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UT selected as one of six partners in U.S. to join first research network on misdemeanor justice

The University of Toledo has been selected to join a new national research network to study trends in low-level crimes to inform smarter criminal justice policies that enhance public safety, increase public trust in police and save tax dollars.

The Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice is run by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and funded by a $3.25 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice began focusing on misdemeanors in New York City years ago and is expanding the study’s scope to include six other cities. UT received a three-year, $169,000 grant to analyze local data and work with research institutions throughout the country.

In addition to Toledo, joining the new national alliance with New York City are Los Angeles, Seattle, St. Louis, Durham, N.C., and Prince Georges County in Maryland for a total of seven jurisdictions throughout the country working together.

“The University of Toledo is proud to be a part of this pioneering national project to inform policy discussions and reform because misdemeanors are the bulk of what police officers deal with every day, but there is not much research on it,” said Dr. David Lilley, assistant professor of criminal justice and the research director of the misdemeanor justice project at UT. “The vast majority of arrests are low-level offenses that carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail, such as drug possession, petty theft, simple assault and driving on a suspended license.”

Misdemeanors accounted for approximately 90 percent of total arrests by Toledo police officers in 2015 when there were 22,463 misdemeanor arrests and 2,296 felony arrests.

“Misdemeanors are the lion’s share of the charges that we usually bring against suspects,” Toledo Police Chief George Kral said. “I’m hoping this study gives us more ideas on what works and what doesn’t work. That valuable intelligence will help me change policy, if necessary, to make the whole process more efficient, keep the community safe, and give defendants the help they need. If we could nip it in the bud at the misdemeanor level, we could stop someone from escalating to felonies in the future.”

Toledo was chosen as part of the misdemeanor study out of 39 that applied, in part, because of the collaborations UT researchers already have with local law enforcement and the ongoing criminal justice reform efforts underway in Lucas County.

Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail

“We are one of the smallest cities on the list, but one of the factors that puts us ahead of the curve is that we have been doing this type of data analysis at UT for years by working with the Toledo Police Department,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice, director of the Urban Policing and Crime Analysis Initiative and principal investigator for the misdemeanor justice research project at UT. “TPD’s advanced data system is one of the best. Being chosen for John Jay College’s misdemeanor project is an honor that rewards our teamwork.”

UT researchers say many police agencies across the country do not know how many misdemeanor arrests result in incarceration.

“Part of what we’re doing is taking a close look at the outcomes and conduct cross-site analyses to figure out how to increase efficiency and effectiveness,” Lilley said. “Are people ending up in jail? Fined? Are charges dropped because the system is overburdened or there is not enough evidence? Are suspects going through a diversion program, such as drug court? Our research alliance will examine trends and outcomes of misdemeanor arrests, summonses, pedestrian stops and pre-trial detention at the local level.”

The University of Toledo will work with the Toledo Police Department, Northern Ohio Regional Information Systems and the Toledo-Lucas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as part of the project.

“Hopefully this research will help guide new alternatives for individuals that may need help instead of punishment,” said Holly Matthews, attorney and executive director of the Toledo-Lucas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. “We’re working on reducing our jail population by 18 percent. This misdemeanor project is going to help show the trends over the last three or four years – especially with the opioid epidemic – that we’re seeing locally. We have already been working proactively with the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board to address other options besides incarceration for individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues.”

Research partners for the Misdemeanor Justice Project also include the University of California in Los Angeles, North Carolina Central University, Seattle University, University of Maryland and University of Missouri in St. Louis.

“To see the work of the Misdemeanor Justice Project expand from New York City to six other jurisdictions is very exciting,” said Dr. Preeti Chauhan, assistant professor of psychology at John Jay College and principal investigator of the research network. “We are looking forward to replicating the New York model to these sites and believe the results will guide smarter criminal justice reform.”

“The network has generated an outpouring of academic and government interest in pioneering a national conversation around enforcement of lower-level crimes – something that leads a large number of individuals to enter our justice system,” said Matt Alsdorf, vice president of criminal justice for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. “We are proud of the diverse U.S. cities leading this conversation and we look forward to learning how the research partnerships inform local and national justice policies for the long term.”


Army ROTC Rocket Battalion senior cadets to be recognized at UT Military Ball Feb. 17

Seven University of Toledo Army ROTC cadets scheduled to be commissioned as officers in May will be recognized Friday, Feb. 17 at the UT Military Ball.

