Collegiate Reporting

Collegiate Reporting

Protesters storm city streets during annual tree lighting


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Protesters of all races and ethnicities marched the streets of Boston Thursday night, demonstrating their eagerness to change the justice system following a New York grand jury’s decision to not indict a police officer who used a chokehold on Eric Garner during an arrest.

Garner was killed in the incident. The protest also followed a separate decision to not indict Darren Wilson, a police officer who shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The meeting spot for the protest was at the Boylston MBTA station on the Boston Common at 7 p.m., where organizers had megaphones shouting chants with the crowd repeating back to them. Protesters flooded the Common, and then moved onto Tremont Street, where police couldn’t stop the people walking in between cars, starting the march towards the State House.

Boston’s annual tree lighting was happening in the Common simultaneously.

Several thousand people started making their way up the Common and onto the stairs of the State House, where four police officers were standing guard at the gate. When several women charged for the top of the stairs, the officers crashed against the side of the gate.

The chants on the steps included “What do we want?” With the reflection echo, “Justice.” And then, “When do we want it?” With the reflection echo of, “Now!”

Others chanted throughout the march, as it turned back onto Tremont Street and shut down the roadway.

“Back up, back up, we want freedom, freedom,” was chanted.

When the group of thousands went through Downtown Crossing and onto State Street, protesters lay in the middle of the road, essentially shutting down the street. Police were forced to shut down the street as everyone got back up to turn toward Boston City Hall.

By Alexa Gagosz

 

People chanted from the ramp and covered the steps as people lay on the ground again while police followed the group. The group moved after 10 minutes, as police were riding nearby on bicycles while they closed down several more streets lining the North End before passing TD Garden.

During a march into Cambridge, the protest organizers, who were wearing reflective gear, had everyone stop, link up, and regroup with the rest.

“No Justice. No Peace. No racist police,” was shouted until people started to make their way down the street again, making a loop back around as they crossed the bridge and passed TD Garden again.

Lining Beacon Hill, the group got in a circle in front of Rite Aid and Dunkin Donuts on Cambridge street, shopping all traffic at the intersection as an estimated 100 people got in the center of the circle, lying down with their hands up. Four of the demonstrators started shouting and chanting as the circle of people followed.

The protesters then moved back to the State House.

Helicopters could be heard overhead.

The protests scattered into T stations, where protesters were standing on the tracks of the Red and Green lines around midnight.

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Collegiate Reporting

Terror in Paris: Suffolk speaks out


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The violence in Paris has shocked the world.

In the scope of Boston, which is home to thousands of international college students, the outrage is palpable. Recent Suffolk University graduate Sylvain Gualier, who now lives back in his hometown of Lille, France, said the country is shocked beyond the attacks in January against the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

“It’s weird to experience this type of event,” said Gaulier. “We usually see similar images [like these attacks] in Israel or Syria… We’re officially at war against ISIS now. More than ever.”

“It’s so sad,” said Gaulier.

As the Islamic State (IS) claim their responsibility in the attacks in Paris, French President Francois Hollande has labeled it as “an act of war.”

Pope Francis has called it a “piecemeal Third World War,” and “no religious or human justification for it,” according to BBC.

Sarah Hutchinson, the treasurer for Suffolk’s French Club, explained that they are reaching out to those in the Suffolk community grieving during this time.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Paris attack,” said Hutchinson. “Our devastation cannot be put into words. However, we know that with France’s strength and the support of its allies, France will come out a stronger nation.”

The death toll in the attacks has risen to 132 with 349 injured, and 42 of them still in intensive care as of late Tuesday evening, according to Reuters.

The university confirmed three Suffolk students are currently studying in Paris. Attempts by the Journal to reach the students were unsuccessful. However, Suffolk President Margaret McKenna said in an email on Saturday morning that all three students are accounted for.

A university official released the names to a Journal reporter: They are Killa Hnatko, Yuka Kawanishi, and Nadine Moujahed.

“The barbaric acts that took place in Paris yesterday violate the very essence of humanity,” said McKenna in the email. “Today our thoughts are with the people of France, with all of those affected by this unspeakable tragedy, and with a world united against this deplorable violence.”

University spokesperson Greg Gatlin explained that the Director of the Center for International Programs and Services, Kathy Sparaco, has been in touch with the students and contacted counterparts at institutions where the students are studying to make sure they are safe.

