Standing with Harvard in admissions case

first_imgHarvard-affiliated student and alumni organizations, prospective Harvard students, experts in law and education, and peer institutions voiced their support for Harvard’s whole-person admissions process on Monday. The statements, representing more than 70 groups and individuals, were included in a series of legal filings that called for the court to enter summary judgment — or issue an immediate decision — in the University’s favor in a pending lawsuit challenging how the College selects students.The plaintiff in the lawsuit is Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a group founded by Edward Blum, the architect of numerous lawsuits in recent years attacking civil rights safeguards. Last month Harvard and SFFA filed motions for the court to decide the case now, preempting a trial that is currently scheduled for October.The amicus briefs, or “friend of the court,” legal papers and declarations submitted Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston were among the latest filings in a case in which SFFA alleges discrimination against Asian Americans in Harvard College admissions. The more than 170 pages of documents filed in support of Harvard’s position disputed claims made by SFFA. The court also received amicus filings that back SFFA.The briefs supporting Harvard argue that the College’s race-conscious admissions policies are both consistent with the law as repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court and reflective of efforts by colleges and universities nationwide to advance student diversity.“A diverse student body is essential to educational objectives of colleges and universities,” and “each institution should be able to exercise its academic judgment to determine within broad limits the diversity that will advance its own particular mission,” stated an amicus brief filed on behalf of 37 colleges, universities, and higher education associations. “[The organizations] also believe that holistic review remains a cornerstone for the consideration of race in admissions,” the brief continued, “because it gives each applicant individualized consideration and reduces no one to his or her race.”Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities and a signatory to the brief, said in an interview that colleges and universities must be allowed flexibility in their admissions practices. Every institution is different, she noted, and when it comes to diversity “what works for one university may not work for another.”“When schools are trying to decide among thousands of highly qualified applicants it’s vital that they are able to use their discretion and make decisions about whom to admit ­— ­­as Harvard does with its whole-person review ­— based on the careful consideration of a wide range of factors,” Coleman said.Diversity is key to ensuring that students are exposed to myriad perspectives in the classroom and on campus, which in turn is central to preparing them for success in a globalized world, Coleman added. As evidence, she pointed to social science research, including work by University of Michigan professor Scott Page showing that groups of people with different backgrounds and views tackle challenging problems more effectively than those with similar backgrounds and views.Coleman became president of the University of Michigan in 2002 amid two lawsuits alleging that the school’s admissions process gave preferential treatment to minorities. In its 2003 rulings, the Supreme Court upheld the university’s right to use race as one factor among many in admissions. If the Harvard case were to be heard by the Supreme Court, Coleman said, she hopes the justices would “respect the established legal precedent.”Student and alumni groups speak outTwenty-one student and alumni groups added their names to a separate amicus brief submitted in collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The Harvard Asian American Brotherhood, the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Women’s Association, the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association and Fuerza Latina of Harvard, and the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard were among the groups named in the brief representing “current and former Harvard students from myriad backgrounds, experiences, and racial and ethnic heritages” who support Harvard’s consideration of race as one of many factors in its admissions review:“Their unequivocal commitment in support of this consideration is based both on the significance that their members personally ascribe to their racial or ethnic identity and because they can attest personally to the devastating consequences that would result to the educational experience of all Harvard students if they were deprived of the benefits of learning from fellow students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.”Jeannie Park ’83 is a co-founder of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, an alumni association with nearly 1,100 members that has repeatedly spoken out against the SFFA and in support of Harvard’s whole-person admissions. Park, a member of the coalition’s five-person steering committee, said that the organization considers the Blum-sponsored lawsuit part of an effort to undermine diversity more broadly.“We see the attack on the admissions process as an attack on race-consciousness in society as a whole in terms of diversity and inclusion practices that are so necessary in government, in business, in a range of areas,” said Park. “The significance of the case goes way beyond Harvard and college admissions, and we just felt like we had to fight it.”Park said the coalition also sees the lawsuit as an attempt “to divide communities of color” by suggesting that most Asian Americans support a race-blind admissions process. “We try to remind people all the time that the majority of Asian Americans actually support race-conscious practices in the admissions process and in society as a whole.”Park, who grew up in Ohio, said that her Harvard time helped shape her career and her advocacy and nonprofit work. Being exposed to so many different people in college “was mind-blowing in a good way and in an affirming way,” said Park who was one of only two Asian Americans in her high school class.“For the first time I felt like there were other people like me, and I was also excited to meet people who were not like me and not like other people I had grown up with. I felt like the world had opened up to me.“We as alumni and students feel that creating a class that is diverse in every dimension possible ­— and racial and ethnic background is one of those dimensions — was and is really important to our educational experience. It’s a core part of Harvard’s educational mission, and I think all of us can speak to the effect that that had on what we learned and on our lives post-college.”Other supporters weighing in with legal briefs on Monday included 15 current and prospective students and alumni of various ethnicities, class years, and concentrations. The group, which is being represented by the Asian American Justice Center and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, concluded that “there is simply no causal link in the record between Harvard’s individualized consideration of race to promote diversity and any bias against Asian American students.”A separate brief filed on behalf of 16 other U.S. universities firmly backing Harvard’s race-conscious admissions emphasized the importance of a diverse student body in both shaping a college education and benefiting society, and noted their “decades of experience in finding that individualized and holistic review of applications is the best means that universities can employ in pursuit of meaningful diversity. [We] consider race and ethnicity as one factor among many in order to better understand each applicant and the contributions he or she might make to the university environment.”Harvard pushes back In its latest legal brief, filed on Friday, Harvard again disputed the SFFA claim that it discriminates against Asian Americans in admissions, stating that the evidence fails to show that the school considers race in any manner but that permitted by law.The filing also reiterated the findings of David Card, a leading economist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who analyzed six years of admissions data for Harvard and found no evidence of discrimination against Asian Americans. The statistics supplied by SFFA “are disputed in every relevant respect” by Card’s “far more comprehensive and statistically sound analysis,” according to the Harvard filing.In a companion document filed on Friday, Harvard also took issue with what it called SFFA’s “900 paragraphs of supposedly undisputed facts — many of which are neither undisputed nor even facts,” arguing that they “confirm that SFFA’s summary judgment filing is not a serious effort to persuade the Court that this case can be resolved in SFFA’s favor without a trial but rather an opportunity to present a fundamentally misleading account of the record to the public. Unable to find any actual documentary or testimonial support for the purported scheme of intentional discrimination … SFFA instead relies on distortions of the record and misleading characterizations of data analysis.”SFFA contests motionAn SFFA filing contesting Harvard’s motion for summary judgment was also submitted to the court on Monday. The brief repeats the group’s claim that Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian Americans in its admissions process, engages in racial balancing, uses race as more than just a “plus” factor to achieve student-body diversity, and has failed to adequately consider whether it could achieve the benefits of diversity through race-neutral alternatives.Blum has long been involved in efforts to overhaul college admissions. He was the driving force behind Fisher v. University of Texas, a suit alleging that the University of Texas discriminated against white applicants in admissions. In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the school was within its right to use race as one factor among many in admissions, upholding decades of legal precedent. In addition to the Harvard case, Blum and SFFA have filed lawsuits against the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as well as a second against the University of Texas.Below is the full list of student and alumni groups that were part of one of many amicus briefs filed on Monday in support of Harvard:  Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association; Kuumba singers of Harvard College; Fuerza Latina of Harvard; Native Americans at Harvard College; Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association; Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Women’s Association; Harvard Asian American Brotherhood; Harvard Vietnamese Association; Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Student’s Association; Harvard Korean Association; Harvard Japan Society; Harvard South Asian Association; Harvard Islamic Society; Taskforce on Asian and Pacific American Studies at Harvard College; Harvard Phillips Brooks House Association; Harvard Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students; Coalition for a Diverse Harvard; First Generation Harvard Alumni; Native American Alumni of Harvard University; Harvard University Muslim Alumni; and Harvard Latino Alliance. 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NDSP arrests four, Excise issues tickets

