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Faculty in the News


(June 27, 2017)

According to a recent study, a little bit of anxiety can be helpful in our daily lives as long as we are strategic in how we use those feelings. In an article from Reader's Digest, Shelly Smith-Acuña, dean of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology says "Adaptive worry alerts you to dangers and threats, clarifies the problem, can lead you to seek help or more information from others, and then helps you solve the problem," For example, worrying about work can help achieve goals. "Worrying can help you leave a bad job or at least get you to update your resume, ask for help, or seek other resources," says Smith-Acuña.

The topic of free speech on university campuses has been frequently debated in recent months. Lawmakers in Wisconsin have introduced legislation that disciplines those whose "protests and demonstrations interfere with the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity." In an op-ed for the Denver Post, Ved Nanda, professor and director of the Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law at the Sturm College of Law, questions whose speech is really being protected in laws and policies like the one in Wisconsin. "Many of these new policy documents in fact insulate white students' racist speech from protest," he writes. "Instead, such policies must ensure that there is opportunity for counter-speech and that protesters as well as speakers are equally protected." Nanda also discusses how universities should respond. "As many universities, including the University of Denver, are adopting freedom-of-expression policies, they must be specially attentive to the power relations that permeate our lives."

Erica Chenoweth, professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, along with colleagues Erica MacDonald, doctoral student in political science at the University of Connecticut, and Jeremy Pressman, associate professor of political science and director of Middle East Studies at the University of Connecticut, released a report on protests in the United States during the month of May. In the Washington Post, Chenoweth says, "For May 2017, we tallied 495 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 100,807 to 128,464 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants." Most demonstrations that took place—roughly 68 percent—were in opposition to President Trump or his policies, but around one quarter were related to other topics, like the removal of confederate statues or budgetary/personnel decisions in schools.

(June 20, 2017) 

Nancy Leong, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, says in an op-ed for the Washington Post that an alarming number of the recent mass shooters in the United States have a history of aggression and violence toward women. She writes, "Of course, it shouldn't be a surprise domestic violence and mass shootings are correlated. As I have pointed out before, domestic violence is a form of violence, just one that we don't always take as seriously as other kinds. People who are likely to act violently often start with those nearest to them, who are vulnerable due to proximity, and who are often financially, emotionally or legally dependent on their abuser. The justice system also plays a role, treating domestic violence with less weight than 'real' violence."

Last week, Amazon announced that it will open a robotics fulfillment center in Thornton that will create more than 1,500 new full-time jobs. In a story for KMGH, Cindi Fukami, professor at Daniels College of Business, commented on what the use of robots at the center means for future employees. "I think, overall, it looks like good news for the Colorado worker," says Fukami. "If a job is so simple that it can be done by a robot, why would a human being want to do this work? Human beings are capable of a lot more."

Cindy Hyman, director of alumni, career and professional development offered some perspective on the latest trends in career development for alumni in the Huffington Post. Specifically, the article focuses on how career services should continue for students long after they graduate. "From a university's standpoint, our work doesn't stop after a student graduates," she says. "Our goal is to prepare our students and alumni for career success no matter when they graduated."

(June 13, 2017)

Along with four other university leaders, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp contributed to an article titled "Focus on the Future: Leading in Complex Times." Their discussion covers a variety of topics—from how universities can produce lifelong learners, to how to confront societal problems that involve multiple disciplines, to how the current political climate affects the university's institutional role. Looking ahead to the future, Chancellor Chopp says, "I see the need and the opportunity to teach grit and resilience—teaching habits of mind is as important as content management. I think we will see a more Aristotelian model of learning embraced."

Billy J. Stratton, associate professor of English and Nancy D. Wadsworth, associate professor of political science, wrote an op-ed for the Denver Post about navigating the challenges that arise when confronting the painful parts of Colorado's history. In one example, they mention some of the University's work in addressing the legacy of one of DU's founders, John Evans, who was responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre. They write, "We are working to ensure that incoming students are introduced to the role of the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado and DU history. This is being done through a rethinking of the wall hangings in a room named for Evans in our admissions office, where prospective students begin campus tours, and all-campus 'discoveries lectures' for first-year students whereby Evans' legacy is honestly, but fairly, addressed." They also discuss how well-intentioned attempts to right wrongs of the past often do additional harm. "While calls to rename sites like Mount Evans may seem an appropriate solution, doing so without a commitment to more nuanced historical education can have detrimental effects, especially to Native peoples," they write.

(June 6, 2017)

This article from U.S. News & World Report contrasts the three major indexes in the United States: the Nasdaq composite, Dow Jones industrial average and Standard and Poor's 500 index. Chris Hughen, associate professor at Daniels College of Business, helps explain the make-up of the less-diversified Nasdaq. "Investors have bid up the value of these stocks [in the Nasdaq] to represent their increased importance to American consumers," he says. "If they continue to dominate, their price is appropriate." By comparison, he says, "The Dow Jones industrial average is the Kim Kardashian of financial metrics. It is ever popular, and educated people just wonder why."

