Budget Transparency Forum—
Last week, students gathered in Wyckoff Auditorium to learn about where their tuition money is being invested. A little over thirty students were in attendance at this most recent assembly. Chief Financial Officer Connie Kanter and Associate Vice President for Facilities Administration Rob Schwartz presented for an hour and a half to help make Seattle University’s budget a little clearer. Kanter displayed a pie chart of budget distribution for the 2016 fiscal year and a list of the new expenses expected for 2017 such as increased minimum wage for student employees and custodial staff, more support for disabilities services and KSXU and increased financial aid for study abroad opportunities. Schwartz profiled the Ten Year Facility Plan, which includes renovation of Campion Residence Hall and construction of an entirely new Center for Science and Innovation building. The presentation ended with questions from students on topics such as divestment and the necessity of more on-campus housing.
Musical Legend Prince Dies at the Age of 57—
On Thursday April 21, Prince Rogers Nelson was found unresponsive inside of his home in Minnesota. The hall of famer was known for many things: his musical innovation, his eccentrically beautiful style, and his incredible philanthropy. Embracing controversy with one arm and innovation with the other, Prince was an icon for the funk, soul, pop, rock and almost every other musical genre. Known for ballads such as “Purple Rain” and pop tunes like “Kiss,” his fans were always waiting for his next big innovation. He continued playing music until the end, even singing in his “Piano and a Microphone” tour since April. His first album, “For You,” came out in 1978 and featured Prince on every instrument. From that point onwards he was a force in the music industry, protesting contract records with name changes and providing free albums to fans at concerts. His last concert was at Paisley Park on April 16, where he played a brand new purple guitar for thousands of fans.
Protests in Raleigh, North Carolina—
50 opponents of the HB2 Bill—dubbed the “Hate Bill 2” by protesters—were arrested in Raleigh on Tuesday after a demonstration. The bill allows private business owners to deny access to those in the LGBTQ community based on religious freedom, and makes it illegal for a person to enter a public restroom not assigned for their biological sex. Companies such as PayPal have stopped conducting business in the state in response to the law. Pearl Jam cancelled upcoming shows in North Carolina to protest the bill. Although North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has been open to changes on the bill when related to individual businesses, he stated that public toilet restrictions would remain. The Republican majority in the North Carolina Legislature opposes overturning the law while Democratic lawmakers have supported an appeal. “[Overturning the bill] would stop the bleeding and put North Carolina back on the path of progress and moving forward,” Democratic Lawmaker Grier Martin said.
Continuing Conflict in Brazil—
Protests regarding the Petrobras scandal and the surrounding culture of corruption continue throughout Brazil. Directors of the state-run firm were accused of taking bribes from construction companies in return for favorable contracts. The tax-payer money being used has launched not only demonstrations across the nation but also a continuing investigation by the federal prosecutor’s office. For many Brazilians widespread corruption is not new. Last year, an investigation accused Eike Batista of insider trading and market manipulation—both denied by Batista—in his mining and shipbuilding enterprises. The FBI and Brazilian investigators also continue to investigate allegations of corruption at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This week, as the lower house of the Brazilian Congress opened session in an impeachment trial, thousands gathered to protest the alleged corruption while thousands gathered to support the regime. The House is still currently debating the impeachment.
Beyoncé releases new Album—
Beyoncé’s new album “Lemonade” has been called “political poetry,” “raucous blues-rock” and “fierce and vengeful.” Released on Sunday, April 24, the album celebrates a diversity of stories, of musical genres and of eye popping imagery as it is a visual album accompanied with music videos. The album itself is about more than music. Including poetry, clips from Malcolm X speeches, and a celebration of blackness, there is no doubt that it is a political medium. As vicious in her attacks against a society that degrades and attacks black women as she is loving in her portrayal of her story, Beyoncé has a varied voice within “Lemonade.” Broadening the role of an artist, she has once again turned the medium of music to the political scene, and energized fans across the nation. CNN described this new evolution of the artist as “the political goddess.”
Anti-Gentrification Protest in Central District—
On Wednesday, April 20, protesters gathered outside of Uncle Ike’s Recreational Marijuana Dispensary with signs, songs, and chants against what they saw as a symbol of gentrification. The goal of the protest was twofold: to raise awareness to the continued gentrification of the Central District and to temporarily shut down the business. Linking arms and shouting “Hey ho Uncle Ike’s has got to go!” they surrounded entrances and exits to prevent customers from taking part in the dispensary’s “420 extravaganza” sale. While demonstrators exposed the dispensary’s lack of investment in the community and the unlawful proximity of the store to a local church, the leadership of Uncle Ike’s claimed that they simply responded to a demand from local consumers. After speeches and action, the protest concluded in the evening. Uncle Ike’s still remains open.
Jason may be reached at [email protected]