Student Justice Jones engages with community for Doors Open Minneapolis

Juxtaposition Arts apprentices Bird Coulter and Justice Jones. Marianne Combs | MPR News
Juxtaposition Arts apprentices Bird Coulter (left) and Justice Jones (right). Marianne Combs | MPR News

Doors Open Minneapolis offers people the opportunity to explore the history and culture of Minneapolis through more than 100 of the city’s buildings that will be open May 18 and 19.

Current Auggie, Justice Jones, who is an apprentice with visual art center Juxtaposition Arts, told MPR News, that she will lead an activity at the Mill City Museum with the purpose to “arm people with the tools for participating in the public design process so they can speak up on issues like gentrification and accessibility.”

“Getting people to think about what are you doing with your waste. What kind of materials are you using, are you sourcing them locally? Can you remake a building using the foundation that’s already there? Just finding ways to create communities that are better for the environment and better for people.”

See the full story at the MPR News website.

Kare 11 features Olivia Maccoux ’19 and her graduation journey after 140 brain surgeries

Olivia Maccoux - Kare 11
Olivia Maccoux – Kare 11

Olivia Maccoux ’19 spoke with Kare 11 about her journey to graduation after 140 brain surgeries. Maccoux lives with a rare condition called hydrocephalus, which causes fluid to build on the brain. “College graduation to me is a big deal,” she told Kare 11. “The doctors didn’t believe I’d make it past birth.”

On May 10, Maccoux graduated with honors from Augsburg, a day she thought would never happen. During her freshman year in college, she had a seizure in her dorm room and had to drop out of school for a time. Aside from her family and friends, her neurosurgeon was also present at the U.S. Bank Stadium commencement ceremony. She credits him for why she was able to graduate and now wants to build a career sharing her story with the world. Her experiences have given her a purpose to advocate and be a voice for those with invisible illness and disabilities. Recently, Maccoux spoke at a fundraising event in Hollywood, California, with comedian Conan O’Brien, where she helped raise $300,000 by sharing her story. “Just because you have not so great circumstances doesn’t mean your life is over” she told Kare 11.

 

See the full story at Kare 11’s website.

 

Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated May 2019)

Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.

Status with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Board of Immigration Appeals has granted Mzenga Wanyama’s motion to reopen the asylum application for him and his wife, Mary Mzenga, for another hearing. Their case will now be transferred back to the local immigration court in the Twin Cities where they will be allowed to present new evidence in support of the asylum application and application for cancellation of removal. This decision allows them to remain in the U.S. while the immigration court reviews their case.

On August 31, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a stay of removal. As a result, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement couldn’t deport them until the Board issued a decision on the merits of the motion to reopen the asylum case.

ICE had previously informed them that they were required to depart the United States in October 2018.

Background
On April 5, 2018, Wanyama and his wife were informed in a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ICE would allow them 90 days to depart the United States. During a June 29, 2018 meeting ICE confirmed that it had extended their departure date from July 4, 2018 to August 3, 2018. The ICE office had asked them to return to the office on July 25, 2018 for a check-in.

On July 25, 2018, ICE then informed them that they would have to depart the United States on September 9, 2018. He was required to bring the plane tickets with a September 9 departure data to a check-in appointment with ICE on September 4, 2018. The September 9, 2018 departure was later extended 30 days.

Meanwhile, a motion to reopen Dr. Wanyama’s asylum application based on changed country conditions and a stay of removal was filed earlier that summer with the Board of Immigration Appeals. Once ICE was unwilling to use its discretionary authority any longer, his attorney requested the emergency review of the stay of removal that was granted August 31, 2018. If the stay had not granted, he and his wife would most likely have had to leave the U.S. in October 2018.

Augsburg University statements
Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5, 2018 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9, 2018. These statements are posted below:

Augsburg University Faculty Senate statement
The Faculty Senate of Augsburg University wishes to express our unanimous and unconditional support for our friend and colleague, Professor Mzenga Wanyama. We urge all those who care about Professor Wanyama to consider signing the petition on his behalf at https://www.change.org/p/augsburg-university-support-augsburg-professor-mzenga-wanyama.

Augsburg University faculty statement
The Augsburg University faculty calls on the U.S. government to halt plans for the unjust deportation of our colleague Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his spouse and Augsburg nursing student Mary Mzenga and to permit their continued work and residence in the US. We stand against the anti-immigrant sentiment that is prompting the current wave of deportations and proudly affirm our status as an institution that supports the many immigrant and refugee members of our academic community.

