Context from Campus: July 20-24

Trending Topics:

Military lifts ban on transgender individuals and other transgender issues
With the recent announcement by the military to lift the ban that currently prohibits transgender individuals from serving their country and all the media attention surrounding Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition, transgender people are beginning to receive the support to express themselves as they truly feel. Name and gender marker change, personal pronouns, restroom access, as well as transgender healthcare are a few of the issues that transgender people have to navigate on college campuses. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center is invested in working with the U to improve the experience of transgender students, faculty and staff on campus. In addition, C. Kai Medina-Martinez, director of the U’s LGBT Resource Center, is currently involved with research focusing on the experiences of transgender faculty and staff in higher education more broadly, work that will help mold best practices across the field.
Phone: 801-587-7973 | Email:

A mother’s touch matters before birth
We know that newborns respond to the touch of their mother. It’s why new moms are encouraged to use “kangaroo care” or skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. A new study shows that response may start while a baby is in the womb. Researchers in Scotland found a significant fetal response when moms-to-be spoke to their babies or rubbed their bellies. It also showed that the fetus can differentiate between talking and touch. OB-GYN Erin Clark is available to discuss the study and what it means for moms-to-be. To schedule an interview, contact Libby Mitchell at U Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs.
Phone: 801-587-0945 | Email:

Ending cash bail for low-level offenders
New York City is making headlines for a new plan to end cash bail for low-level offenders. Now, other big cities across the country, including Philadelphia, may follow suit. Law professor Shima Baradaran is an expert on bail and pre-trial detention and is currently writing a book on both issues. She is available for commentary related to different aspects of the debate regarding the end of cash bail in cities.
Phone: 801-819-5322 | Email:

Fireworks and air quality
Holidays in Utah come with more than a fair share of fireworks that light up the night sky, but how does the smoky aftermath affect the state’s air quality—and ultimately—people’s health? Kerry Kelly, associate director of the U’s Program for Air Quality, Health and Society, is available for commentary on what research shows about air quality on days when large fireworks displays are common.
Phone: 801-792-6221 | Email:

Hot slides at Cottonwood Heights and other common playground injuries
Cottonwood Heights recently temporarily shut down slides at its popular Mountview Park after complaints of injuries related to hot equipment. The city isn’t unjustified in its decision—across the country, many emergency rooms see burns and other injuries that happen in the summer due to playground mishaps. What are the most common problems? Several pediatricians at the U Health Care are available to answer questions related to common playground injuries and summertime pitfalls. To schedule an interview, contact Libby Mitchell or Marissa Villaseñor at the U Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs.
Libby Mitchell | Phone: 801-587-0945 | Email:
Marissa Villaseñor | Phone: 801-581-3102 | Email: marissa.villaseñ

Is Atticus Finch who you thought he was?
Reviews of Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” have some surprised by Atticus Finch’s portrayal as a racist, but U professor Ann Engar said the signs were there. Engar has written about the novel’s influence on the legal profession and is interested in how this portrayal will affect lawyers, especially those who were inspired to go to law school because of the book. She is available to discuss the racist clues about Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the book’s influence on the legal profession.
Phone: 801-581-4891 | Email:  

Event Highlights:

Saturday, July 18
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts offers free family activities on the third Saturday of every month. Instruction and activities are held for a limited group of 60. On July 18, families are invited to make plastic clay sculptures inspired by objects from the exhibition, “Salt 11: Duane Linklater,” where the artist created 3-D printed copies of items from the UMFA’s American Indian collection. Staff from the J. Willard Marriott Library will demonstrate this intriguing technology on their 3-D printer. For more information, call 801-581-3580 or email This program is supported by the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks Program.
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Emma Eccles Jones Education Center Classroom, 410 Campus Center Drive, 1-4 p.m.

Monday, July 20
Red Butte Garden’s free Horticulture Spotlight Lecture Series features Katie Wagner, Utah State University Extension assistant professor of horticulture. She will cover basic soil science principles for gardeners. Free tickets are available online.
Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Monday-Thursday, July 20-23
In an effort to understand the Red Butte Creek watershed like never before, close to 50 researchers will gather to study all aspects of the creek and its surrounding watershed in a collaborative, four-day venture. They will take a comprehensive “snapshot” of the water and surrounding land and air to better understand how to maintain a safe, stable, high-quality water supply in the face of growing demand for water and increasing climate variability. Call Paul Brooks, 520-331-0088, for more information.
Red Butte Creek, beginning at 1100 E. 1300 South and moving up through campus and into the canyon over the four days, all day

Media Contacts For This Story

communications specialist, University Communications, University of Utah
Office Phone: 801-581-7295
Cell Phone: 435-232-0312