“The safety of our students is of the highest priority,” said Gatlin. “That includes Suffolk students studying in Boston or anywhere else in the world. We have procedures in place to verify that students are safe, and significant effort is made in making sure we can get in touch with students when there is an emergency situation.”

“[It gives] Suffolk the ability to be better connected to students outside of the U.S.,” said Gatlin when explaining that the university uses the emergency travel company On Call International.

With seven suicide bombers killed from the attacks and seven others arrested with possible connections, there is thought to be more than 15 men linked to the siege so far, according to The Telegraph.

“Eight men acting together isn’t the same as ‘a lone wolf,’” said Gualier. “It’s probably impossible to stop people from committing such acts, but it may be possible to operate stricter controls of people and guns.”

The French Defense Ministry announced on Sunday night that France has carried out a series of strikes on the IS with targets in the Syrian city, Raqqa, according to The Wall Street Journal. The airstrikes included 20 bombs with 10 jet fighters.

The U.S. shared intelligence with France to speed up aid, sharing detailed targeting information to use against the IS militants, officials told The Wall Street Journal.

“You expect something like this would happen someday, but this is still so awful,” said Gaulier from France. “This is worse than January’s attacks. I hope international political leaders will make ‘real’ decisions about IS.”

Suffolk, of course, isn’t the only Boston school with students studying in the international city that has claimed a state of emergency.

A Boston University official told the Journal that 15 students in their Paris study abroad program are known to be safe, as well as the additional students visiting the city at the time of the attacks. According to BU Today on Sunday afternoon, there are currently two faculty members in Paris who are both accounted for, one of which has already left the city.

A Boston College official told the Journal that all 30 students that are currently studying abroad in France are safe as of Sunday night.

An Emerson College official confirmed that they do not have any students currently studying in France.

The Paris attack began on Friday night at 9:20 p.m. when three explosions went off outside the Stade de France as France and Germany faced off in a soccer match.

An estimated 80,000 spectators were present, who were told to immediately move out onto the field as they awaited instructions from the security forces, according to Al Jazeera. One other person was killed in the blast, not including the three suicide bombers that had carried out the explosions on Rue Rimet.

President Hollande was in the stadium during the explosions and was evacuated, according to several news sources.

Just moments later, 12 people were killed right outside the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge, a popular Cambodian restaurant in the 10th district, which was simultaneous to the attack in the 11th district that killed 18, according to France24.

Within the next hour, at the Bataclan concert hall, several armed men began to open fire while calling out the phrase, “Allahu Akbar,” which is an Islamic phrase meaning “God is Greater” in Arabic. The armed men took hostages during this time, according to BBC. When police stormed into the hall hours later, 82 people were killed, not including the three suicide bombers and fourth attacker who was shot dead by police, according to France24.

Hollande visited the Bataclan on Saturday, where he swore to lead a “merciless fight” against those responsible.

Professor Nir Eisikovits of Suffolk’s philosophy department views the IS’s motives as unclear in juncture to their global attacks.

“Some combination of France being perceived by them as a capital of secular decadence, with a desire to show that their recent losses in Syria and Iraq are just temporary setbacks,” said Eisikovits. “It’s not only Paris. In the last few weeks they shot down a Russian plane, set off a bomb in a neighborhood of Beirut controlled by Hezbollah, and tried to do the same in Istanbul.”

U.S. President Barack Obama called the aggression “attacks on all humanity” in a White House press conference as Paris hospitals went into emergency mode on Sunday.

At 12:01 p.m., almost three hours after the first explosion echoed in the Stade de France, President Hollande closed the French borders and declared a state of emergency, which will continue for another three months, according to Israel24.

France deployed 1,500 soldiers to Paris after Hollande’s decision, according to France24.

Parisian buildings such as schools, markets, museums, sport stadiums, and tourist sites are closed, according to several reports, and security checks have been stepped up in cities across Europe.

Police issued a photograph on Sunday afternoon of the terrorist, Salah Abdeslam, 26, who is identified as dangerous and is wanted for his connection to the attacks, according to BBC.

The manhunt for Abdeslam intensifies as he disappeared after the attacks occurred. Some residents of Paris fear that a terrorist is still among them, according to USA Today. However, he has since been suspected of crossing the border into his native country of Belgium, where police there have released more pictures of the wanted man.

Gaulier commented on the fact that some of the attackers are not from foreign countries.

“It’s not only about border control since some of the killers were in France,” said Gaulier. “ISIS has a worldwide influence.”

