The 48th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) passed their first legislation of the school year. SGA unanimously passed a resolution to support Student Programming Council (SPC) utilizing EmoryCard technology to compile anonymized data at large events and unanimously appointed College junior Reuben Lack as the Elections Board Chair.
SGA President and College junior Jon Darby, who is also a member of SPC, spoke on behalf of SPC. He said the goal of the resolution was for SPC to gather demographic information about attendees in order to adapt programming to cater to under-served populations of the University.
According to Darby, SPC currently does not have the technology to ascertain event attendance demographics. The proposed resolution would allow SPC to use the ID numbers processed from the EmoryCard to compile data on division of enrollment, class year, whether a student lives on or off campus, ethnicity and gender. After the data is compiled, the ID numbers would be deleted and the demographic information would be sent back to SPC for their use.
The resolution states that anonymized data will only be compiled in events of 500 or more attendees.
Some members of the Legislature voiced their concerns about what SPC will do with this information and whether it will be used to effectively change programming.
Specifically, SGA School of Law Representative third-year law student JJ Gonzales asked why SPC wanted information about ethnicity and gender.
Darby responded that under-served populations of the University can be anyone, and the purpose of the data is to determine what those populations are.
Due to legislators’ concerns about students not wanting their information compiled, SGA added an amendment to the resolution where students have the option to opt out. The amendment was approved unanimously.
The resolution also stipulates that the data is published no later than three weeks after the event.
However, some members of the Legislature, like SGA Junior Representative and College junior Cam Williamson, were concerned that the language was not specific enough to ensure the data would be published. As a result, the Legislature also voted to amend the resolution to include that SPC must include the data they collected in their annual budget cycle report.
The Legislature also unanimously voted to amend the resolution to include all types of EmoryCard readers, including proximity readers (“tap-in” system) and magnetic strips (sliding system).
Some legislators also noted that SPC should be held accountable to ensure that the information is used productively to change programming.
Director of the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement and SGA Faculty Advisor Matt Garrett answered that expecting SPC to respond immediately to collected data is infeasible because events are planned many months in advance.
Thus, the third amendment of the resolution also stipulates that along with a report of the data in their budget report, SPC must also publish a narrative explaining how they intend to the responsive to the data in future events.
The third amendment was approved unanimously.
The Legislature unanimously approved the resolution to allow SPC to compile anonymized data at large events for future programming.
SGA also discussed Lack’s confirmation as the Elections Board Chief.
The Elections Board is a student advisory board that presides over University elections.
Lack said he has been serving as the Interim Elections Board Chair since May, and he has also served as the College Council (CC) Budget Chair and a CC Legislator in the past.
He was confirmed as Elections Board Chair unanimously.
—By Rupsha Basu, News Editor
Emory Hospital received its third American patient afflicted with the Ebola virus on Tuesday morning. The patient, whose name has not yet been released, was transported by air ambulance from West Africa and will be treated in the same isolation unit as the last two patients, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol.
According to Aneesh Mehta (‘99C, ‘06M), an infectious disease specialist treating the third patient, Emory Hospital is not allowed to disclose any personal information about the patient or details about the patient’s treatment. They are also not allowed to disclose what country in particular the patient arrived from.
However, CNN reported that the patient is a male U.S. citizen transferred from Sierra Leone and was seen walking into the facility with the assistance of another person.
As of now, Emory Hospital does not know whether it will receive any additional patients, but they are prepared to treat three patients at all times, Mehta said.
“We were fortunate in the circumstances to have plenty of notice,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Wheel reported that Brantly and Writebol were both discharged from Emory Hospital late last month after the patients showed no signs of the virus.
While there is no proven cure for Ebola, Emory Hospital administered an experimental treatment called ZMapp on Brantly and Writebol, although their recovery was not directly attributable to the treatment.
“We don’t know the impact of the experimental medication because it’s really hard to have data with only two patients,” Mehta said.
According to Mehta, he is not allowed to disclose what kind of treatment will be administered on the third patient due to confidentiality policies.
Also, experimental treatments can only be used on patients with the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consent from the patient.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed the current Ebola outbreak a humanitarian crisis. According to the WHO’s most recent data, the current outbreak has a 47 percent survival rate, which is higher than previous outbreaks. Thus far, the WHO has reported more than 4,200 cases since December.
The rapidity of the spread of the virus in West Africa can be attributed to its location on the border of several countries as well as lack of sufficient health care supplies such as IV fluids and equipment to monitor vital signs, Mehta said. He added that these basic facilities make a huge difference in treating the virus.
