Monday, February 28, 2011

UCI Interim University Librarian Gerald R. Lowell Reflects on Career in Librarianship

Updated 1 March 2011: To listen to
the podcast of this program, click

Gerald R. Lowell in a relaxed mood. Photography © Daniel C. Tsang 2011
In his short tenure of less than a year heading UC Irvine Libraries, Interim University Librarian Gerald Ray Lowell has managed to uplift library morale and flatten the administrative structure so that more people have been involved in making decisions that affect those of us who work here. He has also taken an important stab at streamlining the academic review process for librarians.

Having already suffered millions in budget cutbacks in recent years, UCI Libraries will no longer be the same, no longer the research library many have learned to rely on. Instead, the financial crisis has imposed so severe a toll that in future, research collections will be smaller, and the focus will be on service rather than building up in-depth collections. The UCI administration, in applying its budget-slashing formulae, has startlingly taken to considering the libraries as an administrative unit on campus, rather than an academic one.

This interview with Gerald Lowell -- Jerry as he was known to us -- is being aired today, his last day of work at UC Irvine. He looks back at his extensive career in librarianship and reflects on his life's work.

He explains why he came over the to the libraries from the Arts School (where he had been an assistant dean) after he had already headed the research libraries at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, and offers his take on the future of academic libraries, including UCI's.

He soon heads off with his partner Mitchell to Spain, where they look forward to a well-deserved retirement far away from the volatile political rhetoric emanating from the airwaves state-side.

To listen to the interview, where Jerry Lowell talks with Subversity host Daniel C. Tsang, tune in to KUCI, 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. this evening, or listen online via Subversity is a weekly KUCI public affairs show. A podcast will be posted later on this site.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New University Comes Under Scrutiny

Front page of New University scoop.
In scooping other media with the months-old story of UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng's arrest -- and subsequent refusal of prosecutors to file charges -- for attempted sexual battery and attempted rape, did the UCI student-run newspaper, New University rush the article into print? I ask this even though I realize that the Student Regent declined to speak on the record with the paper initially.

In almost two weeks since the story, "Student Regent Under Investigation" written by managing editor Traci Garling Lee and editor in chief David Gao [The names are reversed in the print edition], originally ran, it seems abundantly clear that the New University was ill-equipped to handle such a news story, just as it mishandled, just several weeks earlier, a news account, which it similarly posted prominently on its front page, relating to a new development in UCI's decade-plus-old fertility scandal, of which more later in this blog entry.

Even before a few days had passed, critics of the New University coverage had chimed in online, suggesting on its web site that it had been "used" by Jesse Cheng's former partner, the anonymous Filipina American UCLA law student who went to the Irvine police with the initial allegations against Cheng, a popular UCI fifth-year Asian American studies major who still had months left in his tenure as an appointed UC Student Regent.

Suzanne Kordi engaged in a series of online exchanges with Current Student, with Suzanne, who wanted to submit a piece about Jesse Cheng's innocence and also on the Egyptian revolution, commenting 15 February 2011: "Apparently degrading someone’s reputation is more important than the Egyptian Revolution?" She also wrote: "Also, I don’t understand why the 'series of e-mails' was maliciously turned over the the New University. If this were not solely intended to assault someone’s integrity, I would have turned the details over to a legitimate news source."

After Suzanne Kordi questioned the campus paper's journalistic ethics and gave a link to the Society of Professional Journalists ethics code, Current Student responded that same evening, 15 February 2011: "are you, a non-journalist, using your untrained google web skillz [sic] to inquire into the reporters reporting ethics? did you know that UCI LJ majors take a class, taught by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, on this exact specific topic before they are even allowed to practice their major? and did you also know that UCI LJ majors have, to some extent, this guy ( for reference, among many others? I mean, the reporter probably conferred with at least one of them, at least once, before publishing this story, right?" I wouldn't have made that assumption. The reference in Current Student's comment is to Pulitzer Prize-winning former Los Angles Times legal affairs journalist, Henry Weinstein, who teaches in the UCI Law School and has a joint appointment in Literary Journalism.

