Free the Children!June 23, 2019
(screenshot from NowThis)
Child abuse is a terrible crime whether committed in the home, on a playground, in a church or school, or a facility operated by the United States government. Child abuse is horrific whether the crime is committed at the hand of a family member, stranger, teacher or priest, or agents of the United States government. Bystanders who witness child abuse and do nothing are cooperating with a terrible evil, a profound affront to human life and dignity. A person who witnesses child abuse must intervene quickly and decisively to protect the child, whether through direct engagement with the abuser or reporting the abuse to police or child protection authorities.
Police and child protection authorities should be swarming the detention center in Clint, Texas near El Paso where hundreds of migrant children are being held in appalling and abusive conditions. From the account in the New York Times:
“Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.
“Most of the young detainees have not been able to shower or wash their clothes since they arrived at the facility, those who visited said. They have no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap.
“There is a stench,” said Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, one of the lawyers who visited the facility. “The overwhelming majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border.” (New York Times, June 21, 2019, There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children)
The New Yorker also ran an article this week interviewing a lawyer who was with a team of lawyers and doctors who visited the Clint facility, and she described this:
“Oh, I know what I wanted to tell you. This is important. So, on Wednesday, we received reports from children of a lice outbreak in one of the cells where there were about twenty-five children, and what they told us is that six of the children were found to have lice. And so they were given a lice shampoo, and the other children were given two combs and told to share those two combs, two lice combs, and brush their hair with the same combs, which is something you never do with a lice outbreak. And then what happened was one of the combs was lost, and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children’s blankets and mats. They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb. So you had a whole cell full of kids who had beds and mats at one point, not for everybody but for most of them, who were forced to sleep on the cement.” (New Yorker, June 22, 2019, Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children
And then there is the news clip of Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian defending the government’s refusal to provide soap and toothbrushes to the children. Here’s the full hearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:
The Atlantic has a long article explaining the legal history of her argument, and in the time it takes to read it the government could have issued soap and toothbrushes and given the children at least a few minutes of basic decency and humanity. But, no.
Meanwhile, as children try to sleep on concrete floors while suffering the most egregious physical conditions, candidates for the Office of President of the United States attended a ‘fish fry’ and continued to pick at their various laments about each other and the current administration while barely making a dent in any serious discussion of the horrors our nation is tolerating. Back in Washington, the president of the United States continues on his strange and incomprehensible wobbles through foreign policy and angry retorts on sexual assault charges, while using immigrants and refugees as fodder for his re-election bid — threatening deportations, then pulling back the threat, and who knows what’s next as this man spins through the cycles of whim without any apparent regard for the impact of his statements or actions.
Meanwhile, the children in Texas still sleep on concrete floors and don’t get to brush their teeth. I’m very glad the president cared enough about human life to pull back on bombing Iran when he was told that as many as 150 Iranians might die in the bombing, but I would be more impressed with his “pro-life” commitment if he freed the children at the border from their cases and inhumane conditions and used the awesome power and wealth of the United States government to (a) reunite the children with their parents immediately and (b) provide housing, food and safety to these impoverished refugees.
We read histories of what happened in the 1930’s in Germany and ask ourselves why smart, literate people of conscience did not stand up to the growing evidence of pure evil in the national government. We read about the defense of Nazi officials at the Nuremberg trials and hear that they were “just following orders.” History is rife with stories of the actions of people who should have known better, who just followed orders, who were complicit in evil.
We can rail against the demagoguery and narcissism of Trump, but he would be no more than a passing departure from normalcy were it not for the many, many people who are enabling his cruel and inhumane policies, who are complicit in carrying out egregiously immoral actions. Why are they not rejecting the orders to do so? Self-interest is a powerful human emotion — the members of Congress who enable him, the people on his staff who coddle him and clean up his messes, the lawyers at the Department of Justice who know better, much better, and yet who have honed their ability to make fervid legal arguments in favor of denying children soap and toothbrushes.
That echo you hear is Joseph Goebbels laughing.
Free the children! Now! No excuses.Continue reading →Read comments (0) Add Comment
Who Will Police the Police?June 16, 2019
I have just watched the absolutely appalling video of police officers in Phoenix, Arizona belligerently and violently, with guns drawn, confronting a black family over a child’s doll allegedly stolen from a Dollar store. The police were completely out of control on the video, screaming at the family, using the “f***ing” word every other word even as children were crying, and at one point, one officer threatens to shoot the father who was simply trying to explain what happened. Nothing about this story is acceptable in any way. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has apologized for the incident, and the Phoenix Police Department has put the officers on desk duty during the investigation.
