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UT political science dept. hosting presidential debate watch events for students

The University of Toledo Department of Political Science and Public Administration is holding its first presidential debate watch event with students 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26 in University Hall Room 3820.

Political science students will watch the debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, engage in fact-checking, follow social media response and participate in a discussion and evaluation.

“The debates are the last significant events that potentially move poll numbers unless there is a sudden major economic crisis or terror attack,” Sam Nelson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, said. “Debates are rarely game changers, but Trump is a different kind of candidate so maybe they will have bigger effects than in the past. It’s important for students to participate in the process and see both candidates side by side answering questions about issues facing the country.”

A presidential debate watch event also is scheduled to be held Wednesday, Oct. 19 in the same location.

Civil rights icon, former UN Ambassador to speak at UT Sept. 29

The first African-American to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations will speak at The University of Toledo 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 in Savage Arena.

Andrew Young, a former member of Congress and mayor of Atlanta, worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement to organize desegregation efforts throughout the South, including the 1963 march through Birmingham, Ala. Young was with King in Memphis, Tenn., when King was assassinated in 1968.

Andrew Young“Ambassador Andrew Young’s life of humanitarian service and activism for racial and social justice can inspire all of us to reinvigorate our efforts as individuals and as a University and community to achieve justice, peace and inclusion,” Dr. Jamie Barlowe, dean of UT College of Arts and Letters, said. “His presence on our campus is both a gift and a call to service, particularly important in today’s world of social and political unrest.”

The free, public event presented by UT’s College of Arts and Letters marks the 10th anniversary of the Edward Shapiro Distinguished Lecture Series that has included such speakers as Toni Morrison, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Oliver Sacks, E.J. Dionne, Michael Sandel, Jon Meacham and Wynton Marsalis.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Young served as U.N. Ambassador from 1977 to 1979. Young is the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, France’s Legion of Honor and the NAACP’s Springarn Medal. Young founded the Andrew Young Foundation to support and promote education, health, leadership and human rights in the U.S., Africa and the Caribbean.

UT Engineering Fall Career Expo Sept. 21

The University of Toledo Engineering Career Development Center will host the Fall 2016 Engineering Career Expo Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Representatives from more than 160 companies will be available to talk to students and alumni of the UT College of Engineering during the career expo 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of Nitschke Hall and North Engineering.

The event will connect students with companies seeking talent needed for success.

“Many companies from across the United States participate in this event,” said

Dr. Vickie Kuntz, director of the Engineering Career Development Center. “A few of the nationally recognized companies scheduled to participate include BP America, Eaton Corporation, Fiat Chrysler, FirstEnergy, GE Appliances (a Haier Company), Honda, Johnson & Johnson, KIEWIT, Marathon and SSOE Group. The quality of the attending companies speaks highly to the quality of our engineering students.”

The career expo is a great opportunity for job-seeking students to network with employers, she said, noting that student attendance in past events has topped 600. Kuntz expects more than 600 students and alumni to participate in this event.

The career expo is open to UT College of Engineering students who are enrolled in the mandatory co-op program. Additionally, UT engineering alumni who have been in the work force for a few years and are interested in exploring other positions are welcome.

UT to host International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference Sept. 22-23

Every year thousands of children in the U.S. and around the world are forced to become victims of a criminal underworld and suffer in plain sight.

Survivors, social workers, law enforcement officers, educators, nurses and researchers from across the globe are coming together for a two-day conference at The University of Toledo to bring the sex and labor trafficking trades out of the shadows and help end the abuse through education and advocacy.

UT is hosting the 13th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference Thursday and Friday, Sept. 22 and 23 in the Student Union on Main Campus.

The conference is hosted by UT’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition.

Human Trafficking flyer“Human trafficking affects more than just the victims, it hurts the whole community,” said Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. “Since 2004, this annual conference has welcomed presenters from 31 states and 15 countries to educate social service, health care and criminal justice professionals on this form of modern slavery and the needs and risk of victims, as well as their customers and traffickers. We are laying the groundwork for future collaborative research, advocacy and program development.”

One session allows participants to watch a video of UT medical students treating a human trafficking victim inside a state-of-the-art patient simulation suite at UT’s Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus. The victim is a high-tech medical mannequin that can bleed and breathe.

“Nearly 90 percent of sex trafficking victims encounter an ER or clinic, but only a quarter of health care professionals think that trafficking impacts their patients,” Katie Bush, clinical simulation and education research associate, said. “This simulation presentation will showcase how our students going into the health care field are being trained to spot red flags of trafficking and help rescue victims.”

