New Beginnings Bridge Housing Community Opening Gets Delayed

New Beginnings Bridge Housing Community Opening Gets Delayed

Preparations are taking longer than organizers expected.

The lot on East 19th Street where the New Beginnings Bridge Housing Community will be built.

By Abbi Ross
The Razorback Reporter

Advocates for the area homeless population are working toward opening a self-managed, low-cost housing program next year. Plans had called for a fall 2019 opening, but preparations have taken longer than organizers anticipated.

Serve Northwest Arkansas, an outreach to underprivileged communities, is working to open the New Beginnings Bridge Housing Community in 2020.

The organization aims to help improve the conditions for Fayetteville’s homeless population with what volunteers call a “housing first” approach, according to the website.  

“With our original time schedule, we felt going into this it would get us to a place where we would have a majority of the work completed before winter,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, board vice president and UA sociology professor. “That was the timeline in our head, sometimes our head doesn’t match with reality. We got a good dose of reality.”

Serve NWA bought 4.69 acres of undeveloped land for $72,571 from the University of Arkansas in 2018, said Mike Johnson, UA associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management.

The area was cleaned and cleared before being sold, Johnson said.

“I think it’s a great project,” Johnson said about the proposed community.

The New Beginnings Bridge Housing Community will house up to 20 people and will be similar to other communities across the United States.

Thurston Roye who is homeless, thinks the community could be very beneficial for those in need, he said. 

There is not a completion date for the project.

Once everyone is satisfied with the final drawings they will be submitted to the city of Fayetteville, where they go through a process to be approved, after the approval, building permits are given to allow construction on the site, Fitzpatrick said.

They are hoping to have permits ready so things can get started by the end of  September, Fitzpatrick said.

“When you commit to building a quality community to serve a complicated population you really have to make sure you think through every possible circumstance and possible problems you might encounter,” Fitzpatrick said

Gathering signatures, attending meetings, developing a 70-plus-page program manual and working with engineers who donated their time have all been part of process, Fitzpatrick said.

“At the same time we are getting the permit, we are also working with our general contractor and sending out bid sheets,” Fitzpatrick said. Potential bidders will provide a bid cost as well as donation.

“Some places will be willing to donate all their work, others might not charge cost of materials,” Fitzpatrick said.

“I fully expect that during the winter we will be in full swing constructionwise, so that by spring we are ready to take on clients,” Fitzpatrick said.

Yolanda Fields, community resources director thinks the community will be helpful for those in need. 

Providing another safe environment will be beneficial, Fields said

The Hertz Fellowship Foundation is encouraging research in STEM Fields

By Megan Wilson

The Hertz Foundation Fellowship is accepting applications for students seeking PhDs in the applied physical and biological sciences, mathematics and engineering.

 

Young said the fellowship is “incredibly competitive”, only accepting less than two percent of applicants. They are “really looking for the top students”.

 

According to the Hertz Foundation website, Hertz Fellows have founded over 200 companies and they have received over 200 awards, including two Nobel Prizes in physics.

 

“A lot of our applicants apply because they want to be a part of the Hertz community,” Executive Director of the Hertz Fellowship Programs Kathy Young said.

 

The Hertz Foundation Fellowship is a great way to network with other professionals, Young said.

 

“We have a lot of gatherings with Hertz fellows across disciplines, generations and geography and they are able to share ideas and collaborate,” Young said. “Many of them have started businesses together or wrote papers together.”

 

Young said this fellowship differs from most because students are not committed to work on their advisor’s projects since they have their own funding. They can work on whatever project they want.

 

“You are not only receiving the financial value and the freedom that comes with the fellowship. You are also part of the Hertz community,” Young said.

 

It is a 5-year fellowship with full-tuition equivalent for participating institutions, Young said.

 

Applications are due October 24 and can be found on the Hertz Foundation website.

Jennifer Lin speaks in Digital Media Lab, journalism class

Photo by Alex Nicoll
Jennifer Lin, former international reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, speaks to students in the Digital Media Lab on Oct. 12.

Photo by Alex Nicoll
Jennifer Lin listens to Professor Gerald Jordan during her visit to the School of Journalism and Strategic Media on Oct. 12. Lin and Jordan are former colleagues who worked together at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Photo by Chase Reavis
Jennifer Lin gives a presentation to Assistant Professor Kara Gould’s Media And Society class Oct. 12. She spoke about her book, Shanghai Faithful.