So a child walks out of a story with a cheap toy and the police go ballistic.
Meanwhile, in Washington, serious and flagrant repeated violations of the law by members of the current administration are merely “free speech” according to the president of the United States who takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and laws of the nation. He was excusing away White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway’s repeated and deliberate violations of the Hatch Act, despite the fact that the Office of Special Counsel issued a clear and unambiguous letter stating that her misconduct merited immediate firing. Other federal employees would be out immediately, but not the aide to a president who makes a mockery of the rule of law.
A baby stealing a Barbie runs the risk of police brutality, even death. But a president and his aides stealing the law out from under us seems to have almost no consequences.
Who will police the police? That is Plato’s timeless question, how a good society can ensure that those empowered to protect the people do not wind up brutalizing the people. In the American system of laws, we rely upon public officials to exercise prudence and good judgment in overseeing law enforcement. That responsibility does NOT give public officials the power to exempt themselves from law enforcement, nor to direct more punitive and harsh enforcement against some of the people while others are free to commit crimes with no consequences. Babies stealing Barbies are not a threat to anyone, but a president excusing away official crimes is a threat to the entire idea of Democracy.
No less an authority than John Adams, perhaps the greatest among the Founders, insisted on the idea that we are “a government of laws, not men,” meaning that no individual no matter how lofty can claim to be above the law. To claim otherwise is distinctly un-American and dangerous to our entire system of government.
The current administration has fostered a state of mind in some corners of this nation that encourage the kind of ruthless, lawless, authoritarian and racist misconduct displayed by the Phoenix police officers. At the same time, the president’s rhetoric and behaviors show astonishing disregard for the law and Constitutionally-mandated norms of behavior for his own actions and those who work with him. When the president encounters a law he does not like, he says it does not apply to him, or to his aides. Regrettably he has co-oped the attorney general of the United States as his Cromwell to carry out the systematic destruction of the law that normally applies to official conduct.
Kellyanne Conway’s persistent and obtuse violations of the Hatch Act are not protected speech, but rather, violations of the law, which she has also overtly and pointedly mocked as not applying to her, which is not true. Had she paid any attention at all to the Honor Code while she was at Trinity, she would know that the right thing to do now is to turn herself in, to admit her transgression and resign from office. This is not just a legal issue; as a matter of true justice, a White House aide cannot escape the kind of consequences that would fall heavily on a clerk or staff member in any other government office.
Just because that is unlikely to happen doesn’t mean that We the People should not insist on the right action. No less an authority than John Locke (whose ideas helped to shape the idea of Democracy) wrote of the “long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices” that lead people to foment a revolution “…to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the end for which government was at first erected…” (Locke, On Civil Government)
Who will police the police? There is no Philosopher King (or Queen) on the horizon to save us right now. We can only save ourselves. It’s up to We the People to take action.
We have had far too many prevarications, abuses and artifices; it’s time for We the People to insist on a restoration of ethical and professional norms in the White House, the Justice Department and among all those entrusted with the laws of the land. We must protest; we must be insistent. And, when the time comes, we must VOTE!Continue reading →Read comments (1) Add Comment
Salute to Retiring FacultyJune 9, 2019
The close of the academic year is a bittersweet time as we say farewell to our students who graduate — and another group of important members of the Trinity community are also departing, alas! Five members of Trinity’s remarkable faculty are retiring this year — their individual and collective service to Trinity has been outstanding in every way, and we will miss each of them very much. Please join me in saluting and thanking our retiring colleagues:
Dr. Susan Farnsworth, Professor of History
Across the last 40 years, since she began teaching at Trinity in 1979, Dr. Susan Farnsworth has been a stalwart colleague not only for the History Department but for faculty throughout Trinity. She has taught generations of Trinity students about the Age of Dictators and 19th Century Victorian England, Vietnam and the Upheavals of War. She rendered heroic service as a long-serving member of the Committee on Rank and Tenure, chair of History and also chair of International Affairs, an active member of Phi Beta Kappa and faculty leader on many special assignments. She also had an active presence among her peers beyond Trinity as a regular participant in the North American Conference on British Studies, participant in planning the Jane Austen Society of North America annual meeting, and engaged in research on the political and social interactions between Darwinian scientists and the Liberal political establishment in Victorian England. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Farnsworth for the countless ways in which she guided students through the wonders of liberal learning, and helped colleagues to become effective teachers and scholars. As she starts her retirement, Susan goes with all best wishes of the Trinity community, and much gratitude for her legacy in the lives and work of students and colleagues she has influenced.