Security remains high in France as they mobilize 115,000 security personnel of police, gendarmes, and military throughout the country on Tuesday morning, according to BBC news.

Collegiate Reporting

Too young to wed: Syrian girls fall victim to early marriages


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Syria is now home to a war-zone and its people have been fleeing by the millions.

The focus has mostly been on the Islamic State (IS), which has been fueling these migrants to leave Syria, but there is also a recent, notable factor that is causing controversy, specifically in the Netherlands. Some of these displaced persons are young girls under the age of 18,  who are being married off to older men as their families fear sexual harassment, according to BBC.

More than four million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the migrant crisis and are now considered persons of concern, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Many of the refugees who migrate to the Netherlands are young girls, between the ages of 13 and 15, who are categorized as “child brides.” Their husbands, who are  often significantly older, migrate to reunite with them and, through a loophole in Dutch law, are allowed to do so, according to a BBC report.

“The practice has inflamed debate about how the Netherlands is responding to the refugee crisis, with some arguing it is condoning pedophilia,” said BBC reporter Anna Holligan.

To further the issue, the Netherlands age of sexual consent is 16, but the country currently recognizes the marriages of young teenagers as long as it is registered in their home country.

This issue is being brought into light because a 14-year-old girl, Fatema Alkasem, has gone missing from a Dutch asylum center while she was nine months pregnant. Without the medical attention she needs combined with the potential that her husband has taken her overseas, Fatema is at great risk.

Some public leaders are speaking out against the marriages.

“A 12-year-old girl with a 40-year-old-man – that is not a marriage, that is abuse,” said Dutch politician Attje Kuiken to BBC.

A new amendment will be put into place in December where partners will only be reunited if they are both over the age of 18. There have been more than 36,000 people who have entered the Netherlands this year during the crisis, according to a report by BBC.

As of Oct. 19, there was a total of 4,180,631 registered Syrian refugees, according to data from the UNHCR.

The organization Save the Children based in the United Kingdom focuses their efforts to save children around the globe from emergencies, education, poverty, hunger, health, to protection. The organization recently put out a report titled, “Too Young to Wed,” which focuses on the child brides throughout the Syrian crisis.

“Trends show that refugee Syrian girls in Jordan are marrying older men, with 48% of Syrian child brides marrying men ten or more years older than them,” said the report.

The report claimed that in some situations, arranged marriages are held in order to protect daughters. Although, it also said that it’s to instill the inequalities in gender roles as it tells the story of Maha, whose name was changed for her protection.

Maha is currently 13 years old and already married to a man who is ten years older . She told Save the Children that she wanted to become a doctor, but her father feared sexual harassment in the country so he married her off.

“I’m pregnant now,” Maha told Save the Children. “And the fetus is very weak because I’m so young and my body isn’t ready.”

“Syrian married girls are more likely to drop out of school and not engage in work outside the home,” the report continued. “Child marriage thus serves to perpetuate and reinforce gender inequality across a broad spectrum of a girl’s rights.”

Samo, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo who has been helping in a camp agreed to be interviewed by BBC, telling a story of child they met at the camp.

“I’m a refugee but I was working there in food distribution. I was very moved,” said Samo to BBC. “I thought the guy was her little brother. When she said, ‘this is my son’, I was shocked. She was 14 years old. She accepted her fate, but it’s wrong.”

Politicians in the Netherlands want to protect these young girls even before the law is put into place because these girls are still subject to abuse.

So far, nothing has happened to help the girls from these marriages.

Collegiate Reporting

International Student Struggles: Balancing student visas and unemployment


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For some international students, they have to become experts at adapting to different places.

Marketing major Sam Scanlan is originally from Brisbane, Australia where he lived until he was five years old. After that, he jumped from England, Las Vegas, and then finally moved to Nassau, Providence, which is the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Scanlan told the Journal in an interview of his immediate perception of Boston and Suffolk.

“The general vibe of the people is very different. Even with so many people here, it seems like everyone knows everyone. If I bump into someone on the street, I probably have mutual friends with them on Facebook,” said Scanlan.

Nassau may hold the largest population in the Bahamas and have city life, but Scanlan was surprised by the difference of pace between Boston and home.

“It’s interesting. It runs a lot slower there,” said Scanlan. “The Bahamas, in general, is just a more relaxed atmosphere. But at the same time, it makes it hard to do business, get something done, or even figure out whether or not they have something at the grocery store.”

