UConn

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December 1-7 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

Anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away on Thursday at the age of 95.  While our nation’s political leaders mourn his passing, it’s easy to forget that not a decade has passed since the US government branded Mandela a terrorist. ThinkProgress offers an interesting article on some of Mandela’s more radical (and, I think, most interesting) political views.

Republicans in Congress are proposing a budget that would end federal long-term unemployment benefits, which the White Houses says would affect 85,100 Connecticut residents. Connecticut Democrats  are fighting the cuts, standing with other Democrats who claim they will not accept a budget that eliminates the benefits.

On Thursday, fast food workers and supporters protested in cities across the country for higher wages. The protests, part of a movement demanding a $15 an hour wage for fast food workers, were planned for Connecticut as well. The lack of a living wage for fast food workers is an especially salient issue for women, who make up two thirds of the industry’s workers.

It’s unacceptable for UConn officials to receive substantial raises when the university’s tuition continues to rise.

A European company which produces a chemically identical drug to the morning-after pill (also know by the brand name Plan B) produced in the US is changing its labels to reflect that it is not effective on women who weigh over 176 pounds, and begins losing effectiveness in women over 165 pounds. As the FDA considers whether US manufacturers must change their labels, the news should serve as a reminder of the importance of diversity in medical research.

Homelessness has increased in the past year in Connecticut, even as homelessness nationwide decreased. Connecticut recently received $18 million in grants and loans to increase available affordable housing. Hunger also remains high in Connecticut, as highlighted at a symposium called “Rich States, Empty Plates” hosted by the organization End Hunger Connecticut!, which discussed potential long-term solutions for ending hunger.

Male GOP candidates are receiving lessons on how to talk to women. Oh man, what I would give to be a fly on the wall in that workshop!

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November 17-23 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

The current uproar over UConn President Susan Herbst’s inappropriate response to the accusations by Title IX complainants is not the first time she’s caught flack over statements regarding sexual assault. Sensitive though the subject may be, it doesn’t seem like it should be this difficult to address sexual assault in a tasteful, respectful manner. And, as a general rule, if you don’t how to broach a sensitive topic, how hard is it to consult someone who does?

Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at the ceiling in the presence of her abusive husband, has not been granted bail as she awaits her new trial.

President Obama has announced that, in response to news that many Americans’ insurance plans are being cancelled, insurance companies may continue to offer the cancelled plans for another year. However, Connecticut has rejected Obama’s offer as it is unlikely CT insurance companies would continue to offer cancelled plans even if given the option.

Albuquerque, New Mexico voters rejected a proposed 20-week abortion ban on Tuesday. Strong grassroots organizing, backed by support from larger national organizations, is responsible for defeating the bill. From RH Reality Check, how such laws contribute to the criminalization of all pregnant women.

Connecticut is considering legislation that would change how juvenile offenders are treated, including sentencing and parole. The legislation is being considered in response to Supreme Court decisions that juvenile offenders cannot be treated the same as adults.

A horrifying story of police abuse of power and racial profiling in Miami Gardens: One shop owner in the Florida city is fighting back after police have repeatedly arrested his employees and customers for “trespassing” inside his store.

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November 3-10 Weekly Round Up

A round up of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

The Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women’s Executive Director, Teresa Younger, was on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss the issue of reproductive healthcare at Catholic hospitals.

The UConn Foundation spent $660,000 on a Hartford house where President Susan Herbst can wine and dine potential donors. The purchase was funded through donations and used no taxpayer money, but such a lavish expenditure at the same time that UConn faces accusations of grossly mishandling sexual assault cases is in poor taste. Where are the donations for the UConn Women’s Center, which advocates for campus victims of sexual violence and has faced recent budget cuts?

An awesome Courant article takes down UConn President Susan Herbst’s unacceptable response to the Title IX complaint filed against the school.

Former UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni says that he was never informed of a sexual assault allegation against one of his players, contrary to claims by the UConn Police Department. Pasqualoni made the comments in response to allegations by one of the Title IX complainants, Rosemary Richi, that she was assaulted by a UConn football player in 2011. Granted, it may be his word against UConn’s, but Pasqualoni’s statements can only bolster allegations that the UConn Police Department has routinely mishandled sexual assault investigations.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is largely responsible for exposing Republican Senator Rand Paul’s blatant and persistent plagiarism problem. Instead of owning his mistakes, Paul commented that he wishes dueling were legal so that he could challenge Maddow to a showdown. How is that not a veiled threat of violence? “Oh, yeah, I would totally like to shoot or stab her, but obviously I won’t, since that’s illegal. *winks*”

The Illinois legislature has passed marriage equality legislation, making it the 15th state to approve same-sex marriage. Hawaii’s House of Representatives has also passed marriage equality legislation, which will now head to the Senate for approval.

How the anti-choice war against women is also a war against pregnant women.

Albuquerque, New Mexico could become the first municipality to ban abortion if its voters pass an upcoming ballot measure. If the measure passes, similar challenges are likely to spring up in municipalities across the country.  Here’s one way you can help stop this legislation.

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News Round Up Special: UConn Students File Title IX Complaint

The following is a special edition of the weekly news round up with a focus on the Title IX complaint that UConn is currently facing. The regular weekly news round up will appear as usual tomorrow.

News Round Up: UConn Students File Title IX Complaint 

By Tess Koenigsmark

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard something about the Title IX complaint filed by seven University of Connecticut students. But, if you’re not sure exactly what is going on, have no fear.