The annual event, which is hosted by the UT Military Science Department and UT Army ROTC Rocket Battalion to honor graduating students and their families, is from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Holland Gardens Banquet Hall, 6530 Angola Rd.

More than 100 cadets are scheduled to attend.

“Army military balls are a formal part of military life that many people dream about,” Master Sgt. Johnnie Fields, UT senior military instructor, said. “The special tradition can be an exciting experience. In the ROTC program, it is a time to recognize senior cadets who achieved leadership excellence and military training throughout their college years. They have made sacrifices to be able to accomplish their goals of graduating from college with a degree and also continuing to serve this grateful nation.”

“Being an Army cadet and a full-time graduate student for the past two years has been the most trying time of my life,” said Cadet Joseph Asiedu. “From 5 a.m. until midnight on a weekly basis, the pain, stress and anxiety gave me many good reasons why I should have given up. What has kept me going is my sense of duty to serve my country and challenging myself both physically and mentally to strive for excellence and enhance my leadership capability as I go into the real world. I am moved to tears anytime I think about the end so I try my best to stay focused and give my best.”

The Army ROTC at UT has commissioned more than 2,000 lieutenants since 1947. The highest ranking alumnus of the UT ROTC program is retired Major General David W. Foley from the commissioning class of 1970.


Physician, best-selling author to discuss racial health disparities Feb. 16

“Being black can be bad for your health” – it’s a lesson Dr. Damon Tweedy first learned in 1997 as a first-year medical student at Duke University, according to his memoir.

“Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine,” became a New York Times Bestseller and was one of Time magazine’s top 10 nonfiction books in 2015.

Dr. Damon Tweedy

“From the beginning of life to the very end — and everywhere in between — African Americans continue to experience disproportionately worse health outcomes,” said Tweedy, assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center. “You can name pretty much any disease, and you’re likely to find that it’s either more common in black people; black people who get the disease have a worse course; or both of these conditions. There are a lot of factors involved with this, and I explore many of them in my book.”

Tweedy will discuss race and health disparities 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 in Collier Building Room 1200 on Health Science Campus.

Tweedy’s talk is one of the University’s events scheduled for Black History Month.

For several years, Tweedy has written and lectured on race and medicine. His articles have been published by The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post, as well as by several medical journals.

In his book, he wrote, “Whether it is premature birth, infant mortality, homicide, childhood obesity or HIV infection, black children and young adults disproportionately bear the brunt of these medical and social ills. By middle age, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney failure and cancer have a suffocating grip on the health of black people and maintain this stranglehold on them well into their senior years.”

“I wanted to put a human touch to these issues of racial health disparities — examining how this impacts real people in everyday life,” Tweedy said. “Many people are more likely to engage in these issues when they are presented as stories rather than simply as statistics.

“I also wanted to explore some of the unique challenges faced by African-American doctors — a largely unexplored perspective in popular medical narratives,” he added.

His free, public talk is sponsored by We Are STEMM, a UT organization dedicated to empowering and inspiring students from underrepresented populations who are interested in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. Led by faculty and staff, the group celebrates and supports diversity in several UT colleges: Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Engineering; Medicine and Life Sciences; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Health and Human Services.

“I found Dr. Tweedy’s book to be inspirational. While it reveals a story often heard in the community of underrepresented groups pursuing higher education, I think he has been able to deliver many aspects in a manner that may be enlightening and perhaps more palatable to those freed from this ‘experience,’” said Dr. Anthony Quinn, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and chair of We Are STEMM.

“In contemporary society, there is the perception that history can be wiped clean with a single piece of new legislation — no need to deal with lasting psychological scars inflicted by past overt and covert policies or the entrenched social norms that are retained and vigorously guarded for generations in spite of new laws,” Quinn continued. “Dr. Tweedy brings out the adverse and lasting impact that discriminatory practices can have on individuals and society long past the time of those who initially implemented them.”


UT to host ‘Dog Kissing Booth’ for Valentine’s Day

University of Toledo students in need of a smooch on Valentine’s Day will be able to pucker up with an adorable pet.

The social media team in the Office of Marketing and Communications is hosting a “Dog Kissing Booth” 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14 in the Thompson Student Union Lounge.

Milo

Students will have the opportunity to interact and take photos with three dachshunds who will steal their hearts through hugs: Cooper, Milo and Gregory.

“We wanted to give our students the chance to take a moment to relax and play with some dogs,” Cam Norton, assistant director for social media, said. “UT students have enjoyed seeing dogs on campus and through our new Instagram account, UToledo Dogs.”