THANK YOU, DR. FARNSWORTH!!
Dr. Roxana Moayedi, Professor of Sociology
Joining Trinity’s faculty in 1989, from the start Dr. Roxana Moayedi brought a level of energy and vision to Sociology and many related disciplines. Deeply committed to principles of social justice, Dr. Moayedi insisted that her students engage in deep experiential learning in service programs designed to expose students to real world problems of inequality, the impact of race, gender and social class on human society. A champion for women’s development, Dr. Moayedi led the Sociology Program’s broad focus on women’s economic status and advancement globally. Dr. Moayedi partnered with the Washington Area Women’s Foundation on a portrait of the status of women and girls in the Washington region, and she published extensive materials on service learning and social justice education. Thank you, Dr. Moayedi, for your many contributions to Trinity and our students!
Dr. Mary Lynn Rampolla ’76, Associate Professor of History
In her letter applying for a History position at Trinity in 1994, Dr. Mary Lynn Rampolla, a member of the Class of 1976, wrote, “It was at Trinity that I decided what I wanted to be an, more importantly, who I wanted to be. What I learned at Trinity will always be part of me. I would welcome the opportunity to be part of Trinity.” Fulfilling her fondest wish, Dr. Rampolla has been an invaluable part of Trinity for the last 25 years, teaching and mentoring successive generations of Trinity students in the delights of history, particularly in her favorite courses like Travelers’ Tales; the History of Food; Kings, Commoners and Constitutions; and Sex, Scandal and Civil War: Tudor and Stuart England. After graduating summa cum laude from Trinity with majors in English and History, Mary Lynn went on to earn her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. A medieval scholar, she then joined the faculty of Colgate University before stopping out to raise her family. She returned to academia at Trinity where she garnered praise from faculty colleagues across all disciplines. Tenured in 2001, Dr. Rampolla has given her time generously a member of the Curriculum Committee, Honors Program coordinator, Fulbright advisor, Rank & Tenure committee, writing program, chair of History, advisor to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta. As she moves into the next phase of her remarkable life’s journey, Dr. Rampolla goes with the great gratitude of her students, colleagues and Trinity alumnae across the generations.
Thank you, Mary Lynn, and may the strength, wisdom and love of the Trinity be with you!
Mr. V. R. Nemani, Associate Professor of Business Administration
Since 1991, Mr. Nemani has helped several generations of Trinity students to understand the complexities and importance of finance and accounting and principles of business administration. Mr. Nemani tirelessly shared his talent with students in both the College of Arts & Sciences, and the School of Professional Studies. He established Trinity’s Accounting Program and contributed to the development of the M.B.A.
Thank you, V.R., for your years of devotion to our students in Business!
The Honorable Barbara Bailey Kennelly ’58, Distinguished Professor of Political Science
Barbara Bailey Kennelly, Trinity Class of 1958, has been one of the true Trinity pioneers in public life. She was Trinity’s very first member of Congress, starting in 1982 as the Congresswoman representing Connecticut’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. While in the House, Mrs. Kennelly rose through the leadership ranks as Chief Majority Whip and a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She was also elected to the position of Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, which made her the highest ranking woman in Congress at that time. She was only the third woman in history to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and the first woman to serve on the House Intelligence Committee. She paved the way for the later accomplishments of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ’62. After serving in Congress, Barbara was appointed to the position of Counselor to the Commissioner at the Social Security Administration. She served on the Policy Committee for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging and was appointed to the Social Security Advisory Board by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in 2006 and reappointed in 2012. Mrs. Kennelly then completed nine years as President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, an organization representing almost 4 million seniors and their advocates. She joined Trinity’s faculty as Distinguished Professor of Political Science in 2011, and for the last eight years students have reaped the many benefits of her insightful, experienced teaching and wonderful special presentations on the issues of our political life today. Mrs. Kennelly holds an honorary degree from Trinity, among many other awards. As she retires from teaching, she goes with Trinity’s deep gratitude, and because she is a loyal and loving alumna, we know that this is not farewell but simply a thanks and congratulations for taking another step in a long and distinguished career. Thank you, Barbara Kennelly!