Bush will discuss the simulation from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 in the Student Union Room 3010-A.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is speaking 12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 in the Student Union Auditorium.

Additional speakers include:

  • FBI Special Agent James Hardie and Detective Pete Swartz with the Toledo Police Department, who specialize in investigating child sex trafficking as part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative, 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 in Student Union Room 2584.
  • International human trafficking expert Mohammad Ashraful Alam, who is presenting “Sex Trade Behind the Scene of Women and Girls Trafficking: A Case of Bangladesh” 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 in Student Union Room 2584.
  • Theresa Flores, a human trafficking survivor who will be presenting “The Healthcare Needs of Domestically Trafficked Women: Study Results” 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 in Student Union Ingman Room.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

For more information, visit or email

UT physician warns overloaded backpacks could cause health problems

School is in full swing and that means backpacks are loaded with textbooks, binders, homework and athletic gear. Backpacks are convenient for toting must-have items to school, but they can quickly become too heavy for children to carry safely.

Sept. 21 is National Backpack Awareness Day and a University of Toledo physician advises parents to make sure children are properly loading and carrying backpacks to avoid back strain and pain.

“When a backpack is too heavy, its weight can pull the child backwards,” said Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. “The child counteracts the weight by arching their back or bending forward, causing the spine to compress unnaturally, which can contribute to neck, shoulder and back pain.”

The best way to avoid back strain is to avoid overloading backpacks. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, children should limit their backpack weight to between 10 and 15 percent of their body weight.

“It also is important that backpacks are sized properly to the child and have wide, padded straps as not to restrict circulation or cause nerve pain,” Ebraheim said. “A backpack with a waist strap also may help to transfer weight to the hips and help to prevent slouching.”

Students should be taught how to properly carry a backpack to avoid serious injury or long-term damage to the spine.

“Carrying a backpack over just one shoulder causes an uneven distribution of weight that forces the child to compensate by leaning to one side,” Ebraheim said. “That causes muscle strain and extra stress on the discs in the spine. Over time it could contribute to more serious back problems such as scoliosis.”

Ebraheim said when loading a backpack, try to concentrate the bulk of the weight closest to the child’s body and near the middle of the back. This distribution of weight will help the child achieve better posture and balance, reducing the risk of back or neck injury and falls.

He said schools who are replacing heavy textbooks with tablets are on the right track.

“With today’s modern technology, there’s no reason students should be carrying so many textbooks back and forth to school,” he said. “Schools that make the switch to digital learning are doing more than simply engaging students with an interactive way to teach, they also are protecting students’ health by lightening the load of their backpacks.”


Student Union renamed for trailblazing professor

The Student Union at The University of Toledo will be renamed in honor of a 55-year UT veteran who dedicated his career to helping students succeed.

The building will be renamed the Lancelot Thompson Student Union, pending approval by the UT Board of Trustees at its next meeting, UT President Sharon L. Gaber announced Monday evening at a memorial service for the late University leader.

Thompson by Jack Meade

The Lancelot Thompson Student Union honors the professor emeritus of chemistry who served 20 years as the University’s first vice president for student affairs.

Dr. Lancelot C.A. Thompson, professor emeritus of chemistry who served 20 years as the University’s first vice president for student affairs, died Sept. 10 at age 91.

“Generations of future students will know his name and the impact he has had on our University,” Gaber said. “I could not be more proud to continue his legacy in this way.”

The President also announced a new Dr. Lancelot Thompson Student Activities and Diversity Fund that will support programming to enhance the student experience and advance diversity and inclusion initiatives.

A true trailblazer, Thompson was the first African-American full-time faculty member at the University when he joined UT in 1958 and the first black faculty member to receive tenure. He went on to become the first African-American vice president.

A committed classroom teacher, he was one of the first four recipients of the University’s Outstanding Teacher Award. To inspire the next generation of college students, Thompson helped organize UT’s annual Aspiring Minorities Youth Conference, which continues to this day.

Throughout his career and after retirement in 1988, when he was named professor emeritus, Thompson mentored a large number of students and student-athletes.

In 2014, the Dr. Lancelot C.A. Thompson Meeting Room was dedicated in his honor in the Student Union that will now bear his name.

At the time, Thompson noted his passion for helping students. He said, “If anything is said about me, just let it be that I cared about people, especially students, so they had all the help available to them.”