On 16 February 2011, "Observer B" commented in part: "I can understand why he wouldn’t speak to the New U. Just last month, it ran another front-page article calling someone a 'criminal' who had not yet been brought to trial on the charges. (The writing is awful, too, mentioning 'unethical crimes,' as opposed to the ethical ones, I guess.)"

Observer B ended: "I think this poor reporting is a function of long-term underfunding (deliberate on the part of administration to prevent good reporting from happening), the weekly nature of the New U, which disallows follow-up reporting and related stories, and the lack of a journalism program at UCI. Literary Journalism doesn’t necessarily count. Isn’t the 'literary' part about being able to make stuff up and assertively inject the writer’s subjective take? Good stuff for some media, but for a newspaper article that could erroneously destroy someone’s career? Not so much."

"LJ Defender" shot back 18 February 2011: "Literary Journalism is not about being able to “make stuff up and assertively inject the writer’s subjective take” … it is about conveying the facts from a creative angle. That doesn’t mean it gives license to fabricate, NO form of journalism would allow that. The truth is still the truth, no matter how you approach it, whether it is through the inverted pyramid form of straight reporting or the magnifying glass of literary journalism. Just clarifying. But I do agree with you on the New U’s history of poor reporting and even poorer writing. Publishing this article was premature and insensitive given the lack of evidence."

A "Former Journalist" also commented online, suggesting that a class in journalism does not a journalist make. He wrote 16 February 2011: "As a former journalist, I can tell you that taking a class about journalistic ethics is not quite the same as practicing journalistic ethics. The latter often comes from years of experience or the benefit of an editor with years of experience, neither of which is evident at the New U. And if your Pulitzer Prize-winning professor hasn’t mentioned it yet, reporters rarely have the luxury of all the facts. That’s simply part of the job and why practicing journalists are obligated to exercise better judgment than the New U has shown here."

He ended: "There may be a good chance that the New U has allowed itself to be used. And your snide response to Suzanne Kordi suggests you have a bit of growing up to do. Not a good quality for a student journalist whose article may destroy someone’s reputation without any legal charges being filed."

Reacting to feedback online, he added: "The New U has the right to report almost anything. That’s not the issue. The question is whether they should and when they should. As you suggest, I don’t know Ms. Lee or Mr. Gao’s intent. However, the lede refers to a victim, not an alleged victim, and the second graf says Cheng does not 'currently' face charges. This implies he may face charges. Precision counts. Among other things, this could be why some readers perceive bias. Covering one’s bases, doing due diligence and seeking counsel are the minimum for reporting a story like this. Reporters don’t get extra credit for that."

Indeed, the New University does not have a formal structure of of built-in journalism advisers, unlike typical student newspapers.

Most telling is the fact that two weeks after the campus paper broke the story, neither of the two mainstream newspapers covering Orange County, the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times has yet to file a single story on it, not even a blog entry. It is apparent that, despite the arrest, the fact that the Orange County District Attorney's office failed to press charges means the story -- months old -- is one that mainstream journalists would prefer not to bring to print, no doubt in fairness to the accused: It's a non-story. (It's another matter whether it should cover the growing split in the activist community over Cheng.)

Even the alternative OC Weekly, for which I freelanced under its founding editor, Will Swaim, a graduate of UCI's history department, in its first print story after running blog updates on the New University revelations, sought to cast the story in a way that can only be seen as sympathetic to Cheng, and countering the New University's one-sided initial account.

In a blog-turned-into print story, UCI's Ex Scandal, written by Matt Coker, who used to edit my stories, a sub-head declared "student regent Jesse Cheng fights off ex-girlfriend's attempted rape allegation". The ambiguous reference to an ex-scandal could be read two ways: As a scandal involving Cheng (the girlfriend's ex), or a scandal involving his ex, the former girlfriend.

Even the New University, in reporting Cheng's denial of his ex's story, must have learned from the online feedback, giving this heading to its story, "Student Regent Speaks on the Record, Responds to Allegations," by David Gao and Traci Garling Lee. In addition to correctly calling the ex girlfriend's accusations "allegations", it also called her an "alleged victim" -- something it most famously failed to do in the story it ran with initially.