“We hope the attention brought by the third patient helps bring those resources to West Africa,” he said.
The process by which patients are transported back to the U.S. is very safe, according to Mehta. The air ambulance, which is a plane with a self-contained unit, is a controlled environment.
Additionally, in order for a U.S. citizen to return to the country after having contracted the virus — repatriation — he or she must get permission from the State Department. After this, the company the patient works for confers with the State Department to decide in which facility the patient will be treated.
While Emory is one of five facilities in the country to have unique capabilities in its isolation unit, Mehta emphasized that any tertiary care hospital in the country has the ability to treat Ebola patients.
“It doesn’t really require a facility like ours,” Mehta said. “Any hospital with the ability to do ‘contact and drop’ can treat someone with Ebola.”
As for Emory Hospital’s role in the future of the outbreak, Mehta says he hopes it can communicate its experience to the broader medical community.
Mehat concluded: “We also hope Emory’s role will be to make hospitals around the country and world feel safer [to treat Ebola].”
—By Rupsha Basu
The Division of Campus Life has expanded and reorganized a number of offices under the newly created Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement.
The changes are a result of the reorganization of these offices in order to meet the needs of the communities they serve, according to the Interim Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Michael Shutt, who until this year was the Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Life.
The Office of LGBT Life, the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services (OMPS), the Office of International Student Life and the Center for Women (CWE) now form the Diversity and Identity department, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair wrote in an email to the Wheel.
Previously, the CWE operated independently and was not included under the Division of Campus Life. The other three offices in the Center for Diversity & Inclusion were all under Campus Life.
“I’m very excited about the possibility of increasing the Center for Women’s collaborations with Campus Life and especially the offices under the Center for Diversity and Inclusion,” wrote Dona Yarbrough, Director of the CWE, in an email to the Wheel.
The Office of Community Partnerships, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and the Office of Student Leadership and Services now form the newly created Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement.
These changes will not affect the portion of the University’s endowment that is allotted to Campus Life.
“After a comprehensive review of our community building efforts, Campus Life realigned several offices to better leverage resources to support students and build community,” Nair said.
Before these changes, these offices operated independently under the Division of Campus Life. According to Shutt, the purpose of grouping them is to streamline the chain of command to facilitate collaborations among these organizations.
The new centers unite previously independent organizations.
Shutt said the Center for Diversity and Inclusion aims to pull together areas of campus that deal with identity-based work.
He also noted that although these groups do similar work, they come from a variety of backgrounds.
“We all have different histories and purposes and different experiences and skill sets and relationships,” he said.
Shutt added that the Center’s ongoing goals are to ensure that the needs of those groups who have been historically marginalized are met to the best of its ability.
Both Nair and Shutt referred to Campus Life’s “strategic planning process,” which refers to teams of people within Campus Life assessing what areas of the University need improvement.
According to Shutt, much of his work with the new initiative will be spent evaluating the best practices of each organization in Campus Life and ensuring these practices remain in the new vision. One of the ways in which Campus Life will employ the best practices is through listening sessions, during which students and faculty can voice concerns to Campus Life representatives.
Listening sessions have previously been employed by the University in other areas, such as the renovations for the Dobbs University Center (DUC), but not thus far in Campus Life.
“One thing you won’t see us doing is branding the Center for Diversity and Inclusion,” Shutt said, adding that this is because the Campus Life expansion is a constantly evolving process.
Shutt and Yarbrough both mentioned the necessity and simultaneous difficulty of change.
“Change makes everyone nervous because you don’t know what the outcome will be, but I’m excited to have the chance to dream new possibilities and develop better ways to meet the needs of women at Emory,” Yarbrough wrote.
Shutt also added that part of this change is in fostering more collaboration among the different areas of Campus Life that focuses on affirming identities. He noted that challenges Campus Life faces are in insuring that the needs of marginalized communities are met in a way that affirms their identities.
“It’s hard to learn about other people when we can’t be our authentic selves,” he said.
Nair also noted that the center seeks to advance polycultural and socially conscious communities by “honor[ing] the intersectionality of identities.”
“I’m really excited at this point in time,” Shutt said.
—By Rupsha Basu
While students were away this summer, Emory University hired a number of new officials to the University’s administration, including those who will oversee University finances and public relations.