 

DACA Recipients Uncertain of Unprotected Future in the U.S.

By Andrea Johnson

The Razorback Reporter

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals forms and fees submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will no longer be accepted.

Officials stopped accepting DACA requests Sept. 5, after President Donald Trump rescinded the 2012 executive order by former President Barack Obama. Renewals were accepted until Oct. 5 for DACA recipients whose applications would expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.

Elaine Duke, acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued a memorandum Sept. 5 announcing that the agency may phase out DACA.

DACA granted protection from deportation and work authorization in the U.S. for up to two years for eligible immigrants who entered the country illegally. Requirements apply to individuals who arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday and were not older than 31 by June 15, 2012, among other restrictions. Renewals were granted to applicants who met the requirements and paid $495 in fees every two years.

As of Sept. 4 of this year, 689,800 residents are living in the U.S. under DACA, according to immigration data. More than three-fourths of recipients, 79.4 percent, came from Mexico. Arkansas is home to 4,700 DACA recipients, less than one percent of the total DACA population.

Immigration attorney Drew Devenport met with more clients concerned about their status under DACA in the past month than in previous months during this four-and-a-half years working at the Davis Law Firm in Springdale, he said. He typically meets an average of seven DACA recipients or applicants a month, he said. Between Sept. 6 and Oct. 3, Devenport scheduled 33 DACA-related appointments and spoke with others by phone.

Devenport screened clients to determine their eligibility. That helped ineligible clients avoid wasting time and money in the case of a denied application, Devenport said.

“Screenings are also good just because it allows you to meet with an attorney and basically discuss if you have any kind criminal history or concerns about your eligibility,” Devenport said.

Immigration Services aims to process renewal requests in less than 120 days, according to the website. Clients might wait 30 days or up to 180 days before knowing whether their application was processed successfully, Devenport said.

Springdale resident Mishell Quintero renewed her DACA application in January and may legally live and work in the U.S. until January 2019. Quintero, originally from Mexico City, Mexico, arrived in the U.S. at age 7 in 2001 and applied for DACA after she graduated from high school in 2013.

Quintero waited to apply until after graduation so she could focus on schoolwork, she said. From start to finish, she spent at least three months gathering personal records and submitting required materials to obtain DACA.

Under DACA, Quintero gained the ability to pursue higher education at Northwest Arkansas Community College, build credit, buy a house and accomplish other goals while living in the U.S., the “land of opportunity,” she said.

“It’s done so much. Without it, I honestly don’t know what I would be doing right now,” Quintero said.

When she first heard that DACA would be phased out, she did not react emotionally to the news, she said. But as time went on, “a feeling of despair and loss,” she said, came over her.

“It feels like a death of somebody,” Quintero said. “If there’s no legislation passed, our livelihoods are going to change dramatically.”

KenDrell Collins, a third-year law student at the UA School of Law, helped DACA recipients over the past month through the UA Immigration Clinic. He sees concern from people who worry about their uncertain future after their DACA expires, he said.

During the six-month phase-out period that ends March 5, 2018, Congress may give DACA recipients another means of legal protection.

“Obviously, nobody knows what they’re going to do,” Collins said. “There’s speculation, but there’s no guarantee that (DACA recipients) will get protection, which is the scary part for a lot of people.”

For now, people can only advocate for an effective DACA replacement program and challenge Congress to create new law, Collins said.

“They call it a ‘wind down of the DACA program,’ but if you’re going to wind this program down, you need to create a new one – another opportunity for people who were brought here as children,” Collins said.

