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Exercise Freedom to Read During UToledo Banned Books Week

For the 23rd year in a row, The University of Toledo will celebrate the right to read and think freely during Banned Books Week with the American Library Association.

“Without unfettered access to ideas, we could not survive as a democracy and change with the times to help those whom majority complacency silences to find their voices,” Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UToledo professor of communication and coordinator of the UToledo Banned Books Coalition, said.

Events will take place virtually from Monday, Sept. 28 through Thursday, Oct. 1 on YouTube and Facebook to spotlight current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools with a theme this year of “Censorship is a Dead End.”

In 2019, the American Library Association tracked nearly 377 attempts to censor library, school and university materials and services, encompassing 566 books that were challenged or banned.

In support of the UToledo Banned Book Coalition’s fight against censorship, this year Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz signed a proclamation declaring Thursday, Oct. 1 as “Read Banned Books Day.”

“I am excited about our campus legacy festival of the mind and look forward to continuing our ongoing battle to keep the First Amendment robust,” Kilmer said. “Long live books and reading!”

UToledo Banned Books Week Vigil speakers and events include:

Monday, Sept. 28

  • 11 a.m. — “The Hate U Give” by Dr. Monita Mungo, assistant professor of sociology.
  • Noon — “Studying and Struggling: The Works of Elaine Brown and Assata Shakur” by Dr. Carla Pattin, assistant lecturer in the Jesup Scott Honors College.
  • 1 p.m. — “Banned Books Jeopardy!” with Saadia Farooq, UToledo alumna and member of the UToledo Banned Books Coalition, and Dr. Sumitra Srinivasan, associate professor in the Department of Communication.

Tuesday, Sept .29

  • Noon — “HIV in the Rust Belt” by Holly Hey, professor of film, Dr. Ally Day, associate professor of disability studies, and Lee Fearnside, co-producer of “HIV in the Rust Belt.”
  • 1 p.m. — “Banned: Female Leaders of the Indigenous Woodlands” by Dr. Barbara Mann, professor in the Jesup Scott Honors College.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

  • Noon — “Old Man Trump” by Risa Cohen, creative director of Sing Into Reading.
  • 1 p.m. — “Girls Knight Out at the Franklin Park Mall with Pandora, Lilith and Eve” by Warren Woodberry, Toledo author.

Thursday, Oct. 1

  • Noon — “Freedom of Thought and the Ministry of Truth,” the Dr. Linda Smith Lecture given by Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, professor emeritus of humanities and cardiothoracic surgery.
  • 1 p.m. — “20 Years of Censored Children’s Books” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.
  • 2 p.m. — “Accessing the ‘Right’ to Read in Prison” by Dr. Renee Heberle, professor of political science, co-director of the Program in Law and Social Thought, and coordinator of the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project.
  • 3 p.m. — “Brilliant Banned Tunes” by Cohen and Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor of theatre, with family.

The UToledo Banned Book Coalition will be giving away door prizes and $20 Barnes & Noble gift cards throughout the events.

To sign the electronic guest book for classes offering extra credit or to watch a recording of each presentation after the event, go to the UToledo Banned Book Coalition’s website.

U.S. Department of Justice Grant to Support Campus Sexual Assault and Victimization Prevention Programs

The University of Toledo has received a $299,999 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to enhance efforts to prevent and address sexual assault and victimization on college campuses.

The agency awarded more than $2.3 million to five organizations in northern Ohio to help reduce violence against women and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

“Every dollar that the Department of Justice provides to address domestic violence in northern Ohio has a positive impact on the lives of victims and survivors,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “These organizations have a strong program in place to address crucial needs or expand services.”

The UToledo Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, which offers programming in prevention, education and intervention for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, will use the grant to support the UToledo Awareness and Prevention Project for another three years.

This continued funding will support the UToledo Coordinated Community Response Team and provide for training and education for faculty, staff and students across all campuses.

The response team includes the UToledo Police Department, the Toledo Police Department, YWCA Rape Crisis Center and other University and community partners working together to strengthen existing education and prevention programming and also the delivery of comprehensive strategies that help survivors heal.

