The effects of climate change are so uncertain and potentially long-lasting that policymakers should begin examining options that include geoengineering, an area that has so far been off-limits, according to a former Harvard researcher who is now a professor at the University of Calgary, Canada.David Keith, Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment and director of Calgary’s Energy and Environmental Systems Group, said Tuesday evening (Sept. 22) that fear of sapping momentum from efforts to reduce global carbon output has so far kept talk to a minimum about using large-scale geoengineering to mitigate the effects of climate change. Though some nations are beginning to investigate geoengineering options, more should follow suit, he said.One common geoengineering strategy mentioned in reference to climate change includes several techniques that would make the Earth more reflective, bouncing more of the sun’s rays back into space and cooling the planet. Injecting sulfur high in the atmosphere — most likely by dumping it from an airplane — would mimic the cooling effect experienced after major volcanic eruptions.Volcanoes have long been known to have far-reaching ramifications, caused by the spread of dust and sulfur dioxide from their plumes high in the atmosphere around the globe. Keith mentioned the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines, which is believed to have cooled global temperatures by roughly half a degree Celsius. Among other efforts, Keith recommended that preparations be made to thoroughly study the next major volcanic eruption to see what lessons could be learned that could be applied to future geoengineering attempts.Keith was the first speaker in the Harvard University Center for the Environment’s (HUCE) Future of Energy speaker series this year. He was introduced by HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, Hooper Professor of Geology and professor of Earth and planetary sciences. Schrag described Keith as a “thought leader” on the question of how to deal with climate change.Keith, who got his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991 and worked as a research scientist in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences from 1993 to 1999, spoke before a packed Science Center lecture hall audience.In framing his talk, Keith said he doesn’t believe the world is in danger of running out of energy, mainly because industry has gotten so good at extracting fossil fuels. He estimated that there’s enough fossil fuel available to run the world’s economy at higher rates than today for more than 200 years. That having been said, there are major issues beyond the carbon content of fuel to consider. Energy security and energy’s role in geopolitics are also important, as are issues of energy equality and the lack of access for a billion of the world’s poorest residents.When considering changing the world’s energy mix, Keith said, trade-offs are unavoidable. In assessing those trade-offs, however, Keith said policymakers today are not giving enough consideration to the uncertainty inherent in data about different options they’re being given. In some cases, such as the potential costs of increasing the use of nuclear power or the potential cost decline as solar power generation is scaled up, the uncertainties are significant and could impact decisions.“There’s just no way to look at that data and say you know the cost of nuclear,” Keith said about one graph he displayed.Still, Keith struck an optimistic note when discussing the future of the energy system. He believes the power system could be reformed to reduce its carbon output by increasing wind, nuclear, and solar power and by employing coal-fired plants with carbon capture and sequestration technology. The cost, he estimated, would be a few percent of GDP, much less than what the United States spends on health care and about what we spend on the military.To get there, though, policy decisions have to be made despite the uncertainties that remain. Though it is right that the major focus should be on reducing the amount of carbon in the energy we use, Keith said because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can last thousands of years, the effects of reductions we make now won’t be felt for some time.In addition, he said, uncertainty remains about how the climate system will respond as carbon dioxide levels rise. Because of that uncertainty, it would be wise to plan for a worst-case scenario.In that worst case, Keith said, nations might be prompted to quickly deploy geoengineered solutions without fully understanding their potential consequences. It would be wiser, he said, to begin research now — on a fairly small scale initially — to understand and test various solutions.Geoengineered solutions to climate change fall into roughly two categories, Keith said. The first, carbon cycle engineering, includes slower and more expensive solutions that offer long-term fixes by removing carbon from the environment. It includes things like adding iron to the ocean, which would trigger large-scale plankton blooms that remove carbon from the environment, adding alkalinity to land and sea, and locking up carbon in biochar.The second category, solar radiation management, includes shorter-term fixes that block sunlight from reaching the Earth and then getting trapped by greenhouse gases. These solutions include changing the planet’s reflectivity in one way or another, including the injection of sulfates or engineered particles into the atmosphere. Their advantage, Keith said, is that they’re relatively cheap and easy to do.These solutions, however, have potential side effects, such as changing rainfall patterns and reducing atmospheric ozone. That’s why, Keith said, research should begin to understand their potential effects — both good and bad — so that wise choices can be made.“We need to understand how this might not work, as well as how it might work,” Keith said. “We have to bring this out in the open and talk about it.”
Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the Grateful Dead continue their partnership with the release of American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA, the third iteration of American Beauty, brought together by Warner Music Artist Services. The new 7.0% ABV ale is inspired by the Grateful Dead’s 1970 studio album, American Beauty, specifically the track “Ripple.” American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA will be available in 6pk/12oz cans throughout the brewery’s distribution network across 45 states starting in November.Related: Dogfish Head Brewery Announces Revival Of Grateful Dead-Inspired “American Beauty” Pale Ale“As a self-proclaimed beer geek with a music problem, I couldn’t be happier about the continuation of our awesome partnership with the Grateful Dead and our collaborative efforts to develop American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA,” said Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, of the unfiltered IPA brewed with spelt that includes a special yeast variety designed to bring out hop aromatics. “Just as the Dead say, ‘there is a road, no simple highway’ – our journey to develop the perfect recipe for American Beauty Hazy Ripple IPA was a lengthy one, but we ‘put our money where our love is’ and eventually arrived at our flavor destination.”Dogfish Head’s relationship with the Grateful Dead began in 2013, when the first version of American Beauty released in 750-ml. bottles. This imperial (9.0% ABV) pale ale brewed with organic almond honey and granola was rereleased in 2014 and 2015, each year with different artwork. In 2018, American Beauty made an encore in 12-oz. bottles, this time as a more approachable (6.5% ABV) pale ale brewed with granola, wildflower honey and all-American hops.For more information on Dogfish Head Brewery, head to their website here.
While Trump supporters filled the Century Center in South Bend, protestors lined the street outside, holding signs and chanting for more love and less of the hate they feel Donald Trump represents.Saint Mary’s junior Maria Hernandez said she believes attending protests is important for people who have strong political convictions.“We don’t believe that Trump is doing a very good job of showing what America should be represented as,” she said. “It’s important to stand up for your beliefs, to let people be aware of how there are injustices in the world. However, I do believe it should be peaceful, and I think thus far, being here, it’s been quite peaceful.”Notre Dame freshman Rose Ashley said she thinks Trump has gained support through spreading hate.“Trump’s main message is hate,” she said. “Hate for all beings — hate for women, hate for gay people, hate for transgender people. I think that that’s a message that we can’t tolerate in the 21st century as human beings. We need to support each other.”Ashley, a South Bend native, said she feels passionate about voicing her opposition to Trump as a representative of her hometown.“It’s very sad for me to see my hometown come out in such large numbers to support Trump,” she said. “I just want to get the message across that not everyone here supports Trump, and there is a large majority of people who do not want him here.”Ashley said she believes Trump’s personality is one reason he has garnered so much support.“His personality commands a room,” she said. “He’s very persuasive. I think right now in America, people are scared. They want a big personality who really just promises a lot. I think especially in this area — one that can be conservative and low-middle class — he’s really inspiring a message in people of getting rid of everything that is ‘bad’ and giving them something that’s good.”Ashley said she opposes Trump because he is divisive at a time when America needs someone who will unite the people.“Love trumps hate,” she said. “[Trump supporters] are spreading a message of hatred, and we need to be the United States of America. We need to support each other and love each other and not divide among these really harsh lines.”Saint Mary’s junior Gabriela Herrera said she protests to stand up for her beliefs.“It’s important to show your rights,” she said. “If you don’t agree with everything the other candidate says, then you should be able to represent that.”Melissa Montes, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, said as a woman and a Latina, she thinks it is important to speak out against racist and sexist comments made by Trump.“I am a part of both minorities — I am a woman and I am Mexican,” she said. “He’s said some pretty horrendous things about who I am as a person. I think that it’s important to exercise your rights. If you have an opinion, then you should stand for it.”Montes said she realizes both sides have opinions, and both are important, which is why she chooses to make her voice heard.