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  • EVSC Responds to National Student Walkout

    first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare FEBRUARY 23RD, 2018  TYRONE MORRIS EVANSVILLE, INDIANASchool officials at Central High School in Evansville braced for a student walkout Friday but it didn’t happen. Rumors were flying about a walkout to protest gun violence.They would have joined other student protests around the country in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.Central High School officials say they were ready in case the walkout happened. While this was only rumor officials are keeping a close eye on all events, real or threatened.EVSC Chief Communications Officer Jason Woebkenberg says, “If students can figure out a way to do that in a respectful, organized, peaceful manner, then we would perhaps work with and consider talking to student leadership groups in our schools that would want to lead that type of thing next month so we’ve actually started that dialogue, it’s at the beginning stages of that.”A national student walkout is reportedly scheduled for March 14th.School officials wouldn’t say if any disciplinary action will be taken against students who stage or join walkouts.They say disciplinary action is decided on a case by case basis.Tyrone MorrisWeb ProducerMore Posts – WebsiteFollow Me:TwitterFacebook last_img read more

  • Beaches & Ocean Declared Open for Ocean City’s Summer Season

    first_imgParts of the downtown beaches and Boardwalk were already crowded early Friday afternoon. City spokesman Doug Bergen said the holiday weekend traffic began to build on Thursday and continued to be heavy on Friday. As always, good weather is key for drawing visitors to the beaches, Boardwalk and business attractions. Ocean City recovered from a rainy June last year to bask in the glory of a sunny July and August. He had no need for a bathing suit. He simply marched straight into the surf — business suit and all. Muldowney participates in the plunge every year. Gazing at the crowds Friday, she predicted that Ocean City will enjoy another stellar summer season. Eric Axelson was nattily attired in a tan business suit, brown dress shoes and a Hugo Boss shirt. He clutched a black briefcase in his left hand.The Keller Williams real estate agent appeared ready to head back to the office to close some lucrative property deal. But, instead, he was spending Friday afternoon at the Ocean City beach. Axelson was part of the Business Persons Plunge, a wacky tradition held each Memorial Day weekend to kick off what city officials hope will be a busy summer tourism season. “This is my cheapest suit,” Axelson said, laughing at the prospect of getting soaked. The zany publicity event shows just how far the city will go to promote business during the all-important summer season. Early signs are indicating that 2016 will be another strong summer.A few hundred people, including local merchants dressed in formal workplace attire, formed a colorful procession that marched into the ocean for the traditional Business Persons Plunge celebrating the arrival of the summer season.Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, said hotel occupancy is up between 2 percent and 5 percent and rental property bookings have increased between 5 percent and 10 percent compared to the same period last year. As hundreds of people watched, Mayor Jay Gillian officially proclaimed the ocean and beaches open for the summer. “We’re passionate about supporting business during the summer season. It’s a good cause,” Axelson said while explaining the reason for taking part in the plunge. The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and balmy temperatures Saturday and Sunday, but a chance of rain on Memorial Day. The unlocking of the ocean cleared the way for the colorful procession of dozens of business people to take the first dip of the season. Suzanne Muldowney, better known as her flamboyant alter ego “Shelley the South Jersey Shore Mermaid,” helped to direct the crowd into the sea. Unlike the business people clad in workplace attire, Muldowney sported a mermaid costume resplendent in sequins, shells and ruffles, not to mention a fake tail and fins.center_img “We have to wait until Labor Day before we start using terms like ‘blockbuster’ or ‘sold out.’ But this is a good indicator so far for a strong summer season for Ocean City,” Gillian said of the hotel and rental data. “A weekend like this one in Philadelphia, where the temperatures are in the 90s, really brings them down to Ocean City,” Michele Gillian said on the bustling Ninth Street beach, where the ceremonies were held. Mayor Jay Gillian, right, and other Ocean City officials used a large wooden key to ceremonially “unlock” the ocean and beaches for the Memorial Day weekend. Using a large wooden key, city officials and local merchants ceremonially “unlocked” the ocean. The ceremony has been an Ocean City tradition for more than a century. Last year, the city posted record beach tag sales and parking revenue, two crucial metrics underscoring the strength of the summer season. “I’ve always loved coming to Ocean City ever since I was a little girl,” the 63-year-old Muldowney said. “So many other people do, too. It’s so family friendly.”Eric Axelson, a Realtor with Keller Williams, emerged from the chilly surf soaking wet but smiling. He took the plunge while wearing a business suit and dress shoes. Minutes later, he emerged from the still-chilly surf wearing waterlogged clothes and awide smile. They were joined by a few hundred costumed characters, mascots and everyday tourists as they marched into the ocean led by local Realtor John Walton and accompanied by the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the Ocean City High School Band. Friday’s ceremonies to celebrate the arrival of the 2016 summer season took place under sun-splashed skies and temperatures in the 70s. Ocean City hopes to leverage its recent selection as “Best Beach in America” in an online nationwide poll conducted by Coastal Living Magazine for even more business and publicity. It is also looking to defend its 2015 title as “Top Beach in New Jersey” in another contest. Results of the 2016 state contest will be announced on July 4. “Seeing everyone here is a great sign,” the mayor said.last_img read more