Scanlan explained that the general prices of goods in the Bahamas are comparable to those in Boston. Although, the goods are less reliable because of the relaxed atmosphere.

“They might have something one week and it’s gone the next,” said Scanlan. “In Boston, for the most part, things are usually on time. You never wonder if they’re going to have milk that isn’t expired at the store like in Nassau.”

He shared he is happy he ended up in Boston, specifically at Suffolk, even though he originally applied to several other schools in the Greater Boston area.

“I really like it,” he explained. “The location, being downtown isn’t a complaint, so living in dorms my first two years was definitely a plus. And I met a lot of great friends.”

Over the summer, Scanlan had worked for his father’s business, which are a few of the Anytime Fitness’s in the Orlando area. But in Boston, it’s difficult to find work because of the student visa he has.

“What the student visa says is you can’t work, but you can work on campus,” he said. “But the problem is that most of the campus jobs, from what I’ve seen, are federal work-study, of which I cannot have since it is a form of Federal Financial Aid, which non-U.S. citizens cannot have.”

“It’s not easy to get a job as an international student. It’s very complicated,” he said.

As Scanlan begins his sophomore year at Suffolk, he is beginning to think about internships, something that could also be very difficult to get, even though he knows he needs one before he graduates per his major.

“The only real disadvantage I have as an international student trying to get an internship is I can’t go out to a company and just apply to be an intern. Unless it’s an unpaid internship, I would have to do it through the school where I can get class credit instead.”

“I cannot even get a social security number and everything I fill out nowadays makes you provide one,” he said.

It may be difficult to get a job in the U.S. for international students to pay for tuition as Scanlan tried to find gaps in the system.

“I was actually going to start investing, but for that I would need a social security number, but I can’t get that, so I would need a tax ID number,” said Scanlan. “But they make it so difficult for me to get one. I have to provide proof of where I live, I have to go to the Social Security office and have them provide me with a letter saying how I cannot get a social, it’s just a whole long process to get this number. It would just be nice if it was simpler.”

To make it worse, Scanlan would have to provide proof of identification in very specific ways for the tax ID number.

“The options given are a housing lease and a driver’s licence. Well, I don’t drive and I don’t own a house,” he said. “But I need to somehow sit down and figure it out because I would have to get a tax ID number to get an internship.”

Scanloa shared how Suffolk charges students more than they need to. When there are some holidays, such as Thanksgiving break, the dorms will make students leave the on-campus housing facilities and find somewhere to go, or otherwise they have to pay a fee to stay there.

“The dorms are ridiculous. It’s $60 a night for a dorm that you already paid for to stay there during holidays. Luckily, I have a sister that lives in Boston that I can just stay with, which is what I did for Thanksgiving break last year, but some aren’t so lucky on that.”

Some international students agree that students should pay a fixed rate for longer breaks, but not for the smaller ones that some of the students at the school don’t even celebrate.

“I understand doing it for Christmas and summer because those are long breaks. But for Thanksgiving, it seems a bit ridiculous to me because it’s four days and only American students celebrate it. Students have to pay $240 for four days on top of what you already pay for that dorm.”

Scanlan and his family are use to paying for his private school fees. Scanlan explained that the public schools in the Bahamas aren’t as nice as the ones in the U.S., and in some cases, they can be unsafe. After his family moved there and after much discussion, they decided that they would pay for the tuition at St. Andrews School, which was the International School of the Bahamas. There, the tuition ranged by year, anywhere from $13,000 to almost $15,000, according to the school’s website.

Since he is an international student, he could potentially get a private loan in the United States, but his parents found it best to pay with the school’s payment plan, which goes by a monthly basis as Scanlan explained that his father was able to save enough to put all of his children through college so far. Although, what also helps him is his $10,000 merit scholarship.

“My student visa lasts until 2018, which is the year I’ll be graduating,” said Scanlan. “My ultimate goal is to live and work in the United States. I hope to get an internship and hopefully get offered a position after I graduate. Otherwise, I can get a post-graduate degree, where I would just have to apply for another student visa.”

Collegiate Reporting

Andrade’s legacy honored: Respected NESAD professor, artist, and sculptor influenced students beyond the classroom


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Suffolk experienced a profound loss this week as a New England School of Art and Design professor and admired colleague was killed in a traffic accident on his way home from work, according to Suffolk officials.

