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A first-hand account of the Baltimore protests


Maryland Army National Guard Soldiers and local law enforcement watch protesters gathered in front of City Hall, Baltimore, April 30, 2015
Photo by U.S. Army National Guard Sgt Margaret Taylor WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

By: SHARON BARNEY

sharon@sharonbarneylaw.com

David Flores saw community members line the streets of the Western District of Baltimore 24 hours after Freddie Gray died. “There was a lot of deep tension, anger, pain, and raw emotional energy that was coming out,” Flores said. “People were calling out black police officers for protecting their own instead of protecting the community. Some of the police officers started crying. It was stunning to see.”

The story of Freddie Gray’s arrest and death has had a widespread impact. Gray, a 25-year-old black man living in Baltimore’s Western District, was arrested on April 12, 2015. Police officers claimed that he was in possession of an illegal switchblade, although a later investigation showed that his pocket knife was legal. Between 8:39 a.m. and 9:24 a.m. that morning, the police van carrying Gray made four stops, not one of them to a medical center. Yet Gray suffered a critical neck injury. News of Gray’s mistreatment and subsequent coma spread through the community, and hundreds of Baltimoreans protested outside of the Western District police station. Tragically, Gray died on April 19. Read more »

Local programs assisting sexual assault victims

by: BRIANNA SHEA Bxs5176@psu.edu
 

Penn State has been rocked by a large number of sexual assault reports since the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke in November 2011. The college has taken initiatives to address this issue, offering services to those affected by sexual violence.
According to The Daily Collegian, President Eric Barron created the Task Force on Sexual Assault and Harassment in July 2014. The task force was asked to make recommendations to wipe out sexual violence. 
On January 29, 2015, the task force presented a list of 18 recommendations, including hiring a full-time Title IX coordinator and creating an office to handle Title IX violations. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Eleven of the 18 recommendations are set to be handled by the office tasked with investigating these violations.
According to news.psu.edu, Barron accepted the entire list of recommendations on February 17, 2015.
Penn State and the State College community offer an array of existing services to help survivors.
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Whistleblower intimidation at Penn State


Penn State Old Main Bell Tower. 

Photo by George Chriss//WIKIMEDIA COMMONS 

 

By: KATHERINE WATT
katherine_watt@hotmail.com

Corporate Penn State’s fortress of secrecy and whistleblower intimidation is starting to crack. It’s an excellent development. 

In a June 4 letter to the Centre Daily Times, Barry Fenchak wrote about an incident at the June 2 Penn State Town Hall meeting. An audience member “raised the issue of university employees’ fear of retaliation for reporting wrongdoing. In his response, Vice President of Finance and Business, David Gray, acknowledged what the recent university-wide employee survey confirmed: ‘that particular issue — sadly — was most deeply rooted within finance and business. ” 

Fenchak pointed out that Gray is responsible for several programs in addition to F&B, including the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), Human Resources, Diversity and Ethics. Gray is perfectly positioned to support and encourage whistleblowers. 

“Fear of retaliation for reporting concerns is also real and justified for

staff and faculty — non-tenure line and tenure line — across the university.” He concluded: “At Penn State, retaliation is not isolated; it is systemic. It is part of a suite of condign ‘management tools’ that are deeply embedded in this very hierarchical institution's DNA." - L.S. Finn 

 

But instead of acting decisively to set up and enforce whistleblower protections, he simply laments the sad situation for which he is primarily responsible. It brings to mind the maxim attributed to Albert Einstein: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice.” 

Further evidence for the malice theory of whistleblower intimidation is the February appointment of Margaret Gray, David Gray’s wife, as Penn State’s new Director of Local Government and Community Relations. Between the two roles, they personify Penn State’s corporate strategy: control institutional revenue streams from student tuition, public subsidies, donations, and endowment investments, and stifle or manipulate all attempts at public oversight by local governments and civilians. 

Read more »

Voices of Central Pennsylvania July-August 2015 Arts Festival Issue

 

IN THIS ISSUE: 10 Reasons to visit the Bellefonte Ar t Museum | A closer look at local Arts Fest artists | People are a work of art | Fast, sustainable pasta from Fasta & Ravioli Co. Read more »

Local Woman Honored With UNA-USA Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles Dumas's photo.

Norma Keller Recognized for Her Commitment to Strong U.S.-UN Relations

  Read more »

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by Dr. Radut