From the Desk of Dean Waite

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

August 4, 2011
by zwaite
2 Comments

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Okay, I will be the first to admit it.  I have a traveling addiction (in that I really like to travel!).  There are many things a family can commit to doing together. For now, our family has decided that we would like to visit a new country every year. When Jim and I got married, the first countries we visited together were the United Kingdom and France. My oldest brother lives in London. Then, it was July 2002 and our first born, Emma was 5 months old. We traveled together again the following year to my homeland, Malaysia. In May 2005, when our second child, Ian was 9 months old, we packed up and the four of us visited Ireland. My little brother lives in Cork, Ireland. We took a hiatus from traveling overseas and restarted as a family of five last April. By then, Emma was 8, Ian was 6 and our third child, Spencer was 4. We visited Nicaragua. This past July, we traveled back to Malaysia but before heading there we stayed in Hong Kong for a few days.

We like to travel together as a family and believe it is important to expose our children to the amazing world outside of Pittsburgh.  It is a blast to witness our kids’ comments and expressions when they see or hear something new – these precious images will forever be embedded in our memories. To date, all of our trips have been dual purpose trips – we are very fortunate to have family and friends who live around the world. Traveling has also helped us value the United States of America and the freedom our democracy gives us.

Before I end, I want to share one tip on how we are able to make this happen as a family.  It probably comes as no surprise that you need to save and plan in advance as much as possible.  For us, it means giving up on driving a new vehicle every other year or purchasing that flat screen plasma TV.  In the end it is all worth the sacrifice.  We have a long bucket list and can’t wait for our next adventure.

NICARAGUA, April 2010

June 24, 2011
by zwaite
0 comments

“It is only through disruptions and confusion that we grow, jarred out of ourselves by the collision of someone else’s private world with our own.” – Joyce Carol Oates

Imagine for one minute that the U.S. Congress passed a law forbidding women to drive in urban areas. While my husband would be happy (he is not a fan of my driving skills), I am fairly certain that you and most of America would be appalled at such a law. I recently read a couple stories about women in Saudi Arabia not being permitted to drive in Saudi cities:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/world/middleeast/18saudi.html?ref=women

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/opinion/l16saudi.html?ref=women


Excuse me while I look at my calendar – just want to be certain that it really is 2011. One woman who posted photos of herself driving on Facebook was placed in jail for nine days – NINE DAYS for driving! Others have been harassed by police and shunned by their communities.

When I was growing up in Malaysia I was told from a very early age that I was to become a teacher who was to marry a doctor or lawyer – not to become one! Reading stories like this makes me step back and reflect upon just how fortunate we are to live in the United States of America, a country where basic human rights are valued and protected. I realize the fact that a glass ceiling still exists but it is really amazing how far women’s rights have advanced in the past century. We really owe a great deal of homage to all of the generations of women who came before us to fight for our rights. Looking back helps to motivate me to look ahead. I often ask myself what can I do to make the world a better place for my children and future grandkids.

Societies, like much of humanity dislike change. The first challengers of unfair laws will almost always go to jail or be punished by those in power. Picture Susan B. Anthony for women’s suffrage or Rosa Parks for riding in front of the bus plus countless others. Those who disagree feel that by trying to put these women leaders in jail or punishing them, they can stop a movement. But once people see that someone is willing to stick their necks out, they will follow. The women who dared to drive have decided that it’s worth going to jail to get the movement started, so that ultimately their daughters will get to drive.

A lot of our freedoms and rights that we enjoy today are the results of those who dared to challenge. Hard to imagine that something as simple as driving will land a woman in jail. In the future when the women of Saudi Arabia are driving their own cars, they can thank their mothers, aunts, grandmothers who went to jail for challenging an unjust law.

Life is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes we need not take for granted the freedoms that we do have and appreciate the fact that we live in a democracy that values women. This does not mean we can rest on our laurels – we still have work to do. Let’s use progress to motivate us. Next time you start to feel depressed do me a favor…pick up the keys and go for a drive.

“Modern invention has banished the spinning wheel, and the same law of progress makes the woman of today a different woman from her grandmother.”- Susan B. Anthony

Pictures from: Silvija Seres, 12 April 2002; http://www.silvija.net/2002SaudiMay/medain.html; http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/153259.html;(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images);http://www.newint.org/features/2009/10/01/different-voices/;Wikipedia:publicdomain;Wikipedia:public domain

May 13, 2011
by zwaite
12 Comments

The important thing in life is to have an opinion and make others aware of where you stand.

Did you know?

 

At the Chatham College for Women Student Government (CSG) meeting on March 31st, 2011, Dr. Melissa Bell and students, Emily Hurley, Elizabeth Humphries and Amber Phillips shared their thoughts about the Pence Amendment . . . I listened intently and here’s what I have gathered from their presentation and my views after looking in to the matter . . .

 

The Pence Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., bans Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds and reinstates the Global Gag Order permanently. The Republican-dominated House of Representatives approved the amendment 240-185 after a debate that featured Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier recounting the story of receiving an abortion due to a complication with a pregnancy.

According to an AOL News Review by contributor Torie Bosch, “If made into law, the Pence Amendment would prevent Planned Parenthood and 102 affiliated organizations from receiving any federal funds — including money for STD testing, pregnancy testing and cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood also charges that the Pence amendment would “cut off 48 percent of Planned Parenthood patients — approximately 1.4 million people — from their source of health care.” http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/18/what-is-the-pence-amendment-and-what-does-it-mean-for-planned-p

What Planned Parenthood does is it uses federal dollars to perform cancer screenings, as well as STD and STI testing. It is important to recognize that Federal dollars are not used to perform abortions unless the woman’s life is in danger, or in cases of rape and incest. Planned Parenthood provides low-cost and no-cost health care coverage on a sliding scale. With the proposed budget cuts under the Pence Amendment, that sliding scale will essentially disappear. Nearly half, 48%, of Planned Parenthood patrons will lose access to their services and (cut out) critical health care services. Of the various services provided in Western Pennsylvania, 20% were free of charge and 16% were reduced charge.

Currently, the Hyde Amendment (1976) bans the use of federal funds for abortion excluding instances of rape, incest, and threat to the woman’s life. Therefore, no funds are being cut from abortion. This amendment has no impact on abortion outside of rape, incest, and threat to the woman’s life.

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana

If the Pence Amendment is enacted, we will not see more jobs, reduced deficit, and fewer abortions. We will most likely see an increase in sexually transmitted infections and diseases, an increase in unwanted pregnancies, an increase in untreatable cancers, a decrease in health care coverage, and an increase in uninformed – and consequently at-risk – students.

By not funding Planned Parenthood, the Pence Amendment will reduce spending by approximately $75 million dollars in upfront costs. That $75 million would fund only 3 hours and 51 minutes of the War on Terror. Also, for each dollar spent on contraception, $3 are saved on birth costs alone, not including the costs of raising a child, the decreased wages from unintended births, and the loss of tax revenue from those unable to work or are working less due to unintended birth.

I have shared my views and would love to hear yours. This is an important and controversial topic, one we likely do not – and need not – agree on.

What is your opinion on the Pence Amendment?

Let your Senators Robert P. Casey Jr. and Patrick J.Toomey know directly by clicking on the link:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=PA

Do you vote outside of Pennsylvania? To find Senators in your state, please go to:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Skip to toolbar