Paul Andrade, instructor and woodshop manager, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Arts and Master of Fine Arts from Rutgers University. Andrade’s recent work was featured at Kingston Gallery, an artist-run expo in Boston’s SoWa area that showcases work by emerging, mid-career, and mature artists.

President Margaret McKenna sent an email to students after hearing the news of his death.

“Paul taught foundation drawing, so he played an important role in introducing students to the university and to visual exploration. He also taught three-dimensional design and managed NESAD’s woodshop. And, as an artist in his own right, Paul exhibited in and around Boston,” McKenna wrote.

Sandro Corella, a NESAD interior design lecturer, considered Andrade as a close colleague.

“I had the opportunity to first meet Paul when I arrived at Suffolk NESAD in the spring of 2014,” he said. “He stopped me in the hall when he saw me sporting a Harley Davidson patch and asked me if I ride, and we broke into an endless conversation that started with the care of motorcycles, then of tools and art, and he showed me the skeletal constructions that he and his students had done in class.”

As NESAD’s woodshop go-to-guy, Andrade was passionate about his work and strived to help students produce pieces that unlock truth and open up critical debate, according to his faculty page on the university website.

“Teaching is a collaborative experience for me,” he wrote on the page.

“That woodshop was like a playland for student,” said Professor Lydia Martin, Andrade’s long-time officemate and friend.

Sophomore Sylvan Huynh, an illustration major and graphic design minor, recalled Andrade’s teaching style fondly.

“He always believed in his students. He encouraged strange, bizarre ideas no matter how wild, and he would always be willing to make those bizarre and wild ideas come to life,” Huynh said.

“Paul was always alit with fascination and would change subjects on the turn of a dime, often with a new discovery,” said Corella.

Junior William Barry, graphic design major, recalled a moment he shared with Andrade in his Foundation Drawing I class.

“I wasn’t really good at drawing from live observation,” he said. “[Andrade] always found something to latch onto that definitely helped out with my confidence. Now I am a graphic design major and drawing is a crucial part of that. He was definitely one of the most memorable teachers I’ve ever had.”

Inexperience like Barry’s in an entry-level course typically may cause stress for an art student. However, Andrade helped Barry remember the importance of finding humor in everything you do.

“He came over and kind of stood there for 30 seconds or so and assessed [my drawing] with squinty eyes,” he said.

“‘This definitely looks like something Picasso would draw.’ He understood that not everyone’s spot on every day with drawing and we had a laugh about it and continued on with the day.”

“That’s my favorite memory of him,” Barry concluded.

The university will hold a remembrance ceremony, although no plans have been communicated yet, according to a university official.

“There’s a huge hole right now [in NESAD],” said Martin. “This person that has helped everyone is gone, and it’s heartbreaking.”

It is obvious that there was a definite personal connection between Andrade and his students that went beyond the classroom. He will be sincerely missed by the Suffolk community.

“My goal is to empower my students with life-long learning skills that allow them to adapt in visually dynamic culture, and I feel privileged to be a witness to this transformative process,” Andrade wrote on faculty page.

 

 

 

Collegiate Reporting

Obama increases number of refugees from Syria for resettlement


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President Obama told his administration this month to start to increase the number of Syrian refugees the U.S. accepts each year for resettlement to 100,000 each year, according to The New York Times.

Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs Ragini Shah founded Suffolk’s first immigration clinic and feels as though this number is too low, especially for something she calls “an enormous humanitarian crisis” as these people “have been subjected to supreme forms of violence.”

“I think the administration should be thinking in higher terms,” said Shah.

After increasing pressure for the U.S. to join the European Nations, President Obama has increased the number of accepted refugees starting early October, said White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, in a briefing.

The pressure was shown in a letter to Obama from nongovernmental organizations, including Refugee Council USA, which is based in Washington.The council consists of about 20 faith-based organizations that focus on refugee protection.

The letter was uploaded in a PDF by Al Jazeera.

“The United States’ rising to the occasion now would both encourage European nations to live up to their refugee protection obligations and help to prevent further deterioration in the protection climate in the countries bordering on Syria that are currently hosting millions of Syrian refugees,” the letter said.

Since the announcement, there are mixed feelings on the decision. Many aid groups find this as a “token,” according to The New York Times, while many Republicans see this as terrorists coming into the country after Syria’s fifth year in its Civil war.

Republican Representative Peter T. King told the New York Times that he was disgusted with the decision, unnerved that the country is inviting Islamic terrorists in and worried about filling the country with the enemy.

