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Saint Mary’s candidates run unopposed

first_imgJuniors Kat Sullivan and Maddy Martin will run unopposed for 2013-14 Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president. The ticket’s candidacy was announced Tuesday, one day after submitting its platform. Sullivan and Martin bring extensive experience on Student Government Association (SGA) and on other campus boards. Sullivan, has been a member of the Student Activities Board since her first year at the College. This year, she holds an executive position on SGA as the vice president of external affairs. Martin also holds a position on SGA as the vice president of finance. Sullivan, a communication studies major with business administration and film studies minors from Melrose, Mass., said she wants to be student body president to give students a louder voice in policy and programming at Saint Mary’s. “[I want to] make sure my fellow Belles know that they can come to [SGA] with any questions or concerns. … I care about the needs of the Saint Mary’s Belles,” she said. “I realize how vital it is that the voices of the students are heard.” Sullivan said she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps as student body president. Joan McDermott Sullivan served as Saint Mary’s student body president as a senior during the 1975-76 school year. “My mom has always held a special place in her heart for the school and her memories here,” she said. “It would mean a great deal to me to be able to share this with her.” Martin, a biology and Spanish double major from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she saw room to improve the student government’s approachability. “I would love to focus on better communication between SGA and the student body,” she said. “I feel like there is still some disconnect and I would love to try to eliminate that. I want students to be able to know who we are and that they can come to us for anything.” In their platform, Sullivan and Martin said they plan for students, clubs, administrations and SGA to “work together as a community.” Sullivan said assembling the right team would be essential to reaching this goal. “I want to make sure that we really hit the ground running for the 2013-14 academic year,” she said. “It will be really important to have a well-established structure and continue with what previous SGA leaders have already accomplished. That being said, choosing girls who want to have a positive impact at Saint Mary’s will be key.” In addition to better communication and effective leadership, Martin said the team intends to introduce initiatives and plan events to instill more unity on campus. “I would really like to increase the school spirit around campus,” she said. “I am so proud to be a Saint Mary’s Belle and I believe all girls should feel this way.” Sullivan echoed Martin’s goal for an increased sense of school spirit and inclusion. “I’d love to focus on sisterhood and community,” she said. “Saint Mary’s girls have a lot of pride in who we are and what this school stands for. I want to make sure that every girl on this campus, both current and future Belles feel welcome and comfortable.” Sullivan said she wants to improve the quality and attendance of campus programming. “My personal goals include increasing attendance at events through a better understanding of [online information platform] OrgSync and building on the strong bonds that Saint Mary’s women have,” she said. “I want to raise awareness on issues that are prevalent on campus such as bullying, depression, anxiety and eating disorders, just to name a few. “By making these issues more known we will better able to help Saint Mary’s women who struggle with these issues and bring the community together.” Though only one ticket is running, Sullivan and Martin must receive a majority vote on Feb. 28 in order to assume their new positions upon the April 1 SGA turnover. “I’m happy about [being the only ticket] but I hope that people feel confident in our abilities as leaders,” Sullivan said. “I want people to trust us to voice their concerns. I think that campaigning will still be important because people should still know who we are so they know who to ask when they need something done at Saint Mary’s.”last_img read more