“This award will help the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness provide victim services to faculty, staff and students in the form additional staffing for the center, as well as allow us to promote and continue our efforts to engage in best practices surrounding victim services, programming, education and prevention on campus,” Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, professor of criminal justice and director of the UToledo Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, said.

“For domestic violence victims, the added stressors of the pandemic can make a dangerous situation even worse,” said Laura Rogers, principal deputy director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. “Our grants in Ohio are a timely contribution to approaches already underway to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.”

UToledo Students Star in New University Commercials

Two outstanding Rockets are starring in the new UToledo TV spots which will begin running in key markets throughout the state of Ohio. The commercials, inspired by the well-known Goldilocks fable, highlight The University of Toledo’s academic programs, internships, research, technology and student life experiences that students say make UToledo the perfect fit.

The two spots feature current UToledo students Anthony Gennings and Hannah Haselhuhn. A nursing student from Amelia, Ohio, Gennings is actively involved in a number of student leadership positions on campus. Haselhuhn, a mechanical engineering major from Toledo, chose UToledo because of the College of Engineering and the opportunity to participate on the University’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team.

“We know students have a lot of choices when deciding on their college experience and we wanted to capture the feelings students share with us all of the time after visiting other institutions and knowing that UToledo feels like home because of the opportunities they have here,” said Jennifer Sorgenfrei, director of marketing. “We recognize how special The University of Toledo is and want to be sure students take an opportunity to get to know our University and all that we have to offer.”

The spots were originally scheduled to be produced last spring, but were delayed due to the pandemic. The University’s creative partner, Madhouse in Toledo, brought the spots to life while adhering to all health and safety precautions. Featuring individual student stories minimized the participants on camera and provided context for inclusion of face-coverings. Green screens and computer imaging were used to safely simulate crowds.

Watch the TV spots on the University Marketing and Communications website.


UToledo Awarded Grant from Campus Vote Project to Encourage Student Civic Engagement

The University of Toledo is partnering with the Campus Vote Project to encourage students to participate in the political process.

UToledo received a $1,000 mini-grant from Campus Vote Project, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works with colleges and universities across the country to normalize and institutionalize student voting, to increase voter registration and turnout for the 2020 election.

Campus Vote Project Poster“We are very excited to increase civic engagement on our campus,” said Dr. Michele Soliz, associate vice president for student success and inclusion in the UToledo Division of Student Affairs. “These funds will assist our efforts in gaining recognition as a Voter Friendly Campus, which will enable UToledo to apply for additional funding and develop a strategic plan to increase our engagement efforts.”

In addition to the mini-grant, the Campus Vote Project provides two democracy fellowships to current UToledo students who will provide leadership for the project. Leticia Skrabut, a junior majoring in political science, and Kyra Valentine, a junior in political science and special education, have been awarded the fellowships.

“I am excited to receive this fellowship and work towards a more involved voting community on our campus,” Skrabut said.

“Not only is voting our civic duty, but as young people, we want our voices heard and we want to select candidates who will execute what we want to see in our society,” Valentine said.

For more information about getting involved in the Campus Vote Project at UToledo, contact Soliz at 419.530.5323 or michele.soliz@utoledo.edu.

UToledo Hosts Dialogue on Diversity to Discuss Gandhi Sculpture

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with a conversation about the role of art in society, the differences between art and monuments, and how to best recognize the achievements of fallible individuals.

The next virtual town hall in the series titled “Stay or Go? The Story of a Gandhi Sculpture” will take place 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 and can be accessed on Webex using the access code 172 458 2365. The meeting password is DoD8. Join by phone at 415.655.0002.

This summer the University removed a sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement, that was part of the group of new art works installed on campus for UToledo’s 15th annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.

The President’s Commission on Campus Design and Environment, which chooses new sculptures to be installed at the University each spring, made the decision after a student brought forward concerns about Gandhi’s comments about Black Africans and women.

The student wrote, in part, “In this time of movements and stress, I do not think that this Gandhi statue will help.”