Here’s a rundown of the developments so far, and a healthy collection of links for more info:

At a press conference in Hartford on Monday, October 21, attorney Gloria Allred announced that she was representing seven UConn students filing a Title IX complaint against UConn with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Four of the complainants: Kylie Angell, Carolyn Luby, Erica Daniels, and Rose Richi spoke at the press conference on Monday.

So far, the media has focused largely on Luby, the lead complainant, and Angell. Luby gained a lot of attention back in April when she an article she wrote criticizing rape culture at UConn and the school’s new mascot was published on The Feminist Wire. Luby received a deluge of misogynistic comments and threats, including rape threats, after writing the piece. UConn police told her that they could not help her and suggested she wear a hat. The focus on Angell, whose attacker was allowed back on campus without her knowledge, seems to have arisen largely from the truly shocking nature of her ordeal.

On the Wednesday following the press conference, UConn president Susan Herbst addressed the complainants’ allegations at a meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees. Instead of promising to look into the allegations, Herbst prematurely denounced the claims as insulting and untrue, and many criticized her dismissive response. Thursday of the same week, Governor Malloy and Connecticut legislative leaders called for public hearings on UConn’s handling of sexual assaults.

Last Wednesday, October 30, UConn students held a rally to support the Title IX complainants and protest rape culture at the university. Yesterday morning, Gloria Allred announced that four of the complainants from the Title IX case will file a federal lawsuit against the university. It is also expected that the governor will announce dates for legislative hearings shortly.

So there you have it – everything you need to be up to date on the UConn Title IX complaint. Hopefully this incident will ignite some much-needed conversations about how Connecticut’s universities handle sexual assault, and rape culture more broadly. This Daily Campus article is a good start.

Due to the extensive nature of the news coverage on this topic, all of the embedded links are also listed below.

Links

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/21/uconn-sexual-assault-complaint_n_4133713.html

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Gloria-Allred-Representing-Victims-of-UConn-Sex-Assaults-228657681.html

http://thefeministwire.com/2013/04/an-open-letter-to-uconn-president-susan-herbst/

http://thefeministwire.com/2013/04/urgent-an-open-letter-to-president-susan-herbst-the-uconn-community-barstool-sports-and-others-on-behalf-of-carolyn-luby/

http://www.dailycampus.com/writer-of-open-letter-attacked-online-1.3036489?pagereq=1#.UnQN8BaGHy8

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/23/21100458-uconn-president-on-sexual-assault-complaints-astonishingly-misguided#comments

http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2013/10/president-herbst-discusses-uconns-sexual-assault-response/

http://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20131027/editorial-uconn-president-susan-herbst-deeply-misguided-in-response-to-sexual-assault-claims

http://www.ctmirror.org/story/2013/10/24/governor-and-republican-leaders-call-hearings-uconn-sex-assault-protocols

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-uconn-rally-sex-assault-1031-20131030,0,4320619.story

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-uconn-federal-lawsuit-1102-20131101,0,6456958.story

http://www.dailycampus.com/commentary/the-five-lies-you-already-believe-about-the-title-ix-complaint-against-uconn-1.3101505 – .UnMTahaGHy8

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October 13-19 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

On last Friday, two sexual assaults were reported at UConn. The two female victims were led off into the woods near a party on Hunting Lodge Road by two men, where one man raped one of the women and the second man “attempted to engage in non-consensual sexual contact” with the other woman.

During an October 7th concert for UConn’s Homecoming Week, students erupted in cheers when a rapper from the group Timeflies mentioned the “rape trail” in a rap that incorporated elements of UConn culture. The “rape trail” is a wooded path that connects the UConn campus and several off-campus apartment complexes. Student sexual assault prevention advocates have promoted calling the path “Celeron Trail,” but the unfortunate nickname still holds. Sexual assaults have happened on and near the trail, making the name even more appalling.

East Haven, Connecticut has met the deadlines for reforms imposed on the city after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found that the police department was discriminating against Latinos. Deliberations began this week in a case against two East Haven police officers accused of profiling Latinos. Meanwhile, Hispanic police officers in Bridgeport have accused their assistant police chief of not taking action when a criminal justice professor used racial slurs in a training session.

National attention has shifted to Maryville, Missouri, after a teenage girl went public with the story of her sexual assault and the subsequent persecution her family faced at the hands of the town. In January of 2012, two older high school boys raped 14-year old Daisy Coleman and her thirteen-year old friend, yet prosecutors dropped the case despite the existence of a recording of the attack. The case is already being called the “next Steubenville.”

Colorado will have a “personhood” amendment on the ballot in 2014, thanks to the efforts of anti-choice group Personhood Colorado. Personhood measures seek to define fetuses as people at all stages of development in order to outlaw abortion. Anti-choice groups have attempted to push personhood bills in other states, but fortunately none have succeeded. What personhood advocates conveniently decline to mention is that these amendments hurt not only women who want to have an abortion, but also infringe on the rights of women carrying wanted pregnancies to term. For example, if a pregnant woman becomes ill and needs to have a medical procedure that would harm her fetus, doctors could refuse to provide treatment because the fetus and its incubator – sorry, mother – would have the same legal status.

While the government has reopened, Congress will face another budget deadline in just a few months, meaning that birth control coverage could potentially be on the chopping block once again.

In New Haven on Tuesday, activists protested the decision to relocate female inmates from a federal prison in Danbury. CT Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are still attempting to stop the move, which critics say would harm women by taking them away from their families. Although our current criminal justice system seems to have forgotten, the goal of incarceration is not just punishment, but rehabilitation. Removing what may be prisoners’ only connections to the outside world is not conducive to that goal.

An update on Connecticut’s healthcare exchange, Access Health CT, which opened October 1.

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