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|Good morning || June 22, 2020|
Leading the News
Trump To Announce Suspension Of Temporary Work Visas
Reuters (6/21, Ahmann, Hesson) reports President Trump told Fox News on Saturday that he “would announce new restrictions on visas within a couple of days to block the entry of certain foreign workers.” Trump said, “We’re going to be announcing something tomorrow or the next day on the visas.” Trump said there would be exceptions “for big businesses where they have certain people that have been coming in for a long time, but very little exclusion and they’re pretty tight.” Critics charge Trump is using the pandemic to achieve immigration goals, and “major American companies, particularly in the tech sector, have urged Trump to refrain from blocking the flow of foreign workers into the United States, saying it would hurt the economy.”
Bloomberg (6/21) reports Trump’s plan “could affect an estimated 240,000 people seeking to work in the US across industries from technology to finance and hospitality.” Trump indicated there would be some exclusions, with restrictions on “several different visa categories, including the H-1B program for high-skilled workers, the L-1 program for managers transferring within their companies, and H-2B visas for non-agricultural temporary workers,” Bloomberg writes.
The New York Times (6/19, Jordan) reported Trump is expected to “issue an executive order within days” spending a variety of work visas “and also lay the groundwork for regulatory changes that would limit employment opportunities for foreign graduates of US universities.” The Times said the details and scope “of the plan remain unclear, and it is still a work in progress.”
Head Of North Carolina’s Community College Network To Lead State’s Public University System
The AP (6/19, Anderson) reported the “head of North Carolina’s community college network was named on Friday to lead the state’s 17-campus public university system.” The University of North Carolina Board of Governors “unanimously voted for Peter Hans to serve as the next system president.” He’ll succeed Bill Roper, who was “named interim president after former US Education Secretary Margaret Spellings resigned amid turmoil within the board in 2018.”
Hans has been lauded for his “state roots and ability to rise above rancorous partisanship,” Education Dive (6/19) reported. For example, board chair Randy Ramsey, the “top two leaders of the state legislature, both Republicans, and North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper celebrated Hans’ selection in a joint statement.” Hans will start as “UNC president on Aug. 1” and he will “earn a base salary of $400,000.”
The Greensboro (NC) News & Record (6/19) also covered the story.
Black Students Asking Universities To Move Beyond “Empty Rhetoric” On Diversity, Racism
The Hechinger Report (6/20) reported in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, university administrators across the country “released statements in the past several weeks condemning racism.” But many Black students say the “statements are empty rhetoric; what they want is action.” Not only are students not being punished for “racial taunts and insults,” black students “say that, despite endless commissions and study groups, the monuments of Confederate and pro-segregation leaders remain lodged on their campuses.”
Some Students Stuck With Off-Campus Leases Amid Persisting Pandemic
The Orange County (CA) Register (6/19) reported the coronavirus pandemic “threw plans of college students, parents and student housing providers into chaos as shuttered universities weighed their options for the fall.” At some colleges, “students held off signing leases for off-campus housing, momentarily creating heartburn for apartment owners in a heretofore recession-resistant industry.” Others, however, are “scrambling to find off-campus housing as universities reduce their dormitory beds to increase social distancing.” And some students who “signed leases early to ensure housing for the 2020-21 school year suddenly began searching for people to sublet because they no longer need or can afford the housing due to COVID-19.”
Experts Weigh In On How Coronavirus May Alter Higher Education Sector
CNBC Make It (6/19, Hess) “spoke with education experts, including professors, business leaders and lawyers to learn how higher education may be changed by the coronavirus pandemic.” There will likely be fewer students in on-campus housing and some colleges may establish “emergency quarantine dorms.” In addition, Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, “anticipates that more students will consider learning online as a result of the pandemic.”
Monmouth University To Remove Woodrow Wilson’s Name From Its Marquee Building
The AP (6/21) reports Monmouth University in New Jersey has “removed the name of former US President Woodrow Wilson from one of its most prominent buildings, citing efforts to increase diversity and inclusiveness.” Four years ago, the university “considered the issue and decided to retain Wilson’s name but vowed steps to ensure ‘a comprehensive and balanced understanding’ of his legacy.”
