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Photography exhibits at de Saisset address the subject of wrongful convictions
Two exhibitions that provide a unique perspective on the life of wrongly condemned individuals will open at the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University on May 2 and will run through July 1.
“The Innocents: Headshots” features 45 large-scale color portraits, taken by award-winning photographer Taryn Simon, of individuals who were falsely accused and convicted. Diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity, each individual provides undeniable personal evidence of the ramifications of wrongful conviction. The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with the Innocence Project, a national organization dedicated to freeing the wrongly convicted and making the criminal justice system more equitable and reliable.
In the exhibit titled “A Life Reclaimed: The Journey of Recent Exoneree Alan Crotzer,” photographer Vance Jacobs documents exoneree Alan Crotzer’s attempt to rebuild his life after spending almost 25 years in prison.
“The exhibits highlight Santa Clara University’s commitment to social justice,” said Rebecca Schapp, director of the de Saisset Museum. “The compelling photographs and stories included in these exhibitions reveal the personal tragedy and pain that remains long after the subjects have been freed.”
“The exhibit showcases the importance of exonerating the wrongly convicted and the essential role organizations such as the Northern California Innocence Project play in this process,” said Kathleen Ridolfi, law professor and director of the Northern California Innocence Project at SCU.
In conjunction with the exhibits, the de Saisset will host an original, solo dance performance of “Barred from Life” and a panel discussion on wrongful convictions. The perfomance features a combination of dance movement, video imagery, excerpts from video interviews with a number of exonerees, readings of names, and an original score by composer True Rosaschi. Created and performed by David J. Popalisky, assistant professor in dance at SCU, in collaboration with Ridolfi, this performance work illuminates the human experience of individuals convicted for crimes they did not commit. The performance—which takes place on a confined set that symbolizes a prison cell—portrays an innocent man’s mental states as he goes through his ordeal.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Ridolfi. Panelists will include photographer Jacobs, choreographer Popalisky, and recent exonerees. Panelists will discuss their involvement in artistic projects focused on the subject of wrongful convictions and reflect on the ways that visual and performing art can be used as important tools to explore and communicate the complex experiences of the exonerated.
Mark your calendars for the School of Engineering’s Senior Design Conference on May 4. The 36th annual Senior Design Conference showcases the learning experiences of Santa Clara University engineering undergraduates. Judges from Silicon Valley companies such as Lockheed Martin Space Systems, KLA-Tencor, and Texas Instruments will judge student projects. The school awards prizes in several categories, from Best of Discipline to Best of Session. “The Senior Design Conference allows SCU engineering students to show their potential,” said Tokunbo Ogunfunmi, chair of the faculty research committee and associate professor in the University’s electrical engineering department. “It provides an opportunity for students to communicate and demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have acquired during their undergraduate education.”
The primary goals of the Senior Design Conference are to give advanced students the opportunity to solve real-world problems. The students work in teams and are overseen by one or more faculty advisor(s) as they develop a solution to a problem or set of related problems. Projects begin in September, involve about 400 to 500 work hours, and are completed the following April. Participating in the senior design conference provides students with a transition between learning within the classroom and practical experience solving industry or research problems.
What’s it like to report on a modern war for a modern news organization in an age of instant, digital communication? What do you report, and what do you not report? What’s really going on in Iraq today?
Faculty, staff, Jesuits, community members, New York Times subscribers, and students from the communication department filled the Studio in the Arts and Sciences building to hear four journalists address these issues at “Covering the Iraq War,” a panel discussion sponsored by SCU’s Department of Communication on April 25.
The panelists were Maya Beydoun, a foreign correspondent for the Arab satellite television channel Al-Jazeera; Pratap Chatterjee, an investigative reporter, author, and executive director of CorpWatch; Michael Gordon, the New York Times’ chief military correspondent and best-selling author; and Laura Rauch, an Associated Press photojournalist.
This event was organized by Associate Professor Christopher Vaughan with help from the Global Communication area of interest within the Department of Communication. Vaughan, who is the director of the journalism program at SCU and has worked as a foreign correspondent in the past, said he wanted to organize this panel because “it’s the major event of our time, and the news coverage is a big part of how we understand it.”
