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Alumni College class will dissect disturbing photographs

As seen in Compass:

Alumni College class will dissect disturbing photographs
By McKenzie Powell

This year’s On The Green Weekend will feature several stimulating classes as a part of Alumni College 2016, including No One Wants to See That: Images that Disturb by Stan Alost.

Alost, professor and assistant director of Ohio University’s Scripps School of Visual Communication, will be using this course to discuss unsettling images made and published by photojournalists and news organizations.

“I hope people get an insight into the decision processes in journalism, the importance of photojournalism to democracy, an understanding of the responsibility photojournalists feel, and a better sense of how to judge the visual information they see,” Alost said.

Due to years of experience teaching and working in the media industry, Alost truly understands the importance of photojournalism and ethics in our society and wants to continue spreading this knowledge.

“I hope this class helps challenge Alumni College participants’ commons beliefs while enriching their understanding of media,” Alost said.

Alumni College courses will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 in Baker University Center. To view an updated schedule of events and register for On the Green Weekend, visit ohio.edu/alumni/onthegreen/.

To read the original sidebar click here.

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fundraiser for peace

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Fundraiser for Peace

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Women and Law in Ancient India

As seen in OHIO Today’s OHIO Women

Women and Law in Ancient India

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tephanie Jamison presented “Adulterous Woman to Be Eaten by Dogs: Women and Law in Ancient India” at OHIO’s biannual Gawande Lecture Series in November. A professor in the department of Asian languages and cultures at University of California, Los Angeles, Jamison focuses on Indo-Iranian languages and texts, plus societal and aesthetic issues within them. She co-edited and co-translated the first complete English translation in more than a century of all 1,028 hymns of the Rigveda, India’s oldest religious text. A gift from OHIO friends Dr. Sushila and the late Dr. Ram Gawande supports the series, which brings renowned scholars of Indian philosophy and religion to the University. – McKenzie Powell, BSJ ’16, BA ‘16

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5 tips for surviving a difficult homestay transition

As seen in USA TODAY College:

5 tips for surviving a difficult homestay transition
By McKenzie Powell, Ohio University August 19, 2015 3:42 pm

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter having spent a year or two in college and away from the constant surveillance of your overprotective parents, it may seem daunting to know that your upcoming study abroad program is placing you in a homestay — a housing option presented to may study abroad students that allows them to live in the home of a local family.

Although it may seem like all of your independence is about to be taken away from you in one fell swoop, try to enter the living situation with an open mind before passing judgments or making assumptions. remember the positives of living with a host family: cultural and linguistic immersion.

“I think it is one on the best ways to complete an immersion program. If the student is well integrated into the family, a homestay could be excellent to improve language abilities — especially day-to-day language that we do not necessarily find in books,” says Gamo Mbow Tounkara, resident coordinator for the Council on International Educational Exchange’s study abroad programs in Dakar, Senegal.

If you have been living abroad with a host family for a little while now and just can’t seem to get things right, here are five tips for surviving a difficult homestay transition:

1. DOES IT SEEM LIKE YOU AND THE MEMBERS OF YOUR HOST FAMILY JUST AREN’T CLICKING?

First, try and assess the situation. Does the entire family seem distant, or just certain individuals like the parents? Are you often staying in your room or leaving the house to avoid the living situation or are you actively trying to spend time with your host family?

In the beginning, your family may try and give you some space to get adjusted to your new life abroad. If, once you have adjusted, it seems that particular people still just don’t seem very interested in you, or you are still being secluded in specific situations, contemplate certain cultural influences and differences as these could be major factors. More often than not, what may seem negative to us — like being sent to a different room to eat on your own — was actually intended to be a positive, kind gesture.

Go into each new day with a positive, open mind and keep trying to integrate into the family, even if it still seems like you just can’t fit in. Don’t avoid your family out of fear or misunderstanding. Instead, start mingling with the children and work your way up. Ask questions, participate in family activities, offer to help clean and continue to show your genuine interest and desire to become a part of the family.

2. HAVE YOU BEEN HAVING ISSUES WITH COMMUNICATION DUE TO AN EXTREME LANGUAGE BARRIER?

One of the most frightening aspects of living with another family in a foreign country is the fact that they are probably speaking a different language than you, perhaps one that you have only been able to practice in the comfort of your own home university with other beginners.

