USF Invites You to Pause for Justice Every Monday in June

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Office of Institutional Diversity, in partnership with the Criminal and Social Justice Department, History and Political Science Department, Social Work Department, Diversity Council, Safety and Security Department, and University Ministry, invites the community to join with members of the USF community every Monday in June as part of the Pause for Justice Series. At 8:46 a.m. and 8:46 p.m. on June 8, 15, 22 and 29, USF will host virtual sessions lasting 8 minutes and 46 seconds each.

“Although we mourn the loss of George Floyd, we celebrate the thought that this is a social justice movement and urgent call for change. Pause for Justice has been coordinated to show support for Black Lives while listening, compassionately, to the experience and stories of others,” said USF Director of Institutional Diversity and Title IX Coordinator Allison Heard.

“Each program lasts for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds which is the amount of time that a Minneapolis Police Officer had his knee on George’s Floyd’s neck while he called out the words, ‘I can’t breathe. Please help me. Mama!’  Often times when people die, we say, ‘Rest in Peace.’  Peace is achieved when there is equal justice and service under the law and when systems and institutions are not created to oppress people of color and vulnerable populations.  Each Monday program is presented in a different format and is designed for people to come together in an effort to empathize with the plight of others. Wayne W. Dyer is quoted as saying, ‘Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.’ In that respect, we invite members of the Joliet and neighboring communities to come and discuss life as it is,” Heard added.

Individuals interested in participating should email Allison Heard at aheard@stfrancis.edu to confirm attendance and to receive a private meeting link.

Visit stfrancis.edu/institutional-diversity or follow @usf_diversity on Instagram for more information on upcoming programming and events.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Criminal and Social Justice Students Help Make the Holidays Special for Families

Joliet, Ill. – Students in the University of St. Francis (USF) criminal and social justice program recently had a unique opportunity to bridge academic coursework with practical application while making a difference for the families of some of Will County’s incarcerated. The result of the opportunity provided Christmas gifts for area children with a parent currently participating in Will County’s Problem-Solving Courts.

In mid-October, USF assistant criminal and social justice professor Stacy Dewald, Ph.D., and her students partnered with Diana Murillo, social worker for the Will County Problem-Solving Courts, and Julie Sterr-McCabe, Will County Problem-Solving Court coordinator to facilitate the Reading Project, which engaged participants in Will County’s four problem-solving courts (drug court, mental health court, veteran’s count and Adult Redeploy Illinois). Incarcerated participants were able to select a children’s book to read to their child(ren) as USF students videotaped them reading. The USF students burned the recordings to DVDs and then gift-wrapped the DVDs and books, which were given to the participants’ children during the holiday season.

“Because of my prior professional career in the criminal justice field, I recognize the importance of bridging academic courses with practical application,” said Dewald, who formerly served as an investigator in the Will County Public Defender’s Office. “As a teacher, I want to connect the students to their own larger professional world as a way to encourage them to network and engage with those in the criminal justice field. I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to help the court participants of Will County Problem-Solving Courts.”

Dewald added that the experience was one that not only gave back to the community, but that also reflected the Franciscan values of USF.

“This was my first time incorporating a service-learning project and I believe that the project enriched the learning experience, taught civic responsibility and strengthened the community. I enjoyed watching the students grow as they gave back to their community. One of the best parts of the project was that it supported the Franciscan values of respect, compassion, service, and integrity as students humanized people that oftentimes our society views as invisible,” she said.

The project also had a positive impact on Dewald’s students, who were able to see a different side of the criminal justice system.

“I am very pleased that I got the opportunity to participate in the Reading Project. It gave my classmates and me a chance to contribute to the greater good and help those who are less fortunate. This experience allowed me to understand the benefits of problem-solving courts and how they help those reach program goals by living out better and non-criminal lifestyles,” said USF criminal and social justice major Steve Smock.

“This project marks a rare opportunity – an opportunity to re-humanize individuals in the court systems, be it problem-solving courts or otherwise. A reminder that despite the uniform of corrections, these are still people, with families they care about and people they love,” said criminal and social justice major Daniel Simmons.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Speaker and Sexual Assault Survivor Tim Mousseau to Share Story on Nov. 18

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Criminal and Social Justice Department and Office of Institutional Diversity welcome guest speaker Tim Mousseau to campus for a special presentation of “Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation” at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18. in San Damiano Hall (located inside the USF Welcome Center/Motherhouse at 420 Plainfield Road in Joliet). This is a free event and is open to the public.

“Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation” tells the story of Mousseau’s experience as a victim of sexual assault. In this keynote, Tim leads a deep and vulnerable conversation on the delicate topic of sexual assault drawing from his experiences and countless interactions with others in support groups. Why is an underlying culture of shame implicit, and how can it be stopped? Tim will help your communities understand the background information needed to facilitate healthy conversations on sexual assault, resources to assist in the survivor recovery process, and how the power of our personal and community stories can be utilized in prevention. Students will leave feeling prepared to create a culture of compassion while realistically facing an issue prevalent on campuses across the country.

Visit campuspeak.com/speaker/tim-mousseau for more information on Mousseau and his “Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation” presentation.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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