The issues discussed in the panel were also worked into the curriculum of one of his current SCU classes, Global News Issues. “I wanted to get a diversity of perspectives, which is important in global communication. Also, a diversity of media outlets,” Vaughan said.
Like most little boys, Russell Skowronek loved pirates. He watched reruns of pirate movies, read pirate comics, and had a collection of plastic, miniature pirate figures he would play with to bring the pirate world a bit closer to his own.
Today, Skowronek teaches anthropology and archeology at SCU, but some might say he never grew up. Earlier this year, Skowronek and his childhood friend Charles Ewen, an anthropology professor at East Carolina University, released X Marks the Spot, a book about Skowronek’s childhood passion: pirates.
X Marks the Spot is a collection of stories from leading experts on pirates throughout history. “There has never been anything like this before,” Skowronek said. Skowronek and Ewen include stories from archeologists who have studied some of the best-known shipwrecks and pirates, including Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, and Henry Morgan.
X Marks the Spot asks the questions: “What is a pirate?”; “Did pirates look like Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ or did they dress the same way as everyone else?”; and “Were sea-going pirates terrorists or legitimate privateers?”
The book also includes pictures of artifacts found in shipwrecks, old drawings of pirate ships, and Skowronek’s very own miniature pirate figures.
Skowronek and Ewen will be on campus discussing their book from noon to 1 p.m. May 10 at Orradre Library’s Literary Cuisine in the Williman Room. Make your reservations now. For more information, contact Sean Reinhart at ext. 1753.
Evidence shows that the most critical element in the improvement of education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. The federal government is defining quality in terms of the teacher’s subject matter preparation. But according to Tom Savage, SCU’s Department of Education chair, “The top reason why teachers are fired is because they are unable to control the classroom. Merely having a command of a given subject is an insufficient definition of a qualified teacher.”
SCU’s Graduate Student Association and the education department are sponsoring an educational forum from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 6 in the Alumni Science Hall, Room 120. The purpose of the forum is to look at defining highly qualified teachers in the K-12 education system.
The panelists include: Mike Honda, U.S. congressman, District 15; Kansen Chu, representative for state Sen. Elaine Alquist and a board member of the Berryessa Union School District; Tom Savage, chair of the education department at Santa Clara University; Cathy Giammona, director of human resources, East Side Union High School District; and Brett van Zuiden, sophomore at Los Gatos High School.Colleen Wilcox, Santa Clara County’s superintendent of schools, will introduce the panel, and Chris Miller, SCU graduate student and elected school-board member, will be the moderator. A light lunch will follow the panel discussion. For more information, contact Chris Miller.
Reminder: The Faculty-Essential and Staff-Essential e-mail lists, according to University policy, are “intended for essential university business or activities.” Faculty and staff may not “opt out” of these lists.
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Brad Joondeph (law) was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News article about a 1995 San Jose murder conviction and whether it should be overturned—the victim’s family sat in the front row of the courtroom wearing buttons bearing the victim’s photograph. Read the article.
Judy Nadler (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics) was quoted in The Miami Herald about a potential conflict of interest for Miami-Dade’s commission chairman in voting on one of the biggest land-use decisions in decades. Read the article.
SCU students involved with “One in Four,” an all-male peer educator group that supports victims of sexual assault, was recognized in Sal Pizarro’s San Jose Mercury News column for the group’s participation in a fund-raiser that raised money and awareness for YWCA of Silicon Valley’s Rape Crisis Center. Read the column.
Jack Treacy, S.J.,’77, will become the director of Campus Ministry on July 1.
Matt Cameron (student life) received the Butts-Whiting award, the highest award given by the Association of College Unions International, in Kansas City, Mo., in April.
Francisco Jimenez (modern languages and literatures) gave two lectures in April at Indiana State University titled “Promoting Social Justice through Writing” and “La Llorona.”
Edwin Maurer (environmental studies) and Clifford Mass’s article titled “Using Radar Data to Partition Precipitation into Rain and Snow in a Hydrologic Model” was published in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering.
Jean Pedersen (math) and Peter Hilton translated Hans Walser’s 99 Points of Intersection from German into English. The book will be published by the Mathematical Association of America.
Jerry Shapiro (counseling psychology) spoke in April at the Los Altos Rotary Club meeting on the topic of family business. He was introduced by Karen Fox (Leavey School of Business).
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