“If language is the only barrier, I think that it’s not a problem at all. I would just advise them to relax, not worry about making mistakes and be accepting to learn the language from the family,” Tounkara says.

While it may be terrifying at first, this is also one of the greatest benefits of living with a host family, as it allows you to dive head first into cultural and linguistic immersion. If you are having a difficult time keeping up with conversation during dinner or answering questions while hanging out with your family, start carrying a dictionary with you to look up any forgotten or unfamiliar words. This is nothing to be ashamed of and can work wonders in getting to know your family on more than just a “how was your day” basis.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask any children in the family for their help in teaching you key phrases, slang words or just general words you have never learned. They will more than likely love teaching the older, new kid in their family how to say things and it will also allow for some great bonding time with your little siblings. If you are really struggling, take these new words and phrases that you have learned and write them down a few times every night before bed to really start retaining and memorizing your vocab.

3. ARE YOU IN NEED OF A HEALTHY WAY TO EXPRESS EVERYTHING YOU’RE LOVING AND HATING ABOUT YOUR LATEST LIVING ENVIRONMENT?

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Walk a Mile in Her Shoes works to raise awareness about rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. By walking a mile on Ohio University’s campus in high heels, male participants experienced some pain and embarrassment while helping to spread awareness about sexual assault against women and the prevention of rape, assault, and violence.

The following are photographs of last school year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes at Ohio University:

[huge_it_gallery id=”14″]

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Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

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Jamaica revitalizes anti-doping system just in time for 2016 Olympics

As seen in the Global Spotlight and the Institute for International Journalism blog:

Jamaica revitalizes anti-doping system just in time for 2016 Olympics
By McKenzie Powell

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ust two short years after Jamaica was placed under strict scrutiny for failing to meet international anti-doping standards, the country has demonstrated an improvement in both anti-doping testing procedures and education, right in time for the 2016 Olympic Games.

In 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inspected Jamaica’s anti-doping processes, revealing a lack of proper testing and several athletes testing positive. This incident led to the resignation of the entire Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) board, and reports declaring Jamaica’s potential ineligibility for the 2016 Olympics.

Fortunately, for Jamaica, it seems JADCO and the country as a whole have increased their efforts toward creating a more thorough and qualified anti-doping program, comprised of improvements with both testing and education.

“Since January 2014, the agency has gone through several changes to ensure that its processes are aligned to the International Standards set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and that it has qualified and competent personnel to carry out its duties,” wrote Carey Brown, executive director of JADCO.

JADCO was established in correlation with Jamaica’s Anti-Doping in Sports Act of 2008 in an effort to create a dope-free sports environment. The commission is funded by the Jamaican Government and is expected to meet the standards established by WADA.

“As it’s the chemical component and not specific brands that are listed, sometimes athletes consume items that contain banned substances without being aware,” said Neish Gaye McLean.

Leighton Levy, who is a sports journalist for Nationwide News Network, believes that a major cause of the Jamaican testing scandal in 2013 was a lack of funding and the world’s increased awareness of Jamaica’s talent in sports – particularly in track and field.

“Now that we are winning more on a consistent basis, we are under the spotlight,” Levy said. “There were issues back in 2013 [when] the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission did not have the proper testing kits. They now have the funding to do a lot more than they were previously.”

According to JADCO, in addition to more thorough testing procedures, the commission also introduced blood testing in June of 2015 in collaboration with a local plhebotomy company called Central Medical Laboratories. This form of testing is becoming more and more necessary, as it often detects more substances than urine testing alone.

The 2015 edition of the WADA Prohibited Substances and Methods List includes pages of banned exogenous and endogenous substances organized into categories like anabolic agents, peptide hormones, growth factors and mimetics, diuretics and masking agents, and more.

The Prohibited Substances and Methods List is very detailed and complex, meaning athletes may be more susceptible to inadvertantly taking supplements that contain one or more of these banned substances.

“As it’s the chemical component and not specific brands that are listed, sometimes athletes consume items that contain banned substances without being aware,” said Neish Gaye McLean, who received a post-graduate diploma in sports management from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

“Most of the persons that I have been in contact with are persons that don’t know they have taken something,” Irving said. “I may be naïve, but I do not feel that most of our athletes would willingly take drugs – they will willingly take supplements.”

As stated by Levy, the consumption of these items is often due to the athletes’ naiveté and misplaced trust.