first_imgNotre Dame Security Police (NDSP) arrested four individual Saturday in the midst of festivities surrounding the Notre Dame football team’s season opener against Rice, Police Chief Phil Johnson said.“Police made three custodial arrests Saturday at or near the stadium,” Johnson said. “One man was arrested for theft and public intoxication, the other two for public intoxication. Postgame, a man was arrested for shoplifting, [or] theft.”Indiana State Excise Police officers issued tickets to 17 people in South Bend during the weekend, according to an Excise police report. Police also cited Belmont Beverage on South Bend Avenue for two counts of allowing a minor to loiter, the report stated.“Three minors were ticketed for illegal possession, consumption or transportation of alcohol. Two adults were charged with furnishing alcohol to minors,” the report stated. “Excise officers also issued 13 traffic tickets, including two for open container violations.”Johnson said NDSP saw no traffic-related incidents.“Traffic ran smoothly and there no reported crashes,” he said.Despite “challenging weather” throughout the weekend, the University welcomed thousands of fans to campus starting Friday, according to Mike Seamon, associate vice president for campus safety.“It was great home opener weekend capped off by a big victory for the Irish,” Seamon said. “…The weather on Saturday continued to be challenge as rain and storms continued to just miss campus all afternoon.“We felt that Our Lady on the Dome was watching out for us as we were able to get the game in without incident.”Seamon said more than 8,000 people gathered in front of the Rockne Memorial for the season’s first pep rally, which was held despite rain showers in the hours immediately before the event.“The first rally of the season has been held in front of the Rock for the past several years and it was great to see another strong student turnout to cheer on their classmates,” he said.Other football-related special events enjoyed similarly high attendance, Seamon said.“Despite the persistent rain on Friday afternoon we had over 3,600 fans and visitors go down the tunnel to catch a first glimpse of the new FieldTurf,” he said. “The traditional Friday football luncheon held in the North Dome of the Joyce [Athletic and Convocation] Center had over 850 people in attendance.”“Overall it was a very successful first home game weekend and we are eagerly looking forward to this upcoming weekend and the game against Michigan,” Seamon said.Tags: arrests, Fans, football, Mike Seamon, NDSP, Phil Johnson, weatherlast_img read more

