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Utah Senate votes to decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults

first_imgThe Utah state Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday effectively to decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults, reducing penalties for a practice with deep religious roots in the predominantly Mormon state.The bill, which would treat the offense of plural marriage as a simple infraction on par with a parking ticket, now moves to the Utah House of Representatives, where it is likely to face greater resistance.The bill swiftly cleared the Republican-controlled Senate on a vote of 29-0 with little discussion. It also would make it easier for otherwise law-abiding polygamists to obtain access to critical services such as medical or mental health care, education or even employment without fear, she said.Opponents of decriminalization say the current law should not be changed because polygamy is inherently dangerous and harmful to women and children, particularly young girls, some of whom have been forced into marriages with older men. REMNANT OF PRE-STATEHOODPolygamy is a remnant of the early teachings of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members fled persecution over the practice to settle the Utah territory in 1847. The church disavowed polygamy in 1890 as a condition of Utah statehood, and today members of the faith found to be practicing plural marriage are excommunicated.Fundamentalist Mormons, said to number more than 30,000 across the western United States, believe they are adhering to the truest form of Mormon doctrine, which promises polygamists glorification in heaven.Utah’s history of felony punishment for polygamy has never halted its practice entirely but rather driven it to the fringes of society, creating a culture of fear that allows perpetrators to thrive, Henderson said.“The solution to the problem is increased societal integration, which can only come through decriminalizing otherwise law-abiding polygamists,” Henderson said during a preliminary debate on the bill last week.Critics, however, say the measure wrongly frames polygamy as a human rights issue.“Proponents of this bill attempt to piggyback on the success of the gay rights movement by promoting the narrative that this initiative is about consenting adults doing what they will,” the anti-polygamy group Sound Choices Coalition said in a statement. “This has nothing to do about consenting adults or gay rights. It’s all about weaponizing God.”In 2013, Kody Brown, patriarch of the polygamist family featured on the “Sister Wives” television reality show, challenged the law after being investigated for bigamy by Utah County prosecutors. No charges were filed.A federal judge struck down the anti-polygamy law as unconstitutional. But a federal appeals court reversed the ruling and the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case.Topics :center_img Under current law, polygamy – typically involving a man who cohabitates with and purports to marry more than one wife – is classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.If the Senate bill becomes law, punishments for plural marriage would be limited to fines of up to $750 and community service.However, fraudulent bigamy – in which an individual obtains licenses to marry more than one spouse without their knowledge, or seeks to wed someone underage without her consent – remains a felony.The chief sponsor of the measure, Senator Deirdre Henderson, said the intent of the bill is not to legalize polygamy but to lower the penalties so those from polygamous communities who are victims of crimes can come forward without fear of being prosecuted themselves.last_img read more

