Life, family and faith among African-Americans and Latino families

January 29, 2016

Nick Wolfinger, a U professor of family and consumer studies, this month released research about faith and family life among nonwhite Americans in a new book, “Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love & Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos.” By 2050, a majority of Americans will be minorities, yet we know little about faith and family life among nonwhite Americans, according to Wolfinger, whose book details interesting aspects of family life. “Soul Mates” offers a positive portrait of black and Latino families. Most African-Americans will marry at some point in their lives, a majority of African-Americans are coupled when they have children, and most black couples are happy and monogamous. Most Latinos will marry at some point in their lives, a majority of them are married when they have children, most Latino couples are happy, and divorce rates are lower among Latinos than for the country as a whole. One reason so many families of color are thriving is that they tend to be more religious than average Americans. Wolfinger is available to talk to media about the book and some of its surprising findings. Nick Wolfinger, office 801-581-7491, nick.wolfinger@fcs.utah.edu


Law student works for justice on gang sweep case

December 8, 2015

The U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City this week entered a judgment in a case brought by three former West High School students over a 2010 school- based “gang sweep” that prompted a class action lawsuit by the ACLU of Utah and the ACLU Racial Justice Program. As part of its offer of judgment, West Valley City disclaimed liability and offered a total of $50,000 to the three plaintiffs inclusive of all claims, attorney fees, and costs. The case, Winston v. Salt Lake City Police Department, et al, was filed in 2013 in response to a police action at West High in Salt Lake City, where more than 12 joint-agency gang task force officers entered the school during school hours. They detained students on school property, interrogated them about alleged gang affiliations, and photographed them holding signs listing their purported gang affiliations. Nubia Pena, a third year law student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, worked on the case as part of Racially Just Utah, a coalition that works with the ACLU on issues related to positively and proactively ensuring racial equity in Utah through policy, accountability, and education. She is available to speak about the case.
Nubia Pena, cell: 801-671-3131| Email: nubia.pena@law.utah.edu

On the heels of the Congressional Forum on Violence against Transgender People

November 20, 2015

The first-ever Congressional Forum on Violence against Transgender People will be held Tuesday, Nov. 24. Since Jan. 1, 2015, to now, 21 transgender women of color have been killed in the United States. On Oct. 14, 2015, hours before Ashley Hallstrom, a transgender woman living in Logan, Utah, took her life by stepping in front of a dump truck, she posted on Facebook “These are going to be my final words. I can’t stand to live another day, so I’m committing suicide. The reason why I’ve decided to do this is because I’m transgender.” As a nation, we can no longer stay silent by denying, erasing or eradicating the lives of transgender people. We must invest in a Futuro de Esperanza and reject a life path of despair caused by transphobia, hate and violence towards transgender people. C. Kai Medina-Martinez, director of the U’s LGBT Resource Center, is currently involved with research focusing on the experiences of transgender faculty and staff in higher education more broadly, work that will help mold best practices across the field. Kai goes by the pronouns: they/them/theirs/he/him/his.
Phone: 801-587-7973 | Email: kmartinez@sa.utah.edu  

All-gender bathrooms

November 13, 2015

As LGBT rights continue to expand, discussions on all-gender restrooms as a civil rights issue are also taking flight. Terry Kogan, a professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, has spent the past decade considering the rights of transgender people, in particular issues surrounding the legal and cultural norms that mandate the segregation of public restrooms by sex.  Kogan also has been active in gay and transgender politics in Utah, and serves on the Advisory Board of Equality Utah. He is available to speak on issues related to gender-neutral bathrooms.

Phone: 801-581-7890 | Email: terry.kogan@law.utah.edu

The Gettysburg Address

November 13, 2015

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” These are the famous first words of the Gettysburg Address that President Abraham Lincoln delivered on Nov. 19, 1863, that went on to become one of the most memorable speeches in American history. Delivered at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery during the Civil War, the 272-word speech reiterated the principles of the Declaration of Independence and emphasized equality for all. John Reed, associate professor of history, is available to discuss the significance of the speech, the history behind it, how a two-minute speech created such a major historical impact and the initial mixed reviews.

Phone: 801-910-2076 | Email: John.Reed@history.utah.edu

School discipline and American Indian students

September 21, 2015

Washington County school administrators made headlines this week when they asked an American Indian student to cut his mohawk, a hairstyle that is part of the 7-year-old’s culture as a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. The administrators later backed down from the request. The incident in Southern Utah, however, is emblematic of a larger school discipline problem in Utah, which researchers at the U’s S.J. Quinney College of Law’s Public Policy Clinic studied earlier this year. The research revealed that school disciplinary actions handed down to students at Utah public schools disproportionately impacts American Indian children over all other ethnicities enrolled in the state’s public education system. Researcher and law student Vanessa Walsh found that although American Indian students comprise the smallest student demographic in Utah, they have the largest percentage of students referred to law enforcement and arrested at schools. This means such students often become part of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” which is a system of practices by school and law enforcement that steer schoolchildren out of the classroom and into the juvenile justice system. Walsh is available to talk about her research. A summit to delve further into this topic is planned at the law school later this fall.
Phone: 801-910-1503 | Email: vanessa.walsh@law.utah.edu

New digital collection at S.J. Quinney College of Law library

June 12, 2015

The S.J. Quinney Law Library Digital Collections Department at the U this week announced a new collection, the Jefferson B. Fordham (1905-1994) Digital Collection. The collection contains letters, speeches, articles and photographs, generously donated by the Fordham family. Fordham, a vocal supporter of individual rights and racial equality, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s law school from 1952 until 1970, and professor of law at the U for more than 19 years, was a beloved member of the U’s law school community. The collection is designed to honor his memory as a dedicated educator and civil servant for generations to come. For more information, contact Valeri Craigle, associate librarian at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Phone: 801-585-5475 | Email: craiglev@law.utah.edu

Why has the number of undocumented immigrants dropped?

June 5, 2015

With the presidential election just around the corner, the immigration issue will once again take center stage and likely be misused for political purposes. But how has immigration changed since the 2012 or 2008 campaigns? From 1990 to 2007, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. tripled to 12.2 million, but today has dropped by about 1 million. What factors have contributed to this drop? Leticia Alvarez, an immigration expert from the U’s Department of Education, Culture and Society, can help make sense of the impacts thatincreased security at the border, increased violence and racism against immigrants and the 2008 financial crisis, which contributed to these trends.
Phone: 801-587-7814 | Email: leticia.alvarez@utah.edu