Ron Throupe, associate professor at Daniels College of Business, commented on the state of the housing market, ten years after the mortgage crisis for CGTN. "The downturn is still in people's minds as far as making a decision on whether they should buy or not," he says. Another factor impacting the market is the supply of houses available. "We have less than two month's supply, and in some places less than a one month's supply of inventory on the market," he says. "Normal inventory is around four to five months."

Howard Markman, Distinguished University Professor of psychology, spoke with Reuters giving comments about the results of a research study which found that military families who avoid dealing with stressful issues before a family member is deployed are more likely to have mental health and relationship problems after the soldier returns home. "If soldiers are not happy in their family life, they're not going to do their job as well," says Markman. He also offered some advice for military couples. "The best way to help military couples is to help couples learn communication skills and principles that are associated with having a healthy and happy marriage," Markman says.


(May 30, 2017) 

U.S. News & World Report described the Trump administration's changing view on sanctuary cities in an article on the new budget proposal. At the end of the proposal, the administration calls for a rewrite of statute 8 U.S.C. 1373 so that jurisdictions would be required to share citizenship information and call on jail personnel to comply with federal detainer requests, or risk federal grant funding from the Justice Department and Homeland Security. Christopher Lasch, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, says the budget is asking for a pretty dramatic change. "This is their strategy here: to unsettle what is very clearly a very settled legal question, which is, 'Can these localities make these immigration arrests pursuant to immigration detainers?'" Lasch adds, "The clear legal answer to that is no. And this is clearly a multi-pronged effort to cast that into doubt."

After President Trump's budget proposal was released this week, KMGH reported on how the cuts could impact different Coloradans. Mac Clouse, professor at the Daniels College of Business, commented on the wide range of government programs that the budget could affect. "You're getting some things that have strong interests and that go across all constituents," says Clouse. "So if I'm a good senator or representative I've got to be real careful because those things could impact all voters."

In the wake of the terror attack in Manchester, KDVR interviewed Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Hashemi discussed a possible motivation for the attack. "ISIS now has its back against the wall," he says. "It's about to be defeated in Mosul, it's under severe pressure in eastern Syria in their de facto capital Raqqa, and I think this is a response to an impending defeat."

(May 23, 2017) 

In an op-ed for The Conversation, Fred Cheever and Annecoos Wiersema, both professors at the Sturm College of Law, discuss the ways that listing the giraffe as an endangered species will provide legal tools for the giraffe to be protected—despite the fact that the giraffe is native to Africa, and the list is in the United States. However, listing the giraffe under the Endangered Species Act would allow the U.S. to crack down on the buying and selling of giraffe parts, which, during the past decade, have included more than 21,000 giraffe bone carvings, 3,000 skin pieces and 3,744 hunting trophies. Through listing, these imports would be limited, thereby curtailing global demand.

Home-delivery meal kits from companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are rising in popularity, but researchers at Rutgers University recently tested 169 meal kits and found that nearly half of the items arrived at temperatures that were unsafe to eat. In a segment for KMGH, Eric Lane, senior director of operations at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, commented on the danger of foodborne illness. "No matter how well you pack these kits, you run some degree of risk," he says. Lane also noted the lack of food safety directions on the recipe cards that come with the kits. "Following the instructions on the card is not enough," he says. "It could potentially make a lot of people sick."

Colorado Public Radio reported on the way social work has become a necessary part of the job for staff at the Denver Public Library as more homeless patrons have begun visiting. "Public libraries have for decades have been essential organizations, not just for homeless people but also as a conduit for connecting the agencies in whatever community that library might be in, that serve the homeless," says Mary Stansbury, associate professor and head of the Library and Information Science Program at the Morgridge College of Education. She says they provide a safe place to visit where you won't be asked to leave, and says that universities could better prepare librarians for an environment where they frequently interact with homeless people.

(May 16, 2017)

In an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report, Nicole Taylor-Irwin, director of the Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence (COPE), writes "It is essential that mental health counseling be added as a covered benefit for cancer patients." She observes that new standards to accredit cancer centers include provisions for distress screening—a sign that the medical community is moving to incorporate psychological distress into treatment. "Cancer patients often report that loved ones give them advice about how they should deal with cancer, when what they most need is a shoulder to cry on or a friend to make them smile," she writes. "Working with a well-trained professional is an essential part of cancer treatment for many patients, which can help with the healing process and increase quality of life."