The newly appointed administrators include: Jerry Lewis as senior vice president for communications and public affairs, Carol Kissal as vice president for finance/chief finance officer, Michael John Andrechak as the University’s first chief university budget officer, Mathwon Howard and Bill Kotti as associate vice presidents of the Division of Development and Alumni Relations and the Rev. Bridgette Young Ross as dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life.
Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
University President James W. Wagner announced the appointment of Jerry Lewis to the newly created position of senior vice president for communications and public affairs, according to a July 25 University press release.
Lewis previously served as vice president for communications at the University of Miami and most recently as vice president for communications at the University of Texas at Arlington, according to the press release.
Lewis said that initially, he was not actively searching for a job, but when the position at Emory was brought to his attention, it was something he wanted to pursue.
“It’s a dream job, and I’m humbled to be entrusted with it,” Lewis said.
Lewis said that his first priority in his new position will be to meet with members of the Emory community to get “a good sense of what’s important to them in terms of telling Emory’s story and enhancing the University’s brand.”
Lewis added that his overarching goal will always be to ensure that “Emory receives the recognition and prominence it so richly deserves.”
According to Lewis, Emory is now integrating communications, marketing, government relations and public affairs under one umbrella, a process that Lewis says “will require focus and attention to be sure we have the infrastructure and clarity of purpose that fully support and enhance Emory’s strategic priorities in these critical areas.”
Vice President for Finance/Chief Finance Officer
Former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Chief Financial Officer Carol Kissal has been appointed to the position of vice president for finance/chief finance officer at Emory University, according to an Aug. 22 University press release.
Kissal was selected following a national search that called upon input from Emory deans, faculty and staff, according to the press release.
Kissal noted that she believes the people at Emory are its most valuable asset, and they are what made Emory stand out in her mind.
“That is the kind of organization I wanted to be part of and the type of colleagues with whom I wanted to work,” Kissal said.
She added that her goals will work to further Emory’s mission.
“I will continue the stewardship of Emory Finance, further the communication between finance and business operations to reflect the value that can be brought in by making good decisions for the University, modernize systems and find ways to connect more to internal and external customers, students, faculty and the community,” Kissal said.
Kissal noted that she plans to work closely with human resources to continue the work for attracting, retaining and training the work force to build the skill set Emory needs for the future.
Chief University Budget Officer
Michael John Andrechak has been appointed to the position of chief university budget officer as part of “a multi-year management succession plan of outstanding, long-term financial leaders at Emory,” according to a May 1 University press release.
Andrechak previously served 30 years at the University of Illinois, where he most recently held the position of associate chancellor and vice provost for budgets and resource planning, according to the press release.
At Emory, Andrechak will work with other administrators to “help further advance Emory’s financial management structure over the next several years,” the report stated.
“Emory is one of the best universities in the nation, with great students and faculty and beautiful campuses,” Andrechak said. “Because of that, I had to take a serious look at the position when it became available.”
He noted that what really convinced him to join Emory’s administration was the quality of people he met during the interview process.
Andrechak added that he believes many institutions of higher education are currently facing challenges in this economic climate, such as funding the increasing cost of education technology and science research. But he noted that, “budget officers like me are problem solvers. We help ensure that the available resources are put to the best use to further the institution’s goals.”
Associate Vice Presidents of the Division of Development and Alumni Relations
Mathwon Howard and Bill Kotti have been appointed as the associate vice presidents of the Division of Development and Alumni Relations, according to an Aug. 18 University press release. Howard will begin on Sept. 15 and Kotti on Oct. 1.
The two have a combined 40 years of experience developing and fundraising and will assume roles that lead development in different parts of campus.
Howard will lead development for the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory Libraries and Information Technology, the Offices of Development Communications, Foundation and Corporate Relations and Gift Planning.
Kotti will lead the development of the College or Arts and Sciences, Oxford College, Goizueta Business School, the School of Law, Candler School of Theology, Laney Graduate School, Campus Life and Parent Philanthropy, according to the press release.
According to Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Susan Cruse, both Howard and Kotti hold impressive past records of fundraising success, she said in the press release.
The Division of Development and Alumni Relations handles gifts and donations to Emory University. According to its website, Emory receives a total endowment of $6 billion. Each school allocates its portion for research, scholarships and faculty recruitment, among others.
Howard and Kotti will be helping to raise money for immediate needs as well as to secure financial stability for their respective schools.
Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life
Emory University has appointed the Rev. Bridgette Young Ross to be the next dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life starting July 1. She is one of the first minority women to hold a dean position at Emory, in addition to recently appointed Dean of the Goizueta Business School Erika Hayes James. Ross has previously held the position of associate dean of the chapel from 2000 to 2009, according to a May 13 University press release.