“What a lot of athletes would be guilty of is certainly carelessness,” Levy said.

This carelessness is one of the reasons that JADCO has focused on spreading and promoting anti-doping education by hosting workshops for athletes, sporting federations and associations, and professional groups.

In addition to JADCO’s individual efforts, UWI in Mona, Jamaica, has held several anti-doping workshops to raise awareness of the potential risks of taking supplements, while also examining strengths and weaknesses of Jamaica’s anti-doping program.

“Many of the elite athletes are taking supplements. Supplements are not illegal, taking them is just risky,” said Rachael Irving, who is an assistant professor, senior research fellow and chair of the Anti-Doping Workshop Committee at UWI-Mona.

Irving said that because there have been cases of athletes believing a supplement was clean when, under the WADA rules and regulations, it was not, it is important for athletes to take supplements only if they “absolutely have to.”

“You just have to be careful that you buy from a reputable company,” she said.

UWI-Mona was also chosen by WADA to hold a pilot university course, the first anti-doping course at the university level to be offered in all of the Caribbean. The course, which will be available again in January 2016, incorporates speakers from diverse disciplines, including toxicology, law and sports management.

“Our athletes are of a great integrity,” Levy said. “We’ve been doing great things for a really long time. It’s not like we just now need doping to produce some of the world’s greatest athletes.”

While there are several cases of athletes taking banned substances unknowingly, there are also instances where athletes will intentionally take something on the banned substance list.

“There’s ambition for fame and money and not everybody’s willing to put in the effort required,” said Andre Lowe, sports editor for the Gleaner Company.

Irving, Levy and Lowe all agree, however, that Jamaica does not house many athletes who deliberately dope.

“Most of the persons that I have been in contact with are persons that don’t know they have taken something,” Irving said. “I may be naïve, but I do not feel that most of our athletes would willingly take drugs – they will willingly take supplements.”

“Our athletes are of a great integrity,” Levy said. “We’ve been doing great things for a really long time. It’s not like we just now need doping to produce some of the world’s greatest athletes.”

Jamaica is not the first country to have been thrown into the public eye over doping allegations and poor testing regulations. The United States alone has undergone numerous doping scandals involving prominent athletes like track runner Marion Jones and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

As reported by the Guardian, Russia is the most recent country to disobey WADA’s rules, and has been indefinitely suspended from all competitions due to state-sponsored doping.

In June 2015, WADA released the Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) report, which includes statistics of all violations from 2013. The ADRV report states that Russia, Turkey and France were among the top ten violators in the world, with the United States ranking at number 11. When comparing Russia’s total ADRV count of 225 and the United States’ count of 43, Jamaica fell at the bottom with just nine total anti-doping rule violations in 2013.

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Finding a space for trans* identities within Jamaica

As seen in the Global Spotlight and the Institute for International Journalism blog:

Finding a space for trans* identities within Jamaica
By: McKenzie Powell

“[dropcap]I[/dropcap] am not a threat to the society,” said Whitney Reid in the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays’ (J-FLAG) ‘We Are Jamaicans’ video campaign. “I don’t want to spend most of my life hiding who I am from the world. I want you to see how beautiful I am, I want you to see how human I am.”

Reid, a transgender woman and Jamaican refugee currently living in the United States, is just one individual out of a larger community of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) persons who have experienced bigotry within Jamaica’s borders.

Despite recent progressions in LGBTQ rights around the world, including the United States’ legalization of same-sex marriage and the implementation of laws banning discrimination against transgender people in several U.S. states, Jamaica continues to struggle with inclusive dialogue and education about the country’s trans* population.

Largely due to an extensive history of discrimination toward the LGBTQ community, enforced by a longstanding anti-buggery law, Jamaicans are just recently becoming familiar with Westernized terms of identity such as ‘transgender.’

“There was no such thing as trans* a couple of years ago. The trans* community is being created as we speak,” said Carla Moore, professor of gender and development at the University of the West Indies Mona, Western Jamaica Campus.

“It begins in the home. Many transgender individuals – notably teens – are being kicked out of their homes by their parents/guardians or by more powerful figures,” said Portia de Royal, an active advocate for the Jamaican trans* community who has worked with groups like J-FLAG.

Through the work of Jamaican advocacy groups like J-FLAG, TransWave and Colour Pink Group (CPG), more information about this underrepresented group is being shared to raise awareness and increase humanization of transgender Jamaicans.

