for an earthquake of this size,” he said. “But it varies strongly from earthquake to earthquake. The hazard associated with this one is that there may be many partially damaged structures which will be further affected or even destroyed by this aftershock.”

Nepalis at IU and their supporters quickly organized an effort called IU4Nepal in response to the April 25 quake, seeking to raise at least $25,000 to support relief through the international aid organization GlobalGiving. That campaign is ongoing – and the need is now even more urgent.

Novelist Samrat Uphadyay, the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at IU Bloomington, said the Tuesday quake left his fellow Nepalis feeling discouraged and fearful.

“People are asking on social media whether god exists,” he said, “and this is pretty big in a place where there’s a shrine around every corner.”

The April 25 earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, was the most powerful to strike Nepal in over 80 years. It killed over 8,000 people, injured more than twice that many and destroyed or damaged nearly a half million homes. Entire villages were flattened and many historic structures, including pagodas in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, collapsed.

Some of the hardest-hit areas remain cut off from aid efforts, according to news reports. The New York Times reported that more than 5,000 schools were destroyed by the April 25 quake and another 1,000 schools collapsed in Tuesday’s aftershock.

In addition to the IU4Nepal relief initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development provides guidance for donating to disaster relief in Nepal. Charity experts recommend donating money rather than supplies in the aftermath of a disaster and targeting assistance to reputable organizations such as GlobalGiving and those registered with monitoring sites like GuideStar.


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SPEA hosts academic conference on public finance http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/01/spea-hosts-academic-conference-on-public-finance/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/05/01/spea-hosts-academic-conference-on-public-finance/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 20:24:01 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1402 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

America’s public finance system is struggling under the weight of bankrupted major cities, exorbitant health care spending and rising costs for programs like Social Security, experts say. The politics behind collecting revenue has changed, too. Local governments are now competing with each other to win over an increasingly mobile tax base.

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington is hosting a public finance conference to tackle just these issues. Federal, State, and Local Budgets in Jeopardy: A Conference on America’s Fiscal Futurebegan Thursday and will end Saturday. It features nine scholars presenting research on topics ranging from the fiscal implications of an aging population to “clean hands in public finance policy.” Research submissions were accepted from all disciplines, including policy and administration, law, political science and economics.

Denvil Duncan

Denvil Duncan

Research presented so far has focused on local and federal budgets as well as short-term and long-term projections, all in an effort to evaluate the current American fiscal system and consider what difficulties future budgets will face. Paul Posner, a professor in the George Mason University School of Policy, Government and International Affairs, presented the keynote address “Fiscal Austerity and the Eclipse of Fend-for-Yourself-Federalism.”

“The budget process will evolve over time to represent the preferences of current stakeholders,” said SPEA professor Denvil Duncan while presenting his paper “Does the Federal Budget Process Matter for Fiscal Sustainability?

Duncan explained that fiscal restraint and budgetary incrementalism — the idea that the most important predictor of the next budget is the prior budget — come in and out of favor as new waves of politicians come and go from Washington. These changes in stakeholder preferences mean that budgetary theories are time-specific, and frameworks used to describe budgets are usually only relevant to the time that they were designed.

Joseph Cordes, a professor at the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University, zeroed in on local budgets, asking what the most effective fiscal planning strategies are for local U.S. governments in his paper “Multi-Year Projections and Fiscal Planning in Local Government: Does It Work and What Affects Its Effectiveness?

With several hundred local governments filing for bankruptcy protection since 1980, research by Cordes and the Government Finance Officers Association suggests multi-year budgeting might be the answer to long-term fiscal stability. Cordes concludes that balanced budget requirements and revenue and tax limitations lead to significantly improved fiscal results.

Copies of all of the presented research can be found on SPEA’s public finance conference website. The conference concludes at noon Saturday.

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Symposium to focus on ‘livable communities’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/29/symposium-to-focus-on-livable-communities/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/29/symposium-to-focus-on-livable-communities/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:24:09 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1399 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Conversations about upcoming massive demographic changes, such as the doubling of the older population in the next 25 years, traditionally center on aging as an individual phenomenon and the difficulties associated with an aging body.

But Phil Stafford, director of Indiana University’s Center on Aging and Community and author of “Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place,” explained that there is a second important dimension to aging.

“Well-being at any age is a factor of the relationship between our bodies and the environment,” said Stafford. “Hence, we must design improved environments. It’s not simply a matter of adding more and more services, which we can never accomplish anyway.”

M. Scott Ball

M. Scott Ball

That’s the theme of “New Thinking about the Design of Environments for A Lifetime – From Closet to Community, a symposium taking place this week at the Indiana Memorial Union at IU Bloomington. M. Scott Ball, author of “Livable Communities for Aging Populations,” will introduce the symposium with a keynote address titled “The Evolution of Senior Housing.”

The keynote address is from 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, in the Indiana Memorial Union and is free and open to the public. The symposium is from 8:30-3:30 p.m. Friday in the Indiana Memorial Union and requires a $60 registration fee that includes breakfast, a luncheon and a reception.

The symposium follows years of transition in how elder care is generally approached. Families are trading in the gated sun model of retirement in favor of moving to walkable communities, such as Bloomington.

However, environments that are not designed for an older population make it difficult for them to enjoy a social life, Stafford explained. Some environments are even life-threatening. Streets designed for cars only, dilapidated sidewalks, improper signage and tight bathroom spaces all make it difficult for an aging population to enjoy their community. In some cases, poor design forces the elderly to stay confined to their homes.

This problem of design extends well beyond the U.S. Stafford explained that youth groups in Uganda are working to help their elderly acquire regular toilets to replace the traditional pit toilets, which are nearly impossible for elders to use without falling.

“It’s a poignant example and I love it because it helps clarify the value of intergenerational approaches to these issues,” said Stafford.

Anyone interested but who cannot attend the symposium on Thursday is invited to attend a second talk by Ball, titled “Applied Special Districting in Designing New Commons,” from noon-1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Tocqueville Room of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 514 N. Park Ave.

Those interested in attending the Friday symposium can register online or contact Stafford at 812-855-2163 or staffor@indiana.edu with additional questions.

Attendees are encouraged to use the hashtag #Design4SAP on social media to connect with others at the symposium and those following along at home.


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Maurer School team in top four at LawMeets competition http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/22/maurer-school-team-in-top-four-at-lawmeets-competition/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/22/maurer-school-team-in-top-four-at-lawmeets-competition/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:58:35 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1394 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

A team of three Indiana University Maurer School of Law students claimed one of the top four places this month at the sixth annual LawMeets nationwide case competition.

LawMeets reflects the fact that, as the legal field becomes increasingly saturated, many law students are exploring nontraditional legal careers and using case competitions as opportunities to practice the skills necessary in fields like transactional law.

Members of the IU Maurer School of Law team were, from left, Kyle McHugh, Angela Ayala and Matt Leist.

Members of the IU Maurer School of Law team were, from left, Kyle McHugh, Angela Ayala and Matt Leist.

The Maurer team, made up of Angela Ayala, Kyle McHugh and Matt Leist, competed against 13 other teams of law students on April 10. Teams from the University of Colorado and Emory University law schools were named national champions. The Maurer team and a second Emory team were semi-finalists.

LawMeets was founded in 2010 as an avenue for law students to develop the practical skills necessary to succeed in transactional law, which include litigation surrounding commercial transactions and consideration of factors such as the jurisdiction in which parties and assets are located, government regulations, regulatory requirements and the nature of the transaction.

The competition required law students to draft and negotiate an asset purchase agreement for the sale of a family-owned business to a private equity purchaser. The students had two months to draft the asset purchase agreement, interview their clients and mark up opposing teams’ drafts.

“As law schools recognize the value of business-oriented skills in the workplace, the opportunities for non-litigation competition experiences are growing,” said Mark Need, faculty advisor for Maurer’s case competition team and clinical professor at IU Maurer School of Law. “LawMeets is among the most prestigious and competitive of the current competitions and this year’s team put in a lot of hard work and preparation, which paid off in the national finals.”

The competition began with 84 teams delivering live negotiations in late February at seven regional sites. Only two teams advanced from each region to compete in the national round.

Other teams in the national competition included American University Washington College of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and the law schools of Widener University and of the universities of Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi and South Dakota.

Competitors were judged by top practitioners and lawyers in New York City. The competition was sponsored by Bloomberg Law and Practical Law.

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Report details anthropologists’ role in addressing climate change http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/20/report-details-anthropologists-role-in-addressing-climate-change/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/20/report-details-anthropologists-role-in-addressing-climate-change/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:11:15 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1389 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Indiana University faculty are key contributors to a recent report from the American Anthropological Association detailing the ways that anthropologists are tackling climate change.

The report, “Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropology and Climate Change,” is the final one in a series released by the association’s Global Climate Change Task Force. It outlines the effects that social institutions and cultural habits have on global challenges such as climate change.

Richard Wilk

Richard Wilk

It also suggests that more cooperation and insight from the social sciences and humanities are required to sufficiently combat climate change.

Richard Wilk, IU Bloomington Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, is a co-author on the study. Eduardo Brondizio, an IU anthropology professor and former department chair, served as an expert reviewer.

The report highlights that global climate change will impact areas and communities unevenly, and advises that top-down policies may not be the most effective ways to address the effects of climate change. As climate change intensifies, the report emphasizes that the burden on governments to respond in forms of emergency relief and restoration will escalate.

Anthropology ranks eighth among 27 sciences in the number of articles published on climate change, according to the report. Anthropologists are working on topics such as consumption of fossil fuels, electricity, construction and transportation; land use change; energy use and population changes, all which affect the atmosphere and climate change.

An excerpt from the report highlights the necessity of including anthropologists in conversations addressing climate change:

Eduardo Brondizio

Eduardo Brondizio

“Solving one aspect of the climate problem (emissions) will not deliver a better world for already-stressed populations. If climate change mitigation and adaptation can be incorporated into more immediate needs for employment, economic development, and public health, there is greater likelihood of successful mitigation and adaptation.”

The report stresses that the work of anthropologists fills a gap in climate change research by addressing large-scale societal and cultural factors that affect the environment broadly. Archaeological research also provides insights into how early societies responded to climactic changes, and what strategies succeeded and failed.

An example of IU faculty member already engaged in these issues by taking a human angle to address climate change is Catherine Tucker, associate professor of anthropology in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology. She works directly with people most affected by climate change, helping empower them and create a dialogue between those affected and decision makers. Her work aims to open communications with these communities in order to create informed policy changes.

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Campaign finance: Obvious problems, no easy answers http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/17/campaign-finance-obvious-problems-no-easy-answers/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/17/campaign-finance-obvious-problems-no-easy-answers/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:51:37 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1384 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

An IU Bloomington panel of liberal, moderate and conservative political figures agreed that the money does matter when it comes to election campaigns. They pointed to the $7 billion spent on campaigns in 2012, a number that is not only an indication of a large increase in spending in recent year but also highlights the increase in corporate funding for campaigns.

“Money has become a threat to our representative democracy,” said Lee Hamilton, former U.S. representative from Indiana and director of IU’s Center on Congress.

Panelists discussing campaign finance were, from left, Paul Helmke, Greg Knott, Matt Pierce and Lee Hamilton.

Panelists discussing campaign finance were, from left, Paul Helmke, Greg Knott, Matt Pierce and Lee Hamilton.

The panelists — Greg Knott, a 2014 nominee for Monroe County Council and local precinct official; Paul Helmke, former mayor of Fort Wayne and director of IU’s Civic Leaders Center; Matt Pierce, Indiana state representative for House District 61; and Hamilton — all advocated for substantial changes to the current campaign finance structure. The panel, in a session titled “One Dollar, One Vote,” discussed the current structure with a special focus on the Move to Amend effort and asked if democracy will survive the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. However, their remarks posed more questions than solutions.

The difficulty with enacting campaign finance reform, panelists suggested, is that to propose changes to the McCain-Feingold Act or the Citizens United Supreme Court case, you first have to define difficult concepts like free speech; explore the relationship between election spending and democracy; and also ask why we have the First Amendment and how it should be enforced.

“Our current system of campaign finance is not inevitable,” said panel moderator Marjorie Hershey, an IU professor of political science.

But the panelists identified multiple obstacles to enacting substantive campaign finance reform in the near future. Although an advocate for reform, Knott advised that unintended consequences of efforts like Move to Amend would remove the ability to raise large chunks of money quickly. “Only the independently wealthy people would be able to compete, making the playing field less level,” he said.

Pierce pointed to the fact that no Supreme Court justice since Sandra Day O’Connor has a background in politics, making it difficult for the court to understand the political atmosphere that turns campaign fundraising into a slimy business.

Hamilton blamed the perception gap between politicians and ordinary citizens. The perception gap is a concept that evolved from polling data showing that voters believe money plays a huge role in election results but that politicians do not believe they are influenced or corrupted by donations. “I’ve never met a politician that believed they could be bought,” Hamilton said.

Those who advocate for legal unlimited spending by corporations often point to the other ways that Americans spend money. They point to the multi-billion dollar porn and junk food industries, arguing that if Americans and corporations can support these massive sectors, corporations should similarly be allowed in the political process. Advocates also point to the decades before limits to campaign spending began in the 1970s, arguing that the unlimited expenditures then still led the country to elect overwhelmingly qualified members of Congress and presidents.

Panelists and the moderator joked sardonically that the current system allows both the rich and poor to spend millions on campaigns and that we have the best Congress money can buy.

Without any changes, they warned, citizens are becoming increasing discouraged by the political process. “This is such a mess,” said Helmke. “And it discourages people from running. And we need more people, not less people, running for office.”

Until reforms are adopted, Hamilton said, citizens are losing the power that a representative democracy should afford them. “Money diminishes the power of the ordinary voter,” he said. “The influence of money from big donors now outweighs the voters. Majorities now have only a very little impact on actual policy.”

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Lilly Library exhibit captures sadness of Lincoln’s death, links president and poet http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/15/lilly-library-exhibit-captures-sadness-of-lincolns-death-links-president-and-poet/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/15/lilly-library-exhibit-captures-sadness-of-lincolns-death-links-president-and-poet/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:40:52 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1376 Abraham Lincoln died 150 years ago today. It’s hard to imagine what a shock the president’s assassination must have been to a young nation exhausted from a Civil War that killed more than 600,000 soldiers, a conflict that had ended less than a week earlier.

An exhibit at Indiana University’s Lilly Library offers a sense of the profound sadness that gripped the nation — from the perspective of ordinary citizens and especially through the eyes of a great American poet. “Democracy Men: Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln” marks the anniversary of Lincoln’s death and the 160th anniversary of the publication of Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”

Mourning ribbons

Ribbons that mourners wore as they watched Lincoln’s funeral train carry his body to Springfield, Ill., are included in the exhibit “Democracy Men: Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln.”

Erika Jenns, an IU graduate student and assistant to the head of public services at the Lilly Library, curated the exhibit, which occupies four cases in the library’s Foyer, Ellison Room and Ball Room. The exhibit includes rare books, letters, memorabilia and other artifacts from the library’s collections, as well as a few items from Jenns’ personal collection.

“Though they never met,” the introduction to the exhibit says, “Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman were each working toward a goal they unknowingly shared: national unity.”

And Lincoln’s assassination affected Whitman deeply. Two of his best-known poems, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” and “O Captain, My Captain,” are heartbroken elegies for the fallen president.

The exhibit begins with Lincoln and Whitman in history and in contemporary culture, including a variety of serious and popular books, a typed transcription of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address from the Lilly Library’s Orson Welles collection, a 1909 musical setting of “O Captain, My Captain” and a series of references to Whitman and Lincoln from current TV shows such as “Breaking Bad’ and “The Office.”

Case Two pairs the men’s masterworks. A watercolor by American painter John Steuart Curry shows Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address at the Pennsylvania battlefield. Next to it are two first editions of “Leaves of Grass,” the revolutionary collection that Whitman published with careful detail in 1855. In Case Three are newspaper front pages dominated by reports of the president’s assassination: The New York Herald from April 15, 1865, and the New York Times from April 17, 1865.

Finally, Case Four details the national mourning that followed Lincoln’s death. It includes a set of programs from funeral and memorial services, a War Department pamphlet detailing burial plans and delicate fabric mourning ribbons, printed with phrases such as “We mourn our nation’s loss” and “We mourn a father slain.” Mourners wore the ribbons, Jenns said, when they gathered in large crowds to watch Lincoln’s funeral train pass on its way from Washington, D.C., to his burial site in Springfield, Ill.