“We don’t want another Boston Marathon bombing situation,” King said to the New York Times.

Shah was confused as to why King would make such a statement.

“I don’t know what the connection is between the people fleeing King al-Assad to the Boston marathon bombing,” said Shah. “It’s not a comparable situation.”

Earnest explained in the briefing that the people who wished to come to the U.S. would have to apply through the United Nations, and there would be extensive medical checks and an intense background checks.

“Refugees have to be screened by the National Counterterrorism Center, by the F.B.I. Terrorist Screening Center,” said Earnest. “They go through databases that are maintained by D.H.S., the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community. There is biographical and biometric information that is collected about these individuals.”

Shah brought up when there were refugees from Vietnam that were brought into the U.S. after the war, the last time a flow of refugees came into the country for resettlement.

“One thing I will say, is the president has the authority to set the number of refugees,” said Shah. “Because in the past 30 years, we really haven’t taken any.”

Collegiate Reporting

Global Business students visit Brazil for travel seminar


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For seven days in December, two professors and 15 students will take a trip to South America to immerse themselves in global businesses in Brazil.

The Global Travel Seminars are overseen by Sawyer Business School dean’s office and SBS faculty, and recently but the Center for International Programs and Services and Hillary Sabbagh, the study abroad advisor, have become involved in their planning.

Sabbagh and the center are currently planning a seminar trip to Brazil in December for the first time. Former trips were offered in May or during spring break.

Linked with a global business elective for both undergraduate and graduate students who have a travel requirement as they work toward their Global Business MBA, the trip is run by Associate Professor and Chair of Strategy of the International Business Department, Carlos Rufin.

Before embarking on their journey to Brazil, students will  be required to take three pre-class sessions, which will help provide with a foundation of knowledge of the destination, and then a post-travel course where they complete their main project.

During their time in Brazil, they will connect classroom learning to real world experiences by meeting global business leaders, visit four to six businesses from small startups to multinational corporations, and, of course, the enjoy their time overseas in Brazil.

While visiting businesses, the professors have connections with, students will sit in on conferences and meetings as they network with global business leaders.

Bill Dolan, who double majored in Business and History with a concentration in Latin America and Spanish, is working toward his Juris Doctor degree in International Law at Suffolk Law School. He went on the seminar trip this past March in Brazil for a few different reasons, one being that his area of concentration was always Latin America.

“I thought the trip would give a good overview on business in Brazil,” said Dolan. “It also seemed like an attractive resume line.”

Dolan said he wouldn’t mind doing international finance overseas after his education after visiting the local businesses in Brazil and saw how they operated.

“My experience in Brazil was an unforgettable one,” said Dolan. “It gave me an international perspective to succeed in a global business environment.”

When the students aren’t in conferences and networking for their future career, the trip takes them on a series of cultural activities such as city tours, group dinners with authentic cuisine, and theater performances.

Dolan said he was truly amazed by the Paratay, which is a green corridor that runs along the coastline of Rio de Janeiro, located on the Costa Verde.

“It was the most beautiful place on Earth,” said Dolan. “Even Brazilians are amazed at Paraty.”

The information session for the next Brazil travel seminar will be April 28 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Sawyer 1125.

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Airstrikes on Yemen ground continue


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Saudi Arabian officials rejected Iranian calls to end the airstrikes on their neighbor, Yemen, Sunday when militants dropped bombs on a military camp in the Yemeni city of Taiz, killing eight civilians, according to NBC News.

Freshmen Mohammad Hafiz moved to the U.S. three years ago from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to study English before attending Suffolk. He said he supported Saudi Arabia in continuing the airstrikes even after Iran called to end them.

“The Saudi Arabian government has been saying that Iran should not get involved. And I agree with them,” said Hafiz. “Saudi Arabia has a good relationship with Europe, with the United States, with Canada, with so many different countries around the world, so it would be smart for Iran to not get involved.”

Hafiz’s mother can trace her roots back to Yemen. Hafiz does not believe in war, killing, or attacking different countries, he said.

“Everything Saudi Arabia is doing is a response,” said Hafiz. “Killing is not an option, at least, it’s not the first option.”

The Houthi insurgency in Yemen, also known as the Sa’dah conflict or war, began in June 2004 when head of the Zaidi sect, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, launched an uprising against the Yemeni government. The government believed that the Houthis were looking to overthrow the government and implement Zaidi religious law. The government also accused Iran of directing and financing the rebels, according to BBC.

