Latest news from the UO

  • Lawmakers fund renovations of University and Villard halls

    This article first appeared in Around the O on June 30. The Oregon Legislature approved funding for the University of Oregon’s capital construction request before closing out the 2021 legislative session. The Heritage Project will receive $58.5 million in bond funding to renovate University and Villard Halls, the UO’s two founding buildings that together make up one of only 17 National Historic Landmarks in Oregon. The buildings are more than 150 years old, and the funding will cover updated accessibility to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, improved and more efficient heating and cooling systems, modern classrooms, and essential seismic upgrades. Current and former UO students and faculty members who have taken classes or taught in the buildings shared concerns about interior conditions with legislators as they considered the capital construction funding request. Advocates shared phrases like “miserable places to be in cold or hot weather” and “upgrades are needed to match other facilities on campus.” “We are thrilled that this funding has been secured and we can update these two historical buildings to better serve our students, faculty and staff,” said Christine Thompson, UO’s director of campus planning. “We will take the next few months to work out the logistics and prepare for project initiation in the fall.” As part of the renovation, the university will consider ways to contextualize the building’s history of University Hall, which was renamed last year as part of the effort to remove names associated with racist beliefs or history. The Heritage Project is anticipated to be completed by 2025.

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  • UO faculty meet with Bonamici, Bentz to advocate for NSF funding

    July 1, 2021 10:27 am   In late June, a number of UO faculty, led by Interim VP for Research Cass Moseley, met virtually with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-OR) and encouraged them to support at least $10 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) during the FY22 appropriations cycle. The meetings were part of the Coalition for National Science Funding advocacy effort to stress the importance of NSF funding as Congress considers the NSF for the Future Act. Faculty whose NSF-funded research that has an impact on constituents in the districts each member represents in Congress joined the meetings. Laura Pulido, professor, Department of Indigenous Race, and Ethnic Studies and Department of Geography, Diego Melgar, assistant professor, Department and Earth Sciences, and Lucas Silva, associate professor, Department of Environmental Studies and Department of Geography, met with Congresswoman Bonamici. Joining Moseley, Melgar, and Silva in the meeting with Congressman Bentz was Ben Clarke, associate professor, School of Psychology Program, College of Education. As part of the visits, UO leaders shared a fact sheet about the impact of NSF funding at the UO and around the state of Oregon. In FY2020, UO researchers received $20.5 million in NSF awards. Current faculty research is being funded by 184 active NSF grants, including four early career awards. The fact sheet also shares some examples of how NSF funding supports faculty and prepares future science teachers. On June 28, the House passed the NSF for the Future Act (H.R. 2225) by a bipartisan vote of 345-67. The bill provides strong five-year funding authorization levels for NSF and creates a new directorate to support use-inspired research and commercialization efforts. Both Congresswoman Bonamici and Congressman Bentz voted in support of the legislation. The House and Senate will now need to work together to negotiate differences between this bill and the U.S. innovation and Competition Act (S.1260) recently passed by the Senate.

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  • Legislature ends session with gains for higher education

    The Oregon Legislature has wrapped up its 2021 session after making some important investments in higher education. Lawmakers approved a requested $900 million for the Public University Support Fund, $703 million for the Community College Support Fund, and an increase for the Oregon Opportunity Grant. “The increased funding for public universities will provide much-needed financial stability for the university,” said Hans Bernard, associate vice president for state affairs. “The UO still faces significant financial uncertainty associated with enrollment, and the state funding provided by the Legislature is critical to the university moving forward post-pandemic.” In addition to increasing operating funds for public universities and community colleges, lawmakers also boosted funding and passed legislation to address access and affordability for students at the UO. Highlights include: $200 million for the Oregon Opportunity Grant — the state’s main need-based aid program for college and university students — a $28.8 million increase. Approval of a basic needs navigator bill, which requires and funds a benefits navigator position on every university and college campus to help students determine eligibility and apply for federal, state and local benefits programs, such as food and housing assistance grants. Approval of a course material/textbook transparency bill, which requires each public university and community college to display the total cost of all required course materials and fees for no less than 75 percent of total courses offered beginning in 2022-23. “When we began planning for this session the state faced significant financial uncertainty, and we were preparing for cuts,” UO President Michael H. Schill said. “Improving revenues, and lawmakers’ commitment to the UO and our students, resulted in investments in higher education that will be crucial as we return to in-person instruction this fall. We are grateful that Oregon lawmakers continue to protect and improve funding for the University of Oregon.” The work of the Legislature focused on responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, addressing issues of systemic racial and wealth inequity, wildfire recovery and mitigation, and balancing a budget. The session was conducted in a Capitol building closed to the public, with hearings occurring remotely and all participation by members of the public and lobbyists taking place virtually. Stronger than expected state revenue collections and a large influx of funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act also allowed the Legislature to make significant investments in housing, behavioral health, wildfire policy and recovery. Lawmakers are scheduled to convene again for one week in September to consider a legislative redistricting plan that was delayed because of the effect COVID-19 had on the national census. The next regular session of the Oregon Legislature will begin in February 2022.