Cyber Security for UA Students

By Kayla Nunez
The Razorback Reporter

Online personal information for 64 percent of Americans has been compromised, according to the Pew Research Center, but there are ways to ensure that one stays as safe as possible on the Internet.
One way that people can stay safe online is to use a different password for all accounts, said Eva Owens, security analyst at the UofA.
“People can set up good passwords or good pass phrases,” Owens said.  Long passwords make accounts more difficult to hack.
There are always risks, Owens said, but diversifying passwords will ensure people will stay as safe as possible online.
Owens also suggested that people should “keep a clean machine and be sure they are keeping their software updated.” Individuals must be aware of how to stay safe online and how to keep their sensitive information private, Owens said.
As for UA student accounts, Erik Watkins, Blackboard support specialist, said he’s not aware of Blackboard accounts being hacked but he’s aware of a few cases when someone’s university e-mail account has been hacked.
“Though because the UofA uses the same credentials for multiple systems,” Watkins said, “if a malicious actor has those credentials, all of those accounts are compromised.”
If an individual thinks their university accounts have been hacked, they can contact the UA Information Technology Service help desk at 479-575-2905.
To keep university accounts and all other online accounts safe, users always should remember to log out of their accounts and don’t give passwords to anyone, Owens said.
Owens also suggested that users should be aware of whom they are giving information to online and they should avoid opening suspicious links. Users should be aware of the URL when opening a link, according to Stay Safe Online, a website powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
“Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site,” according to Stay Safe Online, “but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).”
As a part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the UofA will present events throughout October to inform students, faculty and staff of ways to stay safe online.
There is no way to ensure one stays completely safe online, Owens said, but these are ways to stay as safe as possible.
“Just like with your house,” Owens said, “You lock the door when you leave to make sure no one gets in but sometimes there is still a break in. Our digital life reflects our physical life.”

UA Professors Awarded Grant to Study Hurricane victims

By Erin McGuinness
The Razorback Reporter

A group of UA professors have been awarded a $124,527 National Science Foundation grant to research how social, community and economic resources affect the recovery of Hurricane Harvey victims.
“The project is designed to take an inventory of people who have been displaced in the coastal region of southeast Texas,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, a sociology professor and chair of the Community and Family Institute. “Specifically, we want to try and better understand what post-disaster implications are for their social ties, their social resources, the way they use capital (and) the way they had social capital but fractured during the disaster.”
Fitzpatrick is the principal investigator for “RAPID: Social Capital, Coping, and the Displaced: Health, Well-Being, and Resiliency Among Hurricane Harvey Victims.” Matthew Spialek, assistant professor of communication, and Xuan Shi, assistant professor of geosciences, will work with him on the project.
Fitzpatrick put together a team of seven graduate and post-graduate students from universities in Texas, he said. He will leave for Houston on Oct. 11 to join them and survey several victims in the area.
Half of the interviews will be with people who are staying in post-disaster shelters such as churches and Red Cross shelters. The other half will be done with people who had the means to temporarily leave the affected area by staying in a hotel or taking shelter with friends or family.
“I think that those are two different people because some were able to evacuate out and some were not. That’s a function of capital. That’s a function of resources,” Fitzpatrick said.
The interviewers will approach their tasks on the premise that not all victims are created equal when it comes to social resources, and as a result, their recovery process will be different, Fitzpatrick said.
Spialek is using his communications background to create the survey, which will map formal and informal connections that people have with their community, including a sense of belonging, who they rely or depend on and what resources are available, he said.
“Ultimately communication is very important in being able to foster reliance following disasters. Not only communication from formal organizations like FEMA or the Red Cross, or the federal or state government, but also form individuals themselves, working with one another to help each other out after a disaster,” Spialek said.
UA junior Mary Kerr Winters is a Houston native. Her family’s home did not flood, but most of her neighbors’ homes were severely damaged, she said. Friends whose home flooded stayed with the Winters family. Her neighbors are close-knit, Winters said, and those whose homes did not flood were able to take in neighbors whose homes did.
Other areas near Winters’ home did not have similar social resources, she said.
“It breaks my heart. Being from there, were very prideful to be from Houston. It doesn’t matter where you live or where you’re from in the city, it’s not a divided city, it’s very unified, so it does break my heart that this is going to take years of recovery,” she said.
Winters hopes a lot of money is donated to lower-income areas, she said.

Once the research is conducted, Fitzpatrick will write a book detailing his findings.
“My goal is to translate the data into something that helps communities better understand who is at greatest risk (during disasters), why and what are the missing links to connect them deeper to their community,” he said.
Fitzpatrick wants the surveying process to be finished by Thanksgiving, and hopes to have the entire project finished within a year, he said.

Changes Might Come to Union Food Court

By Kayla Nunez
The Razorback Reporter

The Arkansas Union food court might be getting an upgrade in the spring semester of 2018, pending approval in November by the Board of Trustees, causing people on campus to find alternatives to the food court.

There would be temporary dining options during the renovations including food kiosks inside the Union and a food truck on the Union mall, said Lynne Bell, assistant vice chancellor of business services and student affairs.

“The last major renovation of the food court was in 1998,” Bell said.

Bell said there have been a few different focus groups and surveys over the past several semesters which get feedback from students, faculty and staff on plans for the Arkansas Union food court renovations. 

The estimated cost for the food court renovation is $5 million, Bell said.

