Category Archives: In the News

Norris Calls Out Hypocrisy on Dream Act Flip-Flop

WBAL continued its coverage of Maryland’s referendum on a bill offering in-state tuition to undocumented students who fit certain criteria with a new investigative piece on the shifting positions of state politicians. UMBC chair of public policy Donald Norris suggested some GOP legislators’ new support for the referendum, after having voted previously for the bill, is “about political advantage” rather than principle. Norris clarified, “The Democrats would do the same thing” in another situation. When asked about the role of referendums in Maryland politics, where Republicans are seeking alternative ways to have an impact on a Democratic-controlled state house, Norris said, “I don’t think one referendum tells us that there is a trend… I think it would be too cumbersome to try to govern by referendum.”

Stan VanDerBeek, Former Chair of Visual Arts, Profiled on NPR

Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984), a major figure in 20th century filmmaking and former chair of Visual Arts at UMBC, is the subject of a major retrospective at the Contemporary Museum of Arts in Houston. NPR profiled VanDerBeek and the exhibition on Sunday, July 10.

“For All the World to See” in the News

“For All the World to See,” an exhibition curated by UMBC research professor Maurice Berger and organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, continues to receive accolades in the media, including CNN, Washington Express, and the Washington Examiner. The exhibition is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and can be seen there through November 27.

Norris Comments on Johnson Corruption Case for AP

Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson pleaded guilty last week to a single charge of conspiracy to commit evidence and witness tampering, making it clear that “she was a willing accomplice in her husband’s corruption,” the Associated Press (AP) has reported. Despite this development, Johnson did not immediately resign from office, a move UMBC public policy chair Donald Norris called “totally disgusting behavior on the part of a convicted felon.”

“Staying in office is like thumbing her nose at the public,” Norris commented. “There is absolutely nothing proper about what she’s doing, even though it’s legal.” The AP story on her conviction was picked up by the Washington Post, Washington Examiner and Fox News. Following outcry from the county council and broader public, Johnson has now resigned, a week after her guilty plea.

Norris also commented in a recent Washington Post article on the status of Maryland’s bill offering in-state tuition for some undocumented immigrants and the signature campaign challenging it.

Schaller in Baltimore Sun: “How the Government is Like Insurance”

Despite their differences, liberal blogger Ezra Klein and Bush-appointed former deputy treasury secretary Peter Fisher agree that the United States is essentially a large insurance conglomerate with a standing army, according to UMBC political science professor Thomas F. Schaller. In his latest Baltimore Sun column, Schaller writes: “So what does insurance have to do with government? Well, almost everything.” He ultimately argues, “Properly understood as a giant insurance company with a military behind it—a military that, again, is itself a form of insurance against various potential harms by outsiders—the federal government is thus both philosophically and operationally conservative.”

Christine Mallinson, Language, Literacy and Culture, on WAMU

Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay is only a 90-minute ferry ride from the mainland of Virginia and Maryland, but residents there speak a unique dialect of English.

Christine Mallinson, assistant professor of language, literacy and culture, shared her thoughts on the origin of the dialect and the reasons for its persistence with WAMU for a story entitled “Tangier Islanders Retain Unique Dialect.”

“Language is always changing and always developing and the Tangier Islanders have also come up with their own unique innovations and variations that make the dialect their own,” she says.

The story, which ran on June 27, can be read and heard here.

Zeynep Tufekci, Sociology/Anthropology, on Reuters MediaFile

Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor of sociology, offered a powerful and succinct op-ed in Reuters responding to New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller’s comments about Twitter’s lack of conversational capacity. Tufkeci argues that social media has the potential to improve journalism: “The emergence of expert and academic blogs offers a refreshing alternative [to elite punditry]” and “Twitter provides rapid access to crowd-sourced fact-checking, on-the-ground reporting and rebuttal.” Read her full op-ed on Reuters MediaFile. Tufekci will soon move to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but you can continue to follower her via

Don Norris, Public Policy, on WBAL-TV

Don Norris, chair of public policy, appeared on WBAL-TV again to discuss Baltimore’s mayoral race and incumbent Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who kicked off her candidacy on the steps of her childhood home, joined by fellow Democrats Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Rep. Elijah Cummings. Norris, who also directs UMBC’s Maryland Institute For Policy Analysis and Research, suggested voter turnout for the September 13 primary will be low and that it’s Rawlings-Blake’s election to lose. “She is an incumbent,” he notes, “so I think it is going to be rather difficult for her opponents.”

Judah Ronch, Erickson School, in The (Annapolis) Capital

As people age, their mobility needs change. Judah Ronch, dean of UMBC’s Erickson School, argues that maintaining mobility can be a challenge for seniors who want to remain active and independent. Roadways and even public transportation are often built with young drivers and riders in mind and frequently fail to meet the needs of older adults. The challenges of mobility in later life are also very personal. “We’re an automobile culture and automobiles provide the independence that we value so much as a society,” said Ronch. “Now you’re getting the boomers who are starting to grow older, and we were the first to get a car when we were teenagers. (Driving) is very central to our identity as adults.” Read the full article from The (Annapolis) Capital.

George S. Everly, Jr., UMBC Training Centers, on Harvard Business Review Blog

The key to not only surviving, but prospering, in difficult times is resilience, notes George S. Everly, Jr., on the Harvard Business Review blog. Everly, the executive director of Resiliency Science Institutes at UMBC Training Centers, writes, “While human resilience may be thought of as a personality trait, in the aggregate, groups, organizations, and even communities can learn to develop a ‘culture of resilience’ which manifests itself as a form of ‘psychological immunity’ to, or the ability to rebound from, the untoward effects of adversity.” He goes on to describe how people and groups can develop the quality of self-efficacy, “the belief in one’s agency and the ability to be a catalyst for change,” which is essential for resilience. Read the post to learn more.