‘Trigger warnings’ spark a battle in the classroom

first_imgVanessa Diaz was scribbling notes for her “African Diaspora” class last semester when her professor stopped and made an informal announcement to the room.“If it’s too much,” he said, “you don’t have to look at it.”The lecture that day was to be centered on the historical lynchings of African Americans in the United States, coupled with graphic images and detailed narratives of the individuals killed. The professor made it clear that if any students wanted to excuse themselves, they had the right to.The professor’s precaution, though small, is indicative of a growing trend in the college classroom of implementing trigger warnings: verbal or written disclaimers meant to warn students of potentially distressing material preceding its dissemination.While originating as a means to predominantly protect students who have previously experienced trauma, the practice’s effects are now causing a tug-of-war between the needs of a professor’s academic freedom and those of students’ well-being.“Students have the right not to be traumatized in the classroom,” said Diaz, a junior majoring in American studies and executive co-director of USC’s Women’s Student Assembly. “The trigger warning in the syllabus from class that day had me prepared. I walked in knowing what I was getting into and knowing beforehand that I could deal with it.”Diaz and other student advocates of trigger warnings encourage their utility at universities as a safe way to prevent mental health relapses in the classroom, and some members of the faculty agree.Leslie Berntsen, a teaching assistant for introductory psychology classes and chair of the TA Fellows program at the Center for Excellence in Teaching, uses trigger warnings in her discussions. She said reaction is overwhelmingly positive, and that students have emailed her after class, thanking her for the “heads up” before particularly sensitive topics.“I don’t think there’s anything particularly radical about [trigger warnings],” Berntsen said. “It’s not a huge deal, my academic freedom has never been threatened, my classroom has not combusted.”Nevertheless, the fear among faculty is there, and not all share Bernsten’s enthusiasm. Anthony Sparks, now a professor at California State University, Fullerton, was Diaz’s African Diaspora professor. He said that his decision in class that day was more an exception to the rule than a common practice, and in general, he finds the idea of trigger warnings debilitating to the classroom.“For me, a trigger warning is more wrapped up in comforting a student — making them comfortable at all times — versus providing context and giving the student a framework in order to view, encounter or discuss the material,” he said. “There’s a difference between the two.”Similarly, Alison Trope, clinical professor of communication and director of undergraduate studies in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, thinks that students should have the right to excuse themselves if they are especially affected by course material, but doesn’t believe trigger warnings should be required on teacher’s syllabi. For her, the practice is treating a symptom of a larger problem: a need for greater cultural competency and sensitivity among faculty and students.“A trigger warning should not be necessary if, as members of an academic community, we can be sensitive and empathetic partners in an ongoing dialogue,” she wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan.Trope and Sparks aren’t alone on campus in their hesitations. Trope, who is also co-chair of the newly formed Academic Senate Committee on Campus Climate, said the topic has not been discussed explicitly within the committee but notes there are strong sentiments among faculty — both at USC and nationwide — concerning the cost of trigger warnings.“The main hesitation faculty have (important caveat … this is not ALL faculty, nor is this limited to USC) is twofold,” Trope wrote. “Trigger warnings are seen as a potential threat to academic freedom. And, related, they are characterized (or mischaracterized in some cases) as ‘coddling’ students.”These two points are the most frequently cited reasons against trigger warnings, most notably in the idea of the practice sheltering students from harmful discourse. An Atlantic cover story last September dubbed “The Coddling of the American Mind,” was an 8,000-word piece deriding the practice as counterintuitive to treating mental health and indicative of an increasingly sensitive generation, and the most notable example of public backlash.For some students at USC, national outcry from older generations has them both frustrated and on the defensive.“I was really disappointed [by it],”  said Sophia Li, a junior majoring in law, history and culture and sociology, regarding media coverage maligning trigger warnings. “I usually love The Atlantic, [but] I think it completely missed the point and mischaracterized the point of trigger warnings and the people advocating for them.”Diaz, too, was thrown off by what she sees as a blatant lack of empathy among critics, and an inability to view those in the classroom in a multidimensional fashion.“People try to separate the student and the person,” she said. “Logic and emotion don’t exist in binary ways. The idea that we should remove our own experiences is impossible.”This trend of confusion is common. Those advocating trigger warnings see them as beneficial for those who need them and inconsequential for those who don’t. Questions of academic freedom and student “coddling,” they say, are misinformed and misguided.“I wish [critics] would take a step back and reflect why they think they’re qualified to determine what people are allowed to be offended by,” Berntsen said. “This entire debate about trigger warnings comes down to basic human empathy. These aren’t radical concepts, but somehow the entire discourse has evolved into something that I don’t understand.”Here at USC, some of the practice’s most vocal critics have reached campus. At a speaking event hosted by the USC College Republicans in October, journalist Milo Yiannopoulos maligned trigger warnings as an egregious and intolerable offense against the academic culture of a university. Students requesting them, he said, shouldn’t be at college.“My basic response to this is anyone who wants a trigger warning should be immediately expelled,” Yiannopoulos said. “They’ve demonstrated that they are incapable of completing requirements of their course. They’ve chosen to use slippery and unnecessary tactics based on dodgy cognitive science to suggest that people can’t be exposed to certain ideas because they’re so hurtful or traumatic. All of this is nonsense.”While not nearly as hyperbolic in tone, there are some students who agree that trigger warnings don’t necessarily belong in an academic setting.The leading campus student organization on mental health, the USC National Alliance on Mental Illness, or USC NAMI, came out with an official response against trigger warnings in response to this article. The organization cited the practice as harming students’ mental health rather than helping it and allowing for censorship in the classroom. While they said that professors should allow an alternative assignment or excused absence from class if a student specifically asks in advance, they stressed it is the student’s responsibility, not the professor’s, to address the issue.“NAMI does not support trigger warnings,” the statement read. “Despite the good intentions behind trigger warnings, we believe they would be detrimental to the student population in more ways than one.”In an interview, USC NAMI co-presidents Steve Navarrete and Rosemarie Wilson expanded that the diversity of mental health illnesses coupled with the professor’s necessity to teach freely makes trigger warnings both burdensome and predominantly unnecessary.“You can’t possibly warn everyone for something,” Navarrete said. “Where do you draw that line? Where does it become appropriate? It really limits what you can do as a professor, and as a professor you don’t want to be limited. You want to be able to discuss what the world is. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do here as a university, which is to learn, not be censored. Otherwise, what’s the point?”As of now, there is nothing in existence nor immediately planned at USC to mandate or even encourage professors to issue trigger warnings. But as the dialogue surrounding mental health increases on campuses nationwide, more eyes are shifting to the responsibility of campus educators.“We’re clearly showing a shift toward mental health at USC, but there’s still more the University could do,” Wilson said. “Professors and faculty members need to be trained better on mental health because a lot don’t know how to respond to crisis.”last_img read more


first_imgManagement from Green Vehicle have issued a statement saying no car parts will be available from the Green Vehicle recycling facility until later this month – as they ready themselves for a massive auction on Saturday the 14th of June. The reason for this is to give staff enough time to prepare for the massive auction planned later this month.Green Vehicle is one of the most popular recycling facilities for purchasing car parts in Donegal. A large crowd is expected to attend the auction on the 14th of this month for what one of the biggest clearance auctions in Donegal.Green Vehicle have indicated they’ll be selling a large variety of surplus cars, vans, trucks and trailers at the aution.On top of that they’ll also be auctioning off boats, plant machinery, recycling equipment and much more.The auction kicks off on Saturday the 14th of June at 11am from Green Vehicle Recycling, Bonagee, Letterkenny. Viewing available Friday the 13th from 10am toIt’s not to be missed!!   DD NOTICE: NO CAR PARTS FOR SALE FROM GREEN VEHICLE UNTIL AFTER MASSIVE AUCTION was last modified: June 6th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BusinessnewsNoticeslast_img read more