Media Tip Sheet: Bucknell’s May Story Ideas

LEWISBURG, Pa. — These are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you in May.

NOT SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE — A group of U.S. lawmakers started talks on a police reform bill the morning after President Biden urged Congress in his speech to act before the May 25 anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. The reform bill is part of a larger Biden administration effort to address social justice and discrimination across American life, including linguistic discrimination. It became an issue in Floyd’s case when Derek Chauvin’s defense claimed that a body-cam video captured Floyd saying, “I ate too many drugs,” when he actually said, “I ain’t do any drugs.” Bucknell Professor Hiram Smith, Spanish — a linguist who researches African American English (AAE) — believes that had a trained linguist who researches AAE been called to testify and explained that in AAE, “ain’t” has the additional meaning of didn’t, it would have helped. Along with principal collaborators Dr. Jessica Kalbfeld and Dr. Taylor Jones, consultants in the diversity & inclusion firm CulturePoint, Smith joined a team that recently met with Sen. Chuck Schumer about an AAE and linguistic discrimination federal research proposal. “It will impact areas such as the criminal justice system, education, housing, the workplace and healthcare,” Smith says. CONTACT: Smith, 570-939-4340, hiram.smith@bucknell.edu

THE BOOK ON SOCIAL TAX EXPENDITURES — To mark his first 100 days, President Biden rolled out his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which would expand access to education and child care while being financed partly through higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That’s exactly the social tax expenditures that Bucknell political science professor Chris Ellis, co-director of the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy, examines with Syracuse University political science professor Christopher Faricy in their new book The Other Side of the Coin. Drawing on nationally representative surveys and survey experiments, Ellis and Faricy show that social welfare policies designed as tax expenditures, as opposed to direct spending on social welfare programs, are widely popular with the general public. The authors found that that recipients of these subsidies are well aware of them and act in their economic self-interest in supporting tax breaks for social welfare purposes. They theorize that Democrats were able to generate conservative support for Biden’s earlier $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 bill by designing the most progressive components of the bill as a tax credit rather than a direct check. CONTACT: Ellis, 412-849-6500 (c), 570-577-1960, chris.ellis@bucknell.edu

DESIGNING REAL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS — The Design Realization course taught by Freeman College of Management Professor Collin Smith, markets, innovation & design, offers students real world business design experience. Working with real companies for one-to-two week “design sprints,” student teams gain creative problem solving and project management experience as they coordinate processes and creative outcomes with their clients, developing usable prototypes, play testing them, and telling compelling stories to showcase the product or solution in real-time. “Students gain exposure to creativity in business, understanding the real challenges faced by organizations today, then generating impactful ideas and bringing them. It’s fast. It’s hands on. It’s real.” Smith says. This semester, the student teams partnered with the Brand Experience Lab in Jersey City to find ways to market skincare products during COVID, when department store demos are not feasible. During their next ‘design sprint’ they worked with PetSmart to create products that address the emotional strain that pets and guardians experience after returning to work after a year of being remote. Their final design challenge was to help a local nature preservation organization in Williamsport establish a brand strategy and visual identity from the ground up. Several Bucknell alumni also joined this course as coaches to review the projects along the way. CONTACT: Smith, 480-203-0553 (c), collin.smith@bucknell.edu

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CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-238-6266 (c), mike.ferlazzo@bucknell.edu

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