In August 2009, the Yemeni army launched an attack against the Houthis in the Sa’ada province, where hundreds of thousands were displaced because of the fighting, according to BBC.

The protests that took place marked the clashes between not only the Yemeni government and the Houthis, but also the Houthis and al-Qaeda. Since the resignation of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and his ministers in January, Houthis have declared themselves in full control of the government by putting together a Revolutionary Committee led by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, according to CNN.

The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for Hadi to be restored as president in February, according to BBC.

President Hadi appointed his prime minister on Sunday, a move that Reuters said was in hope of improving the chances of a peaceful settlement to the Civil War.

Vice President Khaled Bahah is known as being popular across Yemen’s spectrum of parties and is seen as a figure that could possibly calm tensions and bring parties to a negotiating table, according to Reuters.

Hafiz believed that Bahah was the best choice for Yemen’s vice president, that he would bring parties together for peace.

Yemen has since been bombed by Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab allies for the past two weeks in hopes to slow the advancement of Iranian-allied Houthi militias toward the port city of Aden, according to Reuters.

The U.N. has been warned on the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen and said the majority of the people killed in the conflict are civilians, blaming both Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels.

Secretary-General Ki-moon said to Reuters on Sunday  he was concerned about the fighting and urged for peace talks.

BBC reported that Yemen is becoming a “violent cauldron” where the competing parties and interests of the Houthi rebels, Sunni tribes, Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda, Iran, and Islamic State are “forming a toxic mix.”

The violence there has increased to the point where the U.S. and U.K. have completely evacuated their staff and closed down their embassies, according to reports by BBC.

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Iran’s nuclear deal sparks fear in Israel


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President Barack Obama has reassured Israel that the U.S. is Israel’s strongest supporter after some fear over the outline of Iran’s new nuclear agreement, according to The Guardian.

In the agreement, Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany, have devised a concept to curb the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. This agreement is thought to be one step closer to ending the 12-year standoff, according to BBC.

Kenneth Cosgrove, a professor in the government department who has special interests in U.S. foreign policy, recognizes that this is the first time the relationship between the U.S. and Iran has attempted to break down a harsh barrier.

“This is the first time that one of the several possible thaws in the U.S.-Iranian relationships has borne fruit,” said Cosgrove. “There have been missteps on both sides and both sides will try very hard to hold to on the gains made in recent weeks.”

The six world powers want to ensure that Iran will not be able to make a nuclear weapon, according to BBC. Iranian officials have said they are not seeking a nuclear bomb. Instead, the country is interested in exercising its right to run a peaceful nuclear industry.

Some critics believe Obama is endangering Israel’s security, while supporters think it is a smart move to show strength in the alliance. The deal leaves Iran with the ability to build a bomb, which has alarmed Israel and Iran’s neighbors in the Gulf.

Professor Susan Sered of the sociology department believes this statement by Obama was not controversial, but valid for the U.S. and its connections in the Middle East.

“I think this was the right thing for the president to say,” said Sered. “It’s not a matter of ‘diving into’ a link with Israel.”

Sered has a master’s and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and moved from the U.S. to Israel to become a professor at Bar‑Ilan University. She was one of the editorial board members for Social Issues in Israel and started teaching at Suffolk in 2005.

“That link [between the U.S. and Israel] is historical, deep and, in my opinion, honorable and valuable for both countries,” she said. “For all of its flaws and problems, Israel is a democracy and as such the appropriate ally for the U.S. in the Middle East.”

Likewise, Cosgrove believes the two countries’ connection is just “smart politics.”

“The President is trying to solidify his standing with the pro-Israel and Jewish communities,” said Cosgrove. “We’ve been linked to the troubles of Israel since President Truman pledged U.S. recognition and support for Israel against the advice of his own Department of State.”

Cosgrove said the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is nothing new and is not likely to change.

Obama answered questions from Israeli officials on the the nuclear ambitions that Iran has, and said he sees the deal as an opportunity to halt the assembly of such weapons.

“There is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward – and that’s demonstrable,” the president said to The New York Times.

However, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, does not support the deal, according to The Guardian.

“A better deal would roll back Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure, and require Iran to stop its aggression in the region, its terror worldwide and its calls and actions to annihilate the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said during an interview with CNN Monday.

The U.S. reassured Netanyahu that Israelis have nothing to worry about, according to several news reports.