“I think there are some people on the other side who may be swayed by our protest,” she said. “That’s not the goal for me, because I think a lot of people have very strong opinions on the other side too, and they’re valid opinions. Everyone can have one — that’s the great thing about being in America.”Saint Mary’s senior Deirdre O’Leary said she hopes she can spread love to Trump and his supporters through her protests.“There are some signs on this side protesting Trump that are hateful and expletive,” she said. “I want to pray for a conversion of heart for all those who are voting for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump himself. He’s very lacking in character, and he doesn’t respect the human dignity of every person regardless of their race, their religion, their creed, their age, their gender. He just does not respect that. I just want to show that I respect that, and I’m standing up for any other candidate that will respect those rights.”O’Leary said she hopes voicing her opinions can help others, though that is not her end goal.“If you have a firm belief that is dear to your heart, then you should act upon it and you should express it,” she said. “I’m here spreading the love. If someone over there feels touched or loved by what we’re doing over here, then that’s a great thing, but I’m just here to express my belief, just like they are.”Saint Mary’s first year Jessica Kapiszka said she attended the protests to “check out both sides” rather than to directly protest, although she does not understand how Trump has gained popularity — especially in South Bend — with the comments he has made about minority groups.“It’s baffling how he’s become so popular,” she said. “I think people hear looking more at what he can do for our economy rather than what he says about our people.”Saint Mary’s first year Faviloli Cruz said she came to the protest more to observe and less to protest because she believes it is important to listen to other opinions.“South Bend is really populated with immigrants,” Cruz said. “That’s one major thing for a lot of people. It’s good to see how others feel about it — to get different perspectives on it. … You’d think a lot of people wouldn’t support him, but it’s the opposite.”Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Donald Trump protest, Donald Trump rally, Indiana primary, protest, republican
Rev. Gayla Rapp (left), senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, said she and her congregation were struggling with what to do after the United Methodist Church’s reaffirmation of its ban on same sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.After United Methodist Church leaders voted to uphold the church’s ban on same sex marriages and on LGBTQ individuals serving in the clergy, Asbury United Methodist Church is exploring the process of disaffiliating with the denomination.Nothing official is decided, said Rev. Lee Johnson, associate pastor at the church in Prairie Village. At this point, the clergy at Asbury is gathering information to share with their congregation on what disaffiliation would look like, and what it would cost.Asbury United Methodist on Sunday hosted an informational session, “A Way Forward: The Financial and Practical Implications of Disaffiliation from The UMC” led by Scott Brewer, treasurer of the Great Plains Annual Conference, a regional conference under the umbrella of the United Methodist Church that encompasses Kansas and Nebraska.Scott Brewer, treasurer of the Great Plains Annual Conference, led an information session on steps for a church to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church.More than 100 members from Methodist churches across the Kansas City metro area attended the meeting to learn more about what disaffiliation would look like for their church.“Let me just say, as a fellow United Methodist, I’m sorry that we need to have this conversation,” Brewer said. “But that’s kinda where we’re at.”Coincidentally, the meeting took place almost two years to the date after Asbury United Methodist voted to become a Reconciling Congregation, which asserted the congregation’s commitment to accept and welcome all people, including members of the LGBTQ community, into the life and ministry at the church.