Authors address incarceration

first_imgStudents and faculty joined Margie Pfeil, Laurie Cassidy and Alex Mikulich, authors of “The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance,” in a discussion about how to theologically acknowledge the hyper-incarceration of people of color in the United States on Wednesday.  The Center for Social Concerns (CSC) organized the event as part of a yearlong series focused on incarceration.  Susan Sharpe, who leads a teaching team for the CSC’s one-credit seminar on hyper-incarceration, said the authors’ book forces readers to think critically about the issue. “[The authors] challenge us to understand that hyper-incarceration is not a problem to be solved,” she said. “Because it harms so many people, they are asking us to understand that it is an expression of oppression that lives in us and through us as long as we remain oblivious to the meanings and values that are still attached to whiteness in this culture.”   As the discussion continued, Cassidy, associate professor of Christian ethics at Marywood University in Scranton, Penn., asked the group questions about race. “I want to ask you honestly,” Cassidy said. “You’re walking down the street at night … and as a woman I’m going to say this for the females here. You’re walking down the street and you see three black men come forward … How do you feel? Would [you] feel more or less afraid if they were white guys?”  Cassidy said she would feel nervous in this situation. “We’re socialized every single day to feel nervous of black guys walking down the street,” she said.  Cassidy said the authors’ hope is that out of that nervousness, the community can enter into discussion and contemplation about the implications of the feeling.   “As white people [we should be] able to explore that fear and say, ‘Isn’t it interesting that for many of us we have grown up with that inside of us?’” Cassidy said. “So incarceration isn’t just out there. It makes sense because it’s internalized. For all of us, I would ask you, do we have ways in society of meaningfully examining those kinds of representations … that can be inside of us?”  Mikulich, research fellow on race and poverty at the Jesuit Social Research Institution at Loyola University in New Orleans, asked the audience to think about how that nervousness brings about the hyper-incarceration of people of color and what that does to society.  “[The justice system is] a system that for over 30 years has been ripping communities apart and particularly ripping apart communities of color – dividing spouses from each other, children from parents and caregivers,” Mikulich said. “It’s been absolutely destructive.”  Pfeil said the authors hope there would be more safe spaces to discuss this topic in the future.  “This is a very basic theological challenge,” Pfeil said. “If we say that we believe in the creation of every person in the image and likeness of God, and therefore every person is a subject of human dignity, how do we create space in our society then that really takes that seriously?”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s appoints new Board of Trustee members

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees welcomed six new members to its ranks July 17, including one student trustee with full voting powers. Michael Schmitt, Mary Pat Seurkamp, Delia Garcia, class of 1993, Sister Veronique Wiedower, class of 1970, and Stacy Davis will each serve three-year terms, while senior Allison Danhof will be on the board for the 2015-2016 academic year.Lucy Du As the students’ representative to the Board, Danhof said she is able to provide a unique perspective on the College. “I hope that I will represent the Saint Mary’s community well as the student trustee,” Danhof said. “I have a variety of experiences and involvement throughout the community that will allow me to represent a variety of groups throughout campus such as the Athletic Department, the Education Department and Campus Ministry.”Davis is the associate professor of religious studies and chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. “I see one of my tasks as bringing a faculty perspective to the Board, particularly for those Board members who are not employed in higher education or have been faculty members,” Davis said.Davis said it is a privilege to be considered trustworthy enough to represent her peers. “Most college and university boards do not have faculty representation,” Davis said. “My main hope is to be able to offer faculty perspectives on issues that affect the College and to facilitate communication between faculty and Board members. … I also hope to work on any initiatives to increase faculty, staff and student diversity on campus.” Wiedower, who is also president of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, said it has been a joy to have a close connection with her alma mater. “I believe that Saint Mary’s College’s emphasis on education of mind and heart, its undergraduate focus on education of women and its core values are distinctive gifts needed in today’s society,” Wiedower said. “As president of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and a member of the Board of Trustees, I hope to use my own enthusiasm for passing on this Holy Cross educational heritage and to spread the good news of Saint Mary’s.” Danhof said she has gained many leadership qualities that enable her to be a member of the Board over the course of her time at Saint Mary’s.“I have had the most amazing time at Saint Mary’s,” Danhof said. “Being on the Board will allow me to serve and give back to the school that has given me so much and shaped me into the woman I am today. I hope to get to know the other Board members, learn from their expertise and further develop my leadership abilities while helping the College to move forward into the future.” Tags: Board of Trustees, Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees, Saint Mary’s Collegelast_img read more