Beware colleges bearing gifts of welfare provision

first_imgAgatha Christie called herself a “perfect sausage machine”, but her approach to murder was positively schizophrenic compared to the tabloids’ formulaic techniques.The perfect tabloid story drips in pathos and outrage. In the case of Lucy Braham’s murder, pathos was easily achieved by juxtaposing the contorted image of William Jaggs with the beaming smile of his innocent victim. Outrage, meanwhile, relies on the sound bites of relatives, particularly those comments that apportion blame.So Harrow School came in for the greatest criticism when Braham’s father noted that “despite visible, spoken and written warnings about Jaggs’ behaviour…no action was ever taken”.But Jason Braham also pointed the finger at the “despicable drugs fraternity at Oxford University”. The red tops ignored this, though, since drugs at university is as mundane a topic as pills in a pharmacy (until you reach the Cabinet, at least, and Jacqui Smith’s experiences with cannabis in Oxford were only really of public interest because her surname rhymes with “spliff”).Those few columnists that didn’t ignore the “drugs fraternity” remark merely noted in passing that Oxford might somehow have failed Jaggs.Uncharacteristically, they didn’t dig their teeth in because the lines are too blurred: a university is clearly more than a glorified boarding school, and yet for undergraduates it is far from a nine-to-five workplace. Nor is it a halfway house between school and work.All but a handful of Oxford undergraduates have reached the age of majority and are legally responsible for their actions. But the moral responsibility of parents towards children does not end at the stroke of midnight on their eighteenth birthday. Which is lucky, because most workplaces do not feel the need to provide for the personal welfare needs of workers under the age of 22.Why should the University or its colleges act any differently? Why should they worry about anything other than our academic welfare? It’s easy to argue that the intensity of an Oxford course (living and working in the same place) warrants greater provision of personal care. But far from being helpful, the immaturity of this argument does none of us any favours. It ignores the unspeakable truth: that in many cases, students bring their academic difficulties upon themselves with excessive partying, drinking and drug use. And no college is going to make provision for these personal problems without wanting to tackle their origins. After all, prevention is better than cure… and more cost-effective.Unfortunately, prevention means protective parenting as well as Orwellian measures unworthy of a fifteen-year-old. “Your essay this week was weak… and I notice that on Monday you returned to College thirteen minutes after the 9pm curfew.”The consequences of a parental college run deeper: could we honestly expect the powers-that-be to take the views of a JCR seriously with such an asymmetric relationship in place? Scouts and gardeners would be more influential than undergraduates. They would have the power of employment law behind them; we would be subject to that curious law that makes parents always right.Of course it is commendable that the door is left open for students who have genuine difficulty with their work; indeed, that even students such as Jaggs have a place held for them is reassuring. We are all human and the luxury of a second chance is very welcome.However, we should resist colleges ever supervising the rehabilitation of those who have gone wrong for personal reasons; even acting in an advisory capacity, colleges must be kept in check. In crude terms, a college is generous to say “come back when you’ve sorted yourself out”, but it is taking liberties (quite literally) when it tries to do the “sorting” itself.In this respect, Oriel’s tutors acted perfectly with Jaggs. But it is still possible to provide a reasonable level of care to students without compromising the relationship between college and student. This is where the role of the student union lies. Colleges and JCR welfare teams should be able to confidently refer beleaguered students to OUSU, whether for lack of publicity or effectiveness, this has not been the case.Effective student union welfare provision wouldn’t stop another Jaggs, but it would keep overzealous colleges at bay.last_img read more

