Latest news from the UO

  • UO ranks No. 10 in Gilman Scholars with highest number ever

    First published in Around the O on July 27th.  With 25 Ducks receiving the prestigious Gilman Scholarship this year, the University of Oregon is ranked 10th in the nation for the study abroad award and has the largest number of Gilman recipients in university history. In addition, the UO has six alternates, and one of the scholarship recipients was chosen for the new Gilman-McCain Scholarship. With a total of 59 UO applicants, the university’s success rate this year was 42 percent. “It's something we are really proud of since this is a huge accomplishment, and it shows the academic strength and international engagement of our students, said anthropology professor Josh Snodgrass, who directs the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “It also shows how we are supporting our students who are in most in need of support since this scholarship only goes to students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding.” The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards up to $5,000 for undergraduate students to study abroad. The scholarship is available to students who are currently receiving the Pell Grant, while the new Gilman-McCain Scholarship is available to dependents of active-duty military. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all recipients are given the option of changing or deferring their program to a later date. Recipients can use the award for travel-based programs beginning January 2021. Recipients can also use the award in summer or fall 2020 to participate in virtual programs, such as the #NoPassportNeeded program at the UO.  The UO Division of Global Engagement, which hosts the Global Education Oregon study abroad office, serves the UO community and 30 partner institutions. It offers more than 200 programs in 90 countries, with the option to study or intern while abroad.   “The UO is immensely proud of our 25 students who competed against top national talent to earn Gilman Scholarships,” said Dennis Galvan, dean and vice provost for global engagement. “These prestigious federal awards help defray the costs of enriching education abroad programs for students of color and from underrepresented groups. They earned UO a rank of 10th in the U.S. in Gilman awards, not factoring in university size.” Gilman recipient and Portland native Anna Mills, who is studying public relations and ethnic studies with a minor in creative writing, had planned to participate in a service-oriented program, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice in Bolivia. Her program was canceled due to COVID-19, but she will use her award when it returns next summer. “Receiving this scholarship helps me achieve a lifelong goal and passion for going abroad and applying the knowledge I learn to my everyday life,” she said. “I believe UO was ranked as the No. 10 school in the nation for Gilman recipients because it has normalized that studying abroad is achievable and something everyone should experience if they can. The support and resources are amazing.” Another Gilman Scholarship recipient, Yulissa Garcia, a senior majoring in international studies with a concentration in diplomacy and international relations and minoring in legal studies, said her success is due to the hard work and the motivation instilled in her through her family. “Receiving the Gilman Scholarship means that I will be able to literally and figuratively afford to take a step forward in my studies,” she said. ”But for my family, it means that I am able to demonstrate that hard work does pay off. I come from a family of immigrants who have endured hard labor for most of their lives, and they are my motivation to continue working hard for all the opportunities I encounter.” Galvan emphasizes the importance of accessible global education for all students, no matter their background, especially given the current focus on racial injustice in America.  “At a time when the University of Oregon, the state of Oregon, the U.S. and the world are grappling, again, with issues of racial justice, Gilman Scholarships in this remarkable number are powerful,” he said. “The more students of every color who get to know the world and the younger that Americans learn to see the peculiarity and brutality of our own racial history, the clearer it will be to see the world with new eyes and a fresh perspective.” Subject to UO travel approval, students can apply for travel-based study abroad programs leaving as early as fall 2020. The programs exceed the current standards for health and safety in education abroad. As early as January 2021, Gilman recipients can use their scholarship towards a UO study abroad program. The UO Gilman Scholarship recipients are: Kevin Aleman: Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey University Exchange, Mexico. Jennifer Beltran: GlobalWorks Argentina. Sierra Burke: Hanyang University Exchange. Yacki Carrasco-Vivar: Dankook University Exchange. Jeanie Chen: Nagoya University Exchange. Celeste Concha: Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice in Bolivia. Katee Early: global economics in London with internship. Yulissa Garcia, human rights and peace studies in the Balkans. Laila Golrangi: Curtin University Exchange. Lily Hamilton: Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey University Exchange, Mexico. Collin Hurley-Kemp: intensive Italian language in Lecce, Italy. Tyra Judge: global health, development, and service learning in Accra, Ghana. Lena Karam: Copenhagen Business School Exchange. Cheyenne Klamath-Williamson: sustainable development and social change in Jaipur, India. Mia LaRiccia: summer accelerated Chinese language in Tainan, Taiwan. Mariella Mandujano: gender, race and class in London. Angelica Mejia: GlobalWorks Ecuador. Anna Mills, indigenous rights and environmental justice in Bolivia. Ciera Nguyen: GlobalWorks in Vietnam. Tay Sikruttamart: urban design in Barcelona, Spain. idija Sovulj: refugees, health and humanitarian action in Amman, Jordan. Edna Ventura: GlobalWorks South Korea. Katey Williams: French immersion in Angers. Luke Wu: Waseda University Exchange. Madison Zbinden: Copenhagen.  —By Kavita Battan, Division of Global Engagement Student Life