Dr. Deborah Haskins, Associate Professor of Counseling and Program Director
Dr. Deborah Haskins joined Trinity’s faculty in 2011 as a teacher and also program director for the graduate Counseling Program, and from that moment she began preparing Trinity for an important step forward for our program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: achievement of CACREP accreditation for the program. CACREP (Commission on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs) is essential for programs whose graduates want to work in locations that require CACREP approval, such as the VA and other governmental locations, and this accreditation is the gold standard for Counseling programs. After years of hard work and dedication to all the details, Dr. Haskins successfully led Trinity to achieve CACREP accreditation in Fall 2018. In addition to this achievement, Dr. Haskins is a recognized leader in counseling and treatment of problem gambling, and her service and leadership in the field has received numerous awards. Thank you, Dr. Haskins, for your many achievements for Trinity!Continue reading →Read comments (3) Add Comment
Magnificent Vision of the Class of 1969June 4, 2019
(The Class of 1969, 50th Reunion Class Photo by Timothy Russell)
From the very beginning, the Class of 1969 always made its mark in a big way on Trinity. The largest class ever to enroll when they arrived on campus in September 1965, more than 360 strong, they took the campus by storm and quickly established their legendary spirit of great social activism, keen intellectual range, deep faith and inseparable friendships. A class at the tipping point of great social change at the end of the 1960’s, they seized the moment to express solidarity with the progressive movements in civil rights, women’s rights, social justice and peace. With ardent belief in the urgency of their witness in the world, they blazed a bold path forward for Trinity Women of the late 20th Century. They marched forth from Trinity with an indomitable belief in their power to influence a world in great need of women’s leadership, and they were immensely successful across a broad range of endeavors professionally and personally.
As their 50th Reunion year loomed, in a manner that is so typical for the Class of 1969, they asked how they could use the occasion of their Golden Jubilee to make a statement about women’s leadership and education, about their love and loyalty for Trinity. They settled upon a truly magnificent vision: to create a fund that will ensure that students in future generations are able to finish their degrees on time. “69 to the Finish Line” is the name of the program created by the visionary class leaders, and to inform and inspire their classmates, they also produced a video to present today’s students and their needs in the most compelling way imaginable. Members of the class donated their professional expertise to create the video, to organize the fund raising, to solicit gifts, to make the case for micro-grants for juniors and seniors facing financial hardship as they try to finish their degrees. For a student late in her academic career who might be struggling to come up with the funds for tuition in the last semester, or books or other expenses that seem daunting — $500 or $1000 can be a daunting amount for a young woman who sees the finish line but can’t quite get there financially — the Class of 69 fund will help to carry her over the finish line.
By Reunion Weekend, ’69 to the Finish Line raised more than $400,000! What greater gift can alumnae give to Trinity than to ensure the continuation of the long line of Trinity alumnae through many future generations?
THANK YOU to the great Blue Class of 1969! Your magnificent vision truly proclaims Trinity ideals! So many lives will change for the better because of your great generosity! Trinity salutes you with pride and gratitude!
THANK YOU to the Class of 1969 leaders who organized such a grand reunion, fund raising effort, communications, video, the works, including:
- Reunion Chair – Ann Gosier and Assistant Reunion Chair – Sharon Brady Raimo
- Events Coordinators – Alvina Murphy McHale and Ellen Adams Kelley
- Class Gift Chair – Pat Quigley Sheehy (thanks and thanks again!)
- ’69 to the Finish Line Video: Blanca Zayas, Ara Johnson-Bland, Julie Hunter Galdo, Peggy O’Brien
- Communications Coordinator – Susan Hughes Hunter
- Mini-Bio Interviewers and Writers – Kathy DeVoto Shuman and Susan Hughes Hunter
- Songbook and Memorabilia – Trisha Ryan Sherry
- “Odyssey of the Class of 1969” Reunion Book – Jeannette Festa and Maryanne Boundy
Below is the citation I read for the Class of 1969 when they received their Golden Jubilee medals at the Reunion luncheon on June 1:
50th Reunion Citation for the Class of 1969
Born in the years of peace and hope after World War II, the Class of 1969 grew through the vortex of mid-century events that radically shaped the modern world. Arriving at Trinity in the middle of the 1960’s, the Blues of ‘69 were old enough to know every Latin response at Mass but young enough to know every word to “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones.
