Unification News for June 2000

University of Bridgeport News

by Chris Corcoran—Bridgeport, CT

International Festival

More than a thousand people immersed themselves in the tastes, sights and sounds of the world as the campus celebrated its 24th International Festival on Saturday, April 15. "We were sold out, more than sold out," exclaimed Edina Oestreicher, Director of Student Activities and co-coordinator of the event, who with Dawn Valenti, Director for International Affairs did an excellent job of overseeing the 26 food booths and 14 performances.

But the highest accolades must go to the many students who worked tirelessly amidst their studies and jobs in order to bring such a quality event to our campus — and the UB community thanks you!

"It was truly an amazing event," said President Salonen, who munched his way from booth to booth, talking with students and enjoying the swirl of cultures. "I’ll do everything in my power to make next year’s Festival even better," he said.

The first-place winners of the performance competition went to two groups — the Japanese students for their dramatic and artistically exquisite Kabuki play, and the Indian students for their magical folk-dance. Third place went to the Nepalese students.

Industrial Design Awards

Industrial Design student Adrian Teschemaker won the first place prize of $3,000 for his aluminum mat cutter design and fellow student Anna Zimnoch won second place of $2,000 for her aluminum desk organizer. The contest was held by the Aluminum Extruders Council. This brings the total year’s winnings for the ID students to $37,800.

Congratulations to Prof. Jim Lesko and the entire faculty and students that made ID such a winning program!

Eight students from the UB Interior Design Department traveled to Boston in April to compete in an interior design team competition. Sixty students from eight major New England design schools competed. One team led by UB’s Aida Delic came out on top and four of the final teams selected had UB students as members. Other award winners from UB were: I Ching Chiu, Byoung Geon Kim, and Stoyan Stoyanov.

UN Conference

More than 120 students interested in world affairs attended a conference at the United Nations on the Challenges of Peace and Development in Africa, hosted by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Under-Secretary-General at the UN and Special Adviser on Africa. The event was organized by Prof. Stoyan Ganev of the New England Center for Regional and International Studies and the UB Business School.

Gambari gave a speech on the topic and a panel answered questions and engaged in dialogue. Included in the panel were Prof. Gambari; a representative from the Permanent Mission of Tanzania; UB President Neil Salonen; Mrs. Diane Richardson, head of the UB Graduate Business School; and UB students Isatou Gallow and Alejandro Gonzales.

Gambari touched upon the problems facing Africa today, specifically wars in Angola and the Republic of the Congo, and the role the UN can play in mediating these conflicts. Reference was also made to AIDS as a source of unremitting anguish for the continent and how the UN has for the first time included HIV on the agenda of the Security Council.

The UN has identified the main tasks which need to be undertaken by the Africans if lasting peace and prosperity is to be achieved. They include the willingness to rely upon political rather than military responses to conflicts; taking good governance more seriously; and adopting more sound economic policies.

Annual School Law conference

The legal line between church and state has been more blurred in recent years according to Martha McCarthy, the riveting keynote speaker at this year’s third Annual School Law conference at UB on April 6. McCarthy, a professor at Indiana University who specializes in education law and policy, spoke before a crowd of about 180 Connecticut educators and high school administrators and delivered an informative and lively message to an audience seeking legal guidance on issues from hate speech to special education.

In recent years, the courts have been more lenient in allowing student led prayers in public schools, McCarthy noted. However, while many parents wish to see the Ten Commandments adorning classroom walls, others see this type of religious display in violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, which established the separation of church and state. McCarthy believes the legal pendulum will wind up somewhere in the middle between strict separation of church and state —which dominated the 60s and 70s — and allowing students free rein to pray at any and all school occasions.

Many conference attendees were there to learn about the legal fine points of such issues as mandating community service for students, conducting student searches, student use of the Internet and the potential impact of a proposed high-stakes exit test for seniors.

Luncheon speaker Mark Stapleton, chief of legal and governmental affairs for the state Department of Education, gave a sweeping overview of the legal issues facing the state. He said that mandatory exit exams for high school graduates was on the horizon for Connecticut public schools and he discussed the legal implications of the state takeover of the Hartford School District.

While the secondary school system has gotten more creative in recent years with the opening of magnet and charter schools, they raise a host of legal issues, notably in the area of racial quotas. Hazing, bullying, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination are also the hot-button legal issue facing school administrators today, he said.

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