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  • Government walks back rule change on international students

    First posted on Around the O on July 14, 2020. The Trump administration has abandoned a plan that would have limited the ability of international students to study in the U.S., just days after the University of Oregon and 19 other schools filed a federal lawsuit challenging the move. The reversal helped resolve another suit, filed earlier by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and seeking a preliminary injunction to block the change. The agreement reinstates an earlier policy in which the administration allowed international students to remain in the country when classes are moved entirely online to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Multiple lawsuits were filed after the administration rescinded that policy and said international students could not come to or remain in the U.S. if universities held all classes online. The UO was the lead plaintiff in one of those lawsuits, which was filed Monday, July 13, in U.S. District Court in Eugene. The suit sought a temporary restraining order against the proposed rule, issued on July 6 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security. The nationwide rule would have subjected students studying in the U.S. on educational visas to deportation should their studies pivot to remote-based instruction as a public health protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The suit challenged the federal agency’s action as arbitrary and capricious, alleging it was issued without even the most minimal attempt to address its consequences to hundreds of thousands of students and the thousands of colleges and universities that educate them. The Trump administration announced the shift earlier this month in a reversal of previous temporary guidance that had allowed international students’ education to not be disrupted by online education during the pandemic. The new rules would have forced international students to return to their home countries within 15 days if they are enrolled solely in classes taught online.

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  • UO experts submit recommendations on preparing for next pandemic to Senate HELP Committee

    On June 9, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released a white paper, entitled “Preparing for the Next Pandemic.”  The chairman called for feedback from the public on the five recommendations outlined in the paper. The area of focus are 1) tests, treatments, and vaccines; 2) disease surveillance; 3) stockpiles, distribution, and surges; 4) public health capabilities; and 5) coordination of federal agencies during a public health emergency. Researchers at the University of Oregon responded to this call. Several of the submittals emphasized the role of universities as part of preparations for the next pandemic. Public health capabilities and agency coordination: To improve state and local capacity to respond and improve coordination of federal agencies during a public health emergency, UO Chief Resilience Officer and Associate Vice President for Safety and Risk Services André Le Duc and Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE) Robert Parker, alongside the IPRE’s Co-Director of Research Benjamin Clark, provided their expertise to Congress. As the founder of the Disaster Resilient Universities® (DRU) Network, Le Duc submitted a letter conveying the contributions of the nation’s institutions of higher education (IHEs) in emergency management at the local, state, and federal level. As a leader in the development of community and organizational resilience, Le Duc brought together the DRU Network and the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) in 2015 to conduct the first national needs assessment of emergency management programs at IHEs in the United States. The assessment produced five recommendations, which Le Duc urged Congress to adopt. For Le Duc, “[t]his interdisciplinary approach to campus risk management, public safety, and emergency preparedness is simple and effective; it leverages our key asset, our people, by connecting and unifying knowledge, skills, and technical assistance to address ever-changing vulnerabilities at universities and colleges.” Through their work with the IPRE, Parker and Clark wrote a letter encouraging Congress to support a number of programs and policies to assist the country in a more rapid recovery and a more resilient future, including massive investments in testing and tracing and investments in coordination of the economic recovery by increasing support for regional resiliency coordination bodies, regional business recovery centers, Economic Development Administration (EDA) university centers for economic development, and AmeriCorps.