Chili cook-off supports cancer research

first_imgKat Robinson Participants and taste-testers enjoy homemade chili during the Harper Cancer Institute’s second annual chili cook-off. Proceeds benefit the Institute’s Relay for Life team.Other featured chefs include last year’s cook-off champion Tracy Vargo-Gogola, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at IUSM-SB.“[I am here] of course to win again,” Vargo said jokingly. “It’s such a great cause.”First-time chef participant David Boone, IUSM-SB associate professor of microbiology and immunology, said: “I’m supporting cancer research here, and I think it’s important to be part of the community. We do social things together.”Boone made a sweet chili consisting of pudding, brownies and cherries with a topping of jelly beans and coconut shreds.“You can’t please everyone, though,” he said, just as a little girl exclaimed “I hate cherries.”“You should try my chili last, as a dessert,” he laughed.According to the Notre Dame Relay for Life website, this year will mark the fundraiser’s 11th anniversary. Apart from walking around a track, there will be a number of activities for adults and children at the Compton Family Ice Arena the evening of April 17, including a silent auction, ice skating, food and a luminary ceremony “to honor and remember those who have or have had cancer.”A press release dated January 30 stated the Notre Dame relay has already raised more than $1 million overall for the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS has awarded the University with 13 research grants, worth more than $4.7 million to date, to allow “faculty and students the ability to conduct innovative cancer research.”Tags: Chili cook-off, Harper Cancer Research Institute, Relay for Life, research The delicious scent of home-cooked food filled the air at Harper Hall on Monday afternoon as the Harper Cancer Research Institute hosted its second annual chili cook-off.With an admission fee of $10, attendees were welcomed to sample different varieties of homemade chili and vote for their favorites. A small bake sale ran concurrently to help taste testers take the heat out of the chili they consumed.Keri O’Mara All proceeds from the event will benefit the Harper team taking part in Notre Dame’s Relay for Life, a campus and community fundraising walk in April dedicated to fighting cancer.On the origin of the cook-off, Jenifer Prosperi, co-organizer and assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM-SB), said, “I wanted to have a chili cook-off with just my lab, and we were trying to decide where the funds would go to. It was about the same time we were talking about Relay for Life and needing a fundraiser.”Last year, the cook-off raised $400, Prosperi said.Co-organizer Jenna Bilinski, administrative assistant at the Harper Cancer Research Institute, said, “I would say last year we probably had 12 or 13 chili entries. This year we have 19.”Staff from the Notre Dame Fire Department were seen quickly dropping off their pot of chili at the venue before returning to work.“There are professors, students, researchers … even an eight-year-old,” Bilinski said, referring to the diversity of the chefs.That eight-year-old, Matias Jayden Dahl, said: “I wanted to make chili; Mommy helped me. [I wanted to make this] because it’s my Grandma Sandy’s homemade recipe.”last_img read more

