Beautiful Morning

Tom Swift - Untethered Dog - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 7:37am
The squirrel, my dog’s arch nemesis, showed up first thing. So did the birds — so many small birds gathered around the feeders, on the tree limbs. And bunnies. We must have just passed mating season for we see so many young rabbits on our walks right now. This morning, we had the neighborhood to […]
Categories: Citizens

Questions and answers about ICE regulations impact on international students

Manitou Messenger - Sat, 07/11/2020 - 7:04pm

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released new regulations on Monday, July 6, that will prevent foreign college students from staying in the country if their schooling is carried out entirely online in the fall.

How do these new regulations affect international students, and how is St. Olaf responding? Read on for an explanatory Q&A

Where does St. Olaf currently sit in regards to the new ICE regulations?

Currently, the College is adopting a hybrid model for the fall semester that includes a mix of both online and in-person classes. This means that St. Olaf international students will be able to take both in-person and online courses in the fall in the same way domestic students would be able to.

The new regulation is not the Final Rule in the Federal Register, according to Megan Carmès, Assistant Director for International Student Engagement in the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion. This means that the fall 2020 guidance could continue to change before the semester begins, leaving international students at St. Olaf and across the country in an unpredictable position after the new, updated guidelines were released.  

Will international students be allowed to remain in the U.S. under St. Olaf’s current fall plans?

Yes. Since St. Olaf is currently adopting a hybrid model, the updated guidelines will allow international students currently located in the U.S. to remain in the country for their studies. 

How will international students’ schooling be affected by these new regulations?

Each international student will be allowed to take online courses. However, to meet the new regulations, all international students must have at least one in-person component of their schooling in the U.S. 

Moreover, colleges must certify that each student permitted by a F-1 visa is taking “the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program” to remain in the U.S., according to the new federal guidance.

It is currently unclear how St. Olaf will meet this certification, but President David Anderson ’74 has assured community members that the Registrar will continue to work individually with international students.

Does the College anticipate a switch to a more hybrid or entirely online system in the fall as COVID-19 continues to progress?

According to an email from President Anderson to The Messenger, the College does not currently anticipate a switch to entirely online schooling in the fall. The College is planning a hybrid system with a mix of in-person and online courses for students.    

What will happen to international students if the College switches to entirely online schooling in the fall?

International students will be forced to leave the country if St. Olaf switches to entirely online schooling in the fall and if current regulations remain in place. President Anderson has assured community members that the College will work to accommodate international students on campus the best that they can in the event that St. Olaf is allowed to accommodate students. 

International students will be able to continue their schooling off-campus if the College switches entirely online. 

Will international students currently abroad be allowed to return to campus for in-person schooling in the fall?

Under the College’s current approach, international students currently abroad will be allowed to return to campus to complete their studies, as long as they can receive visas and other necessary documentation and are not blocked by travel restrictions.

President Anderson has ensured community members that the College is continuing to work individually with international students who are currently outside the U.S. to ensure their fall schooling is handled successfully. The Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion, Dean of Students, Admissions, Financial Aid and the Registrar are all assisting international students currently abroad.  

How are other colleges around the country reacting to the new regulations?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University filed a joint lawsuit against ICE and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday, July 8, asking a Massachusetts court to prevent ICE and DHS from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful.

Tens of other colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota, have supported the lawsuit through the filing of amicus briefs.

The Association of American Universities (AAU) President Mary Sue Coleman released a statement on behalf of AAU criticizing the new regulations as “immensely misguided and deeply cruel to tens of thousands of international students who come to the United States every year,” the statement reads.

Other peer institutions have taken no conclusive steps but have offered support for their international students and criticism for the new regulation.

Categories: Colleges

Current focused efforts to address rising racial tension at St. Olaf

Manitou Messenger - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 12:42pm

Following the publication of former professor of theater Michelle Gibbs and former professor of social work and family studies Lisa Moore’s letters to faculty, various groups, both new and pre-existing, responded to concerns about race and culture at St. Olaf.

Below is more information provided by these various groups affiliated with the St. Olaf community at the time of publication.

Oles for Racial Awareness, Change and Equity (ORACE)
Formation and Membership: ORACE began as a grassroots alumni response to the campus protests of May 2017. The group includes community members who “exist to support St. Olaf in becoming an anti-racist institution that consciously chooses to investigate, understand, and challenge racism through academics, policy, and campus life,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

Mission and Actions: The group aims to support the RACE program and other St. Olaf community members “committed to leading positive change.”