“I look in the face of my church members who are LGBTQ or who have LGBTQ children, and I want them to know that I’m hurting with them and that we’re walking with them during this time,” said Rev. Gayla Rapp, senior pastor at Asbury. “We are working for the church to change because we truly want our place to be a church where all are welcome.”Before the global meeting of church leaders in February in St. Louis, there was no policy for disaffiliation with the church, Brewer said. Now, Methodist churches can disaffiliate “for reasons of conscience” — for those that morally disagree with the United Methodist Church’s position on same sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. A disaffiliated church also retains rights to all real and personal property.A few requirements for a church to disaffiliate:Disaffiliation must be completed before the end of 2023.Disaffiliation requires a two-thirds majority of a church’s members voting at a church conference.Disaffiliation requires a simple majority of the members voting at an annual conference.A church must pay an exit price to disaffiliate. That number includes unfunded pension of clergy as well as mission shares, which cover administration expenses and ministry work throughout the United Methodist Church.The exit price of a church going through disaffiliation varies based on the congregation size and other factors. For example, Asbury United Methodist has about 800 members, so Brewer estimates it would have to pay about seven years of mission shares, or roughly $630,000. If the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, the largest Methodist church in the country, disaffiliates, it may have to pay as much as $15 million to exit.All of the figures are subject to change in the near future, Brewer said, adding that the Great Plains Annual Conference will determine more concrete exit prices in the coming months.Finding ‘an amicable way’ to disaffiliateMore than 100 Methodist church member from across the Kansas City metro area attended the informational session.Some members were concerned with the price to exit the United Methodist Church. One parishioner said it was “offensive,” especially for him as a lifelong Methodist.“We can do this in such a way that we’re not punishing someone,” he said. “If we really need to separate, let’s find an amicable way. We need leadership that says let’s divide resources in a way that we can be faithful as a church in doing that.”Members at Asbury United Methodist Church have the option to avoid disaffiliation and paying the associated exit price. However, they would have to abandon their church and allow the wider Methodist church take over ownership of the property. They could open their own church but would be starting over with nothing: No building and nothing inside of it.“It’s not going to be easy to leave,” Brewer said. “Rather than destroy each other, rather than ruining our ministries, rather than ending up with a string of abandoned churches all across this country because we have beaten ourselves to death, let’s stop fighting and let’s figure out a way we can do that.”
It’s difficult to determine when discussions of controversial topics became known as hate speech on college campuses across the country. But the metamorphosis has taken place all around us, and the costs are undeniable. Open debate has morphed into self-censorship and terrified silence; what used to be celebrated as an environment of fearless questioning has become a stultifying world of repression.Intolerance of meaningful debate comes from both sides of the political spectrum. Talk of “black lives matter” constitutes hate speech for some, while “blue lives matter” fits the bill for others. Depending on the political leanings of their particular campus, professors, staff members and students are strongly discouraged from entertaining certain topics even privately, much less discussing them publicly on campus, because these discussions make some people uncomfortable. The risks and penalties are tangible and significant, from shaming and ostracizing, to fear of loss of tenure and jobs for professors and expulsion and dismissal for anyone else.—We considered these issues in a new article in Perspectives on Psychological Science on the controversies surrounding recent cancellations of campus talks. We drew mainly on psychological, legal and philosophical analyses to explain the polarization of positions, focusing on phenomena known as blind-spot bias, selective perception, motivated skepticism, my-side bias, groupthink and naïve realism, which help explain why dueling sides overestimate support for their own position and downgrade opponents’ views. In the campus disturbances, opponents did not simply interpret the same situation differently, they actually saw different things. Read the whole story: Inside Higher Education More of our Members in the Media >
Does Posture Influence the Stroop Effect?Emilie E. Caron, Michael G. Reynolds, Brandon C. W. Ralph, Jonathan S. A. Carriere, Derek Besner, and Daniel Smilek In a previous study, Rosenbaum and colleagues (2017) reported that participants showed a smaller Stroop effect (i.e., a smaller difference between the time they took to name the colors of letters used to write out color names when they matched versus when they did not match) when they performed the Stroop task while standing rather than when sitting. In five experiments, Caron and colleagues obtained a standard Stroop effect but did not find evidence that sitting significantly decreased the Stroop effect. Caron and colleagues’ results suggest that posture does not appear to influence the magnitude of the Stroop effect. Positive