Notre Dame seniors look ahead to post-graduation plans

first_imgAfter spending four years receiving a Notre Dame education, the class of 2020 is celebrating via a virtual commencement, saying goodbye to the Golden Dome and looking ahead to the future. Whether it be employment, graduate school, community service or military service, this year’s seniors have a myriad of opportunities and experiences to pursue. Each year, the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development conducts a First Destination report to gather data on the post-baccalaureate plans for the recent graduating class. Information on the class of 2020 will be collected starting the week of May 18.According to the 2019 First Destination report, 65% of graduates were employed within six months of graduation with 21% pursuing further education and 7% participating in service.Ryan Willerton, associate vice president for career and professional development for the Meruelo Family Center, said the top job industries among recent Notre Dame graduates include financial services, consulting and engineering roles.“These are fields where businesses are positioned to and expect to hire many graduates every year,” Willterton said in an email. Willerton believes the trends in these industries will remain steady for the class of 2020 despite the current pandemic and economic downturn.“Because much of the recruiting for these roles was conducted in the fall semester and many of these job offers were already secured before COVID-19, I believe this trend will continue,” Willerton said.Senior Mandy Wall has a job lined up in New York City as a private equity analyst for GCM Grosvenor, a position she was drawn to because of her interest in learning how companies make money and improve. “It’s a cool intersection of how both macroeconomic factors influence individual companies and how those companies respond and make decisions,” Wall said in a text. “There are so many factors that go into valuing companies, from changing consumer preferences to political conditions. This job specifically is industry agnostic, [meaning] no specific industry, which I like because I love learning high level about different sectors.”A finance and economics double-major, Wall cited multiple organizations and resources at Notre Dame — specifically the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing (NDIGI) — that influenced her decision for her first career step. “NDIGI brought in many industry professionals and most importantly introduced me to Girls Who Invest, a sophomore summer program that provides me with a strong network of females in asset management,” Wall said. “I think without Notre Dame I wouldn’t have been introduced to asset management at all.”Out of the 21% of the class of 2019 that went on to graduate school, 40% were pursuing a master’s degree while 19% were working toward a medical doctorate six months after graduation, according to the First Destination survey.Senior Miguel Romanello, an aerospace engineering major with a pre-med track, is planning to complete a master’s in science degree in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania with hopes of attending medical school in the future. “What I want to do in my gap years is bridge the gap between the two fields of study I’ve been doing in undergrad — pure sciences and engineering — before I apply to medical school and to be able to use the knowledge I’ve learned in my bachelor’s degree in engineering in the medical field,” Romanello said. Romanello cited his experience in undergraduate research at Notre Dame as reassuring when it eventually came time to apply to graduate school. “Not only did it make me confident but also it made me realize I wanted to be engaged in research. In fact, one of the main things I focused on when choosing schools to attend for my master’s was finding a place with labs exploring research questions that I am passionate about,” Romanello said. According to Willerton, the career center has heard of some students’ employment start dates pushed back a few months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but interest from employers in Notre Dame graduates remains strong. Willerton and the Meruelo Center are encouraging students to remain active in the job search process during these times by improving their online presence, networking, seeking out remote opportunities and focusing on the things they can control.Willerton believes the graduating seniors can fully overcome the current challenges. Nevertheless, the resources and contacts within the Meruelo Family Center will continue to be available to recent graduates to assist in whatever way possible.“Although the current job market in some industries is uncertain and challenging, I am confident that our students will persevere and prove to be resourceful, adaptable and resilient,” Willerton said. “Of interest, career development support doesn’t stop at graduation; the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development provides career counseling services for up to a year after graduation.” Tags: Class of 2020, commencement 2020, First Destination Report, Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, NDIGI, post-graduation, undergraduate researchlast_img read more

Christopher J. Hanke & More Set for Perfect Arrangement

first_img View Comments Perfect Arrangement Show Closed This production ended its run on Nov. 6, 2015 Related Shows From Barbra’s basement to the state department! Former Buyer and Cellar headliner Christopher J. Hanke and more will appear in the previously announced New York premiere of Topher Payne’s dark comedy Perfect Arrangement. Directed by Michael Barakiva, the limited engagement will run September 29 through November 6 at off-Broadway’s Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street. Opening night is set for October 15.Joining Hanke as Jim Baxter will be Julia Coffey (London Wall) as Norma Baxter, Robert Eli (Tartuffe) as Bob Martindale, Mikaela Feely-Lehmann (Cyrano de Bergerac) as Millie Martindale, Kelly McAndrew (Abundance) as Barbara Grant, Kevin O’Rourke (The City of Conversation) as Theodore Sunderson and Jennifer Van Dyck (Hedda Gabler) as Kitty Sunderson.It’s 1950 and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. The twist: both Bob and Norma are gay, and have married each other’s partners as a carefully constructed cover. Inspired by the true story of the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap I Love Lucy sitcom-style laughs give way to drama as two “All-American” couples are forced to stare down the closet door, confronting the very struggles facing society today.Perfect Arrangement will feature scenic design by Neil Patel, with costume design by Jennifer Caprio, lighting design by Traci Klainer Polimeni, sound design by Ryan Rumery and hair and wig design by J. Jared Janas.last_img read more