The Guardian reports that at least half of the world's population lives in countries with more private security workers than public police officers. Private security companies also make up a large portion of the global economy—by 2020, the market is expected to grow by 240 billion dollars. Deborah Avant, Sié Chéou-Kang Chair and Director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy housed in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, traces a surge in the industry back to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which time, she says, "an army of private workers flooded in to do all sorts of things." After, "Companies began to look elsewhere . . . at private security domestically but also for people living abroad, and for the private sector and for companies," she adds. Learn more about this topic at the Private Security Monitor project.

President Trump signed an executive order recently targeting national monuments. The administration began surveying monuments in Utah last week, which the Los Angeles Times calls "a hotbed of resistance to federal control of land." Justin Pidot, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, believes that the legal arguments that would allow Trump to redraw or remove monument boundaries are shaky. "A lot of things this administration does, it does for political theater," he says. "They can say they have done them, and then they get to rail against the courts for stopping them.

(May 9, 2017) 

This Westword article explores DU's Ready for American Hospitality Program, a partnership with the African Community Center, which provides food safety and hospitality training to refugees in Denver. Unfortunately, the Trump administration's travel ban has affected the enrollment recently, explains Anthony Cherwinski, the program's manager. "The travel ban comes into play in our program," he says. "Most of our students have been in the U.S. for eight or nine months, but the number of new immigrants coming in has slowed to a trickle." The article also features the stories of several students in the program.

Netflix's controversial show 13 Reasons Why has been in the news lately as experts discuss whether it glamorizes suicide. In an article for USA Today, Stacey Freedenthal, associate professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, comments on the show's depictions of self-injury. There are a variety of reasons why people report that they self-injure. Freedenthal says that while it was previously thought to be connected to a mental health disorder, it is now understood as a method people use to regulate anxiety, tension or pain. "It's a way to stay alive," she says.

The Colorado Springs Gazette highlights "W3Fi," a work of art by Chris Coleman, associate professor of Emergent Digital Practices and Laleh Mehran, professor and graduate director of Emergent Digital Practices, now on exhibit at GOCA 121 in Colorado Springs. The installation demonstrates how our lives are inextricably linked to the digital world. "We combine local landmarks and fauna with complex projections, data visualizations, and interactive elements to create an experience where you feel like you have walked into an internet that could be more supportive and connected," says Coleman.

(May 2, 2017) 

In the wake of the United Airlines overbooking controversy, experts are discussing whether stricter regulations or new legislation could benefit airline customers. David Corsun, associate professor at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, explains why overbooking happens in the Washington Post . "Overbooking is common," he says. "It's an effort to maximize revenue from a perishable inventory, like an airline seat. Since people often no-show, overbooking occurs to avoid idle inventory and a lost revenue opportunity." For the most part, overbooking is a sound industry practice, he says, and concludes that there's no easy answer or fix to the problem.

This article from VICE news reports on the connection between America's opioid epidemic and the destruction of rainforests in Central America—a phenomenon known as narco-deforestation. According to the report, as the U.S. market for heroin has expanded, drug cartels have a greater incentive to tear down rainforests to build landing strips for airplanes or set up farms which are used to launder money. Matthew Taylor, professor of geography, says his research supports the connection. "[Deforestation] hasn't slowed down in the last four years," he says. "From speaking with my sources and from evidence from being in the field, it's increasing."

Erica Chenoweth, professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, released a report of who protested across the United States during the month of March. Along with her colleagues David Prater, Jeremy Pressman, Ches Thurber and Stephen Zunes, Chenoweth writes in the Washington Post, "For March 2017, we tallied 585 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the district. Our conservative guess is that 79,389 to 89,585 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants." The article explains why people demonstrated: mostly in opposition to or in support of President Trump, but also for a variety of other reasons, from opposition to a parking system at Reston Town Center to support of the 58th Annual Tibetan National Uprising Day in Salt Lake City.


(April 25, 2017) 

Last week police were searching for a man who recorded a video of himself shooting and killing Robert Godwin, Sr. and then posted it on Facebook. Ian Farrell, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, spoke with Fox 31 about the legal implications of witnessing a crime on social media. Farrell says that people often assume that someone else will report a crime they see. "In general, there is not a requirement to either help somebody else or to report a crime," he explains. "But there are some states [like Texas and Ohio] in which that is the case."

This Denver Post article provides an overview of how tech "startups" in Denver are maturing into larger companies. Discussing that transformation, Erik Mitisek, executive director of Project X-ITE says, "You're starting to see a lot more mature aspects of an innovation economy that are not only allowing startups to grow, but are attracting the energy of outsiders as well." He adds, "I think everybody is rooting for one of our Colorado-born companies to be a longstanding, sustainable, tent-pole company able to scale. We're really good at growing middle-market companies."