According to Ross, some of her goals in her new position will be to build upon the work of Susan Henry-Crowe, her predecessor, and help students and faculty members explore their spirituality.
Ross will oversee services at Cannon Chapel, including Methodist worship services every Sunday and certain holidays in the Muslim and Hindu faiths, among others. She will also handle administrative and financial duties related to the office.
“I think what is important about Emory from my nine years is that there’s always a desire to make progress on the issues of community and diversity,” she said.
Ross said she also wants the office to be accessible to students who are not necessarily involved in religious activities on campus. She plans to partner with Campus Life, the Center for Women and the Office of LGBT Life.
Ross noted that the name of the office has been changed from “religious life” to “spiritual life.” Ross said this is because, at times, spirituality more accurately describes its function in the lives of students and faculty.
“I think it’s important, in a way, that students feel invited in the conversation.”
—By Dustin Slade and Rupsha Basu
Emory’s Center for Creativity & Arts (CCA) announced the launch of a visual arts integrated co-major in light of the September 2012 department changes enacted by College Dean Robin Forman, which officially closes Emory’s Visual Arts Department at the end of this semester.
The executive committee of the CCA, a resource designed to advance arts programming at Emory by supporting teaching and research for students and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, developed the new Integrated Visual Arts Co-Major (IVAC).
The new program will allow students who have already declared a primary major to apply for the co-major starting in the fall of 2014, according to CCA Director Leslie Taylor.
Students enrolled in the program will have to complete nine courses in total.
Two of these courses will be in the Art History department, one in an upper level course in their other declared major, five IVAC-approved courses offered in the Film and Media Studies and Theater and Dance departments and a final senior seminar that is required for all students.
Members of the Executive Committee of the CCA began developing the program after the College of Arts and Sciences announced the suspension various academic departments, including the Department of Visual Arts, in September 2012, Taylor said.
Many of the classes that previously existed under the Visual Arts department will still not be offered as a result of faculty dismissals from the department cuts. Some faculty members will be teaching their courses in other departments starting in the fall, like Film and Media Studies and Art History.
Before this announcement, there had never been a stand-alone Visual Arts major. It had previously been a co-major with Art History as well as a minor. Taylor said that in the time between the announcement of the department changes and now, there could have been prospective students who chose not to attend Emory because of the absence of the department.
College sophomore Emily Pardue, who will transfer to the University of Georgia in the fall, said the department changes was a contributing factor in her decision to leave Emory because, after deciding she wanted to pursue visual arts as a career, she found that Emory was eliminating the classes she needed.
“To me, it doesn’t really seem like a visual arts major, it seems like a film and theater and art history major,” Pardue said. “You just don’t have the same range of classes that you did before.”
Like Pardue, College junior Nandita Vanka does not believe the new program is an adequate replacement for the old department, but it may appeal to students who are interested in the visual arts but may not continue studying it long-term.
“My one art class in the visual arts department as a freshman was one of the most formative college experiences I’ve had at Emory,” said Vanka.
She added that the fact that a visual arts component remains at all is a step in the right direction, although not for students interested in pursuing the visual arts as a career.
Indeed, Taylor said a focus of these conversations was to examine how the study of visual arts looks different in today’s day and age.
Taylor stated that conversations about this program’s development have been in the works for the past year and a half.
“It was a real joint effort,” she said.
A CCA press release obtained from Communications Coordinator Nicholas Surbey stated that classes in the new major will include art history, painting, sculpting, photography, filmmaking and digital media.
Examples of IVAC-approved courses include ones in costume and set design, documentary filmmaking and choreography among others, according to the CCA website.
The website contains a complete list of IVAC approved courses as well as detailed requirements for the major.
When students apply for the program, which the website says would ideally be during their sophomore year, they must include a portfolio of images in the medium of the artist’s choosing, an essay of intent, a letter of recommendation and a transcript.
Taylor noted that different students will have different course material based on their primary area of interest. For example, Taylor said, students interested in areas ranging from film to biology could integrate their studies to the new program.
“I hope it encourages students to think interdisciplinarily,” Taylor said.
The CCA will hold an information session for students interested in learning about the new co-major on April 29 at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.
“I hope that we have a good cohort of students interested,” Taylor said.
Information about the major has also been disseminated to the admissions office, and an additional arts tour will be a new component for visiting students in addition to a general campus tour.