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  • UO leads suit to block ICE international student rules

    Update: The guidance was rescinded by the federal government on July 14. The University of Oregon is the lead plaintiff in a coalition of 20 of the top institutions in the West in a suit asking the federal courts to prevent the government from revoking visas of international students whose studies will be entirely online in the fall. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene on Monday, July 13, seeks a temporary restraining order against the proposed rule issued on July 6 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security. The nationwide rule would subject students studying in the U.S. on educational visas to deportation should their studies pivot to remote-based instruction as a public health protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. The suit challenges the federal agency’s action as arbitrary and capricious, alleging it was issued without even the most minimal attempt to address its consequences to hundreds of thousands of students and the thousands of colleges and universities that educate them. The coalition joins Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California system and Johns Hopkins University, which have also filed litigation to block the action. The coalition in University of Oregon v. Department of Homeland Security is represented by Gibson Dunn, and Crutcher, the legal team that successfully defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the United States Supreme Court in a decision issued last month. UO President Michael H. Schill said he hopes the courts will move quickly to block the action and provide more certainty to international students who face disruption, financial harm and incredible stress. “This new guidance is cruel, unfair and misguided,” Schill said. “It targets one population for sudden exclusion if a university makes decisions for safety to move instruction online. It has no sound justification in health or educational policy. Unless blocked by the courts, it will cause devastating disruption to the educational and research experience of University of Oregon international students already in the United States, as well as those looking to come to the UO.” The Trump administration announced the new guidance earlier this month in a reversal of previous temporary guidance that has allowed international students’ education to not be disrupted by online education during the pandemic. The new rules would force international students to return to their home countries within 15 days if they are enrolled solely in classes taught online. “The government’s reckless and arbitrary action not only harms these students, but also robs institutions of higher education of the autonomy and flexibility to adapt models of instruction to meet the urgent needs posed by a global pandemic,” members of the coalition said in a written statement. In the suit, UO Dean and Vice Provost for Global Engagement Dennis Galvan provided a declaration outlining how the “significant, immediate, and irreparable negative impacts on University of Oregon students and the University of Oregon as an institution” would suffer if the government adopts the ICE rules. Galvan said he has already heard from many international students experiencing extraordinary stress. That comes on top of the shared pressure of the pandemic and global efforts to grapple, again, with racial justice. “International students are vital to our success in research, teaching, and building diverse and inclusive communities,” Galvan wrote. “Whether they are studying in-person or remotely, international students provide a significant source of diversity to our community and global connections that are valuable to everyone. We are pursuing this case because all international students studying in this country deserve the right to continue their education without risk of deportation.” The UO had 1,871 international undergraduate and graduate students at the institution last year. International students also make up a portion of graduate students who also contribute to teaching and research at the university. The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation spoke out against the guidance and urged the UO to support international students. In a statement, GTFF local 3544 said it welcomes the role the UO is taking. “This change to SEVP is fueled by xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment with complete disregard for the sacrifices many international students make to study in the U.S.,” the statement said. “International students make irreplaceable contributions to UO’s academic community through their participation in classroom discussions, their original and groundbreaking research and publications, and their work in the classroom as instructors. Our community is enriched by their presence every day.” Since the federal government announced the intent to create new ICE rules, the UO has been working with the Oregon congressional delegation and national associations of higher education to reverse the ICE guidance. To date, five of Oregon’s seven members of Congress have signed letters to Homeland Security asking that the guidance be reversed. The UO also has joined with other institutions of higher education in asking congressional leaders to codify the flexibility granted in March if government does not withdraw its guidance. The universities in the coalition are the University of Southern California, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Northern Arizona University, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Santa Clara University, Scripps College, Seattle University, Stanford University, St. Mary’s College of California, University of Arizona, University of the Pacific, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco and University of Utah. —By Jennifer Winters, University Communications

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  • Grant will bring online science lessons to elementary students