  • Unionized students go on strike

    first_imgRecently unionized Harvard student workers went on strike Tuesday, refusing to grade papers, supervise exams, or conduct research unrelated to their academic programs.The strike began on the eve of the exam period for the fall semester, as the University and the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers (HGSU-UAW) continued to trade proposals on compensation, benefits, and other sticking points. University and union representatives have said they will continue to negotiate as the strike proceeds.Picketers gathered in snowy Harvard Yard in mid-morning, and their numbers swelled to more than 500. Lines of strikers, wearing large blue-and-white “UAW ON STRIKE” placards around their necks, walked slowly around the Yard’s circumference.The negotiations have been underway for 13 months, and the two sides have reached agreement on 12 articles. Differences remain, however, on central issues such as wages, benefits, and grievance procedures.The University has put in place contingency plans to ensure that remaining academic work is completed, according to a Nov. 26 email to the Harvard community from Provost Alan Garber. In that message, Garber said that although Harvard recognizes the union’s right to strike, the action “will neither clarify our respective positions nor will it resolve areas of disagreement.”“The University appreciates the vital role that our student workers play in fulfilling Harvard’s teaching and research mission,” Garber said. “Across Harvard, student workers contribute to groundbreaking research and to the academic experience and achievement of all students…. We very much hope that through ongoing good-faith efforts of HGSU-UAW and the University, we can reach a reasonable resolution that enables our students to be successful and thrive.”,In an additional statement issued Monday, the University said it is committed to addressing student workers’ concerns.“We continue to feel a strike is unwarranted,” the statement said, noting the continuing negotiations, with both sides having exchanged counterproposals earlier this week. “The University is committed to addressing concerns that have been raised throughout this process.”Rachel Sandalow-Ash, a third-year law student and member of HGSU-UAW’s bargaining committee, said the union is seeking the same things it was when talks started — better wages, more-affordable health care, and particular protections against harassment and discrimination.Sandalow-Ash said, “The past few weeks and months of organizing have been really inspiring to see the energy across campus and to see student workers organizing in every department in order to build a more just and equitable campus community.”The strike comes about a year and a half after the students — some undergraduates but mostly graduate students who work as teaching fellows and research assistants — voted to unionize and join the UAW. HGSU-UAW members voted in October to authorize a strike, and in early November the union’s bargaining committee set Dec. 3, the last day of fall classes and the beginning of the exam period, as the strike date.University officials say the offers they have made — a 7 to 8 percent wage increase over three years, depending on student worker categories, plus additional benefits — are similar or higher than similar UAW settlements at other universities. The union is seeking a 15 percent raise over three years: an additional 5 percent increase in this fiscal year, which began July 1, on top of the 3 percent given in July, plus 3.5 percent in each subsequent year.Much of the divide between the two sides stems from union members’ dual status as students and employees, according to the University, which has led to fundamental disagreements over which aspects of students’ Harvard roles should be bargained over as employment and which should be considered exempt as part of students’ academic roles.For example, HGSU-UAW has proposed that if a student worker suspects a worrisome grade or other academic assessment is the result of retaliation by a faculty member, the student can take the matter to labor arbitration. The University, however, insists that such a determination would require specific expertise in a particular academic area, and it does not believe that an arbitrator would have the expertise to make such a judgment.Students workers are also calling for the ability to take cases of harassment and discrimination to arbitration. The University, however, says that a labor arbitration that is available only to union members and not other members of the Harvard community would not meet the requirement of an “equitable investigation” under federal Title IX regulations. The union says it fears the University might conduct what it would describe as essentially an investigation of itself, and it prefers a neutral third party. The University has countered by pointing to the Office for Dispute Resolution’s (ODR) staff of trained investigators. It also notes that University procedures include the ability to appeal findings of an ODR investigation to an impartial panel, with the ability