“The goal of the sculpture program is to add beauty to our campuses through one-year exhibits that rotate annually,” said Dr. Jonathan Bossenbroek, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences and president of the President’s Commission on Campus Design and the Environment. “This is a critical example of why it is important to keep these conversations going and include a diversity of voices in decision-making. We are grateful to the student for bringing his concerns to our attention. We did not intend to be offensive, and we do not stand for that.”

The University also added students to the selection committee for future exhibitions.

The discussion will be moderated by Bossenbroek, with participants including:

  • Dr. Dale Snauwaert, professor of social and philosophical foundations of education and peace studies;
  • Dr. Rachel Dudley, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies;
  • Dr. Mysoon Rizk, professor of art history;
  • Riley Danford, UToledo student majoring in human resources who brought forward concerns to the University; and
  • Sanat Wagh, UToledo student majoring in finance and economics, and member of the International Student Association.

This is the eighth in a series of recent virtual Dialogues on Diversity since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by a police officer, sparking protests against systemic racism across the country.

Building Racecars Helps Student Discover Passion for Project Engineering

Hannah Haselhuhn is all about trying something new.

It has been the hallmark of her time as a Rocket, and it’s taken her down some interesting paths, including one that’s led to a role as the team lead on UToledo’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team.

In that position, Haselhuhn, a mechanical engineering major and also a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College, directs the design and build process for a Formula-style race car. The team manufactures custom parts either in their machine shop or in the UToledo engineering labs, and in a typical year, they’ll create up to 90% of the car’s parts themselves.

Hannah Haselhuhn and Engineering race car team

Hannah Haselhuhn poses with members of UToledo’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team. As the team lead, Haselhuhn, a mechanical engineering major, directs the design and build process for a Formula-style race car.

“I absolutely love seeing the process from start to finish,” Haselhuhn said. “That’s a big part of the reason I think project engineering appeals to me.”

Haselhuhn hopes to put what she’s learned about project engineering to work in the oil and gas industry. A junior, she’s already completed one co-op with Marathon Petroleum in Findlay, and has another slated for the summer of 2021.

“I didn’t necessarily know what kind of industry I wanted to go into when I selected mechanical engineering, but now that I’ve completed one co-op and I have experience in project engineering, I really, really liked it,” she said. “I’m hoping I will end up at Marathon after graduation.”

A Toledo native, Haselhuhn chose UToledo specifically for its engineering program, selecting it ahead of the University of Cincinnati, which had offered her the equivalent of UToledo’s Presidential Scholarship. She chose to stay close to home in part because of the nearly limitless opportunities available at her hometown university. That includes the chance to do things she’d never done before — like leading a team that designs and builds a race car. Even if that was part of the appeal, she’s still a little amazed at just how far she’s come.

“I really didn’t have any idea what to expect, but it’s been fun.”

UToledo to Host a Virtual Celebrate for the Fall 2020 Graduating Class

The University of Toledo has announced that the fall 2020 commencement ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6, will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

University officials announced the decision Monday, citing ongoing safety and health concerns of the campus community.

“While we’re disappointed that we won’t be celebrating together in Savage Arena, we continue to follow the guidelines from federal, state and local authorities regarding social distancing and limitations on large-scale gatherings,” said Interim President Gregory Postel. “The safety of our students and their families and friends, as well as our faculty and staff, continues to be our highest priority.”

Over the next two months UToledo will be finalizing the details for fall commencement, and plans to go live on Dec. 6, the same day the University had planned for the in-person event for undergraduate and graduate candidates for degrees. As information becomes available, it will be shared with graduates and the campus community at utoledo.edu/commencement.

“This is a very special event in the life of our graduates, their family and friends, and I know that I speak on behalf of the entire Rocket community when I say to our students that we look forward to celebrating the success of your educational journey at The University of Toledo during our virtual commencement ceremony on Dec. 6,” said Provost Karen Bjorkman.

Trustees Approve Updated Temporary Budget Amid Uncertainty Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

As The University of Toledo continues to be impacted by uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution will continue to operate under a temporary budget through the end of the calendar year.

The UToledo Board of Trustees approved Monday a $348.9 million six-month operating budget to guide the University’s academic and clinical operations, which takes the place of the previous three-month temporary operating budget. A permanent fiscal year 2021 budget will be considered at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board on Dec. 21.