Click here to download photographs of Thompson.

Legal philosopher to give Stranahan Lecture Sept. 20

Law Professor John Finnis. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Law Professor John Finnis. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Dr. John M. Finnis, professor emeritus at the University of Oxford and Biolchini Family Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, will deliver this fall’s Stranahan Lecture titled “A Conversation With Professor John Finnis.”

The conversation will take place noon Tuesday, Sept. 20, in The University of Toledo Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

“John Finnis is the greatest living natural law theorist in the world. He is widely considered the person most responsible for reviving interest in natural law with his path-breaking book, Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980),” said Lee J. Strang, the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values at the UT College of Law.

During the conversation, Finnis will explain natural law and some of its implications.  The lecture format will encourage audience members to ask questions and engage with the professor.

“Finnis’ lecture is sure to spark thought and conversation on this important topic,” Strang said.

A prolific scholar, Finnis has authored and edited numerous books and written dozens of articles and essays. Recently, he was honored when Oxford University Press published his collected works in a five-volume series. Finnis’ publications have focused on law, legal theory, moral and political philosophy, theology and late Elizabethan-era history.

Finnis earned a bachelor of laws from Adelaide University in Australia and doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Until 2010, he held positions of lecturer, reader and chaired professor in law at Oxford. He also has held positions at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Malawi in Africa, and Boston College Law School. He is admitted to the English Bar, known as Gray’s Inn.

The free, public lecture is a part of the Stranahan National Issues Forum and is sponsored by the UT College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. Food and drink will be provided.

UT to promote sexual assault awareness Sept. 15

The University of Toledo will join colleges across the country for Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, on Centennial Mall.

RAINN Day is held every year to raise awareness and educate students about sexual violence on college campuses. RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

RAINN DayAn umbrella decorating competition is held among student groups, residence halls and other organizations on campus. Groups are encouraged to decorate an umbrella with positive messages in support of sexual assault survivors.

RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and works to carry out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.

This is UT’s fourth year hosting RAINN Day with the Clothesline Project, a visual display that bears witness to violence against women. T-shirts are created by victims, survivors and their families as part of their healing process.

Those who wish to make a shirt are invited to contact the Sexual Assault Education and Protection Program, which will provide materials, a private room to decorate and a counselor or advocate to talk to if the person wishes.

“RAINN Day is meant to empower students and other members of the community,” said Lena Salpietro, graduate assistant for the Sexual Assault Education and Protection Program. “It assists in efforts to raise awareness and educates others about the important issues of rape, sexual assault, incest and other acts sexual violence on college campuses.”

“It is important for the voices of those who have been silenced to be heard, and RAINN Day, paired with the UT Clothesline Project, allows for survivors and victims to be heard, as well as empowers students to take action,” Salpietro said.

New path, dedication of bridge to mark UT’s Celebrate Our River Week

The University of Toledo is showcasing the beauty of the Ottawa River by hosting a photography contest, participating in a cleanup and recognizing two new projects during UT’s Celebrate Our River Week.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members learned about a new walking path that will be constructed along the waterway that cuts through Main Campus. The gravel trail will extend from the Law Center to Secor Road.

bridge-shot-by-Dan“This trail, which was paid for by the Student Green Fund, will be a great way to experience the Ottawa River,” said Dr. Patrick Lawrence, chair of the UT President’s Commission on the River and associate dean of social and behavioral sciences in the College of Arts and Letters. “You never know what you might see. We have more than 40 fish species in the river. And this summer we’ve also reported muskrats, deer, turtles, frogs, blue heron, mallard ducks and Canada geese.”

Another great vantage point to look for wildlife and observe the river is the new David Leigh Root Bridge on Stadium Drive. The span will be dedicated during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15.

President Sharon L. Gaber and Lawrence are scheduled to speak during the event. David Leigh Root, the local businessman the bridge is named after, also will be at the ceremony.

The new span features UT’s signature lannon stone as well as six-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of the road.

“The bridge now provides ample walking room, a safety measure for all pedestrians,” Jason Toth, associate vice president for facilities and construction, said. “In addition, the new bridge incorporates aesthetics that blend with the Gothic architecture on campus.”

“Two new signs that identify the Ottawa River have been added to the bridge,” Lawrence said. “We all worked together to make sure the new structure complemented our campus and the river.”

Following routine inspection, it was determined the bridge, built in 1961, needed to be replaced due to age and condition, according to Toth. The project started in March, and the new bridge opened Aug. 5.