— By Rupsha Basu
The 48th Legislature of the Student Government Association (SGA) convened for the second time ever to provide updates about legislative activities, however the Legislature was not able to confirm new members to the executive board because there were not enough legislators present.
Recently elected SGA President and College sophomore Jon Darby attributed the lack of legislators present to the fact that some positions, like graduate school and freshmen representatives, have not been elected yet. SGA Vice President and College sophomore Raj Tilwa added that this time of year is busy for everyone.
Darby informed the Legislature that SGA will be contributing to Denim Day, a philanthropy event hosted by the Respect Program to raise sexual assault awareness.
Darby said that for every person photographed wearing denim this Wednesday, April 23 on the Dobbs University Center (DUC) Terraces, the SGA executive branch will donate $1 to the Respect Program.
Darby also said a data entry specialist, which was created following the discovery of an accounting error in December has been hired. His name is Scott Wile, and he has worked with Emory before.
“I think he will be a fantastic addition [to the SGA business office],” Darby said.
The Legislature also discussed potential new meeting locations.
According to Darby, the University is losing money to maintain the current meeting space in the DUC faculty dining room and will be re-purposed over the summer.
Some suggestions for new meeting locations included Eagles’ Landing, the Few Multipurpose Room, the B. Jones room of the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Cox Hall Ballroom, room 525 of Goizueta Business School and Winship Ballroom.
Darby said he is in favor of Eagles’ Landing because the space was originally intended for student organizations to meet.
Next week, the Legislature will vote to confirm College junior Chris Weeden, who served as SGA Attorney General this past year, to the same position and College junior Patrick O’Leary as SGA Vice President for Finance.
They will also vote to confirm College sophomore Adam Goldstein as SGA Chief of Staff.
Later this week, the SGA Executive Branch will also be conducting interviews for committee chair positions, selected from the Legislature.
—By Rupsha Basu
Eight Emory students who submitted applications for the national Fulbright scholarship discovered they were recipients of the award over the last few weeks. The grant will allow the awardees to travel internationally to teach English or conduct research for one year.
The Emory awardees were Michal Schatz (‘13C), Kari Leibowitz (‘12C), College seniors Alizeh Ahmad, Celeste Banks, Bryan Cronan, Christopher Linnan, Ben Sollenberger and Abigail Weisberger.
College seniors received English Teaching Assistantships (ETA), where Banks will be in Taiwan, Ahmad and Cronan will both be in Malaysia, Linnan will be in Indonesia, Sollenberger in Turkey and Weisberger in Germany. Schatz and Leibowitz were awarded research grants in France and Norway, respectively.
The students who received ETA grants will teach children English for 15 to 20 hours per week, but much of the allure is being able to experience a foreign country.
“I’m interested in really going to explore what I’ve studied so much in my history and [political science] classes,” Sollenberger said.
Cronan, who wants to become a foreign journalist correspondent, said he is looking forward to seeing how a journalist would interact with the community they are embedded in. He added that Malaysia is under-covered by journalists, as evidenced by the recent missing Malaysian plane.
Ahmad, on the other hand, said she was interested in Malaysia because she has family ties to the country. Her uncle emigrated from Pakistan to Malaysia, and his experiences have taught her the parallels between her own Pakistani heritage and Malaysian culture. Specifically, as an International Studies and Religion major, Ahmad said she is excited to learn about the diverse Muslim communities in Malaysia.
Others said they will be learning their host country’s language for the first time.
Linnan, who briefly lived in Indonesia when he was younger, said he will be attending language school prior to arriving in Indonesia in August.
Leibowitz is embarking on a year-long research project in Tromso, Norway, with the scholarship. She said a big challenge will be conducting research in a place where she is completely unfamiliar with the language.
Unlike the ETA grant, whose recipients applied to a specific country and will be placed in a city by the Fulbright program, research grant recipients are required to know exactly where and what they want to research.
Leibowitz will be researching positive mental health in Tromso and its correlation with levels of seasonal depression in the region. She said a part of the application required her to find a professor at a university in Norway to write a recommendation.
Schatz, who will be researching in France, could not be contacted by press time.
But even those familiar with their host country’s language said they are nervous to be communicating with children.
“My Turkish is elementary at best,” Sollenberger said.
Weisberger, who has been studying German throughout her time at Emory, said she anticipates it will be challenging speaking with kids in German because “it’s hard to interact with kids in general.”
There are two parts to the Fulbright application process – one is conducted internally through Emory’s National Scholarships & Fellowships Program and the other is nationally competitive.