Also in the case are a bronzed cast of Lincoln’s life mask and a sculpture of his very large hands, made by Leonard W. Volk in 1860. An 1867 edition of Whitman’s collection “Drum Taps” is open to one of his war poems, “Hush’d Be the Camps To-Day.” It opens with these words:

Hush’d be the camps to-day,

And soldiers let us drape our war-worn weapons,

And each with musing soul retire to celebrate,

Our dear commander’s death.

No more for him life’s stormy conflicts,

Nor victory, nor defeat—no more time’s dark events,

Charging like ceaseless clouds across the sky.

The exhibit will be in place until May 20. Lilly Library hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday.

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Law and policy competition helps students learn through real-world case http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/14/law-and-policy-competition-helps-students-learn-through-real-world-case/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/14/law-and-policy-competition-helps-students-learn-through-real-world-case/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:09:41 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1368 Congratulations to IU Bloomington students Dhruti Patel, Rachel Laurel, Mady Clary and Haley Erickson, winners of the inaugural SPEA Law and Public Policy Program case competition.

Actually, congratulations are due to all six teams – and all 30 students – who took part in the competition. It’s impressive that they found time to complete a detailed research and presentation project during the busiest season of the academic year, not to mention that they did it well.

Winning case competition team

Winning team members, from left, include Dhruti Patel, Rachel Laurel and Mady Clary, posing with graduate student and competition organizer Scott Zellner. Haley Erickson is missing from the photo.

The prompt for the competition was challenging. Teams were expected to inform themselves about education policy and draft an original recommendation for a state legislative leader on whether and how Indiana should implement pre-kindergarten programs.

I got to help judge the competition, and I’m here to say that judging was a challenge too. The three teams that presented to my panel of judges all brought different strengths to their work, including polished presentation skills, highly original and complex plans and great passion for the issue.

The case was written to a real-world situation: The fact that Indiana is one of a handful of states that were slow to embrace state-funded pre-kindergarten education, having finally created a pilot program in five counties to help low-income families pay the cost of high-quality pre-K.

Complicating the students’ task was the fact that Gov. Mike Pence turned down a chance at $80 million in federal grants to build the state’s pre-K infrastructure. Should the students push back against that decision and encourage the legislature to seek federal funding? Or let it stand? And if the state were to expand pre-K options, where should it turn for stable funding?

Each team prepared a one-page executive summary making its case and a PowerPoint presentation of up to 10 slides. The teams had 30 minutes to present, followed by a grilling by the judges that was supposed to last 15 minutes but typically ran long.

The day-long event ended with an awards presentation and face-to-face discussion by teams and judges in a reception at Briscoe Residence Center, home of the SPEA-affiliated Civic Leaders Center.

While the Law and Public Policy Program is part of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, students who competed came from all over the university – from SPEA, the Kelley School of Business, the School of Public Health and several departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Case competitions are a popular teaching tool in IU’s Kelley School of Business, but they are less often used in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Scott Breen, a student in IU’s joint J.D./MPA program with a background in case competitions, pushed the idea, and staff and students with SPEA and the Law and Public Policy Program made it happen.

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SPEA Law and Public Policy Program hosts first case competition http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/09/spea-law-and-public-policy-program-hosts-first-case-competition/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/09/spea-law-and-public-policy-program-hosts-first-case-competition/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:36:30 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1363 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The new Law and Public Policy Program will solidify its prominence as a SPEA program this week, hosting the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ first internal case competition.

The case competition kicked off last week with the release of the prompt: whether and how Indiana should expand pre-kindergarten programs. It will close with judging and a reception Friday, April 10. The entire competition is contained in this one-week period, giving student teams seven days to prepare a one-page memo and a PowerPoint presentation.

Expanding pre-kindergarten programs is the topic of the SPEA Law and Public Policy Program case competition.

Expanding pre-kindergarten programs is the topic of the SPEA Law and Public Policy Program case competition.

Eight teams, each made up of four to six students, registered for the competition, a resounding success for the brand new event. At the time of registration, students were told only that the prompt would deal with education policy.

“In holding a case competition centered around public policy, we hoped to create an opportunity for undergraduate students to ‘dive deep’ on an interesting question outside of the classroom,” said Melissa Spas, project specialist in SPEA. “By working with a team to apply a variety of their skills to address a real-world challenge, we expect that participants will develop their skills, as well as deepen their subject knowledge.”

Students of all backgrounds, not just those in SPEA, were invited to participate regardless of previous experience or class standing. The Law and Public Policy Program hosted two nights of workshops, bringing in experts to teach the registered teams about policy research, memo writing, public speaking and professional PowerPoint presenting.

The case competition is the brainchild of M.P.A/J.D. student Scott Breen, who brought insight into the case competition design through a history of personal success at other case competitions. He worked with Spas, SPEA Assistant Dean Doug Goldstein and graduate student Scott Zellner to write the case brief and carry out the logistics of hosting the competition.

“Sometimes school can be frustrating because it’s a lot of reading and writing about theory,” said Breen. “The case competition is meant to place students in the position of advisors that need to make a recommendation given real facts. Hopefully this adds a real world flavor to the competition.”

Because of overwhelming participation, the competition will be split between two teams of judges that listen to team presentations throughout the day and then convene to compare scores and select a winner. The winning team will be honored with a private networking dinner with the judges at a later date. All of the participants will have the opportunity to hear feedback and talk with the judges at a networking reception immediately following the competition.

“I hope the Law and Public Policy Case Competition becomes something of a SPEA institution,” said Zellner. “I hope the competition works to bring the SPEA community closer together through the involvement of students in every class standing, faculty, and professionals in their respective policy fields.”

Judges include:

  • Scott Breen, a joint J.D. and M.P.A 2015 candidate
  • Brian Delong, SPEA lecturer and university debate coach
  • Chuck Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation
  • Nadja Michel-Herf, financial and operations analyst at Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s Office of Education Innovation
  • Steve Hinnefeld, media relations specialist at IU Communications
  • Erin Predmore, executive director of Monroe County United Ministries.

The Law and Public Policy Program, established in 2013, consists of a major and a minor within the Bachelor of Science degree program in SPEA. It offers undergraduates the unique opportunity to study under law professors at IU’s Maurer School of Law.

“It is a rigorous major, intended to prepare students to take on complex problems and is a good fit for students with interests as wide-ranging as social justice issues, data privacy or intellectual property rights,“ said Spas.

The public is invited to view the participants present their cases Friday. Anyone interested can report to the SPEA undergraduate lounge on the hour, every hour from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. to watch case deliveries.

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Khalil Muhammad: Bloomington to Harlem http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/01/khalil-muhammad-bloomington-to-harlem/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/04/01/khalil-muhammad-bloomington-to-harlem/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:10:10 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1355 Khalil Muhammad moved four years ago from living the quiet life of a Bloomington academic to being director of New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the world’s leading centers for studying and celebrating the African-American and African diaspora experience.

How big a transition was that?

Khalil Muhammad

Khalil Muhammad (Schomburg Center)

“Huge,” Muhammad said. “Gigantic. Life-altering. There’s the scale of responsibility, the extent of public engagement and having to be responsible to a community of stake-holders.”

But he loves the job and is proud of what he has accomplished, tripling the center’s annual visitors and expanding its public appeal through a mix of exhibitions and public programs.

“We’ve worked really hard trying to come up with programs that are relevant and interesting to new audiences,” he said.

Muhammad answered questions during a visit to Bloomington on March 26. Standing outside Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union — before a panel discussion featuring his friend and former Rutgers graduate school colleague Jelani Cobb — he was continually interrupted by hugs and greetings from old friends and colleagues from the community and the IU history department.

Earlier in the day, he took part in a separate panel on race and law enforcement, showing examples of bias in policing and jousting good-naturedly with Eugene O’Donnell, a faculty member at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice and an ardent advocate for New York City police officers.

Muhammad, a Chicago native, was on the faculty of the IU Bloomington history department for five years. While at IU he published “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America,” which explores how race and crime became linked after Reconstruction in ways that justified racial segregation and the exclusion of blacks from social progress.

In 2011 he moved from an office in Ballantine Hall to a world-renowned research library in the heart of Harlem, part of the New York Public Library system and established in 1925 with a collections gift from the black scholar and book-lover Arturo Alfonso Schomburg.

“We’re very much front and center on Main Street,” he said.

Muhammad is pleased with the way the Schomburg Center is building audiences with a wide array of programs, including films, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions and performances — including a symposium on Motown music and discussions of the profiling of Muslims. He is especially proud with the rollout of Schomburg’s Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery, established with a $2.5 million endowment gift — and of the fact that its director, Sylviane Diouf, gave a recent keynote address to the U.N. General Assembly on women and slavery.

Muhammad has been a busy public intellectual, writing for The New York Times, The Guardian and other publications, being interviewed by news media and discussing contemporary issues on NPR, “Moyers & Co.,” “Melissa Harris-Perry” and other media venues. That’s been especially true in the past six months, given the relevance of his scholarship to discussions of high-profile shootings of black men and boys.

“I wish it weren’t the case,” he said. “I wish I didn’t need to be so busy trying to contribute to fixing a problem that shouldn’t exist.”

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IU panel opens dialogue on racism in America http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/27/iu-panel-opens-dialogue-on-racism-in-america/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/27/iu-panel-opens-dialogue-on-racism-in-america/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:13:32 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1353 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Three years after the death of Trayvon Martin, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement — and just three weeks after the U.S. Justice Department reported that police in Ferguson, Mo., regularly used unconstitutional practices disproportionately affecting African-American residents — an IU panel emphasized the remaining racism in the U.S.

The discussion was organized to encourage a dialogue around racial issues in response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and other recent incidents of alleged police brutality. While the panelists all spoke to various intersections of race and the criminal justice system, they agreed that discriminatory judicial and criminal systems are actively perpetuating racism in America.

“I am a scholar and Indiana is a top research university,” said Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, associate professor of history and gender studies at IU Bloomington. “If an open discourse about such a painful topic does not happen here, then where?”

It’s Not So Black and White: Talking Race, From Ferguson to Bloomington” featured panelists Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, assistant professor of criminal justice at IU; Valeri Haughton, Monroe Circuit judge; and William Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history and director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. The panel was moderated by Jeannine Bell, professor and Louis F. Neizer Faculty Fellow in the Maurer School of Law.

William Jelani Cobb

William Jelani Cobb

In addition to the prepared remarks from the panelists, artistic protest was featured. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, assistant professor of contemporary dance at IU, performed a dance with her son, Kasim McCarthy-Brown. Diana Velázquez, graduate student in Latin American studies at IU, debuted an original song, “Ain’t the 1960s.”

About 500 students, faculty, staff and community members packed Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union for the program. The audience was also invited to participate in a justice fair after the panel, featuring 60 campus and local groups.

Owusu-Bempah spearheaded the discussion with an emphasis on racial profiling and the impact of social injustice on the psyche of black America. He challenged the audience to think of famous criminals. Then he dug deeper, asking them to think of a famous black criminal and guessed that most could not.

“After a crime is committed by a black offender, all blacks pay a price,” said Owusu-Bempah.

In contrast, white Americans are not punished or stereotyped for the offenses of other white Americans. Owusu-Bempah said stereotypes assigned to the black community have permeated the justice system and are leading to higher numbers of convictions for African Americans through policies like stop and frisk.

He called for three changes to address these injustices: Create true accountability in the police force, hold elected officials accountable and initiate reconciliation in which communities and police forces recognize and reverse their role in perpetuating a racist status quo.

Haughton spoke to topics closer to home. She lamented the small numbers of black and minority police officers in Monroe County. But she also commended Bloomington for adopting practices like the use of body cameras as early as 2013.

“I’m proud as a member of this community that we have citizens willing to take action and come to programs like this,” said Haughton. But she stressed that these sometimes uncomfortable conversations need to continue regularly in order to see real progress.

Broadening the picture of race in America, Cobb spoke to the role that race has played in the history of the U.S. and what it means to live in a so-called “post-racial America.”

“Race usually pops up in our public dialogue in a moment of crisis,” said Cobb, referencing the recent video of a University of Oklahoma student leading a racist chant. “But race is inextricable from the history of this country.”

Instead of a steady improvement in civil rights, Cobb illustrated that Americans have often seriously faltered, describing racial history in the U.S. as “an EKG with peaks and valleys.”

Cobb rejected the idea of a current “post-racial America.”

“We have entered into a period of contingent citizenship,” said Cobb. He described this as a counterfeit version of citizenship for the black community. That is, just like counterfeit money, black people’s citizenship looks the same as white citizenship, until they try to use it.

The panel was financially backed by 23 campus and local organizations and departments. Myers commended the university and community for their recognition for the need of an open discourse on race and their resounding support of the event. All of the organizations that were approached to help agreed to fund the event, said Myers.

This panel does not conclude the discussion of race on the IU campus. Related future events include: “Decoding the Race Baiting of Modern Media” with NPR TV critic Eric Deggans at 7 p.m. March 30 in the Moot Court Room of the Maurer School of Law and “The Art of Protest: Past, Present and Future” at 7 p.m. April 8 in room 251 at IU’s Radio and Television Services building.

A video of “It’s Not So Black and White” will be available online.

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IU panel argues for democratic education reform http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/27/iu-panel-argues-for-democratic-education-reform/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/27/iu-panel-argues-for-democratic-education-reform/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:45:19 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1347 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

A panel of educators and lawyers has called for an education system that treats all people with dignity and respect. Taking part in Wednesday’s public launch of The Harmony-Meier Institute of Democracy and Equity in Education, they touched on topics ranging from race in America to the gay rights movement and the need for dramatic changes in education.

“The common issue here is dignity,” said Roberta Kaplan, chief litigator for Edith Windsor in the Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor, which ruled that a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. “Whether it is the dignity of gay couples, children in the civil rights movement or in education, we have to uphold their dignity.”

Panelists were, from left, Kevin Brown, Roberta Kaplan, Steve Bonchek and Deborah Meier, with moderator James Damico.

Panelists were, from left, Kevin Brown, Roberta Kaplan, Steve Bonchek and Deborah Meier, with moderator James Damico.

The panel was made up of Kaplan; Deborah Meier, a founder of the small schools movement; Steve Bonchek, founder and executive director of Harmony School in Bloomington; and Kevin Brown, the Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law in the IU Maurer School of Law. It was moderated by James Damico, chair of the Literacy, Culture and Language Education Department in the IU School of Education.

With panelists from such varied backgrounds, the conversation touched on the importance of democratic education through a variety of lenses. The panelists all engaged in topics such as how to best prepare children to be involved democratic citizens, how to protect the rights of children and how to help disadvantaged and minority students in the American education system.

“What I want for America is an education system with the primary goal of teaching kids how to be democratic citizens and everything else is second,” said Meier. “What other institution did we think would shape kids into democratic citizens?”

The mission of the Harmony-Meier Institute for Democracy and Equity in Education embodies these values with the core mission of educating and inspiring K-12 teachers, pre-service teachers and educators more broadly. The new institute is equipped to do so with partnerships and access to the Deborah Meier Archives, which are housed at the IU Lilly Library; Harmony School, which provides field experience to IU pre-service teachers; and the IU School of Education INSPIRE living-learning center.

The institute is an extension of the mission of the Harmony School, founded by Bonchek in 1974. The school embraces progressive attitudes similar to those that Meier has worked toward in her time as a teacher, principal and director for boards of education.

“Through civil rights and the anti-war Vietnam student protests, it became clear to me that young people could be involved democratic citizens and that we needed the education to prepare them to be so,” said Bonchek.

The new institute confronts the issues of democracy and equity in education through advocating new rights for students and encouraging a free flow of ideas not only top-down from teacher to students but also bottom-up from students to teachers.

The panelists disagreed on the best way to execute education reform nationwide, but all agreed that some sort of reform is necessary for the advancement of civil rights and the creation of better democratic citizens.

“We have come through 55 years of education reform,” said Brown. “This is depressing not because we are not trying to fix the education system but because we have been trying for so long and are still falling short.”

A video of the discussion is available online.