“The truth of the matter is Iran’s defence budget is $30 billion. Our defence budget is closer to $600 billion,” Obama said to The Guardian.

Cosgrove doesn’t look at which country has more financial ability than the other.

“I would argue Iran is very efficient in its use of defense assets both symmetrically and asymmetrically,” he said.

With the foreign policy concerns regarding the growth and advancement of the group known as the Islamic State, Obama reiterated that the U.S. will remain committed to defending Israel under any circumstances.

Roberto Dominguez, a professor in the government department, looks at the challenges ahead for the Obama administration in the U.S.

“The new challenge for this administration lies now in disarticulating the danger coming from those who have profited from the escalation of tensions here in the United States, Iran and elsewhere,” said Dominguez.

Collegiate Reporting

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, Vietnam resistors tell their stories


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In front of resistors and veterans of the Vietnam war, panelists told stories of the resistance of the American War in Vietnam in an event at MIT, hosted by United for Justice in Peace organization.

Panel members included one of the foremost public dissidents in the U.S. during the past five decades, MIT professor Noam Chomsky, draft resistant John Bach, and military resistor Susan Schnall.

“There are many challenges for those of us that stand for peace,” said Schnall, a former active duty Navy nurse and military resistant during the time of the Vietnam War.

Schnall was court martialed for anti-war efforts in the San Francisco area. She recalled her experience while taking care of wounded soldiers coming back from Southeast Asia.

“What I found as I took care of the young men, and they truly were young at 18 or 19 years old, primarily Marines who serves in southeast Asia,” said Schnall. “I heard their stories of death, of destruction, of hating people that looked different from them … I would hear their side of the story, as they recalled their nightmares of serving in the jungle, of being terrified of being shot at, of dying.”

Schnall heard about the GI and Veterans March for Peace demonstration in 1968 in the San Francisco Bay area and thought it was time to speak out against the American War in Vietnam.

“We made flyers and distributed them on my base and put posters up in the middle of the night. And you can just imagine what happened to them all: they were all torn down by the morning,” said Schnall. “I had remembered when the United States Air Force was dropping flyers in Southern Vietnam, and I thought, if the U.S. can drop flyers on Vietnam, a country that was 6,000 miles away, why can’t we drop flyers in the military bases here, and why can’t we do this for Peace?”

Schnall told the audience that she had a friend who was a pilot for a one-engine plane. Her friend dropped flyers announcing there was going to be the March for Peace, including at the Naval base aircraft carrier.

When it came time for the GI and Veterans March for Peace Demonstration, she wore her uniform.

“There were about 400 to 500 of us GIs that had marched in this demonstration,” said Schnall.

The military brought charges against her that reflect poorly on troops.

She said she was frustrated by the fact that she could not wear her uniform while speaking while advocating for peace, but other officers could proudly wear theirs when pushing for war.

“My defense was that General William Moreland wore his uniform when he went before Congress and wanted millions more dollars for the war in Vietnam,” said Schnall. “And I thought, if he can wear his uniform to talk about war, why can’t I wear my uniform and talk about peace?”

The next panelist was John Bach, who dropped out of college in 1967 to lose his student deferment, which he considered racist and classist.

Bach spent three years in federal prison, which he described as “the freest years of my life.”

Bach spoke of the horrible conditions of VA hospitals, the people who fled to Canada to get out of the draft, and the treatment to women during the era.

“The treatment to women during the anti-war movement was often times dismissed and unjust,” said Bach. “I want my sisters to know that many of us regret and repent, we will live and learn, and hopefully get better. And this is what distinguishes us from our government.”

Professor Chomsky, a common critic of U.S. policy, spoke on a level of expertise on “what the Pentagon wouldn’t want you to know or remember.”

He spoke on how President John F. Kennedy’s administration was expected to end the war, but instead reacted with a larger military occupation.

“There was a very easy way to end the war, a very simple path to end the war,” said Chomsky. “The U.S. government discovered the dictatorship it established in South Vietnam was negotiating with the north for a peaceful settlement. It could have been very easy for the Kennedy administration to say, ‘Fine, glad you guys are settling it, we’ll pull out.’ Instead, the administration organized a military occupation with a very harsh general.”

After Chomsky ended his speech, some members of the audience stood and told the rest of the crowd about their side of the story, whether they were in Vietnam as a military personnel or in the U.S. protesting against the war as a fellow resistor.