Monthly Archives: November 2013

5 posts

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 10-17 Weekly News Round Up

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

By Tess Koenigsmark

Players on the UConn Women’s Basketball team are speaking out against the discrimination of LGBT athletes, just in case you needed any more proof of how awesome they are.

The GOP is upset that insurance companies must now cover maternity care under the Affordable Care Act, with one economic advisor claiming that having a baby is a choice equivalent to buying a Porsche. First of all, no luxury item I’ve ever heard of cries all day and poops on you. Secondly, this is a great example of the paradox of the GOP stance on reproductive rights: the “life” of a fetus is super important, until that fetus is born and becomes just another mooching poor person.

CT Senator Richard Blumenthal and five other Congressional Democrats introduced the Women’s Reproductive Health Act on Wednesday. The legislation would aim to counteract the litany of anti-choice TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws that have sprung up in states around the country by creating a basis for challenging such laws in court.

A UConn professor who publicly criticized Susan Herbst’s lack of response to rape culture on campus says the price of speaking out is her dismissal.

Another of the UConn Title IX complainants, Alyssa Palazzo, has gone public. Palazzo witnessed UConn football player Lyle McCombs yelling at his girlfriend outsider Palazzo’s dorm. McCombs was later charged with Breach of Peace for yelling, pushing, and spitting on his girlfriend. Palazzo claims that when she reported the incident to UConn, administrators discouraged her from providing testimony and failed to address her concerns about retaliation. Palazzo wrote an article about her experience for the Huffington Post.

At a legislative hearing in Hartford Wednesday, state representatives heard testimony from both the complainants in the UConn Title IX case and UConn administration on how the university handles sexual assault complaints.

In response to news that many people’s health insurance plans are being cancelled because they don’t meet the requirements set by the Affordable Care Act, President Obama announced Thursday that people will be able to keep their current plans through 2014. While most of the cancelled plans offered very limited coverage to begin with, and some people with cancelled plans may be able to find a better deal through the government’s healthcare exchange, many are predictably upset after Obama’s promises that people would be able to keep their plans if they like them.

Connecticut is the only state in which more people have signed up for private insurance than Medicaid through the healthcare exchange. This is at least partially because CT began its Medicaid expansion several years ago. CT’s exchange, Access Health CT, continues to fare better than the exchange run by the federal government.

Washington Post columnist and perpetual waste of ink Richard Cohen attempts to defend the GOP against accusations of racism in his latest article, but instead ends up vulgarly insulting biracial couples. After the Miley Cyrus debacle, why does this guy still have a column?

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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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October 27-November 3 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

I’m a little late on this one, but it still gives me a sense of excitement to be able to highlight a project that addresses both domestic abuse and the inequities in the criminal justice system. Activists launched a letter writing campaign in support of Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot when threatened by her abusive husband. The great part of this campaign is that it asks men to write letters in support of Alexander, thereby challenging men to become more engaged on what is often seen as a “women’s issue”. Brilliant.

The Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and the U.S. Dept. of Labor Women’s Bureau are hosting a “roundtable on women in science, technology, engineering and math occupations” Tuesday in Hartford. Shout out to all our STEM sisters! Details here.

An update on the battle over NYC’s stop and frisk policy.

A scheduled decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (also known as food stamps) went into effect Friday, even though food insecurity remains high. Even worse, Congress is currently negotiating the 2013 Farm Bill and both the House and Senate versions call for cuts to the program.

Technical problems continue to plague the federal government’s new healthcare exchange website, but rollout of Connecticut’s site, Access Health CT, has been relatively smooth by comparison. However, challenges remain for CT’s exchange, with price cited as a top concern.

Connecticut’s Democratic Party has seen a fundraising boom thanks to a new CT law that increases the amount an individual can contribute to political parties. While advocates claim the legislation better aligns CT with federal law, others fear it’s a mistake to allow a greater influx of money into the political system.

A federal court has ruled that the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act is a violation of religious freedoms. However, this fight is far from over and will most likely land at the Supreme Court. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve never understood this reasoning. If employers are allowed to deny coverage for any healthcare they disapprove of on religious grounds, what else does that open the floodgates for?

Limiting credits is not cool, UConn.

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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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