Affect Is Associated With Less Memory Decline: Evidence From a 9-Year Longitudinal StudyEmily F. Hittner, Jacquelyn E. Stephens, Nicholas A. Turiano, Denis Gerstorf, Margie E. Lachman, and Claudia M. Haase Middle-age and older adults who experience positive affect—feeling enthusiastic, attentive, proud, active—appear to show less memory decline. Hittner and colleagues examined data from a longitudinal U.S. study that, among other measures, tracked middle-aged participants’ self-reported positive affect and measured their memory using free recall. The researchers observed that, across 9 years, participants with higher positive affect showed less memory decline than those with lower positive affect. This association appears to reflect the impact of positive affect on memory rather than the impact of memory on affect. Expectancy Violation Drives Memory Boost for Stressful EventsFelix Kalbe, Stina Bange, Annika Lutz, and Lars Schwabe Detailed information about an upcoming stressor might reduce a person’s usually enhanced memory for stressful events by reducing their “expectancy violation.” Participants who went through a stressful situation (mock job interview) and had previously received information about the stressor remembered the objects present during the event with the same level of detail as those who went through a control event (arithmetic tasks). However, participants who went through the stressful event without previous information—that is when the stressor violated their expectancy—had a more detailed memory than those who went through the control event. Using a neuroimaging technique, the researchers linked expectancy violation and memory formation under stress to the inferior temporal cortex. The Negative Effect of Smartphone Use on Academic Performance May Be Overestimated: Evidence From a 2-Year Panel StudyAndreas Bjerre-Nielsen, Asger Andersen, Kelton Minor, and David Dreyer LassenBjerre-Nielsen and colleagues monitored 470 students’ smartphone usage over 2 years and assessed their academic performance across multiple courses. They found that students who used their smartphones in class more had lower grades than those who used their smartphones less. However, this negative effect was not as large when the researchers used a model to control for stable characteristics of students and courses (e.g., student self-control, teacher quality), including those not observed by researchers. These findings indicate that previous research that only controlled for observed student characteristics might have overestimated the negative effects of smartphone use on academic performance. Number Adaptation Can Be Dissociated From Density AdaptationKevin DeSimone, Minjung Kim, and Richard F. MurrayWhich mechanisms underlie the ability to judge the number of objects in a scene even when there are too many to be counted? DeSimone and colleagues examined number adaptation—a phenomenon where, after viewing several objects, the number of objects in other images can appear to change substantially. They found that when an adaptation stimulus had more objects but lower density than a subsequent stimulus, adaptation reduced the number of perceived objects in the subsequent stimulus. This result indicates that number adaptation does not depend simply on mechanisms tuned to perceive density but requires number-specific mechanisms. Preregistered Direct Replication of “Sick Body, Vigilant Mind: The Biological Immune System Activates the Behavioral Immune System”Joshua M. Tybur, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, Joshua M. Ackerman, and Vanessa Fasolt In 2011, Miller and Maner showed that individuals who had recently been ill, and thus may have been more vulnerable to infection, were more likely to direct their attention to disfigured faces (i.e., those with infectious-disease cues, when compared with typical “healthy” faces) than individuals who had not recently been ill. However, Tybur and colleagues attempted to replicate this finding with a larger sample of participants and did not find a relationship between recent illness and biased attention to cues for infection. The Reflection Effect in Memory-Based DecisionsRegina A. Weilbächer, Peter M. Kraemer, and Sebastian Gluth People may prefer options that they remember better in positive domains (e.g., appetitive images and financial yields), just as they avoid options with uncertain outcomes more often in gain domains than in loss domains. Participants were told to memorize the association between options and their locations on a screen. Afterward, they chose between two highlighted locations and attempted to match the locations to the options they had previously learned. When the options were positive (i.e., gain domain), participants were more likely to choose locations with options they remembered. The opposite occurred when the options were negative (i.e., loss domain; aversive images or financial loss).