Christopher R. Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, offered analysis of President Trump's foreign policy in his first 100 days in office for an article in USA Today. He says that Trump has had the slowest start on foreign policy and national security issues of any president since Jimmy Carter, and that Trump's rhetoric is creating angst among allies and adversaries. "There is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed in the next 1,000 days, and that is the degree to which you can take the word of the president to the bank," says Hill. "I think also there's a question of the commitment to the institutions of our governance, and that is going to raise problems in future as foreign interlocutors need to decide if they need to talk to (son-in-law) Jared Kushner or the Secretary of State.

(April 18, 2017)

Male students outnumber female students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields in schools across the country. Breigh Roszelle, teaching assistant professor of engineering, and several other female students at DU are working to change that. In an interview with KMGH, Roszelle explains how her upbringing gave her an advantage breaking in to STEM. "I was pretty good at math and my dad was an engineer," she says, "but a lot of girls are never exposed to this information, and don't even know what an engineer does."

Though the percentage of married adults in the United States is decreasing, married couples still pay the majority of the nation's income taxes. Scott Stanley, research professor of psychology and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, offered a few explanations for the disparity in an article for Deseret News. "Those with more resources and education are those most likely to marry," he explains. "They feel more confident about marriage and they have more resources to reduce stressors that make marriage harder."

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, assistant professor at the Sturm College of Law, writes about the plight of the 540,000 currently-detained immigrants in the U.S.—many of whom will stand trial without a lawyer—in an op-ed for the Huffington Post. He praises the state of New York, which last week funded a statewide network of attorneys to represent people undergoing immigration court proceedings while detained, and asserts "More cities and states should follow New York's lead." He reasons, "At some point, someone in every community will end up in the immigration detention and deportation pipeline. When that happens, a lawyer ensures that the legal process operates according to law and not according to the happenstance of poverty."

(April 11, 2017)

In an op-ed for CNN, Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, writes that the Syrian conflict is a "global problem, back at the top of the international agenda" after the sarin gas attack last week. He outlines the history of the conflict and the way it led to the emergence of ISIS and the refugee crisis that now has displaced more than half of Syria's 23 million people. Ultimately, Hashemi writes, "There are no easy solutions to the crisis in Syria. What is certain, however, is that this conflict cannot be contained, as Obama thought. Nor can it be solved by a few missile attacks, as Trump seems to think. Instead we need a Herculean international effort, rooted in political will, that acknowledges the Syrian conflict for what it is and acts responsibly in the face of it."

Ved Nanda, professor at the Sturm College of Law, writes about how President Trump's trade policy compares to his campaign rhetoric in an op-ed for the Denver Post. While he had promised to get rid of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), based on a leaked draft, it seems he will instead renegotiate it with a few minor changes. He also signed two executive orders on trade, one of which many experts agree will not do much to change the comprehensive reporting on trade barriers and intellectual property violations which already happens. Nanda writes, "Donald Trump's fiery campaign rhetoric on trade is not matched by the trade policy that appears to be shaping up."

9News reported on a new app developed by Alvaro Arias, professor of mathematics, and alumnus Aditya Nagrath (BS '01, PhD '08). Elephant Learning is designed to prepare young students for school by helping them understand basic math concepts. "You want to make it interesting and engaging," says Arias, "and we want to build understanding." He adds, ""We build games based on what researchers have done to prove the most effective ways that children learn." Read more on this story at the Newsroom.

(April 4, 2017)

Paul Seaborn, assistant professor of management at the Daniels College of Business, discussed his new course about the business of marijuana with Poets & Quants. He says that his class has attracted both students planning to enter the marijuana industry after graduation and those who are just interested in learning more. "There are students who just see this as an interesting topic to understand and come at it the same way I do, and see that there are a lot of similarities to other industries," he says. "I think we can learn a lot by seeing what is similar and different from the marijuana industry to tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceutical, or even automotive or biotech."

U.S. News & World Report interviewed several experts on careers that require specific master's degrees. Mary Stansbury, associate professor at the Morgridge College of Education, discusses the credentials needed for archival work, and the places someone with a library science degree might end up working. "Most archivist's jobs are going to require a master's degree of some kind," she explains, "and many library science programs over the years will add a course or two each year that falls into the category of archival work." When it comes to library science, Stansbury says "Some people in the field go into the knowledge management area and typically work in more of a corporate setting."

Christopher Hill, dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, talked with CNN about President Trump's upcoming meeting with China and what they might discuss. Specifically, Hill focuses on North Korea. "There's a broad feeling in the analytical community that North Korea is making progress on its nuclear weapons," says Hill. "It's time for that issue to become front and center in the U.S.-China relationship, and even on the international list of concerns." He also discusses whether Trump's temperament might be an asset in his relationship with China. "To be frank, they're not thrilled with erratic behavior," he says. "But they do like decisive and strong leaders."


(March 28, 2017)

This week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that names counties that don't accept requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people without a warrant. Many experts are confused by the list because they say that it shames law enforcement officials who—by not honoring ICE detainer requests—are abiding by the U.S. Constitution. Chris Lasch, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, tells Oregon Public Broadcasting "Today you have an explosion in the number of jurisdictions that recognize this basic legal principal: that a detainer doesn't provide a legal basis for prolonging the detention of somebody who should otherwise be released."