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Education economist to present study of early childhood curriculum http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/26/education-economist-to-present-study-of-early-childhood-curriculum/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/26/education-economist-to-present-study-of-early-childhood-curriculum/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:08:50 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1344 The Economics of Education Seminar Series at IU Bloomington resumes this week with a presentation by University of California, Irvine, researcher Greg Duncan, a nationally known expert on income inequality and early childhood education – two topics that have been very much in the news.

His talk, “Optimal Early Childhood Education Policies,” will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday in room 278 at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs building.

Greg Duncan

Greg Duncan

Duncan is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at UC-Irvine. His recent research has focused on estimating the role of early childhood skills and behaviors on later school achievement and the effects of income inequality on schools and children’s opportunities later in life. He holds a Ph.D. in economics and previously taught at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University.

His presentation Friday will draw on data from a federal preschool study to provide an analysis of the long-term effectiveness of several types of curricula used in pre-kindergarten programs.

The Economics of Education Seminar Series, launched in 2011, brings leading economists conducting education-related studies to the campus for research presentations. It aims to encourage scholarly research and student engagement and provide opportunities for the IU community to learn from and meet with experts on prominent education issues.

Sponsors of the series include the SPEA Policy Analysis/Public Finance Faculty Group, the School of Education, the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Education Policy Student Association.

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Thursday panel discussions at IU Bloomington feature leading figures on race and policing http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/25/thursday-panel-discussions-at-iu-bloomington-feature-leading-figures-on-race-and-policing/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/25/thursday-panel-discussions-at-iu-bloomington-feature-leading-figures-on-race-and-policing/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:35:07 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1338 Khalil G. Muhammad and Jelani Cobb are two of the best contemporary writers on the topic of race in America, period. And by coincidence, both will be at IU Bloomington this Thursday — for two separate panel discussions related to race, justice and policing.

Khalil G. Muhammad

Khalil G. Muhammad

Muhammad, a former IU Bloomington historian, is director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. He will take part in a symposium on “Ferguson: Policing’s Past, Present, and Future” from 2-4 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of the Maurer School of Law.

Also on the law school panel will be Eugene O’Donnell, a former New York City police officer who is now a faculty member at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York; Jeannine Bell, professor and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow at the Maurer School of Law; and Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, an assistant professor of criminal justice at IU Bloomington.

Cobb, a University of Connecticut historian who writes for The New Yorker and other publications, will be part of a panel for “It’s Not So Black and White: Talking Race, From Ferguson to Bloomington,” an evening of activities that also include music and spoken-word performances by IU students and a social justice fair involving dozens of campus and community organizations.

The panel discussion will take place at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union, with the justice fair following next door in the IMU Solarium. The panel will also include Owusu-Bempah and Monroe Circuit Judge Valeri Haughton, and Bell will moderate. It was organized by the Department of History diversity panel and is sponsored by a variety of IU offices and organizations.

Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb

In response to the police shootings of black men in Ferguson, Mo., New York and elsewhere last year, Muhammad and Cobb emerged as two of the most passionate and eloquent chroniclers of the Black Lives Matter protests and analysts of the state of race in America.

Muhammad has been director since 2011 of the Schomburg Center, a cultural center and research library that sponsors exhibitions, scholarly and public forums, and cultural performances. He is the author of “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America.”

In recent months, he has been interviewed by NPR, Moyers & Co. and other news programs and has taken part in forums and public conversations on race, crime and law enforcement. His op-eds and essays have appeared in The Guardian and other publications.

Cobb visited Ferguson, Mo., several times and wrote multiple articles about the city and the protests for The New Yorker, to which he has been a contributor since 2013. His writings appear in The New York Times, Al-Jazeera America, ESPN and other publications, in addition to The New Yorker.

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Historians Bourke, Grayzel to speak for World War I commemoration http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/24/historians-bourke-grayzel-to-speak-for-world-war-i-commemoration/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/24/historians-bourke-grayzel-to-speak-for-world-war-i-commemoration/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:54:13 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1330 IU Bloomington’s year-long commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of World War I enters the home stretch this week with back-to-back lectures by historians Joanna Bourke and Susan Grayzel.

The lectures, part of the series World War I: 100 Years, start at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall. Bourke’s talk is titled “Designed to Kill: Combat during the First World War.” Grayzel will speak on “Did Women Have a Great War? Reflections on Gender, Culture, and History.”

Joanna Burke

Joanna Burke

“Joanna Bourke and Susan Grayzel are among the top historians of World War I, so their presence is almost a given in a centennial on the war,” said Andrea Ciccarelli, dean of the Hutton Honors College and organizer of the commemoration. “But they also bring to it a different flavor, as they analyze the historical matters related to the war from a gender-studies perspective.”

Bourke, he said, is a historian who follows various themes and how they affect ideological and political perspectives. For example, her book “Fear: A Cultural History” analyzes how the perception of fear, far from being eradicated in response to the violence of World War I, instead penetrated deep within modern societies, influencing everything from medicine to politics.

Known for taking on uncomfortable topics, Bourke is also the author of “The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers” and “Rape: A History from 1860 to the Present.” Her military histories include “An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth Century Warfare,” which examines the mix of pleasure and guilt in wartime killing; and “The Second World War: A People’s History,” which tells the grim stories of civilians who died in World War II.

She is a professor of history at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Susan Grayzel

Susan Grayzel

Grayzel examines how World War I set the stage for the future lives of women in the countries most affected by the war, especially the United Kingdom and France, Ciccarelli said. In some cases, the war planted the seeds for changes that would come decades later.

A professor of history and director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi, Grayzel is the author of “Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War”; “Women in the First World War”; “At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz”; and “The First World War: A Brief History of Documents.”

World War I: 100 Years includes lectures, symposia, film showings, art exhibitions, panels, conferences and other events highlighting the centennial of the 1914 beginning of World War I. Ciccarelli, dean of the Hutton Honors College and professor of Italian, directs the program at the request of IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel.

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IU panel examines the challenges in communicating climate change http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/11/iu-panel-examines-the-challenges-in-communicating-climate-change/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/11/iu-panel-examines-the-challenges-in-communicating-climate-change/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:35:36 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1325 Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes doesn’t accept the idea that climate change is too big and complicated for ordinary citizens to understand or care about. She points to maple syrup producers, birders, snowboarders and others who report first hand on a changing climate.

“All around the U.S. and the world, people are seeing climate change,” she said.

Naomi Oreskes answers a question during a panel discussion of climate change. At left are IU professors Scott Robeson from the Department of Geography and Phaedra Pezzullo from the Department of Communication and Culture.

Naomi Oreskes answers a question during a panel discussion on climate change. At left are IU professors Scott Robeson from the Department of Geography and Phaedra Pezzullo from the Department of Communication and Culture.

But the observations of ordinary people and the consensus of scientists haven’t produced the political will to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Oreskes and a panel of IU faculty explored that dilemma Tuesday in a panel sponsored by IU Bloomington’s Integrated Program on the Environment.

Part of the problem, panelists suggested, is that scientists work in zones of uncertainty, pushing the bounds of knowledge and investigating questions with no clear answers. IU geographer Scott Robeson said scientists may not talk enough about what they do know: As CO2 levels rise, the planet is warming, sea level is rising and the oceans are becoming more acid.

And there’s confusion between weather, which people see every day, and climate, which requires detailed measurement. “People have trouble understanding the scale of the planet,” Robeson said.

School of Public and Environmental Affairs professor Ken Richards said there’s also a complexity problem in social science and public policy. And some policy choices do matter, he said. For example, if the U.S. were to adopt a carbon tax, some uses for the revenue would be better than others.

“These things are complex,” Richards said. “They’re complex in the science and they’re complex in the policy. And the challenge is how to communicate it.”

James Shanahan, incoming dean of The Media School, began studying how science is communicated in the 1980s. Then, he said, there was an “alarmist” tone to environmental news and a sense that media would push for solutions. But news is cyclical, and media attention moved on to other topics.

With climate change, he said, features of media make the message less clear-cut. One is the bias for narrative, which favors uncertainty and multiple viewpoints. The story that a few dissenting scientists are challenging the consensus “is still a narrative,” he said – and media are unlikely to ignore it.

Moderator Jeff White, director of the Integrated Program on the Environment, asked Oreskes if there have been efforts to deliberately cultivate uncertainty about climate change.

Her answer: “Yes.”

Oreskes will present an IU Patten lecture tonight titled “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Have Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change.” She has written a book with the same title and a film based on the book was released in theaters March 6. No doubt she will answer White’s question with more than one word.


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Anti-racism author to speak Wednesday at IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/10/anti-racism-author-to-speak-wednesday-at-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/10/anti-racism-author-to-speak-wednesday-at-iu-bloomington/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 18:21:22 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1319 Anti-racism writer and speaker Tim Wise will present two public lectures Wednesday, March 11, at IU Bloomington, focusing the limits of campus diversity initiatives and America’s retreat from racial equality in an era of so-called colorblindness.

Wise is the author of “White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son” and other books. His appearance is sponsored by Union Board in partnership with IU First Year Experiences, the Graduate and Professional Student Organization, the Black Law Students Association and the IU Student Association.

Tim Wise

Tim Wise

“Union Board strives to improve students’ academic and personal experience with thought-provoking, educational and entertaining programs,” said Kevin Kenes, director of fun and adventure for Union Board. “We believe that bringing Mr. Wise to campus will create a meaningful conversation and challenge students to explore their own beliefs relating to race and privilege.”

Marcus Cooke, social action chair for the Black Law Students Association, said Wise has the perspective of someone who benefits from white male privilege while at the same time critiquing privilege as an impediment to social justice.

“He has a speaking style that’s informative but not off-putting,” Cooke said. “He’s very respectful, but he speaks the truth.”

The two lectures are:

  • “Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat From Racial Equality” at noon in the Moot Court Room of the IU Maurer School of Law. Wise argues against colorblindness and in favor of deeper color-consciousness that will lead to authentic social and economic equality.
  • “Beyond Diversity: Challenging Racism in an Age of Backlash” at 7 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union. The speech makes the case that campus diversity initiatives often are feel-good efforts that fail to address racism and inequality.

Both lectures are free and open to the public. No tickets are required for the noon lecture. The 7 p.m. lecture is free but ticketed. To ensure a seat, pick up a ticket in advance from the Union Board office on the second floor of the Student Activities Tower in the IMU.

A question-and-answer session will follow each lecture, and a book signing will take place after the 7 p.m. event, with copies of Wise’s books available for purchase.

Wise has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on more than 1,000 college and high school campuses and to community groups across the nation. He also has worked as a community organizer, a policy analyst and a college teacher.

He is the author of six books and has written for Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root and other publications. His upcoming book “Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Jeopardizing the Future of America” will be released this year.

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IU Bloomington panel to discuss whether college athletes should be paid http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/06/iu-bloomington-panel-to-discuss-whether-college-athletes-should-be-paid/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/06/iu-bloomington-panel-to-discuss-whether-college-athletes-should-be-paid/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 20:35:12 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1313 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

March Madness is about to sweep the nation, reinvigorating the debate about whether to pay college athletes. The debate has grown as NCAA sports have turned into big business for both universities and broadcasters.

Opponents and supporters of the idea that college athletes should be paid have become more adversarial as universities spend millions of dollars on coaching salaries and new facilities. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the NCAA basketball tournament alone will bring in $10.8 billion over 14 years through broadcasting rights.

Jayma Meyer

Jayma Meyer

On Tuesday, an Indiana University panel will tackle the debate around paying college athletes. The panel will take place at 7 p.m. March 10 in the Moot Court Room, Room 123, in the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington.

The event, sponsored by the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the law and public policy undergraduate major and the IU debate team, is free and open to the public.

The IU debate team will present both sides of the issue, and the panelists will comment and take questions from the audience.

Panelists will include:

  • Naima Stevenson Starks, deputy general counsel for the NCAA.
  • Gary Roberts, Dean Emeritus of IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis and arbitrator for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • Kevin Brown, the Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law in the IU Maurer School.
  • Jeff Kostoff, two-time Olympic swimmer and assistant coach for IU swimming.

Jayma Meyer, a visiting scholar of sports law at SPEA, will moderate the panel. In addition, IU varsity athletes will be present to offer their viewpoints.

Despite large paydays, only about 20 university athletic departments operate in the black. This is largely because revenues earned by one or a few teams are redistributed to finance the teams that do not earn revenue. Because of this, the cost to pay athletes may fall on the public.

“Athletic departments receive at least indirectly public funds,” Meyer said. “Many athletic departments also receive student fees. Without cuts in programs or spending, conceivably, the burden could fall on the public and non-athletes to finance any payments to athletes.”

In 2013, IU’s athletic department was subsidized by over $2.5 million from other university budgets to keep the department afloat.

The conversation has been further complicated by the landmark case O’Bannon v. NCAA, in which a federal judge ruled in August that college athletes can earn a portion of the licensing revenue from the use of their name, image or likeness. The revenue is put in a trust that cannot be accessed until the student graduates from college, and schools are allowed to cap the amount of earnable revenue for student athletes, although the minimum cap is set at $5,000 per year.

Those who support the idea of paying athletes argue that the NCAA’s massive revenue streams never trickle down to the athletes who have led the success of the organization. Supporters also argue that despite playing for free, college athletes risk serious injury.

Opponents, like NCAA President Mike Emmert, say that paying athletes would discourage academic success. A popular opposition argument centers on the exposure college athletes have to professional teams, opening the door to high-paying contracts down the road — compensation for their years playing in college.


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Ethics Bowl team reaches national semifinals http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/04/ethics-bowl-team-reaches-national-semifinals/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/04/ethics-bowl-team-reaches-national-semifinals/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:27:06 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1310 Congratulations to members and coaches of the Indiana University Ethics Bowl team. They reached the final four of the recent Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl national competition before falling to Taylor University, the eventual champion.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our students,” said Joe Bartzel, one of the team’s coaches. “They’re sharp thinkers, they work incredibly hard, and they compete the right way. As a coach, I really couldn’t ask for anything more out of a team.”


Ethics Bowl team

IU Ethics Bowl team members, from left: Nikhil Nandu, John Hanks, Grant Manon, Radikha Agarwal and Alexandria Henke.

The IU team, sponsored by the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, won the Spirit of Robert Ladenson Award, which recognizes excellence in exemplifying the competition’s core values of respect and civility.

The Ladenson Award, named for the founder of the Ethics Bowl competition, is awarded on the basis of voting by members of all the Ethics Bowl teams. Emma Young, one of two coaches of the IU team, said it’s the most important trophy presented at the competition.

The national competition took place Feb. 22 in Costa Mesa, Calif., in conjunction with the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics International conference.

Members of the IU team and their academic majors include Radhika Agarwal, biochemistry and biology; John Hanks, economics, English and philosophy; Alexandria Henke, chemistry and political science; Grant Manon, economic consulting; and Nikhil Nandu, business.

Ethics Bowl requires teams to argue for and defend their assessment of complex moral issues across a variety of fields, including biomedical ethics, public policy, technology and personal relationships. Teams received 15 cases to debate at the national competition five weeks in advance and were required to analyze and research them before the competition.

Two Indiana University Bloomington teams placed first and second in the Central States regional competition in October, winning IU a slot in the 32-team national competition.


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States, feds look for answers to falling gas tax revenue http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/03/states-feds-look-for-answers-to-falling-gas-tax-revenue/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/03/03/states-feds-look-for-answers-to-falling-gas-tax-revenue/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:10:37 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1304 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

America’s system for financing road construction and repair is broken. Gas tax revenue is coming in below target, states are being forced to spend their highway funds to pay down debt, and federal assistance is the only cushion maintaining a positive cash flow for road repairs in most states.

The situation has legislators across the country paying close attention as states like Oregon attempt to recoup falling tax revenues by replacing traditional gas taxes with new methods of benefit principle taxes.

Gas tax revenue chartBut recent Indiana University research shows that, at best, one in three Americans support these benefit-based taxes. The article, “Demand for Benefit Taxation: Evidence From Public Opinion on Road Financing,” gauged public opinion on funding roads with benefit-based revenue sources.

The benefit principle, an idea that people should pay for the goods and services they consume in proportion to the benefits received from those goods and services, has fueled talk of mileage user fees, which tax car owners based on miles driven.

In contrast, the current gas tax system adds an automatic charge at the pump. In Indiana, it’s 36.4 cents per gallon, including the 18.4 cent federal gas tax.