Website
A website, www.mzenga.com, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.

Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Professor Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.

Media coverage: Augsburg launches Minnesota’s only university women’s wrestling team

Auggies Womens wrestlingAugsburg becomes Minnesota’s only university with a varsity women’s wrestling team, media outlets reported.

The Star Tribune and City Pages featured stories about the Augsburg University team that will start competing during the 2019-20 academic year.

According to City Pages: “Wrestling is one of the fastest-growing high school sports in the country among women. Since 1994, the number of participants has shot up from 800 to 16,500. So far, only 46 other colleges and universities have programs, but Augsburg is expected to be one of 14 schools to jump on the bandwagon within the next two years.”

The wrestling team continues Augsburg’s pioneering tradition in women’s athletics. Augsburg was the first college in the Midwest in 1995 to sponsor a varsity women’s ice hockey team. Then, in 2014, Augsburg became the first collegiate institution in Minnesota to sponsor a varsity women’s lacrosse team.

Article links:

City Pages story

Star Tribune article

Augsburg Athletics announcement

 

Star Tribune features Augsburg’s Traditional Powwow

Shari L. Gross – Star Tribune

Images from Augsburg University’s 11th Traditional Powwow were featured in a photo essay by the Star Tribune. The photos show various aspects of the powwow, ranging from dances and drumming to fellowship and friendship. The event, cohosted by Augsburg’s American Indian Student Services and Indigenous Student Association, includes food concessions, arts and crafts vendors, and informational tabling about Augsburg’s educational opportunities and services for native students of all ages. Graduating Augsburg American Indian students are also recognized.

 

Visit the Star Tribune’s website to view the photos.

Star Tribune Spotlights Augsburg in Academic Freedom and Inclusive Learning Story

Academic freedom on college and university campuses is part of a national dialogue in higher education today. The Star Tribune covered this topic in featuring Augsburg University’s work to be a more inclusive campus.

The story focused on Augsburg as it delves into how today’s increasingly diverse student-centered campuses are managing academic freedom and inclusive learning environments. Reporter Mila Koumpilova interviewed Augsburg faculty, students, and provost.

Read the story.

Basketball Star Coplin Named 2019 NABC Division III National Player of the Year

Booker Coplin

The National Association of Basketball Coaches named Augsburg guard Booker Coplin ’20, a junior from Shakopee, the Division III Men’s National Player of the Year, the Star Tribune reported. Coplin led the Auggies to a 19-9 record and was the MIAC’s scoring and rebounding champion, averaging 28 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, according to the Star Tribune. Coplin finished second in both total points and points per game among NCAA Division III players nationally. Last month, Coplin was also named MIAC Player of Year.

 

See full story at Star Tribune’s website.

See the MIAC Player of the Year story at Star Tribune’s website.

 

Act Six Scholarship Winners Featured in Channel 5 Minnesota Moment

Augsburg University Dean of Students Sarah Griesse with an Act Six scholar.
Augsburg University Dean of Students Sarah Griesse with an Act Six scholar.

On March 12, 45 of the Twin Cities’ most promising high school urban leaders received the Act Six scholarship, an initiative of Urban Ventures. Act Six is Minneapolis-St. Paul’s only full-tuition, full-need urban leadership award. Augsburg University is proud to be one of the six partner colleges, all of which are located in the Metro area.

Watch the full report at KSTP Channel 5’s website.

Augsburg unearths a 1965 promo video of Minneapolis

In the 1960s, young couples enjoyed going out to eat meals at restaurants.City Pages shared a delightful 1965 promo video for Minneapolis. It was unearthed by Augsburg Digital Archivist Stewart Van Cleve. “The Minneapolis promotional film was a complete surprise,” says Van Cleve, adding that it was discovered inside a canister mislabeled “Skip Day 1947.”

Although the origins of the video are unknown, the soundtrack was written by Dick Wilson and Ray Charles, the duo behind Minnesota Twins fight song “We’re Gonna Win Twins.”

See full report at the City Pages website.

Explore more retro videos from Augsburg’s collection.

Augsburg’s Reinaldo Moya Wins Prestigious Music Award

Assistant Professor of Music Composition Reinaldo Moya was a recipient of an award in music announced by The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Moya was awarded one of two $15,000 Charles Ives Fellowships.

Candidates for music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May.

View the announcement.