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  • Readers respond: Financial aid crucial to Oregon students

    First published in The Oregonian on June 15, 2021. By Thomas Stewart, Eugene As a veteran, corporate investor, proud graduate and former trustee of the University of Oregon, I hope the Oregon Legislature will secure our state’s present and future well-being by expanding the Oregon Opportunity Grant. Investing in student financial aid is the key to our state’s recovery and long-term prosperity. I speak from experience. I participated in ROTC at UO in the early ’70s and received my bachelor’s degree in 1974. I benefited from small scholarships and grants, work-study programs and loans. Without Oregon financial aid, I would never have graduated. This assistance was invaluable to my future success. I would go on to become a Navy commander, an executive director at Morgan Stanley, and a trustee and currently chairman of the investment committee for the largest charitable organization in the U.S. I’m proof of the dividends the Opportunity Grant Program can produce. As an alumnus, I care deeply about ensuring that all Oregon students have these same advantages. But it’s not just about our students; it’s about the future of our state and our nation. World-class corporations need workers with a world-class education, and we’ll never be able to cultivate them in Oregon if we don’t invest in the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon’s main need-based financial aid program. When I was a struggling undergraduate, financial aid was the wind beneath my wings. It must be made available to students today. Send this message to legislators: Invest in our world-class future by investing in financial aid.  

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  • Opinion: It's time to invest in opportunity

    First published in The Register Guard on June 13, 2021. By Jim Brooks and Timothy Withrow   The pandemic has exacerbated and shed light on inequities that plague our society. From health care to employment, we’ve seen the ways in which BIPOC, lower- and middle-income and rural Oregonians struggle. One of the areas where gaps have been most pronounced is higher education. Lawmakers might be tempted to think the funding students are receiving through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds addresses these needs, but the reality is that funding is going to help students keep food on the table, pay utility bills and otherwise get through the pandemic — doing little to address long-term financial aid needs. That’s why we’re writing jointly, as a first-generation college student and Oregon Opportunity Grant recipient and a financial aid administrator who was also a first-generation college student, in support of meaningful state investments in resources for students. Our state’s equitable future and recovery from the pandemic depend on it. It’s time to expand the Oregon Opportunity Grant and double the Federal Pell Grant. As a student, I know the cost of higher education plays an outsized role in the decisions students make. These decisions include whether to buy textbooks or pay rent, or to take a chance on an unpaid internship. As a volunteer at the Student Food Pantry, I saw classmates, professors, parents, students of color, immigrants and community members visit to avoid going hungry — a fragile balancing act consisting of many competing stressors. Between providing for one's family, paying tuition and a litany of other structural and financial barriers, for many underrepresented, rural and low-income students the dream of higher education doesn’t seem attainable. This is a shame, as I can honestly say that my time at the UO has been a transformative experience for which I will be forever grateful. A college degree is worth so much more than the cost of attendance, and that is why it’s crucial for Oregon to prioritize expanded funding for the Opportunity Grant. As a financial aid administrator who has worked in other states, I know these experiences aren’t unique to Oregon. In a national survey, 62% of community college students and 51% of university students were food or housing insecure, and this was more prevalent among former foster youth, underrepresented students of color and first-generation students. Everyday my team works with struggling students. They work multiple jobs, sometimes sacrificing course loads and extending their time to graduation, in order to pay for school and cover living expenses. Despite the challenges students face today, state and federal financial aid programs come up short, leaving Oregon students with more debt and fewer resources to complete a degree. Oregon students graduate from four-year institutions with more debt, on average, than peers in other Western states, and this debt load has increased in the last decade. For the 2018 academic year, 44% of Oregon students were unable to meet expenses with expected resources. The percentage of students who aren’t able to meet expenses is a byproduct of financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant and our state’s Opportunity Grant, being under-funded and not keeping up with the cost of college. Perhaps the most prominent example, Pell Grants, are the federal government's main tool for helping lower-income students afford college, but the program hasn’t kept up with costs. In 1980, Pell Grants covered more than 75% of the cost to attend a four-year public university. Today the maximum award covers only 28%. The Oregon Opportunity Grant helps some students, but not enough, make up this gap. The grant offers lower-income students funding beginning with the students who have the lowest expected family contributions. In a typical year, more than two-thirds of Oregon’s filers have financial need, but due to funding limitations, not all students receive awards. This means every year a large segment of Pell-eligible students don’t qualify for an Opportunity Grant. During the 2019-20 school year approximately 33,000 students received an Oregon Opportunity Grant while 64,000 students received a Pell grant. It’s time to restore opportunity for Oregon students. We’re unlikely to see the Pell Grant doubled this year, but we hope the Oregon Legislature will recognize the importance of this investment and make a down-payment by expanding the Oregon Opportunity Grant this session.