Study in Spain

first_imgAs a first-generation college graduate, Susana Ferreira understands the benefits of earning a degree. The associate professor of agricultural and applied economics also knows that studying in another country can be life-changing.“I’m a firm believer in the benefits of studying abroad and I truly welcomed the University of Georgia’s experiential learning initiative,” Ferreira said. “Ten years from now, a student may not remember much from a course they took, but they will remember having studied abroad.”When Ferreira was earning her bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Publica de Navarra (UPNA) in her hometown of Pamplona, Spain, she didn’t participate in a formal study abroad program. However, she was able to spend three months in Colombia as a result of a program offered through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation. “That experience changed my outlook, it opened my eyes,” she said. “I loved everything about Colombia — the food, the music, the people.”That initial experience living abroad also gave Ferreira the confidence to pursue other opportunities, including attending the University of California San Diego, where she earned her master’s degree and her doctorate in economics.“When I came to the United States, it was a unique opportunity,” she said. “I had no idea about being a graduate student, but the dean of my department had a vision for internationalizing our program by sending the best students abroad for graduate school.”After completing her graduate degrees, Ferreira continued her international travels, including a five-year term on the faculty of University College Dublin, in Ireland, and a brief stint as a visiting professor at Bethlehem University in Palestine. Ferreira was surprised, however, when she arrived at UGA in 2012 and discovered there were no semester-long student exchange programs with any universities in Spain, much less a program in Pamplona, which is famous for its running of the bulls each July.The city serves as the capital of Spain’s Navarra region and is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees, just north of La Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine region. With its mild climate, Pamplona is considered an enchanting city year-round, with a beautiful medieval center, delicious food and plenty of parks.“The Universidad Publica de Navarra has exchanges with 300 universities in 50 countries,” Ferreira said of her hometown university’s commitment to international study programs. “I decided it would be beneficial if UGA could establish a partnership there.”Ferreira began working on the exchange program two years ago, drawing on connections she already had in Pamplona and establishing new relationships as plans began to gel. A faculty travel grant awarded by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of Global Programs allowed her to spend May and June of 2016 at UPNA, advancing her research and working out details for the program.“The exchange program is housed in the School of Economics and Business Administration at UPNA because they already have an international business degree program that requires students to complete a yearlong study abroad program and to take 75 percent of their credit hours in courses taught in English,” she said. “That makes it very easy for UGA students to take courses in English if they prefer, although they can take courses in Spanish, also.”In addition to business and economics courses, UGA students can study agribusiness, agronomy, engineering, health science, human and social sciences, and law while attending UPNA.An added benefit for UGA students — besides paying UGA in-state tuition and fees that can be covered with HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships — is the availability of Erasmus-Plus funding. This scholarship program is funded by the European Union and provides $5,000 scholarships to as many as four UGA students, as well as to UPNA students who opt to study at UGA. The Erasmus-Plus grant will also fund faculty and staff from the two universities who visit the partner institution to further solidify the program.Compared with many international study programs, the UPNA-UGA partnership was completed in record time, according to Vicki McMaken, associate director for the Office of Global Programs.“It’s a credit to Dr. Ferreira’s strong ties at UPNA and the well-timed grant funding that this program came together in less than a year,” McMaken said.Although the program wasn’t fully approved until November 2017, undergraduate student Abigail Pierce got a head start by applying in September, not knowing if the program would actually be available for the spring semester.Fortunately, all of the details were completed and Pierce arrived in Spain in January and took courses in environmental science, international and public law, and two courses in Spanish during her semester of study. “My experience in Pamplona and my travels beyond have been truly incredible,” she said. “I was not expecting to meet so many diverse individuals from all over the world, be immersed in a different culture and find so much joy in being out of my comfort zone.”Pierce, who will begin her senior year this fall at UGA, where she is majoring in agricultural communication and earning an International Agriculture Certificate, said the Erasmus-Plus program at UPNA was a particular benefit.“The program welcomed over 100 international students this semester, all of whom I was given opportunities to meet,” she said, adding that she participated in a variety of experiences with other Erasmus-Plus scholars both within Pamplona and in travel outside the city.Like Ferreira, Pierce said studying abroad has changed her perspective about herself as well as other countries and cultures.“This experience has definitely empowered me to seek other international opportunities and has given me an even stronger desire to travel and experience as much of this world as I can,” she said. “If this experience taught me anything, it is that I still have so much to learn and I plan to pursue international opportunities in my remaining time at UGA and beyond.”This fall, two more CAES students — Charles Orgbon and Alexandra Bull — and a third from UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences will begin a semester of study in Pamplona, and four students will travel from Spain to UGA. In addition, two UPNA faculty members and a staff member, who focus on student recruitment and support for exchange programs, are scheduled to visit UGA this year.Students interested in participating in the UGA-UPNA exchange should contact CAES Director of Experiential Learning Amanda Stephens at [email protected] or 706-542-5276.last_img read more