They were eager students of the great faculty of that Trinity era, revering legendary Philosopher Dr. Max Guzikowski to whom they dedicated their yearbook. President Sr. Margaret Claydon, SND ’45 showed them how to be a great leader, and Dean of Students Sr. Ann Gormley, SND ’45 exercised judicious care with so many smart young women increasingly restless with the constraints and customs of the past. Loyal to tradition with courtyard sings and elaborate Class Day decorations in the Well, they also knew their Trinity education had to prepare them for the tumultuous world beyond Michigan Avenue roiled by civil rights demonstrations and anti-war protests, riots in cities and uproars on campuses. Assassination robbed the nation of promising young leaders; the students of ’69 stood on the roof of Kerby to behold Washington burning after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King in April 1968.
As they “walked off to look for America,” (thank you, Simon & Garfunkel) the Class of 1969 stepped into a world where revolution was fast rising, from Stonewall to Woodstock to the Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Neal Armstrong walked on the moon, Nixon became president and the Beatles gave their last public performance. Midnight Cowboy broke all the rules and still won the Oscar. Deep in laboratories in California, a few words traveled from one computer to another across 300 miles and the Internet was born, changing how we receive, know and process information forever.
Undaunted by the tumult, well-equipped with their Trinity degrees to ride high on the speed of change, the women of 1969 quickly made their marks as teachers, doctors, foreign service officers, writers, journalists, PR and Communication specialists, docents of galleries and chairs of non-profit boards, Shakespeare whisperers, school leaders and theologians, artists in watercolor and jewelry, and even a life master in bridge. They created beautiful families, the joys of their lives, the children and grandchildren and spouses and partners and parents and friends and webs of relationships that nourish and strengthen each stage of life, and the communities who know them. They made their marks as innovators and advocates, provocateurs and champions of social justice, ardent leaders of faith and conviction. They have been the “voice of the faithful” both literally and in the largest sense of fidelity to the values that Trinity cherishes, making the world a far better place for having been touched and changed by the indomitable spirit of 1969.
In this, their 50th Reunion year, they are far from done with leading change in our world. They have chosen to make a truly extraordinary gift on this occasion, a fund that will help future generations of Trinity students to become alumnae without delay due to financial hardship. As of Reunion Saturday, “69 to the Finish Line” has raised more than $400,000 to provide micro-grants to help juniors and seniors complete their degrees on time. THANK YOU, 1969!
Our great Blue Class of 1969 is golden today, and for all of the countless ways in which they have proclaimed Trinity’s ideals with never a swerve, I am pleased to present to them the Trinity Golden Jubilee medal.
– President Pat McGuire ’74
Note: At the May 2019 Commencement we were pleased to recognize the achievements of the Women of 1969 by honoring Sharon Brady Raimo ’69, CEO of St. Coletta of Greater Washington (photo on right) and Peggy O’Brien ’69 (photo on the left) introduced Sharon to our graduates. Center photo includes (l to r) Trinity Board Chair Sr. Patricia O’Brien, SND; Sharon Brady Raimo; Peggy O’Brien; and yours truly.Continue reading →Read comments (1) Add Comment
Welcome Home, Alumnae!May 31, 2019
Welcome Home, Alumnae! We are so pleased to welcome the Great Blue Class of 1969 for your 50th Reunion! And a big WELCOME to all alumnae in classes ending in “4” and “7” — and special welcome to my classmates among the Greens of ’74! We have a wonderful Reunion Weekend planned for you, and most of all, we look forward to catching up, sharing stories and enjoying the renewal of friendships and memories of our Trinity days.
Reunion connects Trinity women to a remarkable heritage across the years — Trinity is 122 years old and going strong! From our very first class of 1904 (below) to the most recent alums in the Class of 2019, Trinity alumnae (and including, more recently, some alumni) share a deep commitment to high intellectual attainment, loyal friendships, and a passion to make a difference in our world.
As our alumnae gather to enjoy this Reunion Weekend, we are particularly grateful to the Class of 1969 whose 50th Reunion Gift is quite extraordinary. As of this writing, the “69 to the Finish Line” campaign has raised nearly $400,000 to provide grants to juniors and seniors to help today’s students finish college on time. This is a remarkable gift for a 50th Reunion class to “pay it forward” for future students and alumnae. Thank You, Class of ’69, for your generosity and deep devotion to the students of Trinity! ’69 has always been up for fun, here’s evidence from their yearbook:Continue reading →Read comments (0) Add Comment