Welcome to the paper’s Damage Report!
In order to keep readers up to date with current events, we decided to start this biweekly feature, in which we present short, concise explanations of major topics that have occurred that week in the news. As well, we will link to other articles that will provide further information, as well as other articles we believe coincide with the story. This feature will be published every Tuesday – Friday.
Your News Editors,
Nick & Rachel
Protests Erupt in Russia Over Corruption Allegations
This Sunday, thousands of Russian citizens took to the streets in widespread anti-corruption protests over the actions of President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who has been accused of creating a large network of corruption through a global property corporation. The protesters included critics of the Russian government such as Alexey Navalny, who, along with approximately 800 other demonstrators, was detained by Russian authorities during the protests. These demonstrations come just days after another Kremlin critic, Denis Voronenkov, was shot dead outside his hotel in Kiev; one killing in a long line of alleged assassinations of Putin’s critics and opponents. While the U.S State Department spoke out and condemned the arrests during the protest, so far no comment has been made by the White House.
AG Sessions Threatens to Cut Police Funding for Sanctuary Cities
On Monday, Jeff Sessions announced that he intends to restrict grants to sanctuary cities that are not complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A previous executive order by President Trump had authorized the Department of Justice to do so, and now it appears that Sessions will be acting on that authority. Under the new policy, the Department of Justice would not grant federal funding to cities that refuse to disclose the immigration status of resident workers. Further, Sessions has indicated that in addition to blocking new grants, the DoJ may try to restrict previous grants as well. These funds often go to local law enforcement in these cities, so the threat of removal could have serious consequences.
Resistance to this policy is already underway. Mayor Bill de Blasio has stated that New York will continue to afford sanctuary to its immigrants, and San Francisco has begun a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Other cities may follow in San Francisco’s path. The constitutionality of this order depends on whether the removal of these grants is considered overly “coercive,” a distinction that may ultimately need to be decided by the Supreme Court.
Trump Puts “American Jobs” Over Combating Climate Change
Today, Mr. Trump signed a sweeping executive order that will curb the federal government’s enforcement of climate regulations. The Trump administration stated that this was done to “put American jobs first.” A White House official on Monday said that the administration believes the government can both “serve the environment and increase energy independence.” The thought is that this can be done by urging the EPA to focus on what the Trump administration believes is its core mission: clean air and clean water. Ironically, this administration has already damaged opportunities for clean air and clean water. Trump’s EPA Chief does not believe that CO2 is a primary contributor to climate change and denies it as a pollutant. Trump also pushed to resume construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which, if it were to leak, could contaminate the clean drinking water for thousands in that area. The White House stands by its “American jobs first” mentality as they believe a strong and prosperous economy is “the best way to protect the environment.”
“Fearless Girl” to Stay Until 2018
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the “Fearless Girl” statue, stationed opposed to Wall Street’s “Charging Bull,” will now remain in place until early 2018. The statue, made by sculptor Kristen Visbal, was created in honor of International Women’s Day and is planned to stay until next year’s International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018). Mayor de Blasio called the statue a symbol of “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right.” This message is extremely powerful and resonates with many in the current political and cultural climate. Calls for the statue to become a permanent fixture began almost immediately after it appeared. New York City public advocate Letitia James wrote on Twitter that “empowering women shouldn’t be temporary- she must be a permanent piece of NYC.”
While “Fearless Girl” has mostly received positive feedback, there are people against the statue, most notably sculptor Auturo Di Modica. Mr. Di Modica originally created the “Charging Bull” statue in the 1980s. He called “Fearless Girl” an “advertising trick” by a financial firm during a recent interview, following up those comments by saying it is a “mistake” for activists to label “Fearless Girl” as a symbol for women’s empowerment. Additionally, Mr. Di Modica said that he put “Charging Bull” in the financial district for “art”. He claims that his statue is supposed to be a symbol for America and one “of prosperity and of strength.”
Accusations of Misconduct Cited Against Fordham (Spotlight on Fordham)
In recent months, a plethora of accusations have been lodged against the Fordham administration for alleged misconduct. These stories are continuing to develop and, in some instances, escalate for the worse. For now, though let’s run through two of the more recent incidents. First and foremost: the effort to restrict the availability of healthcare to tenured faculty. This is not the reward professors were expecting in return for their commitment to education at Fordham. It has been expressed that these actions on the part of Fordham’s administration and its Board of Trustees violate standing faculty contracts. This development coincides with longstanding poor relations with adjunct faculty.
The second accusation is against Professor Matthew Maguire, Director of the Theatre Program at Fordham. A lawsuit was filed against the Professor in response to alleged acts of sexual harassment in the workplace. Maguire is accused of saying highly inappropriate, sexual comments to other professors within the department as well as to students. In one of his comments, Maguire allegedly claimed to masturbate with a snake. In a statement from Bob Howe, a Fordham spokesman, he said an independent investigation “concluded there was no merit to the allegations.”
Rachel Poe – News Co-Editor
Michael Jack O’Brien – Features and List Co-Editor
Declan Murphy – Copy Editor
John Looby – Co-Editor in Chief