Other events for Celebrate Our River Week are:

  • Clean Your Streams — UT is participating in the 20th annual event from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 17, by hosting two locations — by the Law Center on Main Campus and by the Collier Building on Health Science Campus. University community members may volunteer to help pick up along the Ottawa River and Swan Creek. Participants must register at by midnight Sunday, Sept. 11.
  • Fifth Annual Student River Photography Contest — Entries are due by noon Wednesday, Sept. 14. Winners will be announced at noon Friday, Sept. 16, in the Student River Plaza, located behind the Student Union and Carlson Library. Click here for details.
  • Informational posters and videos will be on display in Carlson Library during the week.

Celebrate Our River Week is presented by the UT President’s Commission on the River.

“We’re lucky to have the Ottawa River running through our campus,” Lawrence said. “We’ve worked hard to improve the aquatic and forest habitat along the 3,700 feet through Main Campus.”

UT physician recommends specialized care for senior citizens

Aging is inevitable and health issues can start to arise as our bodies get older. While some aches, pains and forgetfulness are a normal part of this process, other symptoms can signal a more serious problem.

September is Healthy Aging Month and UT Health physicians want to remind caregivers that now is a great time to take a closer look at the health of the senior citizens in their lives.

Dr. Anu Garg

Dr. Anu Garg

“When most people think of health care concerns as we age, they most commonly think about memory loss and dementia. It is a major concern because it limits the physical, mental and financial independence of the elderly,” said Dr. Anu Garg, program director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship. “It’s important that seniors and their families seek out care early. We can help to maintain their quality of life longer.”

Darletta Snyder said she sought out a geriatrician when she felt her husband’s needs were no longer a good fit for their family practice physician.

“Sam had some concerns about his memory and I thought it would be best if we found a doctor that was specially trained in caring for us,” she said. “Dr. Garg listened to our concerns and felt it would be a good idea to have a more detailed evaluation done. Everything came out fine for Sam, but she has continued to care for us and does a great job in seeing we stay healthy.”

Garg said warning signs of dementia can include repeating questions, forgetting to pay bills or take medications and leaving the stove or oven on.

“As we age, we do become more forgetful, but this forgetfulness should be seen as a warning sign and the patient should be evaluated,” she said. “We use the St. Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) evaluation to determine if there are signs of early dementia and can start medications that can slow its progression, if necessary.”

Garg said there isn’t a cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease at this time, but she has begun collaborating with a UT assistant professor of neuroscience to explore new medications for treatment.

Dr. Joshua Park received two grants this year to assist in funding his research into how a common food additive could reverse brain cell damage caused by the disease. Midi-GAGR, a byproduct of low acyl gellan gum, has already shown promise in lab testing to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

“There is still much more testing to do before we will be approved for human trials, but it should move fairly quickly as low acyl gellan gum is used as a thickening agent in foods like pudding and has already been approved for human consumption by the FDA,” he said.

Until a cure is found, patients and their caregivers need to know there are support systems available for individuals who are experiencing memory loss and early symptoms of dementia.

“This is a progressive disease and it can become very difficult for caregivers to support their loved one as they become less independent,” Garg said. “We work with social workers to reach out to organizations and programs and connect them to families as they travel this path.”

Social workers connect patients with community resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association, Area Office on Aging and Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek which provide geriatric wellness and caregiver support programming.

UT’s Center for Successful Aging is another resource for education and finding resources within the community.

“Our focus is on education, research and service,” said Victoria Steiner, assistant director of the Center. “We offer a graduate certificate in gerontology to support those who wish to work with seniors, participate in local research to determine our community’s needs, and work closely with area support organizations to provide educational outreach programs and to connect individuals with the support they need to age well.”

Garg created a support fund for the Center to continue to promote geriatric medicine education for students, residents and fellows, enhance research activities and education activities, and promote teambuilding and support activities for those who provide senior care.

“It is important that all caregivers, including medical team members, take time to get the support they need when caring for elderly patients,” she said. “It can be very taxing as patients can progressively lose their independence and it’s easy to get burnt out.”

While caring for aging patients can be challenging at times, Garg said she is confident she is making a difference for older adults and their families.

“Going to see Dr. Garg is enjoyable,” Snyder said. “She is very knowledgeable and listens to us and has a great sense of humor. It’s comforting to know we are with someone who cares and stays on top of our health.”