Vermont’s Northern Power CEO testifies before Congress on wind power

first_imgSenator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) chaired a Senate hearing today to explore how the United States is competing with other nations for green jobs. With products ranging from laptop computers to American flags already made in China, the world’s second largest economy, the Asian nation is now moving aggressively to corner world markets for solar, wind and other alternative and sustainable energy technologies. Sanders, chairman of the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, said the United States should keep energy jobs in this country. ‘We can create good-paying jobs by investing in efficient and sustainable energy technologies,’ Sanders said. ‘Moving toward green jobs is terribly important for our economy, it’s important for our environment, and it’s important for from the perspective of not getting us into wars for oil.’One of the witnesses was John Danner, CEO of Northern Power Systems, a wind turbine company based in Barre. Vt.‘While we are proud of what we have accomplished to date, we are confident that as we grow Northern Power into a leader within the global wind turbine industry, we will create thousands if not tens of thousands of jobs,” he told the committee.Danner told Sanders that wind power is competitive with other technologies to generate electricity.Other witnesses at the hearing included Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers; Paul Cicio, president of Industrial Energy Consumers of America; David Montgomery, vice president of Charles River Associates; and Kate Gordon, vice president of Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress. Sanders’ office. WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011last_img read more

Bruegger’s announces Q4, year-end financial results

first_imgBruegger’s Bagels, Inc,Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc. (BEI) announced today continued sales growth during the fourth quarter ending December 28, 2010. The 437-unit restaurant operator recognized sales of $63.2 million, a 3.6 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2009.     Total system sales for the year were $254.5 million, a 2.8% increase over 2009.Bruegger’s namesake brand added 16 franchise, corporate and co-branded bakeries during the past year.  Same store sales were up by 4.3 percent on company units and 3.1 percent system-wide for the 4th quarter. Bruegger’s expects continued growth for 2011.Threecaf Brands Canada, Bruegger’s Canadian subsidiary, saw a 1.4 % percent increase in comparable sales during the fourth quarter.  Threecaf includes Timothy’s World Coffee, which has 93 units and Michel’s Bakery Café with 14 units operating in Canada.‘2010 was a year of consistent revenue growth for our brands,’ said Bruegger’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Greco.  ‘We believe the investments we made to the brand will continue to pay dividends in 2011.’ Highlights:Bruegger’s completed renovation of 45 bakeries in 2010, including 14 bakeries in Boston, Connecticut and Michigan in the fourth quarter of 2010. The bagel leader anticipates completing another 40 renovations in 2011.Bruegger’s opened three new bakeries and added new franchisees in Danbury, Connecticut and Orlando, Florida during Q4.  Threecaf Brands opened two new Timothy’s World Coffee locations in Toronto during the fourth quarter.In January, 2011, Threecaf opened a new co-branded Bruegger’s/mmmuffins in Toronto, a new Timothy’s location in New Brunswick, a new Michel’s Bakery Café and remodeled a Michel’s in Ottawa.Growing its presence in non-traditional locations, Bruegger’s will open in the Asheville Regional Airport in early 2011. The company’s first U.S.-based Timothy’s will open at Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Q2 2011. Later in the year, Bruegger’s will open its first bakery on a military base in San Diego. Source: Bruegger’s 3.2.2011last_img read more