The renovation plans include expanding Chick-fil-A, adding more food options such as pasta and made-to-order salads, and resolving the issue of long lines.

“Each concept will have its own cash station to help expedite check-out,” Bell said. “Students are fed up with the food lines.”

U of A senior Rickala Purnell said there are long lines at the food court any time she’s there. 

“I go there occasionally but I would probably go more if they resolved the issues with the long lines,” Purnell said. 

The surveys and focus groups done by the university found that some customers thought the current layout of the food court was confusing and had a hard time finding things such as utensils.  The plans for the new layout would fix this issue.

“The new layout will be more open and more easily viewed from the entry outside,” Bell said. 

The number one request from students is breakfast at Chick-fil-A.  The plans do include adding breakfast. 

The Chick-fil-A corporate office sent someone to the U of A on Tuesday, Sept. 28, to give ideas on what can be done to the Chick-fil-A in the Union food court and what has worked for other college campuses. 

There are a couple more plans for the Union that will be requested at the Board of Trustees meeting, Bell said.  Those plans include re-carpeting the ballroom and replacing three heating and air conditioning units. 

The cost of the food court renovations, the re-carpeting and the heating and air conditioning unit replacements would be expensive but Bell doesn’t have an exact price yet.  She said an architect and contractor will come in soon to go over the plans and then the university will have an exact price.

The renovations will not increase student fees, Bell said.  Chartwells agreed to invest some money in the project and the rest will come from the facility fee. 

Rob Stagni, director of the Arkansas Union, said that space in the building is limited.

“This building is pretty packed to the gills,” Stagni said.    

Plans to add on to the building have been discussed and brought forward by the Associated Student Government but there is no money to do that project at the moment, Stagni said.

“We always hope that’s in the future,” Stagni said.  “We’re going to have to make the most of what we have at the moment.”

If the plans for the renovations are approved by the Board of Trustees in November, construction will most likely begin in the spring of 2018 and be completed by the fall of 2018, Bell said.

Planned UA Alumnus Gift to Benefit Out of State Finance Majors

By Hermon Negash

The Razorback Reporter

A UA alumnus created a planned gift of $200,000 for scholarships to the Walton Business College in honor of his parents.

The scholarships will benefit Walton College undergrad students who are majoring in finance. Out-of-state students and students with an insurance concentration will be preferred in receiving the scholarship. The UA alumnus said, “I wanted someone from out of state to see the beauty and greatness of Arkansas people,” in regard to the out-of-state preference.

Kevin Campbell’s donation will create two $100,000 scholarships named after his parents which will be called the John O. Campbell Endowed Scholarship and the Elizabeth Ann Campbell Endowed Scholarship. Campbell made the planned gift to commemorate what he described as the sacrifices his parents made to put him through college.

Campbell’s donation is a planned gift meaning the gift has not been officially received so students will not be able to use the money until it is received. The scholarship is also an endowed scholarship, meaning the money will be put into a spending account to generate interest.

“Mr. Campbell’s gift is being made as a planned gift, so scholarships cannot be awarded until the gift has been received and the endowment has time to generate interest for spending,” Jennifer Holland, director of development communications, said.

It is a general rule of thumb to allow at least one year for the gift amount to generate interest for awarding Holland said. Spending accounts usually generate about 4 percent interest annually; the interest generated will be what students receive through scholarships. The endowment will yield two $4,000 that could come as early as next year. Future UA students will be able to bear the fruit of Campbell’s gift.

Search for UA School of Art Director underway

By Lindsey Guimont

The Razorback Reporter

The search for a director of the newly created UA School of Art is under way. At the same time, students and faculty are looking forward to the changes that a $120 million gift will bring to their former department.

“We formed a search committee and we are starting the process of looking for a new director, and I understand there is a lot of interest so we’re very confident that we’re going to get a strong and visionary director to lead us into the future,” said Lynn Jacobs, art history distinguished professor.

The seven-member search committee is made up of program heads, the interim director, community members, university administration and a representative from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, she said.

The committee goal is to have a new director in place by the start of the spring semester, said Andra Parrish Liwag, Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences director of communications.

The School of Art was created by a $120 million endowment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The endowment will go toward three main goals, including providing financial support, engaging with Crystal Bridges and expanding graduate programs, according to the news release that announced the gift.

