News room round up 4/11


Posted on James Madison’s school news page this past week was a podcast by Future U which featured JMU’s President, Jonathan R. Alger. Before he was JMU’s President, Alger was most notably assistant General Counsel at the University of Michigan, in which his skills in law proved crucial to UMich’s efforts in two Supreme Court Cases on diversity and admissions. In spring of 2023 we are waiting on two issues in the US Supreme Court to be ruled, loan forgiveness and affirmative action. The oral arguments and end rulings of the cases will affect higher education as Universities are being made to look at their admission policies and prepare for potential change. Alger in the podcast says, “The challenge we have in front of us now is we have cases from two different institutions, a public and a private, which really ensures that all institutions across the higher ed landscape are going to be impacted.” These types of cases have implications and challenge institutional autonomy as well as academic judgments. JMU is now having to conduct review as well, and although race is not a factor in our admissions specifically, Alger says that, “narrow tailoring gets more and more narrow. When you think about the human and financial resources that are required to defend such programs, at some point, it becomes so difficult that institutions really have to be thinking about other types of alternatives. I think that frankly has been the goal of some of these challenges is just to make it incredibly difficult to justify and defend these programs.” If race conscious admissions go down, Alger says that other issues like gender as well as disparities correlated to race like family wealth and social capital will be under scrutiny as well, along with the programs seeking to provide opportunities.


A black teenager in Iowa, Piper Lewis, is facing jail time after becoming involved in crime during the time she was being sex trafficked. After an ongoing period of sex trafficking, Piper Lewis stabbed a man who had raped her repedly. This stabbing resulted in his death. Following this event, she was sent to a halfway house to wait for her trial. After some weeks, she escaped from the halfway house. She was charged with Voluntary manslaughter and violating terms of probation. Considering her charges, she could be sentenced to up to 21 years in prison. She is in jail now for one year, but her sentence is not finalized. Pieper’s case isn’t an anomaly for Black women and girls. Black girls and women are more likely than white women and girls to be criminalized for defending themselves during sexual violence.


In March 2021, Spain made a significant move in the fight for women’s rights and equality by introducing a new policy that allows women to take menstrual leave. This policy grants women the right to take paid leave of up to four days.

the introduction of menstrual leave in Spain is a positive step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment for women. However, it is only the beginning of a larger conversation around women’s health and gender equality in the workplace. Other countries and organizations need to follow Spain’s lead in recognizing and supporting women’s menstrual health to create a more equitable and inclusive work environment for all. The introduction of menstrual leave recognizes the importance of women’s health issues and acknowledges the impact of menstrual symptoms on women’s daily lives. Women have long suffered from menstrual stigma and discrimination, which can be particularly acute in the workplace, where many women feel ashamed to take time off for menstrual symptoms. The new policy is a positive step towards creating a more supportive and inclusive work environment for women. By providing women with the option to take menstrual leave, it aims to remove the stigma around menstruation, encourage open dialogue, and create a culture of understanding and support for women’s health issues.

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