States rely on a mix of federal, state and local taxes to fund their transportation costs. Indiana is heavily reliant on federal funding. Over 40 percent of Indiana’s transportation funding comes from federal gas tax revenue that is distributed by the Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Fund. The remainder of the state’s revenue comes from state and local gas taxes.

The existing system is failing in large part because the federal rate has not been raised since 1993. Since then, politicians in Washington on both sides of the aisle have run away from raising the tax. However, legislation is just starting to make its way to the floor as politicians grapple with the reality that, unless they find a solution by June 1, the Highway Trust Fund will not have the money to remain operational.

The gas tax system was built on the assumption that drivers using American roadways should pay for road maintenance. However, the number of drivers has decreased and fuel efficiency is improving steadily every year. As a result, the federal and state coffers are almost dry. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the fund will be unable to fulfill all of its obligations in fiscal 2015 and will face a cumulative shortage of $169 billion over the next 10 years.

The federal government brought the debate to a brink last July when it was forced to allocate money from the general fund to keep the Highway Trust Fund operational.

Highway Trust Fund shortfallAt the state level, many states are looking at raising their gas tax as an option instead of a complete system overhaul that could favor the benefit principle style of taxation.

Iowa took this approach. Starting last Sunday, the gas tax increased statewide by 10 cents. Polls show that Iowans are sharply split on their support for the increase with 50 percent in opposition, 48 percent in support and 2 percent unsure. What is clear is the benefit to the state: The increase is projected to bring an additional $215 million for city, county and state roads.

In Indiana, the state Chamber of Commerce is suggesting allocating more state sales tax dollars for roads and indexing the state gas tax to inflation, allowing it to increase naturally. The Indiana General Assembly commissioned a study due to come out this summer that will look at alternate funding choices, including the mileage user fee system.

Indiana University researchers who conducted the original benefit principle study are currently working on new research that looks specifically at the opinion of Indiana residents in response to mileage user fees. The results of that study will come later this year.

Oregon will launch the country’s first road user fee program, OReGO, open to volunteers this July. If the volunteer system proves a success, the state plans to implement a mandate system which will replace all taxes paid at the pump. Drivers will have the option to choose from a variety of mile-tracking devices including smartphone apps, trackers that plug into the car and manual reporting of the odometer. Participants then receive a bill for their distance driven which includes an automatic fuel tax credit for the fees paid at the pump.

In addition to raising revenue, Oregon’s system will likely see the added benefits of participants driving less, which decreases congestion and is environmentally friendly.

State and national legislators are eager to watch Oregon’s policy unfold as they consider alternate funding options. However, as public support for mileage user fees remains low and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union voice privacy concerns, any change on the national level is sure to be slow.

Charts are from Pew Charitable Trusts.

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Chinese students, friends to celebrate New Year this week http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/18/chinese-students-friends-to-celebrate-new-year-this-week/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/18/chinese-students-friends-to-celebrate-new-year-this-week/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 20:26:24 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1299 Thanks to my J200 journalism students – especially to Hui, Ziqian, Chunxi, Lingyu, Qianwen and Shiqi – for pointing out that Chinese New Year falls this week.

The Year of the Sheep begins Thursday, and many of the more than 3,000 Chinese students who attend IU Bloomington will be celebrating. On Friday evening, the Chinese Student and Scholar Association will present a gala event at the IU Auditorium.

Chinese_New_Year_posterThe public is invited, and admission is free. The schedule includes food from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed by entertainment from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

New Year is a major celebration in China, comparable to Thanksgiving or Christmas in the U.S. It’s a time when Chinese people travel long distances to spend the season with family members. According to a “by the numbers” feature in London’s Guardian newspaper:

  • The average Chinese worker will get seven days off work during the 40-day lunar New Year period, allowing a rare opportunity to spend time with family.
  • Some 3.6 billion passenger trips will be taken during the holiday period, turning “roads, airports and train stations into congestion hotspots.”
  • Chinese consumers spent $100 billion on shopping and eating out during the 2014 New Year period, about twice what Americans spent on Thanksgiving weekend.
  • On WeChat, China’s most popular messaging service, 10 million messages will be sent every minute between 10 p.m. and midnight New Year’s Eve.

Regarding the IU Auditorium gala, a message from the Chinese Student and Scholar Association says, “Given that traveling home during the semester is difficult for international students, the Chinese students have planned this great event to celebrate with the IU campus community instead.”

Sure, there’s no place like home for the holidays. But celebrating with friends is the next best thing.

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IU physician to speak Thursday on treatment policy for undocumented patients http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/09/iu-physician-to-speak-thursday-on-treatment-policy-for-undocumented-patients/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/09/iu-physician-to-speak-thursday-on-treatment-policy-for-undocumented-patients/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 15:05:15 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1291 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Few topics have been so politically divisive in recent years as health care and immigration reform. Dr. Brian Decker is working to reframe the debate around treating undocumented patients as a discussion of ethical principles.

This Thursday, as a part of the IU Poynter Center’s Healthcare Ethics Seminar Series, Decker will discuss how IU and nationwide medical centers provide dialysis to undocumented patients.

Dr. Brian Decker

Dr. Brian Decker

Decker has been a member of the nephrology faculty at the Indiana University School of Medicine since completing his nephrology fellowship in 2007. Before pursuing nephrology, he received his M.S. and Pharm.D. from Purdue University. His primary research interests are the clinical pharmacology of medications and the implementation of personalized medicine in patients with chronic renal disease. He also serves as an active member on the Eskenazi Health ethics committee.

“Beyond the physician community, the issue of treatment does get politicized,” Decker said. “People do take sides. When you are on the front line, see these patients face-to-face and see the bad outcomes in store because they aren’t receiving dialysis, it is much more difficult to see this politically. We see this from a humanistic stand point.”

According to a Pew Research Center, the Affordable Care Act does nothing to help provide health insurance for the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. They are ineligible for healthcare subsidies and are unable to purchase coverage in the health insurance marketplace.

The only subsidized medical care that they do have access to is emergency care, covered through Medicaid, if they meet the low income requirements.

Patients with chronic or end stage renal failure typically receive dialysis treatments three times a week, although some patients may require daily treatments. Undocumented patients are able to receive treatment only after they are already acutely ill and check in to an emergency room.

Decker explained that the nephrology community broadly agrees that this treatment routine does not offer undocumented patients an acceptable standard of care.

According to Decker, 16 undocumented patients with chronic and end stage renal disease are currently being treated in Indianapolis, although only on emergency basis. He estimated that as of 2010, there are 5,500 undocumented immigrants with end stage renal disease nationwide.

Decker will address ethical conflicts that he has confronted as a practicing physician.

“These are not textbook hypotheticals, but rather the real questions that I have as a doctor,” he said. “These are the ethical questions that I struggle with.”

The seminar runs from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Poynter Center, 618 E. Third St. It is free and open to the public. An RSVP to eayoung@indiana.edu is appreciated.

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IU Bloomington panel to discuss the politics of teaching history http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/06/iu-bloomington-panel-to-discuss-the-politics-of-teaching-history/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/06/iu-bloomington-panel-to-discuss-the-politics-of-teaching-history/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 21:13:45 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1287 Colorado high school students walk out of class and carry petitions objecting to what they say are attempts to censor the curriculum for Advanced Placement U.S. history courses. Arizona education officials try to shut down Tucson ethnic studies classes for promoting “ethnic solidarity.”

And just a few years ago in Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels asked his advisors to make sure the writings of radical historian Howard Zinn were not being taught anywhere in the state’s schools.

Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn speaks at IU in 1967 (University Archives).

Politics and the teaching of American history keep colliding, and Indiana University faculty, students and community members will have a chance to explore what’s happening at a panel discussion on “High School Teaching and Culture Wars.” It will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, in Sycamore Hall 003.

The event, sponsored by the IU Bloomington history and American studies departments, is part of a series addressing current events of interest to scholars in the two disciplines.

“The idea arose from the controversy in Colorado,” said Susan Ferentinos, public history advisor for the Department of History. “But as we discussed the topic, the organizers agreed that this particular controversy was part of a much larger politicization of social studies teaching at the pre-collegiate level.”

Panelists will include:

  • Anthony Arnove, a Bloomington native and a longtime collaborator with Howard Zinn, who died in 2010. Arnove is co-producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary film “Dirty Wars”; the writer, director and producer of “The People Speak”; and co-editor, with Zinn, of the book “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.”
  • Carl Weinberg, an adjunct associate professor of history at IU Bloomington, who taught a National Endowment of Humanities-funded 2010 summer course for teachers on labor history that came under scrutiny from Daniels and his assistants.
  • William F. Munn, a retired Marion, Ind., social studies teacher who spent 42 years teaching history and political science in high schools and middle schools. Munn wrote about the politics of Indiana textbook adoption in the June 2014 Magazine of Indiana History.

Another development that’s expected to be discussed: the move promoted by the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute to require students to pass the U.S. citizenship exam to graduate from high school. Arizona has adopted the requirement, and Indiana and other states are considering it.

Ferentinos said organizers of the panel aim to explore why these political battles are erupting now and to consider what their implications are for humanities scholars and for U.S. citizens.


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Liberia turns corner in Ebola recovery http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/04/liberia-turns-corner-in-ebola-recovery/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/04/liberia-turns-corner-in-ebola-recovery/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 22:07:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1283 Finally, some good news from Liberia. “Life is edging back to normal after the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history,” The New York Times reports in a story from Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

Indiana University has longstanding relationships with Liberia, including a partnership that revolves around public health. The ties were disrupted by the Ebola outbreak that devastated the West African nation and neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone starting last spring.

Mosoka Fallah teaching

Mosoka Fallah, an IU visiting scholar, teaches in a Liberian classroom.

At the peak of the outbreak, the streets of Monrovia were said to be littered with bodies, and Liberia’s fragile health system was overwhelmed. Hospitals turned away people who were suffering from conventional but sometimes deadly diseases. Schools were closed and businesses shut down.

But only five new, confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in Liberia last week, according to a World Health Organization situation report. There were 39 new cases in Guinea and 80 in Sierra Leone, where the virus was later to arrive and later to crest.

Nearly 9,000 people have died from Ebola in West Africa, including more than 3,700 in Liberia, the WHO says. That’s a horrific toll, but it could have been much worse. As of fall 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected there could be 1.4 million Ebola cases by January 2015.

What happened? The U.S. and international organizations mobilized to fight the disease. But apparently the key factor was that Liberians took control of their own situation and changed their behavior.Volunteer health workers organized contact-tracing teams. People were quarantined if they may have been exposed to the virus. Residents took precautions against becoming infected.

The New York Times article describes how Parker Point, a neighborhood in Monrovia, limited Ebola cases to one thanks to the effort of a volunteer watchdog organization.

“Heroes emerged in every community,” Liberian epidemiologist Mosoka Fallah told the Times. “The volunteer task forces may be the biggest reason behind the drop in October.”

Fallah, a visiting scholar in epidemiology with the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, has been a key figure with the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences, an initiative aimed at building Liberia’s public health and medical education infrastructure.

The partnership, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through Higher Education for Development, includes IU, the University of Liberia, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, JFK Memorial Hospital in Monrovia and the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

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IU Ethics Bowl continues winning tradition and heads to nationals http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/02/iu-ethics-bowl-continues-winning-tradition-and-heads-to-nationals/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/02/02/iu-ethics-bowl-continues-winning-tradition-and-heads-to-nationals/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:19:38 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1278 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

“Ethics in public policy” is more often a punch line than an exercise in civil discourse.

However, the IU Ethics Bowl team is seeking to change this precedent after beating 24 teams from 14 other universities at the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl hosted by Marian University last fall. Now, for the fourth time, IU Bloomington will send a team to the national Ethics Bowl competition. It takes place Feb. 22 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

IU Ethics Bowl team

Pictured are students who competed for IU Bloomington in the regional Ethics Bowl last fall: from left, Shayna Goldsmith, Nikhil Nandu, Radhika Agarwal, Rafal Swiatkowski, Ali Henke, Grant Manon, John Hanks; and Marian University Ethics Bowl organizer Karen Spear. Nandu, Agarwal, Henke, Manon and Hanks will represent the university in the national competition.

Heading into regionals, IU sponsored two teams, Team Crimson and Team Cream. Each university is allowed to send only one team to the national competition. Luckily, the teams were easily consolidated after one member graduated in December and one could not continue due to a scheduling conflict.

Head coach Joe Bartzel, a graduate student at IU, argues that the team’s strength is the diversity of its members.

“Our students bring a wide variety of knowledge bases. Our team outperforms other teams because of their varied backgrounds and different majors. There isn’t any part of a case that we overlook because we all approach it with a different lens,” said Bartzel.

The new team practices to shape positive discourse by debating ethical guidelines in the context of modern cases. At the regional competition it debated the ethical issues involved in cases such as Haiti’s demands of reparations as a result of peacekeepers introducing cholera, the website Jezebel’s posting of a bounty for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham and the use of public shaming as punishment, among others.

The team received 15 potential case topics for nationals six weeks in advance. Although case topics vary, they all raise issues of practical or professional ethics. Topics for this year’s competition include discussion over keeping or raising the minimum wage, how much control big agricultural companies should have over farmers and the legitimacy of using the atomic bomb in World War II.

At nationals, the IU team will compete in a series of debates against an opposing team.  A moderator will pose previously unannounced questions for one of the already distributed cases. The teams are able to both disagree and try to debunk the opposing team’s argument or, equally common, try to augment and strengthen it.  A panel of judges will follow with additional questions asking each team to further substantiate its responses.

The teams are then judged on their comprehensiveness, consistency, clarity and ethical considerations. The judges will also issue each team a score on civility, although this is not factored into the final team score.

Bartzel was quick to emphasize that Ethics Bowl isn’t like trying to win an argument. “This is not like debate team,” he said. “The emphasis of the entire competition is civil discourse.”

The goal is to create a venue in which the dearth of civil discourse in society is recognized and students can model overcoming it through substantive discussion.

The Indiana University Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions has sponsored teams since 2001. This is the first year the center sponsored two teams in the regional competition, a sign that the program has grown significantly since its inception.

IU teams won the national competition in 2004 and 2009 and placed third in 2010. Past teams won the regional competition in 2007 and 2011.

Grant Manon, a senior in finance, political science and economics, is in his fourth year competing on the team. The rest of the members are all new this year, including senior Radhika Agarwal, sophomore John Hanks, sophomore Ali Henke and freshman Nikhil Nandu. Bartzel leads the team alongside co-coach Emma Young, an Ethics Bowl alumna.

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Alexander at IU Northwest: King would be ‘bursting with pride’ over Ferguson protests http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/28/alexander-at-iu-northwest-king-would-be-bursting-with-pride-over-ferguson-protests/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/28/alexander-at-iu-northwest-king-would-be-bursting-with-pride-over-ferguson-protests/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:32:49 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1271 Author and activist Michelle Alexander called Tuesday for a new movement for social justice that brings together advocates for poor people, prisoners and their families, immigrants, minorities and other groups that are denied justice.

“We’ve got to be able to connect the dots and build a multiracial, multi-ethnic human rights movement,” she said. “Our challenge is not simply to change the law but to change public consciousness.”

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander speaks at IU Northwest. (Photo by Erika Rose).

Alexander, a law professor and the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” spoke at Indiana University Northwest in connection with its “One Book … One Campus … One Community” initiative. The lecture was live broadcast to other IU campuses.

In a talk that was part of multi-campus Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances, Michelle decried the tendency to ignore King’s radical critique of inequality. She reminded listeners that, when King was killed, he was organizing a “poor people’s campaign” for economic justice.

“We must not forget that he died a revolutionary,” she said.

“The New Jim Crow” argues that harsh criminal laws and procedures, especially the war on drugs, disproportionately target people of color and have supplanted slavery and racial segregation as a system of social control. She said the nation’s prison population exploded from 300,000 to 2 million in a recent 30-year period, before starting a small decline in recent years.

People who have been convicted of crimes, she said, routinely face legal discrimination in housing and employment and are unable to vote in many states.

“The ‘whites only’ signs have come down, but other signs have gone up,” she said.

Alexander said police and prosecutors probably don’t set out to target minorities. But fear-based laws and policies produce a system in which people of color are much more likely to be charged with drug offenses, even though studies show white people are just as likely to use and to sell drugs.