The event will last approximately one hour.

 


Public invited to share stories at ‘7 Countries, 7 Stories’ open-mic night

The University of Toledo is hosting a night of open-mic storytelling about heritage and identity to encourage the community to better know and understand one another. The event follows a March Against Injustice organized by students in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States from seven countries for 90 days.

The free, public event titled “7 Countries, 7 Stories” is from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Participants who share stories will be limited to four minutes each.

“It becomes a lot harder to paint a group of people with a wide brush once we’ve heard each other’s stories,” Hedyeh Elahinia, co-president of the UT Muslim Students Association and sophomore studying biology, said. “We all have something to tell, be it funny, tragic, intimate, happy, long, short or silly. Listening forces us to see individuals rather than labels. We hope this event can serve to help our community members humanize one another and look past each other’s labels.”

“7 Countries, 7 Stories” was organized by the UT Muslim Students Association and the UT Office of Diversity and Inclusion in partnership with the UT Black Student Union, Latino Student Union, the Gamma Nu chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated, and the International Students Association. It is sponsored by the Center for International Studies and Programs, Jesup Scott Honors College and Division of Student Affairs.

“This is an evening of short stories from our community about our community,” said Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion. “The University is stronger when we value everyone, regardless of difference. We’re proud of our students for embodying that spirit of inclusion by taking the lead in organizing this inspired event, as well as the rally last week.”

Food also will be provided, including halal and vegetarian options.

For more information, click here.


February UT Board of Trustees Meetings

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
Driscoll Alumni Center, Board Room
5:30 p.m. Board of Trustees Social Dinner

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017
Driscoll Alumni Center, Schmakel Room
12:30 p.m. Clinical Affairs Committee Meeting
1:00 p.m. Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
1:15 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting
A luncheon for the trustees will be held at noon in the Driscoll Alumni Center Board Room.

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017
Radisson Hotel, 3100 Restaurant
8:00 a.m. Board of Trustees Social Breakfast

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Communications by calling 419.530.2410 or via email at meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.


Founder of international ‘because I said I would’ movement to discuss value of keeping promises Feb. 16

The day Alex Sheen buried his father, he also started an international movement that includes walking 240 miles across Ohio to support victims of sexual violence, helping a man confess on YouTube to killing another in a drunk driving crash, and inspiring a dad with cancer to write his daughter 826 napkin notes to read every day at lunch until high school graduation no matter what happens.

Then a 25-year-old working in corporate software, Sheen was asked by his family to eulogize his father, University of Toledo alumnus Wei Min “Al” Sheen, a pharmacist who passed away in September 2012.

Calling Al Sheen an “average man who was exceptional at one thing,” Sheen said his father was someone who kept his promises.

“Too often, we say things like ‘I’ll get to it’ and ‘tomorrow,’” Sheen noted in an excerpt from his website, becauseIsaidIwould.com. “One day, there is no tomorrow. The promises we make and keep and those we choose to dishonor define us and this world.”

On that day in 2012 he handed out the first of his promise cards, nondescript pieces of paper that remind people of the value of commitment. More than five million have been distributed since then.

Sheen will have plenty of ‘because I said I would’ promise cards available during his public lecture 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in UT’s Doermann Theater.

During the free, public event, the final of the 2016-17 Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series, Sheen will discuss the importance of accountability and the effect of a simple kept promise in today’s society.

Sheen said handing out the first promise cards “set off a chain of events to the scope of which I may never understand.”

The purpose of the cards is simple; house a written promise as a tangible reminder to fulfill a pledge. Since 2012, the “because I said I would” nonprofit has distributed more than 5.6 million promise cards to people in 153 countries.

Some of the promises, Sheen said, are small: “Keep my room clean” and “Sincerely compliment someone every day.” Others have the capability to enact change and even save lives.

A woman donated a kidney to an acquaintance. A teenage girl testified against her attacker.

On YouTube, the man confessed, “I killed a man,” and explained he was the drunk driver whose actions resulted in the death of a stranger. The accused’s promise? “I will take full responsibility for what I have done.” While the man is in prison, the video he made with Sheen has been viewed by millions and has spurred thousands of promise cards from people pledging not to drink and drive.

Sheen practices what he preaches. His own list of promises is current, visible and ranges from the innocuous — “Watch ‘Gone With the Wind’” — to the exceptional.

He has walked across Ohio to support victims of sexual violence, spent 24 hours picking up trash in the Cleveland area, provided 24 hours of free rides for those who have been drinking, and raised enough funds to send 20 children with cancer to Walt Disney World, all on the spark of a promise.