Recent graduates, Master’s and doctoral degree candidates and young professionals from all over the country are eligible to apply, according to the Fulbright website.
The internal application is due in August and includes a personal statement as well as a statement of grant purpose that addresses a student’s motivations for applying to their country of choice. The national Fulbright application is due in October.
“It’s a long process, but there’s a lot of help here,” Linnan said.
After the initial application submission, the program’s counselors review it and suggest improvements to it. There is also a panel of teachers that asks each applicant a series of questions.
“You have really good access to the counselors in the office,” Weisberger said. “They really helped me tighten [the essays] up.”
Leibowitz said she has previously applied for the Fulbright, the national Marshall scholarship to obtain a degree in the UK and Emory’s Bobby Jones scholarship to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, all of which she did not receive at first.
“People think these things are really unattainable, but you have to keep trying,” Leibowitz said.
—By Rupsha Basu
Correction: This article was updated at 3:42 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22 to reflect a change in the seventh paragraph. The paragraph originally read that Ahmad’s uncle emigrated from Malaysia to Pakistan. It now correctly reads that he emigrated from Pakistan to Malaysia.
The Constitutional Council reviewed the manner in which the Elections Board presented the Student Government Association (SGA) Constitution amendments to the student body. The council will release the results of the hearing following its deliberations.
The eight amendments, which were passed earlier this month during the University-wide elections, made minor wording changes to the Constitution, detailed SGA’s powers to remove divisional council and club officers and changed the constitutional amendment process. All amendments passed by an all-student referendum during elections.
The amendments raised controversy during elections, when both SGA presidential candidates and other members of the Emory community urged students to vote no to the changes. Most critics argued SGA rushed the amendment process and didn’t publicize the referendum appropriately.
College junior and newly-elected SGA College-wide Representative Aaron Tucek filed a complaint last week against the Elections Board that challenged the results of the referendum on behalf of Emory College students.
Tucek’s complaint asserted that the Elections Board failed to appropriately publicize the referendum, send notifications to the student body and provide students with the text of the proposed amendments prior to elections.
The Constitutional Council — which is made up of students in the College, the Goizueta Business School and the School of Law — decided to convene because of Tucek’s complaint. The hearing consisted of opening statements and closing statements by Elections Board, SGA and Tucek and questions by the Council.
“We want to make sure that, while we follow decorum, we’re also addressing the pertinent questions,” James Crowe, College junior and chief justice of the Constitutional Council, said.
Tucek presented his arguments in his opening statements during the hearing.
“I ask the Constitutional Council to invalidate this referendum,” Tucek said.
SGA Attorney General and College junior Chris Weeden, who spoke on behalf of SGA, said this debate about the Elections Board’s adherence to the elections code falls under the jurisdiction of the SGA Legislature because the Elections Board is a body under SGA. He added that the Constitution gives the Legislature the power to oversee elections and this question ought to be put up to a legislative vote, rather than a council hearing.
Crowe said the central questions of the case were whether or not the Elections Board failed its duties, and if it did, whether that justified overturning the referendum.
Tucek presented evidence which he said he believed proved that the Elections Board failed to meet their obligations in accordance with the elections code. According to him, only one of the four emails the Elections Board sent to the student body gave students access to the full text of the amendments. This email was sent to students approximately 20 minutes prior to the election period, which Tucek said was insufficient publicity of the amendments, which have a large impact on the government’s organization.
“An amendment fundamentally changes the structure of student government,” he said.
He also cited a portion of the elections code that stipulates that the Elections Board must send an email to the student body at least 48 hours before the election that includes the full text of the amendments. Tucek argued that the email, which provided a link to the full text, was insufficient and should have been sent 48 hours before the election and included the amendment text itself.
College senior and Elections Board Chair Matthew Pesce responded to Tucek’s arguments on behalf of the Elections Board.
Pesce said the full text of the amendments were available to students via multiple means, including the legislative agenda on SGA’s website, the SGA listserv, the SGA Facebook page, the link in the aforementioned email and an article published in the Wheel.
“To the best of my knowledge, that meets every obligation placed on us except the specification that we send out an email 48 hours prior to the election,” Pesce said.
While he acknowledged that the email was not sent 48 hours prior to the election, Pesce said he did not believe providing the full text of the amendments would have significantly impacted the vote. According to him, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the amendments, with a more than 1,000 vote margin.
“I wonder if all 5,000 people who voted, if they got a massive text of the amendments, whether they would have actually read them,” Pesce said. “I suspect no.”