Spanish Police Will Interrogate FARC Members

first_img A Spanish court has ordered members of the police to travel to Colombia to interrogate nine former members of the FARC guerrilla group, to whom they want to show recent photos of members of the armed separatist group ETA to see whether they can identify them, court sources said Wednesday. Spanish National High Court Judge Eloy Velasco ordered the trip to Colombia on 21 September, although the news only became public on Wednesday. Former guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) included in the Colombian government’s rehabilitation plan have identified several ETA members in the past, judicial sources specified. The Colombian government announced its decision to collaborate with the Spanish courts and even said that it will share any information found on the computers of the FARC’s top military commander, Víctor Julio Suárez, alias El Mono Jojoy, who died in a jungle bombardment two weeks ago. “Whatever can help to do justice in this area, we’re more than willing, and that’s what we’ll do,” Colombian Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín said in Bogotá. The instructing magistrate investigating the alleged relationship between the two armed groups, in which relationship he says the Venezuelan government has cooperated, has requested his fellow High Court judge Ismael Moreno to send him the testimony given by two alleged members of the Basque separatist group ETA. The ETA members, according to a document made public this week, acknowledged receiving training in Venezuela. As part of the same judicial proceedings, Judge Velasco will take statements on 15 November from two former Venezuelan public prosecutors who have information on ETA’s activity in the Caribbean country, at the request of the private prosecution brought by the Association of Victims of Terrorism and the Democratic Platform of Venezuelans in Spain, the sources said. Need for Investigation The open investigations being pursued by the National High Court into the FARC and ETA and possible Venezuelan connivance have caused tension in relations between Spain and Hugo Chávez’s administration on two occasions in recent months. The controversy reemerged on Monday when a ruling by Judge Moreno, in which he ordered Juan Carlos Besance y Xabier Atristain held on charges of illegal possession of arms and explosives and membership in a terrorist organization, cited previous investigations and statements supporting the claim that the two were trained in Venezuelan territory after having received courses in France. On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero dismissed the possibility that the government of Venezuela or of any other country was cooperating with ETA, but he affirmed that the statements by the alleged ETA members need to be investigated, for which he requested the Caribbean country’s collaboration. “Of course, in the government’s view, the statements (…) by the alleged ETA members provide sufficient evidence to require an investigation and a response from the Venezuelan government,” Zapatero said during an interview with Tele 5. “We are convinced that no government in the world, of course, is giving shelter to what is a terrorist gang (…), the issue is that no terrorist should feel more or less free, more or less secure in any country, and this demands on our part cooperation with all governments, also of course with the Venezuelan government,” he added. In March Judge Velasco indicated in a court document that the Venezuelan government cooperated in facilitating meetings between ETA and the FARC and the exchange of guerrilla-warfare techniques or information related to a possible attack in Spain on high-ranking Colombian officials, such as then-president Alvaro Uribe. According to the document, in 2007 ETA members were escorted by a member of the Venezuelan military to a jungle location where they received a course in handling explosives from members of the FARC. Following the judicial ruling, both countries reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against terrorism in a joint statement, in which they declared the controversy over. Zapatero affirmed that he has raised the subject with President Chávez on several occasions during the last two years. “I can assure you that if this is going on, it will have limited scope in any event, because ETA’s capabilities are very limited (…), these capabilities will be eradicated in Venezuela,” he affirmed. ETA and the FARC are on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations, and the two groups have maintained “coordinated relations” throughout their history for “some of their illicit objectives,” according to the March ruling. By Dialogo October 08, 2010last_img read more