“Alex’s work is the perfect antidote to our busy lives, during which we forget to think about meeting longer term goals and commitments to ourselves and to others,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Turning this into a social movement was a brilliant step to help us collectively meet our promises, and provides great inspiration for would-be social entrepreneurs among our students.”

Sheen’s movement has expanded to include the development of city chapters and outreach to schools, businesses and other organizations. His message remains uncomplicated: Accountability. Character. Hope.

“Make and keep a promise,” Sheen wrote on his website, “to improve yourself, your family or your community. If you need a promise card to make the commitment real, we will send you one. The world is in need, so you are needed.”

Seats are available. To reserve a free ticket to the lecture, go to utoledo.edu/honorslecture.


Celebrity Wait Night to raise funds for UT’s Eberly Center for Women

University of Toledo Provost Andrew Hsu, Toledo City Councilwoman Cecilia Adams and other local luminaries will welcome guests and support the Ninth Annual Celebrity Wait Night from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle in Maumee.

The Celebrity Wait Night is hosted by the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and will feature a dinner served by local celebrities, as well as a silent auction, scholarship recipient acknowledgement and live entertainment throughout the evening.

The event is sold out. 450 guests are expected to attend. Proceeds will support the Eberly Center’s Women’s Success programming, which provides training and workshops to those hoping to go back to school, make a career change or better themselves.

The center provides free resources and education on business etiquette, professional branding, resumé writing and more. Kate’s Closet, a boutique-style shop that provides free professional clothing to UT students, is another Eberly Center resource that will benefit from event proceeds.

Dr. Shanda Gore, UT associate vice president for the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, said the goal of the Women’s Success Programing is to teach people to be the best they can be.

“Students from all colleges seek out our support throughout the year,” Gore said. “The Eberly Center is a resource not only for scholarships, but with programs that help keep them healthy, balanced and in school.”


110 companies to recruit UT business students at spring job fair Feb. 10

Approximately 500 University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation students will participate in the college’s spring job fair 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Among the 110 companies recruiting business students on campus will be the Cleveland Clinic, Dana Inc., Lilly USA, Norfolk Southern Corp., Owens Corning, Owens-Illinois Inc., C.H. Robinson and ProMedica.

“Once again we are excited and happy for our students that so many well-known companies are coming to the UT College of Business and Innovation to find the talent they need,” said Dr. Terribeth Gordon-Moore, senior associate dean of the College of Business and Innovation. “This reflects very positively on the quality of both our programs and our students. It also demonstrates the extremely dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by the College of Business and Innovation and recruiters for major national companies.”

Employers are looking for undergraduate students to participate in business internships and their leadership development programs, as well as for seniors and graduates seeking full-time employment, according to Gordon-Moore. She encouraged UT business freshmen to attend the job fair and begin relationships with employers.

“This semi-annual job fair is part of what we do to prepare our students for their futures,” Gordon-Moore said, adding that the college’s Business Career Programs office works year-round to assist students in acquiring internships and jobs upon graduation. “We strive to provide the necessary resources so our students can conduct their own tailored job searches.”

More than 85 percent of College of Business and Innovation students participate in internships, and the job placement rate for spring 2015 and 2016 business graduates was a record 93 percent.


UT scholars to host forum Feb. 13 titled ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves in the Time of Trump’

The University of Toledo’s third post-election forum since President Donald Trump was elected focuses on the topic “Our Bodies, Ourselves in the Time of Trump” and implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The free, public event to discuss health care, reproductive rights and LGBTQA+ issues is 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 at the Kent Branch Library, 3101 Collingwood Blvd.

healthcare-reproductive-glbtqa“Based on actions thus far and the 2016 presidential campaign, we know the Trump Administration will be approaching all three of these areas of policy with a different perspective from the previous administration,” said Dr. Ally Day, assistant professor in the disability studies program at UT. “Our forum is designed to address changes and questions community members may have in relation to larger policy and their own health-care options.”

Featured speakers include:

  • Karen Hoblet, UT associate professor of nursing
  • Robert Salem, UT clinical professor of law and chair of the Equality Toledo Board of Directors
  • Anita Rios, Ohio NOW
  • Hillary Gyuras, community education manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
  • Sarah Inskeep, regional field manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio
  • Katie Hunt Thomas, disability rights attorney for The Ability Center of Greater Toledo

The event is sponsored by the UT College of Law and the School for Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Arts and Letters.