The temporary budget is needed due to a number of contributing factors that lack clarity, including the University’s ability to continue in-person courses during the pandemic, unpredictability in auxiliary revenues such as housing, dining and athletics and ongoing efforts to stabilize the University of Toledo Medical Center.

“In this time of great uncertainty, we are thankful for the campus community’s support to address deficits caused by the pandemic, the state and federal stimulus dollars to help offset those losses and the support from Ohio leaders to preserve a good portion of state share of instruction dollars,” Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO Matt Schroeder said. “It is our hope that the extra time and caution we take now will better position us to potentially restore some reductions and strategically reinvest in the institution during the second half of the fiscal year.”

UToledo’s Rocket Restart plan has provided for a safe start to the academic year thanks to the efforts of students, faculty and staff complying with the Rocket Prevention Principles, as well as the University’s efforts to de-densify campus and enhance cleaning and disinfecting measures. Asymptomatic testing also is helping provide additional data on the positivity rate of COVID-19 on campus to guide decision-making.

In recognition of Interim President Gregory Postel’s leadership on the safe restart and the need for consistent and strategic direction, the UToledo Board of Trustees announced its plans to delay the start of a presidential search. Postel’s contract as interim president will be extended through Dec. 31, 2022.

“We appreciate Dr. Postel jumping right in during this challenging time. His strong leadership is needed as we navigate through this pandemic that is having a dramatic impact on higher education and healthcare,” Baker said.

An update on the stabilization efforts at UTMC also was provided at the Board of Trustees meeting. Net income for the first two months of the fiscal year, including one-time COVID stimulus funding, reflect a $6 million profit for the period. Other operating revenues, which consist primarily of retail pharmacy, contract pharmacy, and contract lab services, have also exceeded preliminary budget forecasts.

The hospital has experienced growth in admissions in key service lines, such as the emergency department, inpatient and outpatient surgeries, all of which have rebounded as UTMC reschedules procedures that had been delayed during the shutdown in the spring due to the pandemic. Now, with patient volumes rising significantly, along with federal and state stimulus funding, the hospital is beginning to hire again for a number of key positions.

How the Outcome of the Election – for President and the Senate – Will Impact Whether Trump’s Nominee Gets a Vote in the Senate

The op-ed by D. Benjamin Barros, dean and professor of law at The University of Toledo College of Law, was published by The Hill on Sept. 22, 2020.

The Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has caused a political crisis. Republicans, eager to cement control of the court, will want to confirm President Trump’s nominee for the position. Democrats, still angry about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) refusal to allow a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the seat created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, will do everything possible to keep the seat open so that it can be filled by Democratic nominee Joe Biden if he wins the election.

The Republicans control both the presidency and the Senate and therefore have the ability to fill the seat. Purely as an exercise of political power, however, whether they in fact fill the seat will likely be determined by the outcome of the November election on the presidency and on control of the Senate.

Republicans likely will not fill the seat if Biden wins the presidency and if Democrats win control of both houses of Congress, because Democrats would be in a position to pack the court and otherwise retaliate for what they see as the theft of the Garland seat. In all other scenarios, Republicans are likely to fill the vacant seat during the lame-duck session of Congress that will follow the election.

Read the full column in The Hill.  


Panel Discussion to Explore Women’s Fight for the Vote Then and Now

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women will host a panel discussion on the history of women’s suffrage and the future of voter rights.

The “Women’s Fight for the Vote Then and Now” virtual event will take place 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 on WebEx. RSVP by clicking Register Now button and completing the webform on the Eberly Center’s Suffrage webpage.

The discussion will explore women’s historical activism to prohibit sex and racial discrimination in voting the ratification of the 19th amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as women’s ongoing activism to protect voter rights today.

Panelists will include:
• Angela Siner, director of the Africana Studies Program;
• Dr. Chelsea Griffis, associate lecturer in the Department of History; and
• Maria Bruno, civic engagement coordinator and policy analyst at the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio.

Angela Fitzpatrick, director of the Eberly Center, will moderate the event.

For more information, contact the Eberly Center at 419.530.8570 or ecwomen@utoledo.edu.