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  • Presidential fellowships honor faculty in the arts and humanities

    First published in Around the O on June 4, 2021. Sixteen UO faculty members are being honored with the Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies for their contributions to the arts and humanities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Arts and Sciences is recognizing and celebrating both the 2020 and 2021 fellows together. Recipients are “highly productive or highly promising tenure-track faculty working in humanistic areas.” The awards are open to tenure-track faculty members in any school, college or department. The $13,000 awards can fund travel, research assistance, copy editing, equipment and other research needs or can be put toward summer or sabbatical salary.  Except where otherwise noted, the listed recipients are in the College of Arts and Sciences. The 2021 Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies went to:  Stacy Alaimo, professor of English and environmental studies. Nina Amstutz, assistant professor of history of art and architecture, College of Design. Gabriela Pérez Báez, associate professor of linguistics.  Erin McKenna, professor of philosophy. Bryna Goodman, professor of history.  Sylvan Lionni, assistant professor of art, College of Design.  The 2020 Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies went to:  Carlos Aguirre, professor of history.  Geri Doran, professor of creative writing.  Gina Herrmann, professor of Spanish.  Wonkak Kim, assistant professor of clarinet, School of Music and Dance.  Anya Kivarkis, associate professor of jewelry and metalsmithing art, College of Design.  Tres Pyle, professor of English.  Scott Pratt, professor of philosophy.  Glynne Walley, associate professor of Japanese literature.  Zachary Wallmark, assistant professor of musicology, School of Music and Dance.  Julie Weise, associate professor of history.   For the past three years, the Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies have celebrated the innovation of top artists and scholars in the arts and humanities across the University of Oregon. The awards were developed in 2019 by Karen Ford, then divisional dean for the humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, in conversation with President Michael H. Schill.  “President Schill was eager to recognize and reward highly distinguished artists and humanists at UO, and we decided to offer an award that provided significant support that could be used flexibly,” Ford said.  Laura Vandenburgh, director of the School of Art + Design and associate dean for the College of Design, said the criteria for the fellowships are rigorous, requiring candidates to articulate the conception and definition of the project, explain its significance, methodology and anticipated impact, and give evidence of their record of excellence.  Vandenburgh said the recipients are faculty members who can make their projects sound compelling and significant to the selection committee and who can demonstrate a strong record of productivity and success.  “The fact that these awards include the arts has been so valuable because there aren’t many opportunities or big grants available to arts and humanities faculty,” Vandenburgh said. “Different kinds of creative practice and research require different kinds of support, so the flexibility that these awards offer is really unique. As a reviewer, it’s been a privilege to learn more about the exceptional work that’s going on across our campus.”  The continuation of the funding for the awards is being reviewed this spring as the selection committee — Vandenburgh; Karen Ford, dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences; Paul Peppis, professor of English; Stephen Rodgers, professor of music; Philip Scher, divisional dean for social science in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Harry Wonham, divisional dean for humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences — develop a proposal for sustaining the award program into the future.  —By Victoria Sanchez, University Communications