Voting on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to take place at the beginning of April. Some Senate Democrats have vowed to filibuster the vote, but Republicans can overhaul the Senate's rules to allow a simple majority to proceed with a vote on the nominee. Seth Masket, professor of political science, tells the Denver Post "There might be some hesitancy to getting rid of the filibuster" because the Republicans could become the minority party in two years during midterm elections. "But then again," he says, "they might do so given how polarized the chamber has become. It's hard to maintain a system like the filibuster where you give a minority party a lot of power in such a polarized environment."

(March 21, 2017) 

Last week, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that employers may ban their employees from wearing visible religious symbols at work, a ruling that some say paves the way for discrimination against Muslim women. The Christian Science Monitor reported on whether the ruling reflects the rise of far-right ideology. Lisa Conant, professor of political science, explains that the ECJ deferred to national courts to determine whether any indirect discrimination against Muslim women that may result from the ban is proportional to potentially legitimate aims in enforcing the ban such as the observance of religious and political neutrality in a business environment. "The ECJ basically said it was the national court who can decide whether [a case] is indirect discrimination or not," she says. "But it sort of gives that court an out by saying you can justify indirect discrimination if there's a legitimate aim and if that aim is proportional."

Trent Steidley, assistant professor of sociology and criminology, was a featured expert for WalletHub's investigation of states who are most dependent on the gun industry. He discusses bipartisan policies that could reduce gun violence, how the Trump administration might act in regards to gun ownership and the effectiveness of state and local gun laws. Steidley says, "Research suggests that locations with stronger state and local gun laws have lower rates of firearm fatalities and violence. However, the key mechanism here is that these firearm regulations most likely work to reduce the overall level of firearm prevalence in a location." He continues, "In short, to make an effective law, it has to reduce the overall levels of firearm prevalence. This wouldn't be a problem in most western nations, but the U.S. is unique in that we are the only nation that recognizes firearm ownership as a right . . . so passing laws that might discourage that right can create an enormous backlash from gun rights advocates."

(March 14, 2017) 

Cullen Hendrix, associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, writes in an op-ed for the Washington Post, "Instead of examining how climate change will affect the broadest territories with the most exposure to climate change, researchers are going to the countries that are most convenient for them to visit and study." After examining existing research involving climate change in Africa, Hendrix found that scholars have devoted the same amount of attention to Kenya and South as to 29 other African countries. He writes that while it makes sense why this concentration occurs, the consequences are a problem. "For example, many policymakers have praised community-based approaches to assessing and developing adaptive capacity," he writes, "But 75 percent of the evidence for this claim is based on research in former British colonies. If these countries are systematically different from other African countries, we don't know whether community-based approaches will work elsewhere." Hendrix published this research in Global Environmental Change; read his full article.

While many in the United States are aware of the history of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"—a well-known African-American spiritual—in England, it is often used as a drinking song and an anthem to excite the crowd at rugby matches featuring the country's national team. Art Jones, teaching professor at the Lamont School of Music and former director of the Spirituals Project, commented on the song's appropriation in an article for the New York Times. "I feel like the story of American chattel slavery and this incredible cultural tradition, built up within a community of people who were victims and often seen as incapable of standing up for themselves, is such a powerful story that I want the whole world to know about it," says Jones. "But apparently not everyone does."

The Denver Post reported last week on how the travel ban might affect enrollment at Colorado universities. Marjorie Smith, associate dean for international student admission, said that she has received messages from anxious prospective students. "I think there is a worldwide concern that (the U.S.) is becoming more suspicious of outsiders, and whether that's true or not hardly matters," she says. "It is the perception that students and parents and educators overseas will have that drives their decisions."

(March 7, 2017) 

Researchers have identified a mutation in bacteria similar to those that cause tuberculosis, an important discovery that could help scientists better understand how antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop. Nancy Sasaki, associate dean of Natural Science and Mathematics, explained the discovery on 9News. "In the past, it's always been thought that there was a single mutation change for each drug resistance, but this study showed a single mutation conferred multiple drug resistances," she explains. "We need to know where these mutations are occurring, how they are affecting the cell, so we can develop targeted drug treatments for those types of resistances," she says. "If we can understand at the molecular level, that translates to those who are developing those antibiotics or looking, or scouring, for better antibiotics."

This VICE news article explains the reason for the festivals associated with Carnival, a Christian holiday that incorporates many pagan traditions. Historically, says Carl Raschke, professor of religious studies, "It was a way to let off emotional steam after months of winter." He adds, "It's common in many cultures to have this ritual of excess to restore balance to the universe. Like today's bachelor party, it's the idea of getting it out of your system before you have to go into a disciplined mode of life."