    First published in Around the O on July 6, 2020. UO researchers will develop and evaluate a web-based science curriculum for elementary school students to supplement their in-class science learning as part of a project financed by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Project ESCOLAR, for Effective Scholastic Curriculum for Online Learning and Academic Results, will create and test online, multimedia lessons for grades three through five. The lessons will align with national standards for what upper elementary students are expected to know about science. “The goal of ESCOLAR is to deliver an online program that students can use to learn and apply science efficiently and effectively,” said Fatima Terrazas Arellanes, a research assistant professor in the UO College of Education. “Our units will be designed for the classroom and for remote learning, with students guided by teachers or parents.” Project ESCOLAR is guided by principal investigators Terrazas Arellanes and Alejandro Gallard of Southern Georgia University. Their team includes a research methodologist, science curriculum developers, a content editor, programmers, graphic designers and an external evaluator. The project builds on the research team’s previously successful online science curriculum for middle school students. The ESCOLAR approach offers students more than a digital textbook; it incorporates interactive tools and authentic science projects that have been shown to enhance and support student learning. “With the new funding, we will be able to adapt, evaluate and refine nine online science units to improve academic achievement of students studying science in upper elementary school, especially those who may struggle, such as English language learners or students with learning disabilities,” Terrazas Arellanes said.

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  • Bonamici and Select Committee announce comprehensive climate action plan

    After over a year of hearings, meetings, and briefings, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis produced a comprehensive report on June 30, 2020: “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), the only committee member from the Pacific Northwest, highlighted the contributions of Oregonians to the Climate Action Plan on the House floor and during a press conference for the Select Committee.   Contributors from the University of Oregon who shared their expertise with the Select Committee include the Oregon Law Environmental Policy Practicum, Sustainable Cities Institute, and Tribal Climate Change Project. UO law students presented findings to committee staff in fall 2019. According to the report, the Select Committee’s climate action framework outlines ambitious and achievable policies to grow the economy and put Americans back to work in clean energy jobs, protect the health of Americans by reducing emissions and toxic pollutants, make communities more resilient so they can withstand the effects of climate change, and protect America’s lands, waters, ocean, and wildlife for the next generation. An independent analysis and modeling found that implementing the plan would: reduce net overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent below 2010 levels in 2030, and 88 percent below 2010 levels in 2050; provide nearly $8 trillion in cumulative climate and health benefits through 2050; and avoid 62,000 premature deaths annually by 2050. On Wednesday, July 8 from 2-3pm PT, Congresswoman Bonamici is hosting an Oregon Kick-Off for Climate Action Webinar to discuss and answer questions on the Climate Action Plan. The Congresswoman is being joined by Don Sampson from the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Evelyn Shapiro from the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and George Waldbusser from Oregon State University to discuss the imperative for climate action now.

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  • Recap: 2020 Oregon Legislature First Special Session

    In an effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide calls for police reform, Governor Kate Brown convened the Oregon Legislature for the 2020 First Special Session on Wednesday, June 24. The Capitol Building was closed to the public to allow for social distancing, almost all lawmakers wore masks, committee meetings were held virtually, and public testimony was received in written form and via phone in an attempt to prevent any potential transmission of the coronavirus. The Senate and House chamber sessions and all committee meetings from the special session can be viewed here. On Friday, June 26, the Legislature ended their three-day sprint having passed a total of 26 bills relating to police reform, COVID-19, and an assortment of issues left unaddressed after the previous session’s “walkout.” Police Reform: Measures relating to police reform invoked a consensus among lawmakers unlike any in recent memory, and of the six measures passed, four began with the declaration “Black Lives Matter.”   First, the Legislature established the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform (HB 4201). The committee is tasked with examining policies that increase transparency and reduce the prevalence of injury or death in use of force, as well as determining the most appropriate policy for independent review of the use of deadly force. Senator James Manning Jr. (D-Eugene) and Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Portland) will co-chair the committee. Additionally, specific uses of force by law enforcement agencies–including chokeholds and tear gas–will face new limitations, falling short of the calls to ban these practices, but hailed by lawmakers as a step in the right direction. Effective immediately, chokeholds (HB 4203) may only be used by police if deadly force would have otherwise been justified, and the use of tear gas (HB 4208) in the state may be used only to disperse “riots,” as defined under Oregon law. Further, police officers witnessing misconduct by their fellow officers will now have a duty to intervene (HB 4205).   Oregon will also begin publishing a statewide online database of officer suspensions and revocations (HB 4207) to ensure allegations of misconduct are not shielded from the public. Finally, the Legislature passed a measure addressing the arbitration process (SB 1604), in an attempt to curb the likelihood of an arbitrator reducing or overturning discipline decisions by Oregon police agencies. COVID-19 pandemic: The Legislature passed a sweeping omnibus bill (HB 4212), allowing for virtual public meetings, authorizing the Chief Justice to extend certain statutory deadlines relating to court proceedings, prohibiting the garnishment of CARES Act funding in most situations, and requiring health care providers to collect race and ethnicity data relating to the coronavirus, among other provisions. The Legislature also extended the state’s eviction moratorium (HB 4213) and passed a companion measure establishing temporary limitations on foreclosures (HB 4204) to protect Oregonians from eviction and foreclosure through September 30, 2020. Other measures passed include an extension of an existing tax on landline phones to cellphone providers, allocating up to $5 million per year toward rural broadband services (SB 1603) and a forest management bill (SB 1602) restricting the use of aerial pesticides.  What’s next? Notably missing from the special session was legislation addressing the state’s $2.7 billion budget shortfall as a result of COVID-19. Governor Brown plans to convene a second special session later this summer in the hopes that Congress will take further action and provide states with additional federal support.   The 80th Oregon Legislative Assembly adjourned sine die on June 26, 2020.