LinkedIn Pinterest Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share Email Despite decades of efforts to banish the idea of “jobs for men” — construction worker, firefighter, mechanic — and “jobs for women” — teacher, flight attendant, registered nurse — almost 69 percent of workers are in occupations that are dominated by one gender or the other, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Why does gender segregation in jobs persist?In a new study, Rice social scientist Erin Cech dispels one popular explanation: that women choose more “flexible” (female-dominated) career fields that better accommodate their plans to raise children, while men choose “provider-friendly” (male-dominated) career fields that maximize their earning power to support their families. Called the “family plans thesis,” this idea is embedded in several economic, sociological and socio-psychological explanations of occupational gender segregation. “Proponents of this perspective see segregation as the outcome of men’s and women’s deliberate, economically rational decision-making to make the best use of their educational investments in light of their family plans,” said Cech, an assistant professor of sociology.For the study, which will be published in the journal Gender & Society, Cech interviewed 100 students enrolled in a variety of majors at three universities. She found that for the majority of men (61 percent) and women (52 percent), their plans to have a family did not play any part in their choice of a major or career field.“For many students, such plans are seen as distant in time from their immediate career decisions,” she said. “Only a quarter of men (and a handful of women) discuss a planned-provider role as a partial motive in their occupational choices, and only seven women (13 percent) and one man (2 percent) describe choosing occupational paths in part to accommodate planned caregiving responsibilities.” Even those who did seem to act in accordance with the family-plans thesis didn’t contribute more extensively to gender segregation than their peers, she said. “Respondents who plan to play a provider role are not more likely to be enrolled in men-dominated academic majors, while students who anticipate a caregiving role are not more likely to be enrolled in women-dominated majors.”The findings highlight the theoretical problem of mistaking broader labor-market processes as the intended result of men’s and women’s preferences, absent any cultural and structural constraints on such preferences, Cech said.“The family plans thesis, in other words, seems to explain away occupational segregation as the result of individualistic, free choices,” she said. “Ironically the family plans thesis itself may help reproduce occupational segregation by impacting how parents encourage their children, how teachers advise students and how employers think about employees.“By reinforcing the family plans thesis without careful examination of its assumptions, scholars risk contributing to gender segregation by lending legitimacy to popular assumptions that blame women for ‘preferring’ lower-paid, lower-status occupations because such fields are presumed to accommodate women’s desired caregiving roles.”The students Cech interviewed — 56 women and 44 men — were enrolled at Stanford University (35 students), the University of Houston (30 students) and Montana State University (35 students). Twenty-five percent were African-American, 14 percent Hispanic, 14 percent Asian or Asian-American, 53 percent white and 11 percent another race or ethnicity. Twenty percent (11 women, 9 men) were married or in long-term partnerships, but none had children. Eight students identified as nonheterosexual. Students were enrolled in a variety of college majors, with half in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math-related — fields. Forty-nine women (88 percent) and 40 men (91 percent) expected to have children in the future. The remainder of respondents planned to remain childless.Cech asked students questions about why they chose their major, what they planned to do after graduation and the variety of factors they considered when making those decisions. She also asked them whether they planned to have a family and whether their thoughts about a family influenced their major or postgraduation career choice in any way.Depending on their answers, the students were categorized in the study in one of three ways: as “accommodating a caregiver role” if they mentioned considerations of caregiving responsibilities in making college and career decisions, as “accommodating a provider role” if they cited considerations of wanting a provider-friendly occupation, or as “not accommodating any role.”Of those who said their plans to have a family did not play a role in the career decision-making, a quarter (31 percent of men and 18 percent of women) said that their career decisions stemmed from a “me first, family later” perspective. Other respondents said that their careers would dictate the composition of their families, not the other way around.Five women, but no men, noted that they expect it will be difficult to balance work and caregiving demands, but believe they can “have both,” are “not too worried” and expressed confidence that they can “manage to balance them once they get to that stage.”Ten men factored a planned-provider role into their career decisions to some extent. Seven women said that they make career decisions in part by considering fields that will allow them to provide for the family financially.Thirteen women and three men said that they selected particular occupations in part because they believe that such jobs will provide the flexibility and career structures they desire to balance work with planned caregiving responsibilities.Only one student — a woman at Montana State — gave flexibility as the “most important” consideration in her career decisions.“Of course, gendered division of work and family responsibilities among heterosexual couples remains commonplace,” Cech said. “These results point to the need to understand how people who have not deliberately incorporated family plans into their early career decisions wind up down the line in circumstances that largely reproduce previous generations’ gendered division of labor — especially with women shouldering the majority of caregiving responsibilities.”Beyond that, Cech said, employers should take note of these findings. If the majority of young women and men who plan to have families expect to “work it out” when those caregiving responsibilities emerge rather than deliberately accommodating family plans, she said, employers must work harder to institute flexibility policies and re-entry programs that will retain talented workers.