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Sam Kamin, Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Sturm College of Law, discusses the complicated state of marijuana law in the U.S. and challenges several claims made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. For example, in contrast to Spicer's statement that the federal government should not retreat from enforcing drug laws in light of the opiate crisis in the U.S., Kamin writes, "[T]his grossly simplifies (and perhaps even inverts) the relationship between marijuana and more powerful drugs such as opiates. While marijuana has long been derided as a gateway drug, growing evidence shows that marijuana can serve as a substitute for or adjunct to the use of opiates to control chronic pain. In short, the opiate crisis might be a reason to expand access to marijuana rather than to contract it."


(Feb. 28, 2017) 

In an op-ed for the Denver Post, Jonathan Sciarcon, assistant professor at the Center for Judaic Studies, asserts that because of President Trump's refusal to commit to a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel will lose bipartisan support in the United States. He points to the changing demographics within the American Jewish community as evidence. "While older Orthodox and non-Orthodox American Jews report relatively similar, and high, levels of support for Israel, among the younger generations, roughly American Jews born after 1970, Orthodox Jews profess support for Israel at much higher levels than do their non-Orthodox counterparts," Sciarcon writes. Ultimately, he argues that an administration which ignores a two-state solution will leave Israel susceptible to pressure from future U.S. presidents, which will lead to "dire ramifications for Israel at the United Nations and in its general conduct of foreign relations."

Tax season is upon us! In a segment for 9News, John Tripp, professor at the Daniels College of Business, offered some advice. Tripp says to be wary of promotions guaranteeing huge refunds. Instead, he says, "If you complete your tax return under the rules, you won't have any problems later on with the IRS when they come back and ask you to support what you've done." The piece also mentions DU's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, run by accounting students.

Nancy Wadsworth, associate professor of political science, writes about the long tradition of fun within American protest activism in an op-ed for the Washington Post, culminating most recently in the nation-wide women's marches. "The women's marches built on feminists' long history of employing pleasure and play as movement tactic," she writes. Despite all the discussions about recent protests, Wadsworth and her co-author Lorna Bracewell of the University of Nebraska, Kearney, assert that "the tangible pleasure people can feel from acting publicly and collectively to try to change something" has largely been ignored as a cause for the large turnout. She concludes, "As both Trump's rise and the resistance to it show, at their most effective, pleasurable and playful politics can bring together and energize individuals and groups, enabling them to settle in for the long haul."

(Feb. 21, 2017)

In this article from Wired, Margaret B. Kwoka, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, comments on the amount and kind of information leaks that have happened so far in the Trump administration. "We're in a situation where there's a dangerous amount of confusion about what the facts are," Kwoka says. The abundance of leaks "adds to the confusion lots of folks are feeling about how to understand what the Trump administration is doing." She also discussed Trump's comments on the disclosure of top-secret information. "For folks working within government, generally moral guideposts do play a role in leaks. When you have hacks, none of that comes into play. It may just be all downside," she says.

Don Bacon, professor and Ali Besharat, assistant professor, both at the Daniels College of Business, and H.G. Parsa, professor at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, recently released a study analyzing the relationship between consumer behavior and restaurants. They found that rather than the quality of food at a restaurant, the ambience and service are the main factors influencing consumers. Parsa tells the Denver Business Journal , "This study clearly demonstrates that all restaurants are not created equal, and high and low end restaurants should be managed differently with reference to food quality, service and ambiance."

In an op-ed for the History News Network, Billy J. Stratton, associate professor of English, traces the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline back to Manifest Destiny. He writes, "Native peoples' claims to the lands of the Northern Plains, expressed in the very names of North Dakota and South Dakota, have been systematically eroded over the past century and a half through the instruments of war, broken treaties, theft and corruption." Despite the many battles and broken treaties Stratton describes which took place throughout the 19th century, he writes, "courageous people remain at Standing Rock in remembrance of this other American past, continuing to defend the lands reserved by treaty, the right to clean water; both for them and for us, as they say mni wiconi, water is life."

(Feb. 14, 2017) 

Rebecca Love Kourlis, executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), appeared on PBS NewsHour to discuss President Trump's recent attacks on the judiciary. Kourlis described her reaction to the president's remarks about federal judges. "My concern is not so much the disagreement with the outcome, but rather the attack on the legitimacy of the process," she said. "That risks further polarity, further critique of the judiciary as a political branch of government, which it is not, cannot be, was never intended to be." Kourlis also wrote an op-ed for the Denver Post, "When Donald Trump attacks a judge, he attacks democracy itself," which addresses the same topic.