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  • UO ranks second in the nation for Gilman Scholarships

    First published in Around the O on June 2, 2021. Thirty University of Oregon students have been named as recipients of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, shattering the school record for selections in one year and pushing the university to No. 2 in the overall 2021 national rankings. The Gilman scholarship is one of the most competitive national scholarships, funding study and internship abroad opportunities for undergraduate students. Its goal is to make opportunities accessible for all students, but especially those who come from underrepresented groups and have high financial need. Gilman offers awards up to $5,000 for undergraduate students who are currently receiving federal Pell grants. “We are deeply committed to all UO students getting a global education, and finances should not be an obstacle,” said Dennis Galvan, dean and vice provost for the Division of Global Engagement. “The Gilman awards open wonderful opportunities for students to have access to that experience.” Two of the students, Chester Mantel and Leighanna Huston, also were chosen for the highly competitive Critical Need Language Award, a supplemental award of up to $3,000 for Gilman scholarship recipients who are studying languages that are important to U.S. national security. UO reached the No. 2 spot for universities across the nation with Gilman recipients. The University of Notre Dame edged out UO to finish in the top spot with 36 award winners. Galvan emphasized the importance of global education as a transformative and empowering experience. Studying abroad allows students to reflect on their place in the world, gain cross-cultural sensitivity and become career ready, he said. Global Education Oregon, or GEO, the study abroad-focused unit in the Division of Global Engagement, offers approximately 300 programs in more than 90 countries. “To be one of the universities with the highest number of recipients is a truly wonderful achievement,” said Luis Ruiz, GEO’s assistant director for analytics and student success. “It speaks to the excellent work that our remarkable students put forth in pursing a global education.” Last year, UO set a record when 25 students received Gilman scholarships, Ruiz said. He added that the national acceptance rate for the Gilman Scholarship is roughly 23 percent. For the current 2021 application cycle, 86 percent of UO students were accepted. Avery Smith, a second-year environmental science student, credits GEO and UO faculty with helping make her dream of visiting Japan a reality. “I always had the idea of going abroad to Japan in the back of my mind, but I never thought it could actually happen,” said Smith. “Japanese language and culture turned into something more than just a fun class to take, and the Gilman Scholarship allows me to explore that path even further.” The Gilman made the opportunity of an internship in Barcelona possible for fourth-year public relations student Elizabeth Salathe. “Not only will I achieve my dreams of furthering my career abroad, but it also allowed me, a first-generation college student, to inspire others with similar backgrounds,” Salathe said. The 2021 Gilman Scholarship recipients, their majors and programs are: Enam Albustami, junior, political science, CIEE: Advanced Arabic in Amman. Nelson Aricha, junior, general social science, GlobalWorks Internship in France. Mariah Botkin, junior, journalism and comparative literature, cross-border interviewing and story development in Spain. Sedonah Breech, senior, interior architecture, DIS: Copenhagen. Britney Cao, junior, product design, GlobalWorks Internship in Japan. Rui Chen, junior, accounting, GlobalWorks Internship in Japan. Chelbi Cook, sophomore, biochemistry, arctic studies in Svalbard. Alayna Elggren, junior, women, gender and sexuality studies, French immersion in Angers. Delilah Galli, junior, Spanish and global studies, virtual internship in Bolivia. Kimberly Gaw, sophomore, advertising, art history in London. Sean Gley, junior, Spanish and family and human services, Spanish language and culture in Segovia. Adriana Grant, junior, political science and sociology, politics in London. Ramon Hernandez, junior, journalism and political science, IE3: Baden-Wurttemberg Exchange. Leighanna Huston, junior, Spanish, Nagoya University Exchange. Chester Mantel, sophomore, physics and mathematics, Summer Chinese Flagship Program in Taiwan. Rubby Marquez Tellez, junior, Spanish and advertising, Hispanic Heritage in Oviedo. Mallory McGowan, junior, business administration, wine marketing in Italy. Jennifer Mendez, junior, advertising and public relations, Spanish language and culture in Segovia. Kenny Nguyen, junior, computer and information science, GlobalWorks Internship in Japan. Kazia Nowina-Sapinski, junior, political science, IE3: Lyon Exchange. Wendy Palafox-Arceo, junior, psychology and Spanish, psychology in Barcelona. Sophie Rowan, junior, art and technology, GlobalWorks Internship in France. Elizabeth Salathe, senior, public relations, GlobalWorks Internship in Spain. Avery Smith, sophomore, environmental science, Senshu University Exchange. Skee Springman, junior, public relations, GlobalWorks Internship in Japan. Xitlali Torres, junior, planning, public policy and management, Spanish language in Oviedo. Lily Valenta, sophomore, global studies, IE3: Lyon Exchange. Jalon Watts, junior, cinema studies, cinema studies in Dublin. Olivia Wilkinson, junior, history and folklore and public culture, USAC: Irish cultural studies in Galway. McKenna Williams, freshman, anthropology, archaeology in Palau. In order for the funds to be disbursed, students must be traveling to a country that is categorized by the U.S. State Department travel advisory as risk level 1 or level 2 by the program start date. If the country is at risk level 3 or level 4, students can adjust to a virtual program, or modify their start date, as long as the program begins by April 30, 2022. —By Kaitlyn Jimenez, University Communications