Examiners behaving badly

first_img 53SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield Before I jump into the kind of behavior that warrants an article like this, I want to say that I think most Examiners are good. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with many outstanding Examiners and support honest, ethical, and hard-working people at the state and federal levels. That said, there are still too many bad apples out there who need to be called out. I’m in a lot of credit union shops each year – 45 individual stops last year alone – and I see firsthand the stress examinations can cause. Most of the stress is quite normal and to be expected. There’s nothing fun about having our lives turned upside down, but it’s necessary. Exams are an essential part of our business, and we need (thorough exams) to ensure our safety, soundness, and long-term viability. For me, the problem starts when I hear nightmare examiner stories, stories that, if true (and I believe they are), are unprofessional and uncalled for. Most of the bad behavior falls into three buckets that I’ll call “the bad Bs,” and almost all occurs in smaller credit unions.BiasMember Bias. It’s a shame that at a time when credit unions are more focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, they still have to explain themselves to Examiners who display outdated bias, including statements such as,“you should quit lending to deadbeats who have credit scores less than 640.”When faced with this bias, I recommend that the credit union leader take some time to educate the examiner on credit union history and be prepared with research or examples that demonstrate that credit score alone is not a definitive factor in assessment of character.Credit unions that have been Low Income Designated (LID) by the NCUA should share the NCUA’s Supervisory Letter regarding supervision of LID credit unions. The NCUA issued the letter in 2010 and it was incorporated into Chapter 23 of the NCUA Examiner’s Manual – the chapter on LID credit unions. The guidance discusses the characteristics, benefits, and unique challenges of LID credit unions, and it further states: “Examiners should remember; however, all federal credit unions have a continuing obligation to meet the financial service needs of people of modest means…Examiners should consider these member characteristics and take them into account when they evaluate LICU loan portfolios as well as the products and services these credit unions offer.”I’ve written extensively on this topic. You can arm yourself with information from my past articles at CUinsight.com:https://www.cuinsight.com/ncua-thy-right-hand-dost-not-know-thy-left.htmlhttps://www.cuinsight.com/the-seven-myths-of-serving-lower-income-underserved-communities.htmlhttps://www.cuinsight.com/problem-members-vs-members-problems.htmlGender Bias. There are still “good old boy” Examiners who I believe treat female CEOs disrespectfully. It’s a level of disrespect I don’t believe would occur if the CEO were a male. It usually becomes obvious to me when the CEO is sharing the dialogue with the examiner. Comments such as, “I’ve told you before,” “Remember that last time you messed up,” and “We’re never going to approve that, you’ll have to wait your turn.” I admit, I wasn’t there to hear the conversation; it was shared with me in frustration. But I can tell you the effect of the comments was demeaning and were taken to mean the CEO is stupid.When I hear these of situations, I always encourage the leader to not tolerate it and to call out the behavior for what it is. I also encourage them to report this behavior to their Supervisory Examiner. Sadly, the fear of reprisal or retribution is high, and I doubt it gets reported. This is never acceptable and should not be tolerated. I believe that Supervisory Examiners will take these reports seriously. They need to be reported.BulliesThese are the Examiners who are condescending, rude, and unprofessional to credit union leaders, staff and Boards. They overstep their bounds, preying on credit union fear and lack of knowledge of their regulatory rights. These are credit unions that felt coerced into Letter of Understanding Agreements (LUAs), as they honestly thought there was no viable alternative. I’ve seen too many credit unions make agreements that I believe were not the best strategic decision for the credit union or the members they serve.I recently learned of a state examiner who was yelling at the top of his voice at a credit union leader. It’s never okay for an examiner (or anyone else) to yell at you. If they do, tell them that you expect a respectable decorum, or they can leave. Then report it to the Supervisory Examiner and demand an examiner that can professionally deal with the issues at hand. Make sure you understand the roles and responsibilities of Examiners, and your credit union’s rights. Don’t get coerced into something that is wrong or damaging for your credit union. Ask questions, and, if necessary, hire an attorney to give you sound legal advice. Also, NAFCU published an Exam Fairness Guide that is a great resource to help you navigate some exam challenges.Bad Advice I could go on all day here; I’ll try to be brief. There are so many examples of Examiners providing credit unions with advice that frankly, I don’t believe they are qualified to give. Far too many try to fit all credit unions into one-size-fits-all box. For example, they may assume that an indirect loan strategy that worked well for a credit union down the street will work for all credit unions. I also hear the opposite regarding indirect lending from Examiners, that it’s generally bad. I frequently hear recommendations to close branches or layoff people without enough thought to the reputation risk that could accompany some of those decisions. Or suggestions to CEO leaders that the credit union should just merge because there are no viable growth options for the credit union to pursue. Then there’s the specific suggestion on which shop the credit union should merge with.When I hear situations like this, I’m tempted to tell the credit union to get the Examiners “suggestion” in writing on regulator letterhead and ask the Examiner to share in the accountability if their “suggestion” does not go as planned. These situations are best mitigated through due diligence. I’m not apposed to credit unions considering Examiner suggestions. However, like anything else, they need to vet it and consider all the potential implications. Then, if they know it’s the wrong decision, they need to take a stand.Why it mattersCulture kills strategy. A culture that’s driven by extreme risk aversion, i.e. “the Examiners won’t approve,” will not end well. Examiners don’t run our businesses, we do. Unfair or discriminatory biases don’t belong in credit unions, and that includes Examiners. Don’t tolerate it. Credit union leadership in smaller credit unions is frequently a thankless job. Don’t undermine your experience and that of your team, or your quality of life by tolerating inappropriate behavior. YOU deserve better. Following bad advice, whether it comes from an Examiner or any other source could at worst cost you your charter, or at best could set your credit union back years financially. Credit unions – especially smaller ones – don’t have time or money to burn. Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Detailslast_img read more

China’s Sinopharm begins late stage trial of COVID-19 vaccine in UAE

first_imgChinese state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has begun Phase III clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi using up to 15,000 volunteers, the government in the capital of the United Arab Emirates said on Thursday.The human trial is a partnership between Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG), Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.The study, which began on Wednesday, is the world’s first Phase III trial of an inactivated vaccine, G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said. Inactivated vaccines are well known and have been used against diseases such as influenza and measles. No COVID-19 vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use. According to a WHO summary of the state of vaccine development for COVID-19, there are 23 potential vaccines in human trials, with three of them in or starting large-scale late stage, or Phase III, trials to test efficacy.The trial will test two vaccine strains and a placebo. Two doses three weeks apart will be administered and volunteers followed for a year, said Nawal Alkaabi, head of the UAE’s COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee.Around 15,000 volunteers over three to six months will be recruited, initially in Abu Dhabi. They will be 18 to 60 years of age with no serious underlying medical issues and without previous COVID-19 infection, Alkaabi said.Sinopharm chose the United Arab Emirates because around 200 different nationalities reside there and it has a focus on medical research and fighting the pandemic, Koshy said. Topics :center_img The UAE says it has conducted more than 4 million coronavirus infection tests on a population of around 9.6 million. It has recorded almost 56,000 cases of infection and 335 deaths.Sinopharm secured approval for the trial in late June. The experimental vaccine passed Phases I and II of clinical trials with 100% of volunteers generating antibodies after two doses in 28 days, an Abu Dhabi government statement said.China has been looking overseas to trial potential vaccines because of a lack of new patients at home. China’s Sinovac Biotech is conducting Phase III trials of a vaccine in Brazil.Sinopharm and G42 would not have access to patient data in the trial which would be conducted in Abu Dhabi state hospitals, G42 Healthcare research director Walid Zaher said, adding the UAE intended to manufacture any resulting successful vaccine.G42 is an Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence firm that has partnered with Chinese genomics company BGI to build a COVID-19 testing laboratory in the emirate and with Israeli contractors to develop technologies to help fight the disease.Koshy said the company was privately owned but declined to say by whom.Like other Gulf states the UAE has developed close ties with China, seeking capital and technology to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon revenues. However, key ally the United States has warned Gulf states to proceed with caution and to consider their relationship with Washington.last_img read more

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