After the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Karen Riley, dean of the Morgridge College of Education, was interviewed on 9News to discuss what the job entails. "The job of the secretary is to inform, advise and execute legislation over educational policy," Riley explains. "It's important to know that it's not simply limited to policy that affects our neuro-typical kids that are in the K-12 system, but really extends to preschool, higher education and all of those services important for our children that have special needs." She also talked about the relationship between national and local education policy. "The policy and legislation are oftentimes developed at the national level, but a great deal of it is up to the states to execute," says Riley. "In Colorado, local school boards and principals have a lot of freedom to operationalize those policies in the way that's best for their population."

Eleni Sikelianos, professor of English, was interviewed on Colorado Public Radio's "Colorado Matters" show to discuss her new book Make Yourself Happy, which includes pages that are meant to be torn out and turned into three-dimensional art. During the interview, she reads from her book and comments on the nature of books themselves. "It's one of the small miracles of the book that it can contain just about anything," Sikelianos says. "It contains deaths, births, mysteries. In that way it's a mirror of the world outside." She also discusses her process, which began in a discussion with her graduate poetry students at DU. "I started this book thinking about poetry responding to very basic questions, such as 'How do we live?' and 'What are our daily, sustaining pursuits?'" she explains. "That led to thinking about the consequences of our pursuit of happiness. The second section of the book contains poems devoted to animals that have been wiped out in modern times, as well as a cut-out globe tracking extinctions. You have to destroy part of the book to create the globe."

(Feb. 7, 2017) 

Tom Russell, professor at the Sturm College of Law, discussed the legality of a Craigslist sale with Fox 31. Two people trying to sell car parts were surprised to learn that simply agreeing to the sale over text message meant entering into a legally binding contract, and when they sold to another buyer, the first buyer threatened a lawsuit. "At that point, there is a contract and the texts that are sent back and forth are enough of a writing to help that be enforceable," explains Russell. He also gave a few tips for how to avoid being sued, like setting specific conditions with a buyer. "I wouldn't want people to become alarmed that every transaction they enter into on Craigslist would end in some sort of threat of litigation because that's simply not how the world works," says Russell.

President Trump recently signed an executive order that instructed the Treasury Department to examine a number of financial regulations. Mac Clouse, professor at the Daniels College of Business, explained a few of the regulations in existence and what the consequences of the executive order might be on 9News. One of those regulations is the Dodd-Frank Act. "Dodd-Frank is the act that came out of the financial crisis in 2008-2009," says Clouse. "It's a huge act that covers all aspects of financial regulation and was designed to protect consumers as well as regulate some markets that were moving faster than the regulators could keep up." He also explained that the act has supporters and critics. "Some people are critical because they think Dodd-Frank went too far. It was a reaction to what we had been through," he says. "Some people think that in some cases it may not have gone far enough. We can have situations in certain institutions that Dodd-Frank doesn't cover."

This Denver Post article describes a case filed with the Colorado Court of Appeals which says defendant Aaron Thompson's conviction should be overturned because he was forced to change lawyers. Colorado is one of only two states which mandates that indigent defendants must use a free public defender in order for the state to pay for investigators and expert witnesses. Justin Marceau, professor at the Sturm College of Law, says the appeal has the potential to succeed. "The appeal has a strong moral claim, it makes great economic sense and is constitutionally sound," says Marceau. "Why we are one of only a few states in this experiment denying an indigent person in obtaining ancillary services is certainly worthy of being scrutinized."


(Jan. 31, 2017)

In an article from the Denver Post, Steve Wiest, professor at the Lamont School of Music, comments on a "rebirth" of jazz in Denver. "The supply has never been better in the jazz world in terms of young students of the music," Wiest says. He also comments on the way jazz has been the focus of two recent hit movies: Whiplash and La La Land, and how that contributes to the style's popularity with younger people. "Any time jazz gets mentioned in a major motion picture, an angel gets its wings...that kind of awareness of jazz being hinted at being popular [in those films] nowadays makes a huge difference," he explains.

Derigan Silver, associate professor of media, film and journalism studies, spoke with Fox 31 about the importance of having a free press. "Historically, we've seen a lot of corruption and a lot of abuse brought about and brought to light because of the media," says Silver. Despite the amount of fake news spreading around social media, the U.S. is among only 14 percent of the world's countries that enjoy freedom of the press. "If you look at any totalitarian regime, one of the first things they do is they clamp down on the press," says Silver. "They try to limit information that is coming out of the government, and they try to limit the ability of the press to criticize the government, and we really have to remember that we are very lucky in this country."

Last week, President Trump announced plans to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, paid for by a tax on Mexican exports. George DeMartino, professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, was interviewed by 9 News to discuss what the consequences of an export tax might be. "This is an issue where many Republicans, Democrats and people outside of the two main parties are largely in agreement," he says. "Taking the step of building a wall and then paying for it with a large tariff on Mexican exports to the U.S. is widely seen to be a bad idea." For Colorado specifically, the tax would certainly make an impact. "Mexico is the second largest recipient of Colorado exports after Canada, so it's enormous. One billion dollars [of goods] get exported to Mexico from Colorado each year," DeMartino explains.