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  • New School of Global Studies and Languages is approved

    First published in Around the O on June 1, 2021. The College of Arts and Sciences will introduce the new School of Global Studies and Languages this fall. The University Senate approved the school at the end of April. The school will bring together roughly 100 core faculty members across four language and literature departments, five area studies programs, the Yamada Language Center, and the Global Studies department.   The school is premised on the idea that the opportunities of the 21st century are most accessible through the skills and knowledge of diverse languages, histories, cultures and traditions. The UO is already ranked as one of the top universities in the nation to study languages, with both Chinese and Japanese language degrees ranking at No. 4 in the nation for 2019 annual degrees, and Spanish language degrees at No. 6 in the nation. The school aims to train tomorrow’s global leaders holistically, while offering pathways for students to be successful in their global careers.  “Over the past year, faculty have worked very hard to envision a school where our existing strengths are the foundation for an innovative curriculum that will attract students to the UO for the unique education and training we will provide them as future global leaders,” said Bruce Blonigen, Tykeson Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.   The school will debut a cutting-edge global studies major and introduce new, interdisciplinary courses taught by paired humanities and social sciences faculty members. It also plans to partner with other College of Arts and Sciences departments, as well as UO professional schools, to offer career pathways for students to major or minor in languages, global studies and professional degrees.  Through experiential learning programs, new ways to study languages and apply them outside of the classroom, and improved support services to guide students towards postgraduate careers, the school will be the hub for global careers and language learning at the UO.  “The other 95 percent of humanity has a great deal to teach us. We must all work together to ensure the health of the planet, of its people, and of its political, economic, social, technological and ecological systems,” said Ian McNeely, professor of history and co-chair of the school’s faculty steering committee. “Building a career, building a life, will depend on that insight even more in future decades. That’s why the new school will be so significant for current and future students looking to step into a global career.” Building from the global studies major, McNeely explains, the school will offer a multitude of fascinating courses and useful degree programs, and the chance to learn from faculty members and fellow students with a passion for languages, cultures and global challenges. Students will apply their knowledge and skills beyond campus through local internships in Eugene, experiential learning opportunities across the U.S., and studying and working in other countries during their time at the UO.  Students of the new school can expect a student-centered curriculum that combines the humanities and social sciences along with critical language learning. The school will also offer career-appropriate, professional pathways into global careers in such areas as health, foreign policy, environment and development work that will allow students to translate foundational skills in the liberal arts and social sciences directly into their personal and professional futures.   “Currently, students have a lot of opportunities to study and work in international contexts,” said David Wacks, head of romance languages and the other co-chair of the steering committee. “The School of Global Studies and Languages will bring together all these opportunities in one place and focus on connecting students with multiple opportunities to learn languages, study and work internationally, enroll in community-engaged coursework, study abroad, and global studies keystone experiences such as residency in the Global Scholars Academic Residential Community.”   Community engagement and hands-on learning will be major components of the school and will be integrated across its curriculum in both majors and minors. Students will have the opportunity to conduct globally focused research while completing a thesis project, and capstone courses will center on global community engagement.  Students will connect coursework in languages and global studies with local businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and community organizations to make the most of their time in the school.  An emphasis on immersive language study will also be a major facet of the new school, whether studying in the U.S. or abroad. Immersion in a language — hearing it and speaking it every day — is widely viewed as the most effective way to learn a language and is a direct pathway to professional proficiency in a language. The school will coordinate with study abroad programs in Global Education Oregon to connect students with global opportunities to immerse themselves in another language. The new school also will support current scholarship through global forum research talks where faculty members and graduate students present their scholarship in a research seminar series. The school plans to explore the creation of curriculum in graduate education and the development of professional master’s programs and specializations in global careers. Friendly Hall will be the new home of the school, with renovations to create more student-friendly spaces to come.           —By Victoria Sanchez, University Communications