“These unconscious biases and stereotypes have infected all of us,” she said. “They lead to enormous disparities in our criminal justice system.”

Alexander said there is cause for optimism in the protests that broke out last year in response to police killings of black men and youth in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere, and especially in the fact that young people have led the protests.

“I can tell you, when I think of these protesters, I feel nothing but pride,” she said. “And I can tell you Dr. King would be bursting with pride.”

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‘New Jim Crow’ author to speak at IU Northwest, with streaming to other campuses http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/23/new-jim-crow-author-to-speak-at-iu-northwest-with-streaming-to-other-campuses/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/23/new-jim-crow-author-to-speak-at-iu-northwest-with-streaming-to-other-campuses/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:18:01 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1263 Few recent books have had an impact like “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” Michelle Alexander’s 2010 account of how imprisonment has replaced slavery and segregation as a system to control and marginalize people of color in the United States.

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander (photo by Zocolo Public Square)

Next Tuesday, audiences at eight Indiana University campuses will have a chance to hear Alexander talk about her work. The civil rights lawyer and legal scholar will present a lecture and answer questions at IU Northwest, and her talk will be streamed live to other IU locations.

Alexander makes a powerful case that the nation’s criminal laws and procedures – especially the “war on drugs” – have unfairly targeted racial minorities and deprived millions of people of their rights.

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind … As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

Alexander charts the political and legal developments that created the situation. Politicians from both major parties found getting tough on crime to be a good formula for winning elections. Mandatory minimum sentences, three-strikes laws and other tools for locking offenders away became pervasive.

Horror stories about an urban plague of crack cocaine fueled the war on drugs. African-Americans, while no more likely to use or sell drugs than white Americans, have been disproportionately searched, arrested and jailed. Supreme Court decisions have given police great latitude and have made it almost impossible to challenge arrests and convictions on racial grounds.

“In less than 30 years,” Alexander writes, “the U.S. penal population exploded from around 300,000 to more than 2 million, with drug convictions accounting for the majority of the increase.” The result is that the U.S. has the world’s highest incarceration rate, higher than in Russia, China and Iran, she says.

IU Northwest chose “The New Jim Crow” for its third annual One Book … One Campus … One Community initiative, which calls on students, faculty, staff and community members to read an important book and examine the issues that it raises. Events, discussions and classroom activities are organized around the theme.

Alexander, a former ACLU attorney and now a faculty member at Ohio State University, will speak Tuesday afternoon in the IU Northwest Savannah Center gymnasium. The lecture starts at 2:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).

With support from the IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the session will be live-streamed to other IU locations. Viewing sites include: IU Bloomington, Fine Arts Auditorium; IUPUI, Campus Center room CE 309; IUPUC, LC 1400; IU East, HY 101; IU Southeast, UC 121; IU Kokomo, SM 116, Hunt Hall; and IU South Bend, Administration Building, the Grill.


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Attorneys: Deter police misconduct by ‘making them pay’ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/21/attorneys-deter-police-misconduct-by-making-them-pay/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/21/attorneys-deter-police-misconduct-by-making-them-pay/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:26:00 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1259 John Crawford III walked into a Beavercreek, Ohio, Wal-Mart one day last August to buy supplies for a family cookout. A few minutes later he was dead, killed by a police officer who responded to a 911 caller reporting that someone was walking around the store waving a gun at shoppers.

“They just came in and saw John and shot him on sight,” said Michael Wright, an Ohio trial attorney representing Crawford’s family.

John Crawford III

John Crawford III

No one was charged with a crime in connection with Crawford’s death. So now his family has turned to the courts. Last month the family filed a civil lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores, the city of Beavercreek and its police department, the police chief and two police officers.

Wright and his law partner Richard Schulte, who are handling the case, spoke Tuesday at the IU Maurer School of Law. The American Constitution Society and the Black Law Students Association at IU Bloomington sponsored the talk.

The story of Crawford, a 22-year-old black man shot by a white police officer, has figured prominently – along with those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice – in recent protests of police shootings of African-American men and boys.

According to video of the incident shown by the lawyers, Crawford idly picked up an air rifle designed to look like an assault weapon and walked down an aisle of the store, talking on his cell phone. The air rifle had been taken out of its package and was on a shelf in the sporting-goods section.

Most shoppers in the store seemed to be ignoring Crawford. But one customer was alarmed and called 911. Within minutes, two police officers rushed into the store and charged to the aisle, and one shouted for Crawford to drop the gun. According to Wright and Schulte, a close analysis of the video shows the officer waited less than a third of a second before shooting Crawford.

The video also seemed to contradict the caller’s claim that Crawford was waving a weapon in a threatening manner. Instead, he stopped and stood in one spot for five minutes, apparently distracted by the phone conversation he was having with the mother of his 1- and 2-year-old children.

“What did John Crawford do wrong? Nothing,” Wright said. “Even the prosecutor said that.”

The attorneys argued that justice would have been better served if the officer who shot Crawford had been charged and tried. That was what the family wanted to see happen.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a former U.S. senator, named a special prosecutor, who took the case to a grand jury. But the grand jury, which met in secret, chose not to issue an indictment.

Wright and Schulte said a grand jury will see only the evidence the prosecutor chooses to present. And prosecutors, they said, aren’t likely to press for charges against police, because they typically work as part of the same team in making cases against defendants.

That means civil court is the only recourse for people who are wronged by police, they said.

“The way you’re going to make it change is by making them pay,” Schulte said. “By holding them accountable.”

During a question-and-answer session, someone asked if there was a way to reform the grand jury system to eliminate secrecy and make it more accountable.

“That,” Wright said, “is the million-dollar question.”

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Research on early Bloomington burial records among MLK Day volunteer opportunities http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/15/research-on-early-bloomington-burial-records-among-mlk-day-volunteer-opportunities/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/15/research-on-early-bloomington-burial-records-among-mlk-day-volunteer-opportunities/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:39:58 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1254 Indiana University and the City of Bloomington have for several years celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day as “A Day On, Not a Day Off” – an opportunity for focused community service and volunteerism rather than simply a break from work or school.

You can find a lengthy list of projects at Bloomington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commission website, along with more information on King Day activities in news releases from IU and the city.

Martin Luther King  Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Included this year is a unique opportunity: An invitation from the Monroe County History Center to conduct research on burial locations of the city’s early African-American residents, many of whom are buried in unmarked plots in local cemeteries. The work will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

During the day, participants will learn how to use census records, burial records, local newspapers, and online resources. Snacks and lunch will be provided … Plan to bring your laptop, tablet, and/or research questions and join in the conversation on Monday, Jan. 19. Please register by calling 812-332-2517 ext. 2 or emailing mchcoperations@gmail.com.

The History Center also plans to organize a workday later this spring in which volunteers will clean and restore headstones. The center will provide more information about that closer to the event.

Lou Malcomb, a member of the center’s cemetery committee, said cemetery records seldom identify individuals by race, so determining who is interred where will require the lengthy task of matching census or death records that indicate race with names listed in cemetery records. Volunteers will begin with census year 1900 and then move forward decade by decade.

In addition to volunteer activities, Martin Luther King Jr. Day will include several featured events:

  • A showing of the film “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin” along with a question-and-answer session with filmmaker Bennett Singer Sunday night at Indiana Memorial Union Whittenberger Auditorium.
  • An MLK Leadership Breakfast Monday morning with Indianapolis attorney Myra Selby, the first African-American to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court, as keynote speaker.
  • A Bloomington community King Day celebration Monday evening with a keynote talk by Bennett Singer, musical performances and other presentations.

See the IU Martin Luther King Jr. celebration web page for more information.

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NEH grants to support IU historians’ book projects http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/09/neh-grants-to-support-iu-historians-book-projects/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2015/01/09/neh-grants-to-support-iu-historians-book-projects/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 19:43:23 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1250 Indiana University Bloomington historians Kaya Sahin and Ellen Wu can dive into new research projects in 2015 thanks to fellowships awarded last month by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Each was awarded $50,400 through the NEH Fellowships for University Teachers program. Theirs were among 233 NEH grants, totaling $17.9 million, announced in early December.

Kaya Sahin

Kaya Sahin

Sahin, an assistant professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, will carry out a project titled “Ottoman Public Ceremonies, 1520-1566.”

He describes it as the first step of a book-length study examining how the Ottoman Empire created various types of public ceremonies to convey specific messages and reach particular audiences. A goal of the project is to discuss ways in which people and groups interacted with governmental authorities in societies that lacked mass communication and formal political representation.

Sahin is a scholar of the early Ottoman Empire and the author of “Empire and Power in the Reign of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World.” He was co-organizer of an October 2014 conference at IU Bloomington that explored the Sunni-Shia conflict in the aftermath of the confrontation between the Ottoman and Safavid empires in the 1514 Battle of Chaldiran.

“When I look at the list of the NEH grant recipients, I see a tremendous wealth of individuals and institutions who work to better understand the human condition, preserve the cultural legacy and establish bridges to the future,” he said. “I feel honored to be a part of such a distinguished cohort.”

Wu, an associate professor in the Department of History, will work on “Asian Americans in the Age of Affirmative Action,” a book project that will provide a fresh look at the nation’s racial order and political alignments since the civil rights era.

Ellen Wu

Ellen Wu

The research will explore three “unprecedented challenges” in contemporary America: the rise of affirmative action and other policies to promote racial equality; growing immigration from Asia to the U.S.; and increasing economic competition between the U.S. and Asian nations.

“The NEH funding will be crucial to supporting the necessary archival research for my book,” said Wu, whose 2013 book “The Color of Success” describes the transformation of Asian-Americans from threat to model minority. “More broadly, I am heartened that Americans continue to recognize the importance of the humanities for addressing our collective conditions — past, present and future.”

The December NEH grant announcement also included nearly $400,000 for IU to develop a software tool that will assist in the long-term preservation of valuable university audio and video collections; and $50,400 to Shane Vogel, associate professor of English at IU Bloomington, for a book project on the cultural history of the 1950s calypso craze.

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White House announcement on Cuba may boost IU study-abroad classes http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/12/19/white-house-announcement-on-cuba-may-boost-iu-study-abroad-classes/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/12/19/white-house-announcement-on-cuba-may-boost-iu-study-abroad-classes/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:18:39 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1242 The easing of U.S. restrictions on travel to and from Cuba could come as good news for students hoping to study there. And at least two IU Bloomington study-abroad courses in Cuba are scheduled this year: one in SPEA and the other in the Department of Geography.

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs was planning its first study-abroad course in Cuba before this week’s news. The one-credit undergraduate course, “Public Policy in Cuba,” will take students to Havana over spring break in March 2015.

Dan Preston

Dan Preston

The Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences will offer “Issues in Latin America, the Caribbean and Contemporary Cuba” during the first summer session of 2015. The course includes two weeks in Cuba, primarily in Santa Clara, Bloomington’s sister city.

Clinical assistant professor Dan Preston, who is teaching the SPEA class, sees President Barack Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Cuba as a positive development.

“It will make my program easier to operate and should increase the learning opportunities for students while in Cuba,” he said. “This opening may even provide more opportunities for more expanded educational programs for SPEA and IU in Cuba.”

The only possible downside, he said, is that easing travel restrictions may mean the opportunity for IU students to travel to Cuba won’t seem as unique and special.

On a broader level, Preston said he’s in the camp that believes the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and restrictions on travel and other exchanges do more harm than good.

“It does more to entrench the current regime and government structures than foment a counter-revolutionary movement,” he said. “I believe that slowly easing sanctions in a thoughtful way is a much more effective approach to encourage change.”

Frank Marshalek, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography who is teaching the summer-session course, said he isn’t yet sure how much will change as a result of the White House announcement. He has been able to travel to Cuba multiple times for do research for his dissertation and with Cubamistad, the Bloomington-Santa Clara sister-cities group.

The geography class’ stint in Cuba will include tours of Havana and Santa Clara and visits to a university, a coastal eco-resort, urban farms, a cigar factory, museums and other highlights. The goal is to provide students with the knowledge and analytical skills to understand Cuban society as the country moves away from a state-centered model to a more diversified economy.

The IU Bloomington Department of Geography planned a similar course a decade ago, but it was canceled after the George W. Bush administration instituted a rule that study-abroad students had to be in class in Cuba for at least 10 weeks. Marshalek initially hoped to organize a class in the summer of 2014, but it took longer than expected to make arrangements and recruit students.

Students at other IU campuses have traveled to Cuba for study-abroad classes. IUPUI geographer Timothy Brothers and IU Southeast political scientist Cliff Staten taught classes in 2012 that included travel to Cuba.


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IU professor: Easing of Cuba travel restrictions good news for scholars http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/12/18/iu-professor-easing-of-cuba-travel-restrictions-good-news-for-scholars/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/12/18/iu-professor-easing-of-cuba-travel-restrictions-good-news-for-scholars/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:05:59 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1231 As a native of Germany, Anke Birkenmaier was able to travel to and from Cuba as a scholar of the island’s history and culture. But that work became more difficult after she began her current position at IU Bloomington. So she was encouraged this week to hear that President Barack Obama will take steps toward normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.

“It’s very exciting, not only for Cubans but for Cuban scholars,” she said. “It’s going to be easier to travel, and I think more Americans will travel there. And I think that’s a great thing.”

Anke Birkenmaier

Anke Birkenmaier

Birkenmaier, an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, is the author and editor of several books on Cuba. Her academic specialties include Caribbean literature and culture, Latin American literature and anthropology, and media theory.

Although she is a German citizen, Birkenmaier has been restricted by rules that govern U.S. residents’ travel to and exchange with Cuba. Last year, she was invited to lecture at a symposium in Cuba, but she was unable to go because the symposium was sponsored by a government-affiliated institution. And several years ago, she arranged an IU visit by Cuban novelist Pedro Juan Gutierrez. But he declined to come for reasons related to the difficulty of U.S.-Cuban relations.

According to a White House announcement Wednesday, the U.S. will allow travel to and from Cuba for professional research meetings, activities of research and educational institutions, public performances and exhibitions, and a range of other specified purposes.

Birkenmaier understands there will be critics of easing relations with Cuba. “But I think that, overall, it’s going to help a lot with relations between the U.S. and Cuba,” she said. “And I do hope, in the long run, it will encourage a movement toward democracy in Cuba.”

Florida politics and papal diplomacy

Nick Cullather, professor of history, associate dean of the School of Global and International Studies and co-editor of the journal Diplomatic History, said it’s not surprising that Obama made the move late in his term of office, after mid-term elections. U.S. policy toward Cuba, he said, has long been driven by local politics in Florida – a key swing state in national elections – rather than national sentiment toward Cuba’s government.

Nick Cullather

Nick Cullather

In purely political terms, he said, it’s an interesting coincidence that the move came a day after Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has close ties with anti-Castro Cuban immigrants, announced he will explore running for president in 2016. Bush denounced the White House move as a policy misstep that will benefit “the heinous Castro brothers,” Fidel and Raul, rather than the Cuban people.

Cullather said one of the most surprising aspects to the news was the role played by Pope Francis. According to news reports, the pope made personal appeals related to a spy exchange and Cuba’s release of USAID contractor Alan Gross that were critical to the breakthrough. Negotiations took a year and a half and included meetings at the Vatican and in Canada, the New York Times reported.

“It shows the pope is really active,” Cullather said. “It’s kind of spectacular that he pulled this off.”

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Russia expert, IU alum James Collins to speak on campus today http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/12/02/russia-expert-iu-alum-james-collins-to-speak-on-campus-today/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/12/02/russia-expert-iu-alum-james-collins-to-speak-on-campus-today/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:20:57 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1224 James F. Collins earned a master’s degree at Indiana University back in the 1960s, when Cold War concerns were leading the U.S. government to help establish university area studies programs, such as the influential Russian and East European Institute at IU Bloomington.

He went on to a long and distinguished career as an expert on the former Soviet Union and its successor states. He was U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1997-2001. Before that, he was ambassador at large for the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union and deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He has also represented the U.S. in Jordan and Turkey.


James F. Collins

Now a senior associate with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie International Endowment for Peace, Collins will be back at IU today to give a talk on “The Future of Russia-U.S. Relations.” It’s a timely topic, given the recent rise in U.S.-Russia conflict over Ukraine and other issues and Western nations’ worries about the behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Collins expounded on the subject this fall in a New York Times op-ed co-authored with fellow former ambassadors Jack F. Matlock Jr. and Thomas R. Pickering. They argued forcefully that the U.S. and its allies need to engage diplomatically with Russia to prevent further deterioration in relations.