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  • RISE Act to provide cost extensions introduced, DeFazio co-sponsors

    June 30, 2020 04:38 pm On June 24 a bi-partisan group of members of the House sponsored HR 7308, the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act. The bill authorizes approximately $26 billion in emergency appropriations and would provide critical research relief to university researchers who have been impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The legislation, if enacted, would allow federal agencies to fund cost extensions to research grants, permitting graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators, technical support staff and other research personnel to continue to receive salary support while research activities have been slowed or halted. U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was among the first ten members of the House to co-sponsor the bill. Other sponsors include Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-O), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). A drive is on to collect enough co-sponsors that the bill could be placed on the consent calendar. More than 250 higher education, research, industry groups and associations have endorsed the RISE Act, including the University of Oregon. In a letter to the Senate leadership, the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the American Council on Education (ACE), wrote, “Scientists have been doing what they can to move projects forward remotely, but with many researchers unable to work in their labs and fields during the pandemic, emergency relief funds are urgently needed at the federal research agencies to extend the duration of research projects and ensure the objectives of these federal research investments that have already been made are met.” 

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  • Supreme Court blocks attempt to rescind DACA

    June 19, 2020 04:18 pm Our DREAMERS are here to stay. On Thursday, June 18 the United States Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 vote, that the executive order by the Administration to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was unlawful. This ruling allows, at least temporarily, the continuation of DACA. While it is possible the Trump Administration could more closely follow the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, this effort would take time and most DACA recipients will likely remain protected into the next administration. DACA, initiated by President Obama in 2012, allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to have temporary permission to stay and obtain work permits and/or enroll in college. Approximately 216,000 DACA-eligible immigrants are currently enrolled in higher education across the country. The program only shields those people from deportation who were brought to the United States before 2007 when they were younger than age 16. UO President Michael H. Schill issued a statement expressing his gratitude to the Supreme Court for blocking efforts to shut down DACA, which has helped countless young immigrants in Oregon and across our nation. He noted that at a time when society is painfully grappling with disparities in access to opportunity caused by historic and systemic racism, we need programs like DACA now more than ever. The UO DREAMERS Work Group, comprised of faculty, staff and students dedicated to promoting an undocumented-friendly environment and improving the experiences of Dreamer students at the UO, issued a statement that said: “For months, students at the University of Oregon, like other DACA recipients across the state and the country, waited in limbo for the SCOTUS decision, which would determine their ability to continue and complete their educations and pursue their chosen careers….Today’s ruling impacts nearly 10,000 DACA recipients in the state of Oregon, among nearly ¾ of a million nationwide. For many UO students, the ruling provides temporary relief after a long period of anxiety and uncertainty.”  Oregon Governor Kate Brown lauded the decision as well, affirming that Oregon will always be a welcoming, safe place for all and that Oregon is a sanctuary state that prevents enforcement of federal immigration law.

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