He added that if the Constitution Council valued the democratic process, then overturning amendments of which the student body was so overwhelmingly in favor would be “horribly strange.”
Tucek argued that the Elections Board could have also publicized the amendments through other means, including sending more detailed emails, hosting a town hall and disseminating arguments for and against the amendments.
Pesce responded that technology does not allow for the full text to be published in an email because it is “exceedingly difficult” to get University-wide emails approved. He added that a full text on the ballot would also be impossible because the balloting software has a word limit.
In regards to the town hall and other publicizing methods, Pesce said he did not believe students would attend such events and that the Elections Board had actually exceeded the minimum requirements so long as the Constitutional Council read the elections code “pretty liberally.”
College sophomore Reuben Lack, former College Council budget chair and former candidate for SGA vice president who attended the meeting as an observer, said he did not believe the council should reject the referendum because the student body was still in favor of it despite the controversy surrounding it.
Tucek said there is a difference between the SGA and the Wheel publicizing the referendum and the Elections Board itself doing so. He stressed the importance of the right of the students to see the full text of the amendments before the election and the democratic process.
“The Emory student body trusts the Elections Board to provide them with information about the elections,” Tucek said. He added that allowing the referendum to pass in light of clear violations to the elections code would undermine the validity of the code itself.
Pesce, however, insisted that his arguments — the will of the student body and the low chances that the vote would have changed — outweighed a potential violation of the elections code.
“The elections code, even the revised version, contains a zillion peculiar things that even I scratch my head about,” Pesce said.
Both Tucek and Pesce had comments in regards to the legitimacy of the amendments themselves.
“I don’t know whether these amendments are good or bad,” Pesce said. “I haven’t read through them, I’m gonna be honest.”
Tucek, however, said he believed the questions on the ballot were poorly phrased.
“There are differences between [Elections Board members] summarizing [the amendments] and what the actual amendments are,” Tucek said. “The student body has a right to read that for themselves.”
In his closing statements, Tucek reiterated his earlier points and added that the question of whether or not the results of the referendum would change are immaterial to the question of a legitimate democratic process.
“People might not change their vote, but they are entitled to the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Pesce’s closing statements also recapped his earlier statements, stating that the full text of the amendments were available if students wanted to see them. He urged the council to evaluate the overwhelming vote in favor of the amendments over the violation to the elections code.
Crowe concluded the hearing, stating that the Constitutional Council would take the statements and evidence put forth at the meeting into consideration during its deliberations. He said a verdict would be delivered when the deliberations were complete, which he said could take up to a few days.
— By Rupsha Basu
Emory Libraries and Information Technology will be replacing Reserves Direct, its current online course material reserve system, with a different cataloguing system, effective May 2014.
Reserves Direct is an internal database developed by Emory Libraries that houses electronic course material that teachers upload for students to use.
The new system, which is called Ares, is a commercially available platform developed by Atlas Systems.
Reserves Direct currently houses course material since 2001 when Emory Libraries first developed the database, according to Head of Access Services for the Robert W. Woodruff Library Amy Boucher.
The database was developed internally because a commercial system was not available at the time, Boucher said. She added that Emory Libraries decided to switch to a commercially available system because it was a more sustainable option. The new system, which she referred to as “Course Reserves,” does not require “in-house development work” because it has a vendor that conducts ongoing product development.
When the new system goes live on May 14, it will automatically migrate course materials from fall 2011 up to fall 2014 that have already been uploaded.
If professors want to retain materials prior to fall 2011, they must specifically request this from Emory Libraries, Boucher said.
The new Course Reserves database is able to perform all of the functions of Reserves Direct. These features include immediate access to uploaded materials, the ability to archive past materials, the ability to group materials by date and subject and automated email notifications for newly added materials, among others.
“It’s quite similar to what we have now,” Boucher said.
There are two main differences between Course Reserves and Reserves Direct, according to Boucher. The new system is able to integrate into Blackboard, which is an online course management software. This means students and faculty can now access the database through a link on Blackboard as well as through the external URL.
The second difference is that through Course Reserves, instructors will be able to directly request books and articles through discoverE, which is Emory Libraries’ shared catalog for physical and electronic resources. Reserves Direct does not connect to discoverE, so instructors currently must request those materials by contacting library staff.
Other universities that use Ares to streamline their library reserves include the University of Chicago, the University of Florida and Ryerson University in Toronto, according to the Atlas Systems website.