“Knowledge and understanding of trans* identity is growing and many more are coming out as trans*,” said Dane Lewis, the executive director of J-FLAG and the co-chair of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (Cari-FLAGS).

According to Jamaica Observer, Jamaica’s LGBT population reached approximately 270,000 people in 2009; yet, in 2014 the Advocate reported that about 25,000 protestors gathered in continued support of Jamaica’s buggery law, which forbids anal intercourse. Anti-LGBTQ sentiment continues to live through groups like the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society and Jamaica Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation (CAUSE).

Although more citizens are said to be self-identifying as transgender, the implications of publicly announcing this identity are still very risky, resulting in possible beatings, discrimination, homelessness and poverty.

“It begins in the home. Many transgender individuals – notably teens – are being kicked out of their homes by their parents/guardians or by more powerful figures,” said Portia de Royal, an active advocate for the Jamaican trans* community who has worked with groups like J-FLAG.

“Homosexuality is considered a sin as Christianity is imbedded in our country. Religion spurs on the fear that a fiery hell awaits LGBTQ Jamaicans,” said Neish McLean, who is a co-founder of TransWave.

Jessica JBurton, executive director and founder of CPG, experienced the cycle herself when she was kicked out of her house and forced to live on the streets of New Kingston at 16 years old due to her sexual identity. She was soon performing sex-work in an effort to make money while suffering from poor hygiene, lack of food and an absence of clothes.

“Every day someone dies. Some person dies by HIV-related illnesses, a person dies because they were doing sex-work for a living and they got killed,” Jburton said. “Access to health care was a major issue for the homeless population in Jamaica. They could lose their life accessing care there.”

After accessing education, JBurton used her experience to create CPG, a support group that represents and assists the Jamaican couch surfing and homeless Gay Men, Other Men Who Have Sex With Men, and Transgender (GMT) community.

“The mission is unlocking the poverty cycle through health, education and employment,” Jburton said. “You can’t have a good education if you don’t have good health, and if you don’t have an education you can’t get employment.”

TransWave, a Jamaican transgender advocacy group that uses social media to increase knowledge of transgender health and wellbeing, uses stories like Jburton’s to strengthen the overall understanding and tolerance of the country’s trans* community.

“Homosexuality is considered a sin as Christianity is imbedded in our country. Religion spurs on the fear that a fiery hell awaits LGBTQ Jamaicans,” said Neish McLean, who is a co-founder of TransWave.

“We have created this single story that Jamaica is myopically homophobic. We forget there are a lot of people living in Jamaica who are loving queerly but who would never take on the identity of a queer Jamaican,” Moore said. “We are completely ignoring the people who have deliberately employed invisibility as a technique of freedom and who don’t feel oppressed by it.”

While Moore agreed that religion plays a large role in Jamaica’s deep-rooted homophobia, she also stated that the prejudice stems from colonization and slavery.

“There are a couple of movements that have shaped the way Jamaicans relate to gender variants and non-heterosexual sexuality. One of them is the slavery movement, because what you had is a deliberate cultural disruption that taught black people on the plantation that same-sex sex was wrong. They needed to have heterosexual sex because…that’s what would make new slaves,” Moore said.

The rape of black men on the plantation in an effort to emasculate and “break them” was used as a type of punishment that, ultimately, led to black men having a “very unhealthy relationship with same-sex sex,” Moore stated.

The combination of Jamaica’s dark past involving colonialism and slavery, in addition to strong religious beliefs and a robust national identity, has created difficulties in progressive dialogue between Jamaican LGBTQ and heterosexual communities. This communication is even further strained by deep-rooted beliefs that sexuality is a practice and not an identity.

“We have created this single story that Jamaica is myopically homophobic. We forget there are a lot of people living in Jamaica who are loving queerly but who would never take on the identity of a queer Jamaican,” Moore said. “We are completely ignoring the people who have deliberately employed invisibility as a technique of freedom and who don’t feel oppressed by it.”

Moore hopes that Jamaicans will soon find a balance between gender and sexual variants, but on their own terms and without the continued pressure from outside forces like the United States’ LGBTQ politics.

“We have our own way of doing things and we always have,” Moore said. “I hope that the LGBT community can see where they need to remain a part of the Jamaican community and I hope that the Jamaican community can see where it is important for them to retain their LGBT people as members.”

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