“Additional goals include supporting the Fine Arts Library and the renovation of the historic Edward Durrell Stone-designed Fine Arts Center,” Liwag said. “For more of a breakdown, $36 million will go toward graduate student support and $14 million toward undergraduate student support in the form of scholarships, assistantships, etc.”

All aspects of the school will be phased in over five years and will factor in the approvals necessary for developing degree programs by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Liwag said.

“We’re going to get up to about 13 total faculty in art history and we’re also going to build and develop a master’s program and a Ph.D. program. We have never had graduate programs for art history before,” Jacobs said.

Kaitlyn Ayres (CQ), a junior graphic design major is excited for the changes to begin because part of the endowment is geared toward graphic design and renovating buildings, she said. She also appreciates that art education is being supported at the university.

“It’s great to see art get support when a lot of the time it’s looked down upon or it’s not seen as the most important major,” Ayres said. “You get to see that other people believe in you and believe in what art can be for this world.”

Alice Walton’s goal is to help everyone find their “art spirit,” she wrote in her blog, because it was a force in her life that helped with finance, business, philanthropy and of course, art. “The school will help develop not only artists, but stronger business leaders, engineers and scientists,” she wrote.

“From Northwest Arkansas, we will inspire students and scholars from around the globe with a fresh approach that will help redefine collaboration and experimentation by infusing the study of art into disciplines across higher education including business, education, architecture and engineering,” Walton wrote. “And with a close connection to Crystal Bridges, we will bring a new level of study to American art to help create a better understanding of our history and our future.”

UA Offers Disabled Students New Opportunities

By Katie Serrano
The Razorback Reporter

Arkansas ranks 43rd in employment for workers who have disabilities, according to the 2016 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. The University or Arkansas is working to improve that ranking in a new post-secondary education program tailored to students with learning disabilities.
EMPOWER, which stands for Educate, Motivate, Prepare, Opportunity, Workplace Readiness, Employment, Responsibility, is the first of its kind in Arkansas. The program goal is to give the students a genuine college experience and to prepare them for employment opportunities, said Ashley Bradley, the director of the program.
“Although this program isn’t degree-based, our end goal is for our students to be able to do whatever they want, wherever they want at the end of these four years,” Bradley said.
The labor force participation rate for individuals with disabilities fell from 39.3 percent in 2009 to 34.5 percent in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“While the first two years we want the focus to be on the college experience, the last two years the students will be involved in internships with local companies such as The Inn at Carnall Hall or Chartwells, that will prepare them for employment when they graduate,” Bradley said.
Nick Lange, one of the three freshmen in EMPOWER, is interested in working in the hospitality industry.
“I’m from Dallas but I want to stay in Fayetteville and work at a hotel,” Lange said. “I’m learning skills that will help me get my own apartment and live on my own when I graduate.”
Tom Smith, Professor of Special Education and previous dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, brought this program to Arkansas and said he has seen it’s success at other schools across the nation.
“There are around 250 programs like this across the nation,” Smith said. “Other campuses have seen huge success in their student’s independence, and have seen their students hired when they graduate.”
The average employment rate for individuals without disabilities from 2008 to 2015 was 75 percent, compared to those with disabilities at an employment rate of 35 percent, according to the 2016 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium.
In 2016, the average monthly employment-to-population ratio of individuals with a disability increased from 27.0 percent in 2015 to 27.7 and the average monthly labor force participation rate increased from 30.5 percent to 31.2 percent, according to the Trends in Disability Employment National Update.
Mary Borman, another EMPOWER student, has competed in the National Special Olympics swim team and said she hopes to become a P.E. teacher.
“We are taking a Recreation and Sports Management class,” Borman said. “I want to use it to become some type of trainer and teach cycling, Zumba or yoga.”
The third student, Grant Alley from Little Rock, said he “wasn’t exactly sure what he wants to do, but loves history classes” and hopes to pursue something along those lines.
EMPOWER aims to make these students’ goals possible, and hopes to grow the program to about 10 students per class.
Seventy-seven percent of high school students with disabilities said they aspired to get a postsecondary education, but only 31 percent had gone on to take postsecondary classes, and these students attend two-year or community college at more than double the rate of the general population, according to a survey done by the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs.
“We want our students to have their named etched in the sidewalk just like everyone else at the end of these four years,” Bradley said.
The college completion rate for disabled students is 41 percent, compared to the 52 percent of college graduates in the general population, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
“We can already see the improvement in these students lives, and new goals forming for them” Smith said. “If we hadn’t started this program, we would be missing out on a huge opportunity for the whole campus.”