The two business units were previously housed in separate buildings, and Crowley believes it will be more efficient to bring them together.Customers can also now reach both the liner and logistics teams via a single phone number. From left to right: Jorge Villela, Neil Perlmutter, Ned LaGoy, Jorge Campabadal, Carlos Beltran, Jorge Estevez, Frank Larkin, Claudia Kattan, Steve Collar, Miguel Ariga and Zoraida Jirau.www.crowley.com
Privatising the courts service is not on the government’s agenda, Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, told a free-market thinktank today.Answering questions at a Policy Exchange event Privatising Justice: myths, threats, opportunities, Grayling was invited to state ‘quite categorically’ that there are no plans to privatise the courts service.Earlier this month, senior judges attacked Ministry of Justice proposals to place courts on a ‘solid financial footing’ by charging wealthy litigants higher fees.Grayling (pictured) said that current reforms are aimed at giving courts ‘more freedom to manage their real estate’ and costs. However he stressed: ‘Those operating the courts are not going to be privatised.’Earlier, he defended his plan to contract out most of the probation service, saying the government had learned lessons from previous contracts to outsource offender services. Indicating that MoJ contractors G4S and Serco ‘are still subject to potential criminal proceedings’, he said, private contractors ‘can bring value to government but you can’t expect to play fast and loose with government and get away with it’.Members of the National Association of Probation Officers are to strike on 31 March in protest against plans to privatise 70% of the probation service’s work. The union describes the plan as ‘a recklessly dangerous social experiment that presents massive risks to the safety of communities’.Grayling denied that the contracts were driven by dogma or that the controversial principle of payment by results was too radical a step. ‘This is not rocket science, it’s basically performance-related pay.’ He said that the contracts would not necessarily go to the lowest bidder.‘We’re not doing the contracting on the basis of price. First and foremost this is about social change.’ Challenged on the cuts to criminal legal aid, he said he had done his best to ‘sweeten the pill’ of budget cuts. ‘I am disappointed that the bar feels I have not done enough. I have had constructive dialogue with the Law Society, I wish we had a more constructive dialogue with the bar.’ Grayling denied that recruitments of advocates to the Public Defender Service (PDS) were aimed at replacing the independent bar.’The PDS has been around since 2001, this is not a new creation. I have no desire for an institution to replace the independent bar with a supercharged public defender service.’
Statistics released by the Bar Standards Board have highlighted the dismal prospects for students hoping to obtain a bar pupillage, with the top providers failing to get even a third of their students into chambers.BPP’s London branch had the best record between 2011 and 2013 of students getting pupillages. However despite this, the figures show that 72% of its students starting the course in 2011, 2012 or 2013 are still yet to begin a pupillage.And of those who began the course in 2013, only 17% have started in chambers. The University of Northumbria was revealed as the worst at getting students to pupillage, with just 3% of students from those three years having started a pupillage. And out of those starting the course in 2013, none of its 48 students had commenced a pupillage yet.Meanwhile at Cardiff University just 6% of students had obtained a pupillage, with just one of 51 students in 2013 starting their final level of training before becoming a barrister. The University of Law’s London branch and City Law School came joint second with 22% of their students starting a pupillage.The statistics come as the bar regulator consults on changes to the bar training course, after barristers, pupils and students condemned the course as too expensive and poor value for money when responding to a review on training at the bar.One of the changes the regulator has proposed is preventing candidates with a 2:2 degree from being accepted onto the bar training course.The statistics published today showed that 26% of students starting a course in 2011, 2012 or 2013 had a lower second-class degree.The University of Northumbria told the Gazette that six of its 2013 intake had obtained pupillages, but this had not been recorded by the BSB as the regulator’s figures were based on those starting pupillages before 24 July 2015.Its students started their pupillages in September/October this year. Anna Banfield, director of bar professional training course (BPTC) programmes at BPP University Law School, said: ‘We are pleased that BPP University Law School London has come out top in the comparison of students with pupillage.‘However, the pupillage statistics have to be read in context. In particular, it is important to take account of the number of international students who study the BPTC with the intention of returning to their home jurisdiction who do not seek pupillage in England or Wales. Across all providers the proportion of international students is variable year on year but is typically about 50%.‘This means that the pool of students competing for pupillage is significantly smaller than it may first appear.’