As three former United States ambassadors who served in Moscow, we believe that the time is right for American leadership in a serious diplomatic effort to achieve these ends. Each of us has seen the high price paid when relations and dialogue between Washington and Moscow break down, as in the effort to prevent Baltic independence at the end of the Soviet era, the Kosovo crisis and the insurgency in Chechnya.

Each time relations broke down, there was a high cost to the cause of peace and security for both the United States and Russia, as well as their allies. Our experience convinces us that creative, disciplined, serious active diplomacy — through both official and unofficial channels — provides the one path out of destructive crises and a reliance on violence and confrontation. So-called Track 2 dialogue between non-state actors — experts and groups of individuals on both sides — can also play a useful role.

Collins’ lecture will take place at 4 p.m. in the Dogwood Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. It is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the School of Global and International Studies and the Russian and East European Institute.

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Exonerated former death-row inmate to speak Monday at IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/11/14/exonerated-former-death-row-inmate-to-speak-monday-at-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/11/14/exonerated-former-death-row-inmate-to-speak-monday-at-iu-bloomington/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:58:04 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1220 Randy Steidl spent 17 years in prison, including 12 years on death row, as a result of being wrongfully convicted of a double murder of two newlyweds in Southern Illinois.

His conviction was overturned after a law enforcement review found local police had botched the original investigation of the crime, according to the advocacy group Witness to Innocence. DNA evidence from the murders was tested and found to have no connection to Steidl.

Randy Steidl

Randy Steidl

Now an activist who speaks against capital punishment, Steidl will be at Indiana University Bloomington to share his story on Monday, Nov. 17. He will speak at noon in the Moot Court Room of the IU Maurer School of Law in a program sponsored by the law school’s chapter of the American Constitution Society.

Steidl left prison in 2004 and was later described as the public face of the anti-death penalty movement in Illinois. And the movement was successful. When state lawmakers voted in January 2011 to repeal capital punishment in Illinois, Steidl was in the gallery.

“It was a very poignant moment for me,” Steidl said at the time of a 2011 speaking engagement at IU. “Twenty-five years ago, when I was sitting on death row and facing execution, I never thought I’d live to see that day.”

Steidl is a member of the board of directors of Witness to Innocence, an organization that seeks to empower people who have been exonerated after having been found guilty of capital offenses. He speaks against the death penalty on college campuses and to state legislators and faith communities.

Witness to Innocence says at least 143 people have been released from death row after having been exonerated in the past four decades.

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College ‘Luminary’ Marie Harf followed father to IU, political science http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/11/10/college-luminary-marie-harf-followed-father-to-iu-political-science/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/11/10/college-luminary-marie-harf-followed-father-to-iu-political-science/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:42:39 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1215 Marie Harf was scheduled to be in Bloomington this week for an IU College of Arts and Sciences Luminaries panel discussion. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. When you’re deputy spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, things tend to come up – like traveling to Oman to handle communications while Secretary of State John Kerry takes part in nuclear talks with Iranian officials.

Harf studied political science at IU Bloomington, following in the footsteps of her father, Jim Harf, who went on to a long career as a political scientist at Ohio State and other universities. Here is a story about the father and daughter that appeared in the fall 2012 issue in the Everything IU newsletter.

Marie_HarfMarie Harf traces the trajectory of her career to travels at an early age with her father: tagging along on trips to the capitals of Europe and visiting Egypt at the time of the first U.S.-Iraq war and Berlin soon after the Wall came down.

But another important influence, she said, is the fact that she followed in her father’s footsteps by studying political science at Indiana University Bloomington.

“I wanted to study political science, and I knew IU had an incredibly strong political science department,” she said. “And Bloomington is such a magical place. I love the combination of a big school with lots of opportunities in a small town that feels like a community.”

Jim Harf, her father, was at IU from 1965 to 1969, earning a Ph.D. in political science and pursuing Russian studies. He went on to a long career as a political scientist at The Ohio State University, the University of Tampa and Maryville University.

Marie, after graduate school, worked as an analyst and then a media spokeswoman for the CIA. Since December 2011, she has been national security and foreign affairs advisor for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Her mother, Jane Harf, also earned an undergraduate degree in political science from IU. She is director of the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio.

Jim Harf recalled that his years at IU were an era of change in political science. His faculty mentor was Dina Zinnes, part of a new generation of scholars who were reshaping the discipline by conducting complex analyses of large bodies of data. Elinor Ostrom, who in 2009 became the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and who died this summer, was director of graduate studies for the Political Science Department.

“She was incredibly helpful,” Jim Harf said. “She took her role as head of graduate studies seriously and spent an enormous amount of time trying to get people jobs.”

From 1969 to 2001, Harf was at Ohio State, where he was a professor of political science and senior researcher at OSU’s Mershon Center, a research institute that brought together military experts and peace scholars to examine questions related to international security.

“I arrived at the height of the Cold War, and when I left, the Cold War was over and there was a whole new world order,” he said. “In terms of political science, it gave us lots of opportunities.”

He spent 15 years as executive director of the Consortium for International Studies Education, worked in Ohio education politics and served on a suburban Columbus school board. He left OSU in 2001 but “flunked retirement” and took a job supervising international programs at Tampa. In 2008 he joined Maryville in St. Louis, where he is associate vice president and director of the Center for Global Education.

His work at Ohio State included international travel, and when Marie was a child, “everywhere I went I dragged her along,” he said. Two trips were especially significant: one to Cairo when she was 9 and another to Berlin when she was 10. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked a high point of Jim Harf’s career as a Soviet Union scholar, while the 1990 conflict between the U.S. and Iraq foreshadowed Marie’s future work in national security and international relations.

“Just as I became interested in the major trouble spot of my day, which was the Soviet Union, she developed an interest in the major trouble spot of her day, the Middle East,” he said.

While Jim Harf was at IU for the sometimes rowdy Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s, Marie experienced civil unrest of a different kind. She wrote for the IDS about the student uprising that erupted when IU President Myles Brand fired men’s basketball coach Bob Knight.

Also at the IDS, she wrote about the history of protest at IU. In researching the article, she found a 1967 photo from a rally involving supporters and opponents of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who was lecturing on campus — her father, wearing a coat and tie, was in the front row.

She credits her IU professors — and especially her undergraduate honors advisors, political science professors Mike McGinnis and Marjorie Hershey, and English and Jewish studies professor Alvin Rosenfeld — for much of her career achievement.

“Those people, when I was 19 or 20, took an interest in me and encouraged me,” she said. “They really pushed me and made me think I could do big things.”

McGinnis had been a student of her father’s at Ohio State.

“You know you have been teaching a long time when a student introduces herself as the daughter of the professor who taught the first course you took in your chosen field,” he said.

McGinnis said he still remembers a paper he wrote for Jim Harf, an analysis of the neutron bomb then under consideration by the Carter administration, and the honors thesis Marie later wrote at IU on how conservative evangelical support for Israel complicates U.S. foreign policy.

“I always had a soft spot for Jim, since he first helped me realize I might be good at this line of work, and for Marie, who initially had no intention of following in her father’s footsteps but who turned out to pretty good at political analysis herself,” he said. “I was pleased to see that Jim kept busy long after he officially retired, and I find it reassuring to know that the Harf family tradition of outstanding contributions to the American political scene will continue long beyond my own impeding retirement.”

A year after the Knight firing came the event that crystallized Marie Harf’s career plans: The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

“After 9/11 I knew I wanted to work for the government and help fight my generation’s war, the war against al-Qaida,” she said. “And my journalism training at IU, particularly working for the IDS, has helped me in my job at the CIA and today as I deal with the press.”

She earned a master’s degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and then worked for the CIA as an analyst on Middle East leadership issues. The nonpartisan Center for a New American Security selected her in 2010 as one of 16 “Next Generation National Security Leaders.” She was a CIA media spokeswoman from 2008 to 2011, responding to questions about high-profile intelligence missions, including the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Now, working in Chicago with the Obama campaign, her focus is on making the case for the president’s record on national security.

“His stance is tough but responsible, and it looks ahead to the kind of world we want to live in,” she said. “He recognizes there are real threats and doesn’t hesitate to go after them, but he also has the goal of making the world more peaceful and safer and more just.”

The job involves intensive, nonstop work until Nov. 6 — and then it ends. Marie said she doesn’t know what will come next, but she expects to return to Washington, D.C., and continue working in the national security field.

“I can draw a straight line,” she said, “between my dad taking me to Cairo when I was a child and studying political science and the Middle East in college and what I’m doing today. I’m pretty lucky.”

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Norway’s Utøya tragedy: Historian to discuss balance between memory and new life http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/28/norways-utoya-tragedy-historian-to-discuss-balance-between-memory-and-new-life/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/28/norways-utoya-tragedy-historian-to-discuss-balance-between-memory-and-new-life/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:27:49 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1206 The bombing of Norway’s Government Center and the murder of 69 young people at a Labor Youth League camp in July 2011 shook Norwegian society to its core. Then came a new challenge: How to memorialize the tragedy without letting memory overwhelm hope for the future.

Norwegian historian Tor Einar Fagerland has been at the center of the struggle, and he will discuss his experience Wednesday at Indiana University Bloomington. His talk, at 6:30 p.m. in the IMU Dogwood Room, is free and open to the public.

Tor Einar Fagerland

Tor Einar Fagerland

“Dealing well with this situation obviously will not bring back those 69 people,” Fagerland said. “But not dealing with it well would add more pain to an already bad situation.”

Fagerland, an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, is in Bloomington at the invitation of IU historian Ed Linenthal, an authority on history and memory. Linenthal serves with Fagerland on an advisory board to study how to memorialize the massacre of Labor Youth League members on Norway’s Utøya Island.

On July 22, 2011, a right-wing extremist named Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb at the Government Center in Oslo, killing eight people and severely wounding 30. In the chaos that followed, he drove to Utøya, site of a Labor Youth League campus. He entered the island dressed as a police officer, and for over an hour he tracked down and killed 69 campers, shooting them at close range.

The impact in Norway, a nation of 4.7 million that prides itself on tolerance and nonviolence, was profound. “It was such a fall from innocence, we believed,” Fagerland said.

He said the nation initially rallied behind Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s call for responding not with vengeance but with a reaffirmation of Norwegian values. But the social consensus began to fray during Breivik’s trial. A year later, a report by a national commission suggested the ruling Labor Party had not been serious enough about domestic terrorism and police were disorganized in their response.

“First this is the day we stood up to terrorism, and now it is the day that everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Fagerland said.

The question of how to formally remember what happened also proved to be difficult. So did the question of what should happen to Utøya. Should the Labor Youth League return and resume that activities it had carried out on the island since 1950? Or should the space be off limits, preserved to memory?

The league turned to Fagerland after its first attempt upset the victims’ families, who feared their children’s memories were being sacrificed by an eagerness to return to the site. Recognizing Norway had little experience with such dilemmas, Fagerland created an advisory board that includes Linenthal and other experts. They set out to regain the trust of the families, visited Utøya several times, and met with Youth Labor League members and survivors.

A central challenge was deciding what to do about the large Café Building that dominates the island, where many of the victims were hunted down and killed. The proposed solution – keeping the building in place as a memorial but enclosing it within a larger structure – presented itself when a young woman who survived the attack asked to show them the restroom where she had hid.

“Suddenly we realized this building is not only a place of death, it’s also a place of survival,” Fagerland said. “The balance was absolutely right there within the building.”

This summer, the Labor Youth League held its camp at a different location but visited Utøya and released 69 balloons in memory of those who were killed. Plans call for returning to the island in the future.

“Coming back is not about forgetting,” Fagerland said. “Coming back is about remembering the past but also allowing for new life.”

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IU, Watergate and the Clinton impeachment http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/28/iu-watergate-and-the-clinton-impeachment/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/28/iu-watergate-and-the-clinton-impeachment/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:32:20 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1199 People associate college campuses in the 1960s with New Left politics and countercultural lifestyles. There was quite a bit of that, but IU Bloomington in that era was also an influential incubator of conservative activism.

A forum Wednesday sponsored by the IU Civic Leaders Center should make that clear. Featured guests will be IU alumni R. Emmett Tyrrell, founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator, and Tom Charles Huston, who was an assistant to President Richard Nixon.

Goldwaer_poster_3The event, focusing on the 50-year anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s campaign for president, will take place thanks to the efforts of Paul Helmke, professor of practice in SPEA and the Civic Leaders Center director, who was also active in IU campus politics in the 1960s.

Helmke and Tyrrell were Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers. Huston was a member of the same fraternity a few years earlier. (So, coincidentally, was the late Steve Tesich, “Breaking Away” screenwriter).

Tyrrell launched his magazine of conservative opinion while at IU and initially called it The Alternative. Later, Helmke recalled, Tyrrell lived in an estate near Bloomington that he called The Establishment, where conservative intellectuals like William F. Buckley Jr. and Irving Kristol would visit.

He moved the magazine to Washington, D.C., in 1985. A few years later it played a key role in the investigations that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Huston worked from 1969 to 1971 at the White House, where he drafted the Huston Plan, which suggested using mail intercepts, break-ins and other measures targeting anti-war activists. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, writing on the 40th anniversary of Watergate, said Huston “informed Nixon that it was illegal, but the president approved it regardless.” But FBI director J. Edgar Hoover overruled the options.

So it may be interesting to hear Huston’s take on post-9/11 domestic security activities.

After the White House, Huston returned to Indiana and practiced real estate law. He has been back in the news recently with the release of an oral history that supports claims that Nixon may have interfered with Vietnam War peace talks before he became president. This summer, Huston wrote a review in the Washington Times excoriating a new book by Watergate figure John Dean.

Helmke was also pretty conservative as a politically prescient high school student – he recalled carrying a “Fort Wayne for Goldwater” sign at the 1964 GOP convention. But he moved to the center by the time he was elected IU student body president in 1969 and mayor of Fort Wayne in 1987, 1991 and 1995. Later he was the bête noire of conservatives as head of the Brady gun-control campaign.

So Wednesday night’s forum, at 7 p.m. in the IMU Solarium, could be lively.



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IU history workshop to examine military labor http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/24/iu-history-workshop-to-examine-military-labor/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/24/iu-history-workshop-to-examine-military-labor/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:31:45 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1194 We’re not used to thinking of soldiers as workers. But, of course, they do some of the hardest and most dangerous work imaginable. They have bosses, and they get paid. That sounds like they are workers.

But if soldiers are workers, what sort of workers are they? Is their labor different or special? Do they have unique ways of giving it meaning? Does their role in experiencing violence color the way we think of the work they do? How do their experiences vary through history and by setting?

soldier statueThose questions and more will be considered in a day-long scholarly workshop organized by Michelle R. Moyd of the IU Bloomington Department of History. “Soldiering On: Military Labor in Global Historical Perspective,” will take place Monday, Oct. 27, at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Peter Guardino, professor of history at IU Bloomington, will deliver a keynote lecture, “’The Hardest Work that Ever Fell to Mortal Man’: Soldiers as Workers in the US-Mexican War, 1846-48,” at 12:30 p.m. in the IMU Slocum Room.

IU associate professors Moyd and Alex Lichtenstein will moderate panels, which will include papers on military labor in imperial Brazil, the British West Indies Regiment, the Korean War, the Spanish and Philippine-American wars and other conflicts. Presenters are from IU and from Columbia, Dartmouth, Michigan State, Oakland University and the University of Southern California.

In addition to examining the status of soldiers as people engaged in labor, organizers say, the conference will contribute to current debates on the role of soldiers in society following periods of war, political violence, martial law or social unrest.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but panels will focus on academic papers that have been circulated to participants. For copies of the papers, email Moyd at mimoyd@indiana.edu.

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Expert on Indian foreign policy to speak Monday at IU Bloomington http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/23/expert-on-indian-foreign-policy-to-speak-monday-at-iu-bloomington/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/23/expert-on-indian-foreign-policy-to-speak-monday-at-iu-bloomington/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:32:59 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1190 India has a new government and a controversial new leader, and the combination has raised speculation about the direction of foreign policy in the world’s largest democracy. That makes a program Monday at Indiana University Bloomington especially timely.