On July 1, the group created a petition calling for the Board of Regents to immediately begin a search for a new President and Provost of the College who “have the qualities, experience, and skills necessary in this critical transformational moment.” The petition also highlights several areas of leadership awareness, which include understanding race and racism historically, examining every aspect of the College through an anti-racist lens, and embracing the inherent discomfort of anti-racist work.

Find out more:

Formation and Membership: In the account’s first post on June 28, the group shared that “@stolafanonymous exists to amplify the voices of BIPOC and other marginalized identities that have passed through St. Olaf’s campus. We are run by BIPOC, International, and Queer Alumnae.”

Mission and Actions: At the time of publication, the account has shared over 30 stories from current and past St. Olaf students recounting their negative experiences as a part of marginalized groups at the College.

Find out more:

Formation and Membership: Comprised of BIPOC alumni who have graduated in the past decade, the St. Olaf Out group began posting calls to action via Instagram on July 1.

Mission and Actions:  The “Call for Action” has three “non-negotiable” hashtagged stances — #PDAOut, #OutWithTheOle and #DefundOlaf. The group is calling for these demands to be met prior to the beginning of the fall 2020 semester. As for longer term goals, “We are seeking for a new administration that will lead with an anti-racist and decolonizing approach to the curriculum, student affairs, and the campus as a whole,” the group told the Messenger via direct message.

For more information:

Marginalized And Diverse Faculty of Color Anti-Racism Coalition (MADFACS)
Formation and Membership: According to the statement issued June 21, “MAD FACs is a coalition of St. Olaf faculty who identify with the experiences of faculty members who recently departed due to a hostile, racial work environment.” The group formed following the release of Gibbs’ and Moore’s letters. 

Mission and Actions: As described in the June 21 statement, “Our purposes are to address complaints about white supremacy at St. Olaf College and dismantle the institutional culture and practices that produce them.” According to the group’s website, MAD FACs intends to continue standing in solidarity with the experiences of faculty of color at the College by publishing statements and requests for action. 

Find out more:

Task Force to Confront Structural Racism at St. Olaf College
Formation and Membership: The task force was formed by faculty and staff members following the release of Gibbs’ letter. The group is still being finalized and co-chairs anticipate student as well as faculty and staff involvement moving forward.

Mission and Actions: Immediate next steps for the task force include solidifying faculty and staff members’ involvement, seeking to include students in their work and deciding on their first action item. The task force plans to establish subcommittees to focus on specific initiatives.

Find out more:

Community reflections
Hosted on the official College website, the page is a call for “community members to share their reflections and calls to action”.

Find out more:

The Olaf Messenger is committed to providing ongoing coverage. Check back for more information.

Categories: Colleges

Normandale Japanese Garden Tour

My Northern Garden - Mary Schier - Mon, 06/29/2020 - 11:04am

Most (maybe all) master gardener and garden club garden tours have been cancelled this summer due to COVID-19. Understandable, but still a bummer for those of us who can’t think of a better summer activity than exploring a garden. So, I decided to create my own garden tour in 2020, visiting public gardens within a ... Read More about Normandale Japanese Garden Tour

The post Normandale Japanese Garden Tour appeared first on My Northern Garden.

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Categories: Citizens

Navigating Empathetic Marketing

Brand Yourself Consulting - Tami Enfield - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 5:23pm

Welcome to our new normal. Every single day, we are bombarded with updates, statistics, and stay-at-home orders. Emotions are running high, and everyone is feeling a little stuck. This adjustment has been nothing short of difficult, and it’s especially tricky...

The post Navigating Empathetic Marketing appeared first on Brand Yourself Consulting.

Categories: Businesses

Arrowhead VII

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 01/26/2020 - 12:40am

Monday morning at 7:00, I’ll start my seventh Arrowhead Ultra, my seventh attempt to ride my fatbike down the 135 miles of snowmobile trail across northern Minnesota from International Falls to Tower.

Sundogs just after the start of the 2019 Arrowhead

So far I’ve finished the race each time I’ve started, with times ranging from 19.5 hours in 2015 to 29 hours in 2014. My best placing was my first year, when we rode in the polar vortex and I wound up in 7th place.

The forecast (as of Saturday night) looks increasingly good, with highs near 25° on Monday afternoon and lows near 0° at the start and then overnight — which likely means actual air temps near -10°’ when we hit the low swampy areas. Those temperatures are very manageable and should mean the trail will be hard and fast.

This year — after a very busy few months at work and much less riding than I’d like — I’m in less good physical shape than I’d like, although I rode well at the Tuscobia 160 a month ago. I’m primarily gunning for another finish and I’ll be happy to go under 24 hours.

If you want to see how I am doing, check Trackleaders, a cool free service that uses GPS data to plot some (but not all) of us on a map of the course!

Categories: Citizens
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