of either party in a case to object to a potential panelist based on a potential conflict of interest.The union also has proposed making changes to the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), which is available to all 23,000 Harvard students. The University has said it is not appropriate to negotiate the terms of SHIP in a contract that applies only to a subset of the student population. The union proposals call for increased benefits in areas such as dental coverage and mental health services. The University has sought to address these needs by creating new funds to provide financial assistance for health and dental insurance premiums. Additionally, the University has proposed a $300,000 fund to provide financial assistance for child care expenses. While the union supports the concept of a financial assistance fund, it wants the amount to be higher, and it seeks eight weeks of paid and four weeks unpaid family and medical leave.The strike comes against the backdrop of possible regulatory changes by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). William Gould, former NLRB chair and the Charles Beardsley Professor of Law, emeritus, at Stanford Law School, said he expected the NLRB to take up a proposed regulation that effectively repeals the Obama-era change that allowed students at private colleges and universities to unionize. Many observers expect the NLRB to reverse the Obama administration stance.Gould said the regulatory history of graduate student unionization has been muddied by conflicting NLRB actions, which have made building a coherent legal and regulatory history problematic. He also said it is not unusual for initial union negotiations to be difficult.“This is negotiating a first contract. Those contracts are always more difficult when you’re establishing a relationship which is embryonic,” Gould said. “You’re dealing with a lot of concepts that are new to both sides … so that’s likely to be the stage at which you’re going to have more problems than otherwise.”As of Tuesday, here’s where the two sides stood:On wages, the University has proposed the 7 or 8 percent raise over three years, depending on work category, and to raise the minimum rate for student workers to $15 per hour. The union’s latest proposal calls for the increases of 15 percent over three years, as well as a minimum hourly rate of $25 per hour.On benefits, Harvard is offering more than $700,000 in financial assistance funds for student workers. Specifically, it would provide $300,000 to defray student spouse and child health care premiums, $100,000 for dental coverage, $300,000 for child care reimbursement, and $25,000 for emergencies, including travel in case of death of a family member. Union negotiators are seeking 90 percent coverage of dental premiums, a $500 yearly out-of-pocket maximum for mental health coverage, and 65 percent health insurance premium coverage for adult dependents and 100 percent for children. It is also seeking a $650,000 fund to support students’ child care needs.On sexual harassment and discrimination matters, the union has proposed a traditional labor arbitration, saying a more-neutral process is needed to guard against complaints being ignored or swept under the rug. The University doesn’t view such a process as consistent with its obligations under the Title IX statute. The University opposes subjecting students to cross-examination in an adversarial setting, a common component of standard labor arbitration. Harvard has proposed adding union representation to the existing Title IX Policy Review Committee, which recommends ways to strengthen procedures, and creating two committees, with HSGU-UAW representation, to deal with other forms of alleged discrimination and misconduct.last_img read more

  • Paula Vogel’s Indecent to Bow on Broadway

    first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 6, 2017 The rumors were true and Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel’s Indecent will land on Broadway this season. The production is set to begin previews in early April 2017 prior to opening on April 18 at a Shubert Theatre to be announced.Directed by Rebecca Taichman and choreographed by David Dorfman, the show played off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre earlier this year; the cast included Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson. No word yet on who will be starring in the production on the Main Stem.Indecent, created by Vogel and Taichman, features music by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva and follows the events surrounding the premiere of the controversial 1923 play God of Vengeance, considered an important work of Jewish culture by some and libel by others.Indecent will be the first work of Vogel’s on Broadway; she won a Pulitzer in 1998 for How I Learned to Drive. The production will feature scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Chris Akerlind, sound design by Matt Hubbs and projection design by Tal Yarden.  Related Shows Indecentcenter_img Max Gordon & Adina Verson in ‘Indecent'(Photo: Carol Rosegg) View Commentslast_img read more