Monmouth’s decision came even though Wilson “oversaw the re-segregation of the federal workforce and notoriously hosted a White House screening of D.W. Griffith’s pro-Ku Klux Klan film ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ credited for inspiring the white supremacist group’s resurgence in the 1920s,” reports The Hill (6/21, Budryk). But President Patrick F. Leahy says “the context has changed” since then.
Wilson was a “controversial politician, and I think it has heightened awareness in 2020 about some of his racist policies,” Leahy told the New York Times (6/21, Levenson). To the Times, the decision “was a sign of the many ways that American institutions are being forced to confront their links to racism amid the worldwide protests that followed the killing of George Floyd last month.” Across the country, corporations, universities and government buildings have removed or reconsidered names, icons and symbols of racial oppression.
University Of Mississippi Moving Confederate Monument From Its Prominent Location To Campus Cemetery
The Washington Post (6/19, Svrluga) reported for “more than a century, a Confederate monument has towered over the heart of the University of Mississippi, a stark reminder of divisions that have endured long past the Civil War.” Last Thursday, state officials “finally relented: The monument can go.” But it “won’t go far” considering the decision “allows the monument to be moved from its prominent location to a campus cemetery.”
Cluster Of Coronavirus Cases In Mississippi Tied To Fraternity Rush Parties
NBC News (6/19) reported a “cluster of coronavirus cases in Oxford, Mississippi is tied to fraternity rush parties that are in violation of the governor’s executive order,” according to a state health official. There are “381 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths in the state, Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said at a news conference Thursday.” For its part, the public university’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life “said on its website that all fraternity and sorority gatherings are canceled or postponed until further notice.”
California Community College Professor Placed On Administrative Leave After Asking Student To “Anglicize” Her Name
The New York Times (6/21, Taylor, Morales) reports a community college professor in Oakland, California is “on administrative leave after asking a Vietnamese-American student to ‘Anglicize’ her name because he felt it sounded ‘offensive’ in English.” Matthew Hubbard’s request was sent to Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen via email and the exchange was “quickly shared with tens of thousands on social media.” In response, Nguyen told the Laney College mathematics professor that his “request ‘feels discriminatory’ and that she would file a complaint with the school’s Title IX office if he could not call her by her given name.”
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Actions ASEE is taking in support of Black Lives Matter
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Research and Development
Commentary: Grid, Infrastructure Resilience Has Become Increasingly Important
According to a piece published by Smart Energy International (6/17), an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh believes “grid and infrastructure resilience are increasingly important, while a relatively ‘new concept’ in terms of today’s modern grid, and its dynamic environment.” When Alexis Kwasinski conducted his first study during Hurricane Katrina, “few people were talking about resilience.” But as natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes “increase in frequency and severity, the term is attracting more attention around the globe.” The events allow researchers to “conduct analysis and draw conclusions, not only concerning the impact of natural disasters on the grid, but also highlighting how governments and utilities should prioritize funding and manage the resources needed to secure higher levels of resilience.”
North Carolina A&T Using NASA Grant To Address Traffic Congestion By Developing Air Passenger Taxis
The Triad (NC) Business Journal (4/15, Subscription Publication) reported an “interdisciplinary team led by North Carolina A&T has received a four-year, $8 million award from NASA to address traffic congestion by developing, testing and eventually deploying air passenger taxis as a supplemental means of transportation.” The team at N.C. A&T will collaborate with “researchers at Purdue University and Georgia Tech University, as a well as industry leaders Aurora Flight Sciences, Alaka’i Technologies Corp., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Northrop Grumman Corp.” Notably, the Greensboro university is the “first historically black college or university to lead a project for the agency’s University Leadership Initiative.”
Airbus To Furlough 5,300 Workers In UK, Spain
Reuters (6/19, Singh) reported that Airbus “said on Friday it is extending furlough programs for 5,300 of its employees in Spain and the United Kingdom in its latest effort to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.” Furloughs in the UK will last from July 20 to August 9, affecting approximately 2,200 workers. An Airbus spokesperson told Reuters in an email that the furloughs in Spain “will be effective from 20th May till 30th September and affects all Airbus Operations SL employees in Spain (with some exceptions), which means around 3,100 employees.” Bloomberg (6/19, Ryan) reported that Airbus has also furloughed all of its commercial aerospace workers in France, and has furloughed employees in Germany.