David Malone, the rector of United Nations University and under-secretary-general of the U.N., will speak on “Evolving Relationships in India’s Foreign Policy.” The talk, at 4:30 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of the Maurer School of Law, is free and open to the public.

David Malone

David Malone

“Dr. Malone is a noted authority on India’s foreign policy, and he is an engaging, compelling and knowledgeable speaker,” said IU political scientist Sumit Ganguly, director of the Center on American and Global Security, which is sponsoring the talk. “Anyone with an interest in India and its role in international affairs is strongly encouraged to attend.”

Malone served as Canada’s high commissioner to India and its nonresident ambassador to Bhutan and Nepal from 2006-08. His 2011 book, “Does the Elephant Dance? Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy,” garnered widespread attention for its analysis of whether India was likely to become a global power or content itself with being a regional power in South Asia.

Questions about India’s international relations and foreign policy have come to the forefront with the victory of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in this year’s parliamentary contests and the election of party leader Narendra Modi as prime minister. Some observers expect a “realist” approach informed by Indian nationalism and geo-economic concerns.

Malone joined the United Nations University in March 2013 as its sixth rector. Previously, he was president of Canada’s International Development Research Center, a funding agency that supports research in the developing world. He also has served as Canada’s representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council and ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the U.N.

He has held research positions at the Brookings Institution, University of Toronto and Carleton University and has been a guest scholar at Columbia University and an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the IU School of Global and International Studies.

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IU conference to explore history behind Sunni-Shia conflict http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/22/iu-conference-to-explore-history-behind-sunni-shia-conflict/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/22/iu-conference-to-explore-history-behind-sunni-shia-conflict/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:13:10 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1185 Five hundred years have passed since the Ottomans defeated the Safavids of Persia in the Battle of Chaldiran, but the clash of the two empires continues to offer lessons for understanding Islamic history and identity, including the ongoing disagreements between Sunni and Shia branches.

That’s the premise behind a scholarly conference taking place this Friday and Saturday at Indiana University Bloomington, titled “Beyond the Sunni-Shiite Conflict: A Workshop on the Ottomans and the Safavids in the Early Modern Era.”

A monument marks the site of the Battle of Chaldiran.

A monument marks the site of the Battle of Chaldiran. (Public domain image: Wikimedia Commons).

Organizers are Kaya Şahin, assistant professor of history at IU Bloomington, and Erdem Çipa, assistant professor of history at the University of Michigan. The conference, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Social Science Research Commons in Woodburn Hall 200.

“Despite the intensity of their relationship, the Ottomans and the Safavids are typically studied in isolation,” the organizers say, “and the various dimensions of their rivalry have been assigned relatively marginal importance within the context of the larger histories of these two empires. We believe it is time to revisit the Ottoman-Safavid interface in order to problematize several issues through individual presentations and discussion sessions.”

The Sunni Ottoman empire gained the upper hand over the Shia Safavid Empire with the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. But the empires continued to fight for over a century, with their frontier shifting across a region that extends from the Caucasus to present-day Iraq.

Şahin will explain, in a presentation titled “Ottoman-Safavid Frontiers, Real and Imagined,” that the zone of conflict was both a physical space presenting logistical challenges, and a mental construct posing political and cultural issues.

The conference will include presentations by scholars from Indiana University as well as seven other universities in the U.S. and Canada. IU speakers, in addition to Şahin, include Paul Losensky, associate professor of Central Eurasian studies and comparative literature; and Ron Sela, associate professor of Central Eurasian studies and international studies.

For more information, see the conference website.

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Forum at IU to address prospects for closing Guantánamo Bay prison http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/17/forum-at-iu-to-address-prospects-for-closing-guantanamo-bay-prison/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/17/forum-at-iu-to-address-prospects-for-closing-guantanamo-bay-prison/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:12:59 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1175 A Miami Herald reporter and legal experts from the Washington University and IU McKinney law schools will join former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton on Monday for an Indiana University Bloomington panel discussion of the Guantánamo Bay detention center and prospects for closing the facility.

Lee A. Feinstein, dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies, will moderate the forum, which will take place at 4 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union University Club.

Carol Rosenberg

Carol Rosenberg

The session comes as President Barack Obama is weighing options for closing the prison despite a congressional ban on moving Guantánamo detainees to the U.S., according to news reports.

The panelists bring expertise from perspectives of law, journalism and government:

  • Hamilton, director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University and a faculty member in the School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, served in Congress from 1965-99 and was vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
  • Carol Rosenberg, a staff correspondent with the Miami Herald, is the only journalist to cover Guantánamo from before the first detainees arrived in January 2002 until the present. Her stories about the prison and its detainees are available online.
  • Leila Sadat, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor and director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law, is an expert on international criminal law and justice. She launched the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative in 2008.
  • George Edwards, the Carl M. Gray Professor of Law at the IU McKinney School in Indianapolis, founded the school’s program in International Human Rights Law and teaches courses on human rights and international criminal law and procedure.

The forum is sponsored by the Center on American and Global Security with assistance from the School of Global and International Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Also, Leila Sadat will speak at IU Bloomington on “Forging a Convention for Crimes against Humanity.” The talk, sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Middle East and the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday in room 123 of the Maurer School of Law.

While both Obama and Republican rival John McCain called in 2008 for closing Guantánamo, the task has proven all but impossible. Congress has blocked the idea, reflecting opposition to moving detainees from the site in Cuba to locations in the U.S.

Yet Guantánamo remains in the news, and not only for questions of whether Obama can close it over congressional opposition. Recent news stories, covered extensively by Rosenberg, include controversy over female guards at the prison, disputes between the government and news media over access to videotapes of force-feeding of detainees, and legal proceedings against detainees.

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Julian Bond: Resistance, politics foiled promise of Brown v. Board of Education http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/16/julian-bond-resistance-politics-foiled-promise-of-brown-v-board-of-education/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/16/julian-bond-resistance-politics-foiled-promise-of-brown-v-board-of-education/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:10:51 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1171 The promise of Brown v. Board of Education has been broken over and over since the Supreme Court issued the decision 60 years ago, civil rights leader Julian Bond told an Indiana University audience Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean the ideals embodied in the decision were misguided.

The problem, Bond said, was that Brown’s mandate has rarely been fully supported. Only during a four-year period – from 1964 to 1968 – did both the Supreme Court and the executive branch of the U.S. government truly back the decision’s call for racially integrated schools.

Julian Bond

Julian Bond speaks at the Maurer School of Law.

“Had it been allowed to work, Brown could have elevated education and much more for millions of Southern black children,” he said.

And the decision did accomplish much, he said. It “gave license to a nonviolent army” of activists who challenged segregation in public facilities, transportation and other areas.

Bond, a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, former president of the NAACP and co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, gave the annual Harris Lecture on Wednesday at the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. Today at 1:30 p.m., he will help launch the IU School of Education’s Inspire Living-Learning Center at Rose Residence Hall. At 7 p.m., he will introduce segments of the documentary “Eyes on the Prize” at IU Cinema.

Bond’s connection to Brown v. Board of Education was personal. His grandfather, born a slave, graduated from Berea College in Kentucky and became a clergyman. His father, a college professor, contributed research to the Brown legal case. And African-Americans across the South celebrated the decision, with its call to abolish state-sanctioned school segregation “with all deliberate speed.”

Unfortunately, Bond said, “the emphasis was more on deliberate than on speed.”

White Southerners moved their children to segregated, tax-supported academies. And when schools did integrate, they often kept the trappings of their segregated past. Black teachers and principals lost their jobs. Black schools that were a source of community pride were closed.

“Booker T. Washington High School vanished,” Bond said. “Robert E. Lee High School persevered.”

Later the nation grew weary of civil rights conflict and elected presidents who turned the Supreme Court in a conservative direction. Neighborhood segregation produced schools that are more racially divided now than 40 years ago. And the Supreme Court embraces a colorblind ideal, which Bond described as being “blind to what it means to be the wrong color in the United States.”

But Bond, like his father, remains optimistic about what education can accomplish. The fact that the promise of Brown v. Board of Education hasn’t been realized, he said, doesn’t mean equal educational opportunity was the wrong goal to seek.

“Instead,” he said, “it’s a testament to the challenges that lie ahead.”

Watch for a video of Bond’s lecture on the Maurer School of Law YouTube channel.


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Ebola panel highlights IU expertise http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/15/ebola-panel-highlights-iu-expertise/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/15/ebola-panel-highlights-iu-expertise/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:27:30 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1163 The Ebola outbreak has overwhelmed West Africa’s fragile health-care systems and had a devastating effect on social and community institutions, Indiana University experts said in a public forum this week.

They also expressed concern that panic over the spread of Ebola could distract attention from other health priorities and make it harder to check the onset of infectious diseases in developing countries.

“Our stance with regard to Ebola is really a test,” said Chad Priest, assistant dean of the IU School of Nursing and co-director of the IU Disaster Medicine Fellowship. “And the question is, is the U.S. ready to step up and stop these outbreaks where they start.”

Panelists Joshua Mugele, left, Chad Priest and Ruth Stone discuss Ebola.

Panelists Joshua Mugele, left, Chad Priest and Ruth Stone discuss Ebola.

Joining Priest for a panel discussion focused on Ebola in Liberia were Joshua Mugele, assistant professor at the IU School of Medicine; Ruth Stone, an IU Bloomington folklorist who has worked extensively in Liberia; and Charles Reafsnyder, recently retired associate vice president for international affairs.

Michael Reece, associate dean of the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, moderated the mid-day Monday program at IU Bloomington’s Whittenberger Auditorium. A video recording of the forum is available online.

Indiana University has longstanding ties to Liberia, which was left in shambles by a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003. Reafsnyder said the university made a commitment to help support Liberia’s health system when it awarded an honorary degree to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2008. That led to creation of the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences, a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and aimed at creating a modern system of training Liberian doctors, nurses and health workers. The project was under way, but Ebola put a stop to it for now.

Priest said the “shadow effect” of Ebola in a country like Liberia is nearly as worrisome as the disease. The outbreak has overwhelmed hospitals and clinics, leaving nowhere for patients to be treated for other illnesses and accidents. Incomes have dropped, and food security is a concern. Medical workers have borne the brunt of Ebola, reducing the capacity of an already weak health-care system.

Nurses have been criticized for missing work, Priest said. But critics should remember they are treating patients with a deadly, infectious disease in facilities that lack basic supplies and protective equipment.

“Those that do go back to work, we call them heroes,” Priest said. “Those that don’t, we might call them rational.”

Stone, an ethnomusicologist who studies artistic performance in Liberia, pointed to a consequence of Ebola that has received little attention – its effect on the rituals of community life. In particular, concern about infection has made it impossible to conduct normal funerals.

And funerals are an all-important part of Liberian life, lasting for days and featuring washing of the bodies of the deceased, ritualized mourning, music, dance and food. She suggested an initiative to restore the all-important sonic dimension to grieving over the loss of loved ones, by hiring musicians and groups to provide Christian spirituals and Muslim prayers and chants.

Mugele and Priest were in Liberia this summer as the Ebola outbreak began to pick up steam. They saw first-hand that the health care system wasn’t equipped for the challenges it would face. (Listen to an NPR interview with Mugele about being present when the first Ebola patient arrived at a hospital in the capital of Monrovia. Two Liberian doctors who were with him contracted Ebola and died).

“Yes, they need doctors,” Mugele said. “Yes, they need nurses. But they absolutely need supplies.”

Priest had this advice for people who fear the disease will spread uncontrolled in the U.S.: “Take a breath. Relax.” While Ebola may be unusually deadly, he said, the best countermeasures are familiar ones: Hand-washing and protective clothing for infection control in medical settings. Tracing of contacts of infected patients. Good nutrition and sanitation. Education and outreach about public health.

“A flu vaccine is well in order for everyone,” Priest said. “And that is a good way to demonstrate your solidarity with battling infectious disease.”


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Former IU SPEA dean Astrid Merget dies http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/14/former-iu-spea-dean-astrid-merget-dies/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/10/14/former-iu-spea-dean-astrid-merget-dies/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:58:31 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1154 Astrid Merget, the third dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 69.

Louisiana State University announced her death Monday. She was a professor in the LSU Public Administration Institute and was the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor from 2007-10.

Astrid Merget

Astrid Merget

Merget was dean of SPEA at Indiana University from 2000-07. Prior to coming to IU, she was a professor and administrator at The Ohio State University, Syracuse University and George Washington University. She also served in high-level positions in the federal government, including with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

SPEA Dean John Graham shared the news of Merget’s death in a message to colleagues. He noted that she was highly regarded for recruiting and retaining minority faculty and for maintaining an extensive network in Washington. D.C., that helped with student internship placements.

Kurt Zorn, professor in SPEA and former interim dean, said in the message that Merget was a true believer in the school’s unique approach of combining management, policy and environmental science. He said she made tough choices in times of fiscal challenges, which benefited SPEA in the long run.

“She understood and valued the strength of the collective SPEA, focusing a good portion of her attention on identifying and promoting opportunities for collaboration and cooperation across faculty groups and among faculty across SPEA’s campuses,” Zorn said.

In 2011, Merget was named chair of the National Council for Science and the Environment. She was a founding member of the organization’s Council of Environmental Deans and Directors.

Merget’s family will make arrangements for a memorial service, according to the LSU announcement.

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Legal scholar: Justices vie for ‘historical memory’ of school desegregation opinion http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/26/legal-scholar-justices-vie-for-historical-memory-of-school-desegregation-opinion/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/26/legal-scholar-justices-vie-for-historical-memory-of-school-desegregation-opinion/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:47:41 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1149 The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 opinion tossing out a Seattle school desegregation plan wasn’t just about deciding a matter of law, Harvard legal scholar Mark Tushnet told an Indiana University audience Friday. The court also was taking sides in a battle over historical memory.

In particular, the decision laid claim to the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 decision that said racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

Mark Tushnet

Mark Tushnet

“Brown has become what people call a fixed point in constitutional history,” Tushnet said. He presented the IU Maurer School of Law’s annual Jerome Hall Lecture Thursday, launching a semester-long observance of the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

Tushnet, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard, said Chief Justice John Roberts made strategic choices in the opinion that prevailed in a 5-4 decision against the Seattle school district. Roberts wrapped the opinion in the mantle of the Brown decision, a touchstone for generations of judges, lawyers and activists. He used it to conclude that laws should not make distinctions by race.

Roberts quoted from an argument by Robert Carter, one of the attorneys for plaintiffs in the Brown litigation, to the effect that “no State has any authority … to use race as a factor in affording educational opportunities among its citizens.” Never mind that Carter, then a federal judge, said in 2007 that Roberts’ opinion turned his own argument “on its head.” Or that Jack Greenburg, another attorney for the plaintiffs, called the chief justice’s interpretation “preposterous.”

Tushnet said neither Roberts nor the justices who dissented in the case, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, were plainly wrong in the lessons they took from the Brown decision. But the disagreement is interesting, he said, in the way it reverses roles for constitutional conservatives, who typically support rule-based decisions, and liberals, who favor standards.

By citing Brown v. Board of Education, he said, Roberts treated the Constitution as “a living document,” not a typical conservative position. His critics looked back to 1868 and the ratification of the 14th Amendment with its guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” for all citizens.

Tushnet said Roberts also made a strategic choice by quoting Robert Carter rather than Brown v. Board attorney Thurgood Marshall, who later spent 24 years on the Supreme Court and consistently supported civil rights. Marshall served with three justices who were on the court in 2007. Cloaking the Parents Involved opinion in Marshall’s authority, Tushnet said, would have been seen as an insult.

The Maurer School of Law’s “Brown at 60” series continues Oct. 15 with a lecture by longtime civil rights leader Julian Bond. Video of Tushnet’s lecture will be posted to the school’s YouTube channel.

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Hoosier to Hoosier sale sets another record http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/23/hoosier-to-hoosier-sale-sets-another-record/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/23/hoosier-to-hoosier-sale-sets-another-record/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:39:02 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1138 This fall’s Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale raised more than $33,000 for Habitat for Humanity ReStore and other causes, setting a mark for sales for the fifth consecutive year.

Some 2,584 shoppers took advantage of the sale, which took place Aug. 23-24 in Bloomington and provided new homes for used furniture, appliances, household goods and other items that might have been discarded when IU students moved out of dorms and apartments in the spring. Several organizations, including the IU Office of Sustainability, IU Bloomington Residential Programs and Services and the City of Bloomington Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, partner to plan and manage the sale.