Regier accepts PILS’ challenge

first_img Regier accepts PILS’ challenge Associate Editor A Public Interest Law Section luncheon at The Florida Bar’s Midyear Meeting in Miami ended in an extraordinary exchange between lawyers who advocate for children and Jerry Regier, secretary of the Department of Children and Families.Regier, in the job for a year and a half, challenged lawyers to help him carry out adoptions. In turn, lawyers challenged Regier to help them get past animosities and allow them to represent children. In the end, both children’s advocates and the head of the huge, troubled social services agency agreed to work together as partners.“I’ve often thought that if you can get past a wall of lawyers, whose job it is to protect their boss and their department, that you can sometimes reach a resolution when you have a one-on-one discussion,” said Deborah Schroth, of Florida Legal Services in Jacksonville and a former chair of PILS.“So I am very hopeful that indeed we will be able to work out a mechanism, especially for children who don’t have access to the courts. Because frequently, foster children are not brought into judicial review hearings, and older children don’t have guardians ad litem. I am hoping that now the secretary and I can work out a mechanism so that we can each meet one another’s challenge.”The impromptu dealmaking began when Regier was wrapping up his prepared speech. He sent out a challenge to Florida’s lawyers to help him with a new adoption initiative called “No Place Like Home.” Right now, he said, there are 4,600 children in Florida whose parents have already had their parental rights terminated. Of those 4,600, 2,500 children have a family identified to care for them, a foster family, or relative willing to give the child a permanent home. But the other 2,100 children, Regier said, do not.“That’s something we need to work on together,” Regier told those gathered at the luncheon. “One of the things I thought about is to challenge this group, to challenge you to think about, maybe even as a group or a section of The Florida Bar, to take up the goal and say, ‘I’m going to help in some way to get one child adopted.’ What would happen if you took a goal of 500 children this year, to find 500 attorneys who would get involved in some manner to provide pro bono work in terms of the legal needs. . . and see if you can find an adoption opportunity for that child?“Permanency is really where we need to move children in our system. We can build a more responsive system,” Regier said. “I believe with all my heart that we have the ability to do that.. . . Anybody can tear down. When you talk about a system like we have in Florida, it’s easy to criticize and complain, because anybody can tear down, and you can do it very quickly. But it takes real commitment to build. What I am looking for, and what I hope, is that we have the partnerships. Even this opportunity to share with you indicates to me that you really do want to have that partnership, and I look forward to working with you.”He asked the lawyers to e-mail him at [email protected] and tell him what they thought.But he didn’t have to wait for an e-mail in an inbox. When he opened the floor to questions, Schroth jumped in with a challenge for Regier.“There has been in the past, and I don’t know if it’s still the policy of the department, but foster children cannot have attorneys if they want attorneys, only if the department (DCF) wants them to have attorneys,” Schroth said. “If it’s no longer the policy of the department, it is the culture of the department.”Schroth went on to describe a situation where a young man “was dumped out of foster care three months before his 18th birthday.” When his caseworker referred him to Schroth for legal representation, she said, the caseworker was “excoriated for having given him my name.. . and she was terminated from her job.“I would like to challenge you,” Schroth told Regier, as the other luncheon participants listened eagerly. “I will take a case for adoption for every child you will allow to have access to an attorney for legal issues of that child.”Regier responded: “I’ll take your challenge also. First of all, I would say that this falls into the category of what I said earlier. The department is not perfect. Because I do not condone if what you said is exactly what happened. I have had a number of situations where foster parents, sometimes children themselves, have appealed certain decisions and certain actions. And I certainly don’t condone anything retaliatory.”The second challenge for Regier came from Robin Rosenberg, pro bono counsel for Holland & Knight in St. Petersburg.“I want to thank you for reaching out your hand in partnership and offer another area where I think we, as a community of lawyers, really need to work with the department on the legal needs of children,” Rosenberg said.“Many of us here, including myself, have litigated large class actions against the Department of Children and Families, and many of us individually have represented children. Right now, the system is in a legal conundrum.“The department has represented in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that the federal courts don’t need to be involved, because juvenile judges have the authority to handle the individual legal rights of children. So cases in the 11th Circuit have been dismissed. Judges, in our state courts, have made efforts to address the legal rights of children and have been opposed by department attorneys, who say, ‘Judge, separation of powers says you can’t tell me what to do. You can’t tell me to move this child to that location.’ We’ve got a separation of powers crisis. We want to serve children, and we want to do it in the best way that will get the best result for them. We’re at a conundrum. I would like the department to commit to working with children’s advocates to see if we can reach a legal solution so that we know what is the proper forum and how we can advocate for kids in a way that the department can be our opponent on the merits of the issue but not on the location on where the matter will be heard.“We’d like to put together a summit in the summer. If we can get the department to participate, I think we can all reach a conclusion and be able to work forward from there. Would you participate with us?” Rosenberg asked.And Regier responded: “Again, I will participate in anything that brings people together to talk about differences. I think I have shown that over the last year and a half. I’ve got my general counsel here. If we start getting into the legal parts of it, I would probably defer to her. But she knows, and we’ve had a conversation, that I very strongly have said the department will not take an adversarial role just because they have in the past, just because there is some personal agenda or whatever. It has to be on the merits. We’ve had that discussion several times about several sticky cases that we face. We are committed to what’s best for kids. Granted, I think there are some points where we will have differences when we get to the table. But getting to the table is never an issue with me.”After the luncheon ended, Schroth and Rosenberg said they were heartened by Regier’s assurances.“I am very excited that the secretary took up the challenge to do a summit on the separation of powers,” Rosenberg said. “It’s an issue that been troubling advocates ever since the decision in Bonnie L came out, and a number of state court decisions, where the judges have thrown up their hands and said, ‘We can’t do anything about this anymore, even though we want to.’ Something has to be worked out. And if we can work it out cooperatively, through a summit, that’s great. If we can’t, we’ll have to figure out another way. But something has to give, because the kids need representation.” February 1, 2004 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Regier accepts PILS’ challengelast_img read more