Separately, Bloomberg (6/20, Ryan, Vikram Phillip) reported that Airbus “plans to pursue voluntary job cuts before seeking forced reductions, as it aims to bring down costs without inciting a political uproar in France and Germany, according to people familiar with the matter.” According to Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst George Ferguson, Airbus will likely offer voluntary layoffs to between 12,000 and 16,000 employees.
Major US Automakers Plan To Resume Pre-Pandemic Production By End Of June
Bloomberg (6/19, Coppola) reported that the Big Three automakers “are gearing up for full production as they race to make up for lost output and meet stronger-than-expected demand” during the coronavirus pandemic. Ford and Fiat Chrysler plan to “resume pre-pandemic manufacturing schedules at their U.S. plants from June 22,” while General Motors is setting that date for the end of the month. The story says the automakers have been cautious to resume production at their plants, as “They have faced fragile supply lines ruptured by quarantines in Mexico and a labor force still reluctant to go back to work and risk exposure to the coronavirus.” They are moving more quickly than expected, though, because “sales are recovering faster than analysts’ expected, with pickups and SUVs fueling demand.”
Source: BMW To Lay Off 10,000 Contract Workers. Reuters (6/19) reported in a brief that BMW will lay off “10,000 contract workers, a company source told Reuters on Friday, as the German luxury carmaker seeks to reduce its capacity due to the coronavirus crisis.”
Tuesday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch Likely Will Have 60% “Go” Conditions
Florida Today (6/20) reported that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that is scheduled to be launched on Tuesday at 5:22 p.m., “will likely encounter 60% ‘go’ conditions.” Rain showers “and thunderstorms are expected Tuesday but should move mostly inland just before the launch time.” For the mission, the rocket will carry less than 60 SpaceX Starlink satellites and two Blacksky spacecraft.
Analyst Says Business Aviation’s Recovery Is Happening Quicker Than Expected
Aviation International News (6/19, Siebenmark) reported that Baird Equity Research Senior Research Analyst Peter Arment “is seeing a U-shaped recovery in business aviation shifting to a V-shaped one, according to his note to investors.” Arment said, “Flights are continuing on the path to recovery in June, now representing a 21 percent decline [month-to-date] versus 2019 after May activity was down 44 percent and April down 68 percent.” Among “turbine business aircraft airframers, Cessna models saw a 14.4 percent year-over-year increase in flights on June 17 and its June activity is down 13 percent compared with declines of 36 percent for Gulfstream, 33 percent for Dassault Falcon, 31 percent for Bombardier, and 26 percent for Embraer, Arment wrote.”
Engineering and Public Policy
House Democrats Preparing $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill
Politico (6/19, Juliano) reported House Democrats are preparing a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, which is expected to include $1 billion for climate resiliency upgrades, that they hope to have passed before the July 4 recess. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said Thursday that the bill will also contain $70 billion for clean energy.
BAE Systems Partners With Girls Who Code On Summer Coding Program
The New Hampshire Union Leader (6/21, Houghton) reports that BAE Systems is working with Girls Who Code on an at-home summer coding program. BAE Systems engineer Mrinal Iyengar said that women in engineering “are still a minority,” and that for the current generation, coding is as important as other staple school subjects. BAE Systems community investments head Elizabeth Harrington said that Girls Who Code “can use computer science to address a problem in their school, their community or their world.”
Also in the News
Despite New York City Beginning To Reopen, Overnight Subway System Service Staying Suspended
POLITICO New York (6/21, Muoio) reports that while New York City is emerging this week “from its monthslong coronavirus hibernation,” its subway system is going to “remain dormant overnight – and the longer it does, the more people wonder if it will ever reopen.” The system “shut down from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. indefinitely starting in April. The reason at the time was to remove homeless people from trains and disinfect every car for the next day’s run.” Now, many people are urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to revive “nightly service as soon as possible.” However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) hasn’t provided any “indication of when overnight service will resume.”
Sunday's Lead Stories
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