Getting ready for H2H sale

IU sustainability director Bill Brown helps get ready for the H2H sale.

“Dedicated volunteers and partners put a lot of really hard work into making Hoosier to Hoosier a success,” said Bill Brown, IU director of sustainability. “I’m so impressed with their work and the generosity of the individuals who donate to the sale. I hope customers have a good experience at the sale and continue to buy used items instead of new items to reduce waste.”

“H2H is fun because it always brings together a great group of partners who care about their community,” added city sustainability coordinator Jacqui Bauer. “It truly is a community effort, with hundreds of local residents contributing donations, labor, and inspiration.”

Hoosier to Hoosier grew out of work done by RPS staff to find new homes for items that students left behind when they moved out of university housing. An IU Office of Sustainability intern took the lead in expanding it to a community-wide sale fueled by volunteers.

In addition to providing funding for Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the sale helps support the city Department of Economic and Sustainable Development and the IU Office of Sustainability. Six organizations received a total of $5,000 for work done by volunteers that they helped recruit.

With the 2014 sale on the books, planning is under way for the 2015 H2H, and organizers are looking for new volunteers. To learn more, email h2h@indiana.edu or visit the Hoosier to Hoosier website or its Facebook page.

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IU experts to discuss developments in Iraq http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/22/iu-experts-to-discuss-developments-in-iraq/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/22/iu-experts-to-discuss-developments-in-iraq/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:27:36 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1133 Indiana University faculty expertise on international affairs is pretty remarkable. Equally impressive is the fact that these experts will find time, on very short notice, to share their insights with the public.

Feisal Istrabadi

Ambassador Feisal Istrabadi directs the Center for the Study of the Middle East.

Case in point: A discussion today on the latest news and events regarding conflict in Iraq and Syria. Titled “Back Again: U.S. & Iraq,” the session was organized by the Center for the Study of the Middle East at IU Bloomington and takes place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the IU Maurer School of Law Moot Court Room.

The panel discussion will focus on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The U.S. and France have launched airstrikes against the organization’s fighters while analysts debate whether air power will be adequate and whether the action could lead the U.S. back into war in the region. Political science professor Dina Spechler will moderate, and panelists will include:

  • Jamsheed Choksy, professor in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies
  • Feisal Istrabadi, director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and professor of practice in the Maurer School of Law
  • Leslie Lenkowsky, professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Kevin Martin, assistant professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
  • Nazif Shahrani, professor of anthropology

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. See the Center for the Study of the Middle East website for more on IU resources and events related to the region.

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IU visiting scholar at center of Liberia’s battle against Ebola http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/18/iu-visiting-scholar-at-center-of-liberias-battle-against-ebola/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/18/iu-visiting-scholar-at-center-of-liberias-battle-against-ebola/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:55:49 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1125 Mosoka Fallah was hard at work in his native Liberia in early 2013 as part of an Indiana University project to establish a much-needed university curriculum in public health and to train nurses, physician assistants and others to provide public-health services in rural clinics.

Fallah teaching

Mosoka Fallah teaches a public health class in Liberia.

But events intervened, as they have a way of doing in Liberia. The worst outbreak of Ebola virus in history struck the West African nation this year, and Fallah has been in the thick of fighting it.

An article in Saturday’s New York Times profiles Fallah and describes his efforts to trace contacts of people who developed Ebola and to raise awareness of the virus and calm people’s fears. Key to his success: An ability to develop trust as someone who grew up in the slums of Monrovia.

Dr. Fallah, an epidemiologist and immunologist who grew up in Monrovia’s poorest neighborhoods before studying at Harvard, has been crisscrossing the capital in a race to repair that rift. Neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, shack by shack, he is battling the disease across this crowded capital, seeking the cooperation of residents who are deeply distrustful of the government and its faltering response to the deadliest Ebola epidemic ever recorded.

“If people don’t trust you, they can hide a body, and you’ll never know,” Dr. Fallah said. “And Ebola will keep spreading. They’ve got to trust you, but we don’t have the luxury of time.”

With his experience straddling vastly different worlds, Dr. Fallah acts as a rare bridge: between community leaders and the Health Ministry, where he is an unpaid adviser; between the government and international organizations, which have the money to back his efforts.

Fallah has been a key consultant for the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences, a collaboration between IU, the University of Liberia, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, JFK Memorial Hospital in Monrovia and Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through Higher Education for Development. Fallah holds the appointment of visiting scholar in epidemiology with the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

“Dr. Fallah was one of the very first people in Liberia to sound the alarm about the threat that the early cases of Ebola posed to Liberia,” said Charles Reafsnyder, who directed the IU-Liberia collaboration until his recent retirement. “Courageously, he has put his own personal resources and well-being on the line.”

Fallah came to the U.S. for graduate school, earning a doctorate in microbiology and immunology from the University of Kentucky and a master’s in public health from Harvard. Soon after he returned to Liberia, the Ebola crisis overwhelmed the country’s fragile health-care system. The handful of workers he had trained were drafted to the tasks of public education about the virus and tracing of contacts.

The Times article describes how Fallah developed a level of trust and authority that enabled him to calm a volatile situation in West Point, a Monrovia neighborhood. “But the scale of the task is daunting,” it says. “He is trying to beat Ebola in a city of 1.5 million people where the disease is expanding exponentially, where entire families search in vain for medical care, and where the main hospital is dangerously overwhelmed, plagued by electrical fires, floods and the deaths of health workers infected with the disease.”

The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 2,500 people, about half the number infected, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. President Barack Obama said this week that a command center was being set up in Monrovia, supported by 3,000 U.S. forces, to coordinate relief efforts.

Friends of Liberia, headed by Verlon Stone, director of the Liberian Archives Project at IU Bloomington, has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to anti-Ebola efforts, primarily through Doctors Without Borders and Global Health Ministries. It recently donated $4,000 to Refuge Place International, a charity organized by Mosoka Fallah in Monrovia’s Chicken Soup Factory neighborhood where he grew up.

Information about contributing is on the Friends of Liberia website.

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Endangered species protection requires reform, not reaction, professor tells panel http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/12/endangered-species-protection-requires-reform-not-reaction-professor-tells-panel/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/12/endangered-species-protection-requires-reform-not-reaction-professor-tells-panel/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:38:07 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1114 It will take systematic reform – and not piecemeal legislation and micro-management by Congress – to make the federal Endangered Species Act more effective, Indiana University law professor Robert L. Fischman told a congressional committee this week.

“The ESA is akin to a crowded hospital emergency room with a long wait,” he said. “The most effective way of reforming the ESA is to provide treatments for species before their status is so dire.”

Robert Fischman

Robert Fischman

Fischman, professor of law and Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow in the Maurer School of Law, testified Tuesday before the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is considering legislation challenging the Obama administration’s implementation of federal wildlife laws.

Endangered Species Act debates are always divisive, Fischman said after the hearing, and the current tension between Republicans and Democrats made the hearing even more acrimonious. “I tried to highlight a handful of moderate actions that I thought both parties could agree on,” he said.

Fischman’s suggestions included:

The Endangered Species Act should be a last resort, not the principal tool for conservation. The most effective step Congress could take to improve the law, he said, is to enact comprehensive biodiversity protection legislation that makes it less likely species will become endangered. Early planning for habitat protection and more wildlife research could allow for more flexibility in taking measures to prevent species from extinction.

The act needs more funding to be effective. The law has never received enough funding to fulfill its objectives, Fischman said, and recent budgets have made the problem worse. Federal wildlife agencies are tied up with lawsuits because they don’t have the staff and resources to effectively do their jobs. States have made great strides and should be supported in their efforts, he said – citing a proposal by IU professor Vicky Meretsky and other experts for a national, state-based conservation network.

Citizen lawsuits play an important role in holding federal agencies accountable. Fischman said it’s understandable that lawmakers are frustrated with lawsuits that seek to force the government to meet deadlines for species protection. But banning such lawsuits, he said, wouldn’t be a good idea. He pointed out that developers and business interests, not just environmentalists, have turned to the courts to ensure that federal agencies comply with what Congress intended.

“Conservation success,” Fischman told the committee, “will require comprehensive legislative reform, more appropriations for the agencies charged with implementing the ESA, and vigilant citizens policing compliance with the act.”

The Natural Resources Committee is considering several legislative proposals, including a requirement that agencies complete economic analyses before designating critical habitat and a reversal of the Fish & Wildlife Service’s listing of the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species.

The full text of Fischman’s testimony is available online. An archived webcast of the committee testimony can be downloaded from the House website.


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Conservative attorney, Move to Amend director face off over campaign finance http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/10/conservative-attorney-move-to-amend-director-face-off-over-campaign-finance/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/10/conservative-attorney-move-to-amend-director-face-off-over-campaign-finance/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:22:36 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1109 James Bopp says corporations are collections of individuals that have come together for a specific purpose – so of course they should have the same rights that the Constitution guarantees to people.

David Cobb says corporations are artificial entities, created by government action, and the idea that they enjoy constitutionally protected rights is a perversion of U.S. legal and constitutional history.

David Cobb

David Cobb

It’s a stark disagreement, and it was on full display Monday night in a debate at the IU Maurer School of Law, organized by the IU Civic Leaders Center and focused on the impact of the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.

Cobb is director of Move to Amend, which wants to amend the Constitution to declare that corporations aren’t people and that governments can regulate their political activity. IU graduate Bopp, a Terre Haute, Ind., attorney, advised Citizens United and is a well-known advocate for conservative causes.

Their face-off, titled “Citizens Divided: Corporate Money, Speech and Politics,” packed the law school’s Moot Court Room and an adjacent classroom where more audience members watched on video.

Cobb traced the genealogy of Citizens United to earlier decisions in which business interests promoted “judicial activism” to enshrine the philosophy of corporate personhood. Justice Lewis Powell championed the idea. Conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist resisted, but Powell prevailed.

James Bopp

James Bopp

Cobb argued that questions about what corporations can and can’t do should be a matter for the political arena, not constitutional law. He said Citizens United overturned a century of established law that said governments could regulate political contributions and spending.

“What we have seen in this country, in my lifetime, is that we are turning elections into auctions,” Cobb said, drawing cheers from the audience.

But Bopp said contributions reflect public support. Restricting campaign donations, he said, gives an unfair advantage to incumbents and to candidates who are independently wealthy. He said he supports disclosing contributions and spending, but only if they are “unambiguously campaign related.”

Citing the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and the Sedition Act of 1918, Bopp said giving government more power to regulate political activity is a dangerous idea that could lead to restrictions on small businesses, nonprofit organizations and even political discussions like Monday’s debate.

“People are human,” he said. “They don’t like to be criticized. They will use the government to stop it if they can.”

Bopp said the constitutional change Move to Amend is proposing would turn the U.S. into “just another old, tired, socialist dictatorship,” and he predicted the idea won’t get past first base. But Cobb pointed to widespread support for the concept in nonbinding referendums and town-hall resolutions.

“Citizens United v. FEC did do one positive thing,” Cobb said. “It united citizens in a way that I haven’t seen before.”

A video of the debate can be seen on the IU Maurer School of Law’s YouTube channel.

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U MAD, Professor? http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/03/u-mad-professor/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/09/03/u-mad-professor/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 20:31:27 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1103 Back during the Cold War, we relied on a doctrine of MAD, or “mutually assured destruction,” to ensure the U.S. and Soviet Union didn’t go to war against each other. Each side had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other many times over. Launching an attack would have been suicidal.

Nowadays the focus for nuclear weapons policy has shifted to the issue of proliferation, with conventional wisdom holding that more nuclear powers make for a more dangerous world. But Indiana University political scientist Sumit Ganguly argues that’s not necessarily so.

Sumit Ganguly

Sumit Ganguly

Ganguly, director of the Center on American and Global Security at IU, is a widely published authority on military power and international relations. In an interview last week with the influential media site Vox, he argued the spread of nuclear weapons to Pakistan and India, for example, has been a good thing — as with the U.S. and Soviets, it has produced mutual deterrence.

“In South Asia it has, for all practical purposes, done away with the prospect of full-scale war,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen. The risks are so great as a consequence of the nuclearization of the subcontinent that neither side can seriously contemplate starting a war.”

Vox’s Dylan Matthews points out that, while the U.S. and Soviet Union didn’t go to war, there were nuclear near-misses during the Cold War. Ganguly says that’s because the U.S. and Soviet arsenals were “tightly coupled,” with the risk that a mistaken air-defense signal could set off a counterattack.

“The danger is that the Indians and Pakistanis will start emulating the Soviets and the United States and build this panoply of nuclear weapons, and have an extensive command and control system where the likelihood of this kind of accidental launch becomes much greater,” he said.

The interview runs nearly 3,000 words, covers a lot of ground and never lapses into wonk-speak or inside baseball. Ganguly is reliably outspoken, weighing in on the “useful myth” that Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan acted independently in sharing nuclear know-how with other countries and the controversial question of how big a threat would result from a nuclear-armed Iran.


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Here’s how to keep up on the news from Liberia http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/08/29/heres-how-to-keep-up-on-the-news-from-liberia/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/08/29/heres-how-to-keep-up-on-the-news-from-liberia/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:08:48 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1099 The Ebola outbreak pops in and out of the headlines in U.S. news media. But in West Africa, the news keeps getting worse. The World Health Organization predicted this week that Ebola could infect 20,000 before the epidemic is brought under control. Senegal reported its first case Friday.

If you’re interested in following the news, especially with regard to Ebola in Liberia, here’s a suggestion: Sign up for the email news service that Indiana University maintains for Friends of Liberia, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that supports and advocates for the people of Liberia.



Every few days, the organization sends out a compilation of the latest news and information, including newspaper and Web articles, news releases and government announcements, along with appeals for support and updates on fundraising efforts.

Friday’s update, for example, included in-depth reports from Reuters, Agence France-Press, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and the African publications FrontPage Africa, New Dawn and the New Republic Liberia, along with an NPR interview about Ebola with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an FDA drug update and a World Health Organization alert.

The news is alarming but important. And Indiana University has close ties with Liberia, including a health-related initiative that has put IU-trained health workers on the front lines of the Ebola crisis.

The Ebola outbreak has infected more than 3,000 people and resulted so far in over 1,500 deaths in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the World Health Organization said.

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Hoosier to Hoosier sale offers bargains while promoting reuse http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/08/22/hoosier-to-hoosier-sale-offers-bargains-while-promoting-reuse/ http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2014/08/22/hoosier-to-hoosier-sale-offers-bargains-while-promoting-reuse/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:13:28 +0000 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/?p=1093 The Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale got its start several years ago when an IU Office of Sustainability intern wanted to expand efforts by Residential Programs and Services to collect and reuse the furniture and household items that students were throwing away every spring.

It has grown year by year, and the 2014 H2H sale, scheduled this Saturday and Sunday at The Warehouse, 1525 S. Rogers St. in Bloomington, promises to again be quite an event. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown moves a desk in preparation for H2H.

IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown moves a desk in preparation for H2H.

The sale is a great opportunity for students setting up a new apartment and for families and individuals looking for good deals. Expect to find couches, futons, office chairs, bedding, lamps, fans, desk chairs, kitchen items and a whole lot of clothing – about eight semi-trailer loads in total.

On Saturday, early-bird shoppers pay a fee of $10 for first crack at the best stuff from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Folks tend to arrive early, and volunteers will start collecting entry fees at 7 a.m. to ensure the line moves quickly. Admission is free after 9:30 a.m. Saturday and on Sunday.

Proceeds go to support Habitat for Humanity ReStore and sustainability programs of IU and the City of Bloomington. The 2013 sale raised about $30,000, a record for the event.

Along with the late-summer sale, there’s a year-round education and outreach component to H2H. For example, did you know that items that are thrown away in Bloomington make a 60-mile trip to be buried in a landfill near Terre Haute, Ind.? Instead of tossing cast-off belongings into the trash, organizers say, why not exchange items at a swap party or donate them to a local resale shop?

Bloomington is also providing other opportunities this weekend to stock up on used goods and furnishings and to look for bargains. Junk in the Trunk, a city-sponsored giant community rummage sale, takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Frank Southern Ice Arena, 2100 S. Henderson St. The third annual Resale Trail combines H2H with a half dozen sales across the city.