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  • SOJC team brings awareness to harsh juvenile sentencing

    First published in Around the O on May 27, 2021. A University of Oregon researcher is working with students and alumni to produce a short documentary and podcast series exploring inequities in the nation’s judicial system that drive incarceration rates in communities of color. Ed Madison, an associate professor in the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication, is leading the project, which is being produced in partnership with Oregon Public Broadcasting. It grew out of a finding that Black youth in the United States are five times more likely to be incarcerated than white youth, according to figures compiled by The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based incarceration advocacy agency. “Public Plea” tells the stories of several Black juveniles caught up in Oregon’s Measure 11. Both the film and the podcast follow the men, who have been incarcerated since their mid-teens and are now in their early 20s. Once they turn 25, they will age out of youth protection and may be forced to continue the rest of their sentences in adult prison. “The important thing to understand is that the juvenile system and the adult system are very different systems,” Madison said. “In the juvenile system, they have community college, they teach trades. But because of the timing of these three men’s sentences, they run the risk of being sent to adult prison, which is a whole different world in terms of physical and mental danger.” Measure 11, approved by Oregon voters in 1994, created mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes with no possibility for review or a reduced sentence. The measure mandated that juveniles age 15 and older be tried as adults when charged with certain felonies. While recent legal reforms have eased the harsh sentencing for juveniles, they are not retroactive. Two of the men in the documentary are requesting clemency from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. The third is filing to have his charges reconsidered due to irregularities related to his case. Madison said he chose to center the documentary on the young men because Measure 11 disproportionately affects people of color, specifically Black men. He held a Zoom interview with the three men to see if they would be open to the idea of “Public Plea,” which began production in September 2020. The project looks at the issue from all perspectives and includes interviews with victims’ rights advocates and former district attorneys who oppose Measure 11 reforms. Defense attorneys, academics, youth services specialists, a criminologist, an Oregon senator and a state representative are also featured, along with Measure 11’s architect, Kevin Mannix. The “Public Plea” team is made up of Madison and several past and present UO undergraduate and graduate students. Madison and Jordan Bentz, a 2012 graduate, are the directors. Two 2020 graduates, Cecilia Brown and Jasmine Jackson, are videographers; Bryce Dole, also a 2020 grad, is the writer; Sararosa Davies, who also graduated in 2020, is the podcast producer; fellow 2020 graduate Denise Silfee is the photographer; and 2021 grad Jassy McKinley and Class of 2023 student Kate Jacques Prentice are the researchers. Jackson is also a production consultant, along with Sutton Raphael, a 2016 graduate. Davies said her experience as the podcast editor for the project has been fulfilling in lots of different ways, including working with different generations of School of Journalism and Communication alumni.  “I think the stories of our subjects and experts will stick with me long after the documentary and podcast are done,” she said. “Even though I haven't been present for the interviews, I have learned so much combing through the transcripts and listening to the audio." The documentary and podcast series are scheduled to be finished by September. Madison created a fundraiser with a goal of $10,000 to cover the cost of equipment rentals and motel stays for interviews and stipends for the students who are doing the most labor-intensive work, such as video editing. So far, the team has raised about half its goal. “The law was originally designed to address the most heinous, really horrible crimes, and over the years, more offenses were added to the list that are questionable as to whether or not a maximum minimum should be applied,” Madison said. “The intent of this series is to create awareness about these laws and how they affect certain communities more so than others.” —By Joanna Mann, School of Journalism and Communication

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