(Jan. 24, 2017) 

In an article for 5280, Fred Cheever, professor at the Sturm College of Law, commented on a recent congressional rule change in how the government values federally-owned public lands. Cheever says that the rule change indicates the Republicans' inclination to privatize public lands, an issue that has been divisive within the party. Historically, Cheever explains, moves to privatize public lands have been unpopular with eastern Republicans but favored by western conservatives. "It's really in states in the West that the ideal of wholesale transfers to the state has a lot of political currency," he says.

Saturday's demonstrations may have been the largest in American history, according to data collected by Erica Chenoweth, professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She and her colleague Jeremy Pressman found that Women's Marches held in more than 500 US cities were attended by at least 3.3 million people. In an article for Vox, Chenoweth says she hopes civic organizers will be more involved in gathering crowd data in real time to help researchers who study social movements. "For people who organize these kinds of activity, there is something that can be learned in terms of techniques to estimate crowd density," she said. "It might be a good time to think about how we democratize that knowledge." The project on the demonstrations, which she and Pressman describe as a public interest project rather than a research project, was also mentioned in the Atlantic .

Seth Masket, professor of political science, appeared on "Politics Unplugged" to discuss what we can expect to see from President Trump. Commenting on the inaugural address, Masket said, "I was surprised by the stridency. He was still sticking with a populist, protectionist message." He also discussed whether Trump might moderate his stance on some issues. "He's certainly not softening his stance on the protectionism issues," Masket said, but added that position could lead to opportunity on both sides of the political spectrum. Ultimately, "This is a very exciting time to be watching politics," Masket added, "and to see just what our institutions can withstand and how much they can resist some of the changes [President Trump] has proposed."

(Jan. 17, 2017) 

This article for the Desert Sun describes the city of Palm Springs' process of looking into becoming a "sanctuary city." Christopher Lasch, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, comments on how president-elect Trump's campaign rhetoric has brought the concept into the national spotlight. "Trump has really tried to make 'sanctuary' a dirty word," he says. "He has done that by trying to suggest that what sanctuary means is harboring criminals among us." That language promotes the idea that the federal government wants local police departments to help them round up and deport non-citizens, and is problematic in cities trying to maintain trust between police officers and immigrant communities, Lasch explains.

Several large retailers are closing many of their physical stores, according to this story from 9News. Those retailers are downsizing because they can't keep up with changes in customers' expectations of retail experiences, says Melissa Archpru Akaka, assistant professor at the Daniels College of Business. "The best thing for retailers to do at this time is to be proactive and to think about who their target markets are, who they want to engage with and how they can design better experiences both on and offline in order to develop relationships and strengthen their brand," says Akaka.

Jennifer Greenfield, assistant professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, appeared on Denver 7's "Politics Unplugged" to discuss Colorado's new minimum wage. Along with Jack Strauss, she co-authored a research study last fall before voters approved Amendment 70. Discussing the study, Greenfield says "We discovered [Amendment 70] would increase Colorado's GDP by 400 million dollars and 420,000 people would benefit by receiving wage gains." She adds, "One of the interesting things about the minimum wage is that more than 50 per cent of those making the minimum wage are women. Many of them have children, and so this is a boost for women and their families, and will increase the household income for about 200,000 children in Colorado."

(Jan. 10, 2017)

In an op-ed for the Denver Post, Jacob Hyde, faculty director of the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology, argues that President-elect Trump's nomination for secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department could provide much-needed change and redirection. He writes, "The wind has been taken out of the sails of VA by scandals, congressional critique, budget overruns and numerous patient complaints." He says that the new secretary could do a number of things to reform the VA, such as funding and expanding the VA's academic patient aligned care teams and partnering with academic medical centers and university-based clinics.

This article for Elle magazine highlights research on marriage and divorce by three faculty members. Jesse Owen, associate professor at the Morgridge College of Education, discusses that relationship uncertainty often develops after an unsettling life event, or could exist from the start of a relationship. "Human nature wants understanding," he says, so marital problems "wear you down to the point where you just can't take it anymore." The article also discusses a 2014 study conducted by Galena Rhoades, research associate professor of psychology, and Scott Stanley, research professor of psychology, that looked at how the number of relationships a person had before marriage contributed to their divorce rate.

VICE news interviewed Adrienne Russell, associate professor of media, film and journalism studies, on the way journalism and activism have evolved online and the relationship between the media and the public. On the latter topic, Russell says, "Although it is true that social media platforms speed the circulation of rumors and lies, they did not create cynical publics who have so little faith in media and government that they make no distinction between journalism and fake news or between legitimate political leaders and populist opportunists." She also discusses the guidelines social media platforms should or should not have in place to limit harassment.