After May 14, the page’s URL will redirect users to the new tool.
“We’ll be prepared to help library patrons in any way they need with the new system when it rolls out in the summer, and in the fall when students come back,” Boucher said.
— By Rupsha Basu
Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda delivered the third annual David J. Bederman Lecture to members of the Emory community in the Tull Auditorium at the School of Law.
The lecture, entitled “Fostering the Promise of the Rome Statute: A Prosecutor’s Perspective,” was presented by the School of Law’s center for International and Comparative Law. Bensouda spoke to a group of undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty about the court’s ongoing investigations of crimes under its jurisdiction as well as its role in the international arena. She also engaged in a question and answer session after the speech.
The ICC is an international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands that oversees 122 countries and prosecutes individuals for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
Bensouda is a Gambian lawyer and international criminal law prosecutor. She began her position as chief prosecutor in June 2012, previously serving as the deputy prosecutor since 2004.
According to Bensouda, as chief prosecutor of the ICC, her job is to trigger investigations of crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the court, such as genocide.
Bensouda’s speech outlined the jurisdiction and limitations of the Rome Statute, which is the treaty that established the court as well as its functions and structure in 1998, after it became a global priority to hold individuals accountable for heinous crimes.
“This is the promise that more than 120 states made to humankind,” Bensouda said.
She added that the criminal justice system established by the Rome Statute has provisions for the victims of crimes. This includes specifying the definitions of crimes such as sexual violence and a trust fund for reparations to victims.
Throughout her speech, Bensouda emphasized the limitations of the ICC’s jurisdiction.
She added that the ICC operates under a system of “complementarity,” which means that it can only intervene in situations when a state is unable or unwilling to act.
Currently, the ICC is investigating eight situations in Uganda, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali. There are 21 cases in front of ICC judges, five of which are in trial while the others are in appeal, Bensouda said.
During the question and answer session, an audience member asked Bensouda to respond to criticism that the ICC focuses too heavily on the African continent.
Bensouda explained that of the eight ongoing investigations in Africa, five of them were at the request of the countries, and two were referrals from the United Nations Security Council. She added that the ICC has not intervened in the atrocities being committed by the Syrian government because it does not have the jurisdiction to do so, because Syria has not abdicated control of the situation.
Bensouda also discussed some of the problems the court has been facing in convicting individuals. One of these issues is witness interference and evidence tampering. She said this phenomenon has increased as a method of compromising the integrity of cases.
Another issue is the fact that the ICC does not have police officers or enforcement mechanisms.
“Cooperation is the key to effectiveness and success,” she said. She added that a large part of the maintenance of the institution is “strong, consistent and timely cooperation” on the part of its constituent parties.
Indeed, Bensouda acknowledged that the lack of an enforcing body has interfered with some of the courts proceedings. She cited Omar Al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, who has had two pending arrest warrants for years and remains in power. She said that the ICC currently has an additional 13 pending arrest warrants out for suspected criminals.
However, Bensouda noted that these problems do not mean the ICC is ineffective.
“I don’t think it is sufficient to measure the success of the ICC in convictions,” she said.
Following an ICC case that convicted Thomas Lubanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the conscription of children, the ICC held the first conference on the issue of child soldiers, according to Bensouda.
An audience member noted that the court is balanced in terms of gender and asked whether female judges have an obligation to promote women’s rights globally.
Bensouda responded that the Rome Statute has provisions for gender crimes, specifically ones against women and children, and that she believes the law can be used to promote gender equality.
“The fact that she is such an important world leader, and a woman, was inspiration for me personally,” College sophomore Jessica Margolis said.
The David J. Bederman Lecture was established in honor of Gyr Professor of Private International Law David J. Bederman, who died in December of 2011, and his contribution to teaching, academics and advocacy, according to the School of Law’s website.
Students attending the event not only said it was an informative experience but also expressed that it was a unique opportunity to learn directly from an individual in the center of the action.
“I thought it was an amazing experience to hear the international political dynamics of the ICC explained by [Bensouda] herself,” Margolis said. “It was fascinating to hear from someone who has such extensive experience with international law and human rights.”
Others said Bensouda was inspirational.
“[Bensouda] was definitely the most interesting guest speaker that I’ve been to at Emory, especially because she’s the first African woman to serve on an international tribunal,” College sophomore Deepa Mahadevan said. “She was really inspirational, and I really got a lot out of hearing about her perspective of being chief prosecutor for the ICC.”
—By Rupsha Basu
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