Armed Forces of Colombia and Ecuador Help Local Communities

first_imgBy Marian Romero/Diálogo November 01, 2017 The armed forces of Colombia and Ecuador united for an annual humanitarian operation that provided health, welfare, and recreational services to remote communities of both nations on the shores of the Putumayo River. The Colombia–Ecuador 2017 Binational Development Campaign Aid assisted the populations of Puerto El Carmen, in the province of Sucumbíos, Ecuador, and Puerto Ospina, in the department of Putumayo, Colombia. “In general, we hold the aid campaign in the first half of the year, when the water levels in the Putumayo River rise and it’s optimal for navigation,” said Marine Corps Brigadier General Álvaro Augusto Cubillos Gómez, commander of the Colombian Navy’s Southern Naval Force. “This year [2017] weather fluctuations kept us from getting out to the municipality of Puerto Asís [Colombia] on the ships; but we still fulfilled that commitment.” At the campaign, 57 medical specialists from both countries provided general and family medicine services, as well as specialized treatment such as physical therapy, dentistry, maxillofacial surgery, gynecology, dermatology, urology, psychology, pediatrics, medical ultrasound, and ophthalmology, among others. In addition, they carried out health promotion and prevention services and delivered three tons of humanitarian aid. “Ecuador and Colombia are sister nations that share the river on their border, and they also share the culture of these communities, their peculiarities, and in many cases the same nationality,” explained Colonel Wilson Tualombo Ortíz, commander of the Ecuadorean Army’s 19th Jungle Brigade and coordinator of the support campaign. “In Ecuador, a lot of Colombians came to live on this side of the river, but these are the same indigenous communities of Uitoto, Murui, and Siona, among others, which exist on both sides of the Putumayo River.” The campaign that lasted only a weekend, August 25th–27th, required a huge logistics effort to bring the various units together. From Colombia, the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police, and local and regional authorities participated. In Ecuador, the provincial government of Sucumbíos coordinated the support campaign with other government agencies and logistics support from the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Ecuadorean Army. Recreation, a key point Although health is the main focus of the campaign, the recreational aspect has become a huge attraction for the recipients. Getting needed medical attention from specialists can take all day and long lines form during the event. “We have groups specialized in recreation, as we’ve learned from experience that thanks to them any activity with the community is more enjoyable,” Brig. Gen. Cubillos said. “Dressed up as clowns or through singing, they manage to entertain people, amuse the children and facilitate service outreach for those who are unfamiliar with this type of assistance.” “In Ecuador, we’re impressed by the capacity for care they have in Colombia. Not only because of the health services they provide, but also because of their ability to entertain people throughout the event, keeping the campaign from becoming a tedious experience,” Col. Tualombo said. “We want to create the same recreation groups for our Armed Forces, because they completely change people’s attitude. We’re already in talks with the Colombian Navy to make such entertainment a reality.” Origins of the campaign The idea for holding a binational support campaign originated in 2011. The Colombian Navy already provided some assistance in its territory, but it was clear that many more residents in the region showed similar needs. At that time, the security conditions were risky, because the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were still in the area and attacked health ships. The Binational Development Campaign was created to assist the vulnerable populations of Puerto El Carmen and Puerto Ospina, municipalities where a large part of the area’s population is concentrated. These communities are tight-knit with many Colombians living on the Ecuadorean side of the border and vice versa. On the Colombian side, terrestrial mobilization to the urban centers is difficult due to their remoteness. As such, providing annual support to the region is a priority. “For us, it is very important that the populations of this region identify with their country; that they feel Colombian, and that they are able to perceive the presence of the state,” Brig. Gen. Cubillos said. “Fortunately, the campaign had a wonderful reception and people are quick to respond to the invitation we make over the radio.” The event’s reach has grown substantially since its launch. In 2011, the campaign touched 1,138 people from both countries. The number has more than doubled in 2017, with a total of 8,846 welfare services delivered — in addition to health promotion, disease prevention as well as hair styling, veterinary services, and entertainment. Area residents started associating the river’s rise during the month of May with the arrival of ships and prepare to welcome them. The communities were eager for the 2017 support campaign, as in 2016, the earthquake that shook Ecuador prevented it from taking place. Both armed forces focused on relief efforts for the Ecuadorean people who are still recovering from the effects of the quake. “These campaigns have become a lifesaver for many of the communities that live along our shared border with Ecuador,” Brig Gen. Cubillos said. “Unlike the Ecuadoreans, Colombia’s river communities are [geographically] cut off from the rest of the country, which makes it critical to ensure that this aid gets to them.”last_img read more

CARICOM needs tax harmony, says Trinidad minister

first_img 14 Views   no discussions Tweet Share NewsRegional CARICOM needs tax harmony, says Trinidad minister by: – July 17, 2012 Sharing is caring!center_img Share Share Minister of Finance, Senator Larry HowaiPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Tax harmonisation in the CARICOM Treaty and in the CARICOM Single Market Economy (CSME) needs to be given priority.Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Finance and the Economy Minister, Larry Howai made the statement as he addressed the 25th General Assembly and Technical Conference of Caribbean Organization of Tax Administration.“It is noted that in the tax arena, tax harmonisation remains a work-in-progress. Tax harmonisation reduces the tendency for competition amongst member states and provides equal investment opportunity amongst states,” Howai said.The minister said he has been reliably informed that multinational companies are already exploiting the region’s failure to take this step and it is “working to the detriment of the region as a whole”.The minister added that in order to improve the situation regarding taxation in the region the information exchange capacity of the treaty must be improved.He said discussions for this improvement were already ongoing and the effort must continue.The minister said in competing for investments by making their tax systems more attractive to multinational companies, countries in the region must be careful to ensure that the changes are not anti-competitive and harmful to the region. Howai also suggested greater and more regular interaction among member states to aid in standardisation of our tax issues. Caribbean News Nowlast_img read more

Santa’s Heros seeking donations for this year

first_imgGreensburg, IN—It is that time of year where the Greensburg FOP Lodge #104 begins taking donations for our annual Shop-With-A-Cop fundraiser. Each year, they help between 75 and 100 local children buy clothing, hats, gloves, winter coats, shoes, and other items that their families are often unable to afford. With each new year, we find that more and more children in our community need help. To help expand the event and allow us to help more children, the FOP is expanding resources by partnering with other emergency service agencies in hopes of giving more children a holiday to remember.The new event will be known as Santa’s Heroes. The heroes are members of local police, fire, communications and EMS agencies. They will be hosting a special event for all the children chosen for the program. The group’s goal is to have breakfast with Santa, books with the elves, crafts, games, and of course our annual shopping extravaganza at Walmart. In order to be able to provide a memorable experience and necessary clothing to the children chosen for the program, they need the help of the community. Through donations, that will be spent 100% back into our community, the goal is to to be able to help 150 children this year. Donations are tax-deductible and extremely appreciated.Donations can be made in person to the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office Monday –Friday 8 am-4 pm, or via mail to:Greensburg FOP Lodge #104PO Box 337Greensburg, Indiana 47240last_img read more

Slumping USC tries to halt slide against Cal Baptist

first_imgIn serious need of a victory, the USC men’s volleyball team will look to right the ship this week with the first of a four-game homestand to continue Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action.William Ehart | Daily TrojanLeading the way · Sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers (right) has tallied 34 blocks and a team-leading .490 kill percentage this season. – William Ehart | Daily TrojanThe Trojans square off against Cal Baptist Thursday night at the Galen Center in an attempt to end its current four-game losing streak. After a home loss to Pacific, the Trojans concluded a disappointing 0-3 road trip that featured losses to Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State. The losing streak marks the team’s longest since 2008.“We haven’t put it together all the way yet,” USC head coach Bill Ferguson said. “The theme of our last few matches is that we’ve put together some strings of great volleyball, but we really need an extended period of good, and that’s what we’ve been talking to the guys about.”Each of the four losses has come by a 3-1 margin, with the Trojans faltering down the stretch after short periods of strong play. Against Long Beach State on Friday, USC fell behind early, dropping the first two sets and failing to put together a comeback. Though the Trojans received strong contributions from key players, such as sophomore middle blockers Ben Lam (13 kills, five blocks, .579) and Robert Feathers (10 kills and five blocks), they were out-hit .370 to .271, failing to contain the 49ers in the deciding fourth frame.“We had some matchups offensively and I thought our game plan was good. Our middle blockers and [redshirt junior opposite] Tanner Jansen executed wonderfully,” Ferguson said. “Jansen’s hitting percentage over the last three matches is .343, and he and the middle blockers are coming through for us. I see the outside hitters having better matches, so as soon as some of those guys can be a little more consistent offensively, things will start to balance out.”The loss to Northridge was particularly tough for the Trojans, who saw Jansen explode for a career-high 24 kills and a .475 attacking percentage. However, on the strength of 40 combined kills from opposite hitters John Baker and Brandon Lebrock, the Matadors put away the Trojans, who were again out-hit and out-performed defensively.“We had good matchups and a good game plan that created open looks for Jansen. That was part of our match that we were pleased with as a team,” Ferguson said. “We knew what was going on defensively, but we didn’t execute as well on the blocking, which was a step back from the Pepperdine game where we had tremendous blocking. We didn’t block or dig really well, and those are things we typically do well.”Though the losses would normally serve as a cause for concern, Ferguson stressed the need to remain positive and patient, noting in particular the youth and depth present on the roster.“We’ve been telling the guys that they’re here for a reason,” Ferguson said. “We believe in them, we trust them and we recruited them. They’re just a bit inexperienced, and we have to walk that fine line between understanding that there’s going to be a learning curve and speeding up that curve a little bit.”Thursday’s game against Cal Baptist is set to begin at the Galen Center at 7 p.m.last_img read more