Other UC campus papers have also chimed in, including UC San Diego's The Guardian, which pointed out in its 24 February 2011 story by Jonathan Kaslow headlined "Battery Charges Dropped Against Student Regent," that the "New University received criticism from students for using condemnatory language against Cheng while only citing the anonymous source, Laya. Students expressed doubts about the accuracy of New University’s Feb. 16 “Student Regent Under Investigation” article. 'Personally to me, NewU has often inaccurately reported certain events (to some extent), especially this event,' one comment read. Some also resented the article’s insinuation that Cheng was not charged due to his status."

Is there any doubt that New University lacks the experience and knowledge of journalistic standards when covering a crime story, that other campus newspapers, such as the Guardian, have exhibited?

If you want further proof, I offer this exchange of emails with me and New University editors that I initiated last month, before the revelations about Cheng came out.

I was appalled that in its 18 January 2011 edition, the paper ran a front-page story by UCI student Shruti Shantharam on one-time UCI faculty superstar hire Dr. Ricardo Asch, a key figure from the 1990s fertility scandal, who had been located in Mexico and was in the process of being extradited back to Santa Ana to face federal charges. Unlike other mainstream coverage, the New University, contrary to all journalistic standards, depicted Ash wrongly and unfairly as "a doctor who committed unethical crimes at UC Irvine’s Center for Reproductive Health Fertility Clinic in the 1990s."

For comparison, see how real journalists at the Los Angeles Times' L.A. Now blog, covered the development.

To compound the grievous lack of adherence to journalistic standards, the article was picked up by the news site, Huffington Post, and posted verbatim, without any corrections, on Ariana Huffington's million-dollar aggregator of other writer's news and blog entries. [I have in the past also contributed material to the HuffPost.)

I waited a week for the campus paper to print a retraction, but failing to see any, I wrote 24 January 2011 to news editor Maxine Wally:

Maxine, I am writing to express my concern about the front-page article the New U published last week on the Asch fertility scandal arrest.

The article as you know was replete with what I am sure the attorneys for the accused mentioned would consider libelous statements. I am wondering if you screened the article before publication and if anyone with any journalism background (and I don't mean literary journalism) reviewed it before it was published. On the face of it it fails any basic test of good journalism. I expect to be blogging about it and hope to get your response.

She wrote me right back, inviting me to submit a letter to the editor and adding: "Every article is edited and checked by the staff, all of whom are properly trained in all areas of journalism, including literary and standard.
I look forward to seeing your blog post."

Editor in chief David Gao emailed me the next day, 25 January 2011: "I received your e-mail of complaint to our news editor, Maxine Wally. Would you please detail the exact areas of libel that you claim are in this article? We would love to discuss the issue at hand. Thank you for your readership." Given that the chief editor seemed to be clueless about what the paper did wrong, I wrote him back the next day offering some assistance:

David, I am not a lawyer, but the article assumes guilt ("crimes committed" (in subtitle), "criminal", "committed unethical crimes" etc.
Where is the presumption of innocence under our justice system? If
"harvesting human tissue was not illegal" at the time, what is the
justification for calling Asch a criminal?

David Gao wrote back 27 January 2011: "Thank you for your concern. Our editing process was out of the norm that week, and it regrettably slipped through the cracks. There will be a correction in an upcoming issue.Thank you for your concern. Our editing process was out of the norm that week, and it regrettably slipped through the cracks. There will be a correction in an upcoming issue."

Finally, on 8 February 2011, the New University did print a retraction, typically hidden inside the paper, with none of the prominence its front-page smear on Asch provided. It stated: "In the Jan. 18, 2011 issue of the New University, Shruti Shantharam's article 'Fertility Scandal Goes South,' incorrectly stated Ricardo Asch as a 'criminal' and 'having crimes committed in 1995.' Ash has actually to date neither been convicted nor indicted of his tax evasion and fraud charges."

Unfortunately, in contrast to what many mainstream newspapers do, the correction was not appended to the original offending article online on the New University web site, so the Huffington Post (and others) would not find out about it online unless they read this blog post.

Incidentally, for real investigative journalism on this fertility scandal, read the Pulitzer Prize-winning articles from the OC Register, former UCI Ph.D student Mary Dodge and UCI Prof. Emeritus Gilbert Geis' 2003 book, Stealing Dreams: A Fertility Clinic Scandal, or listen to my interview with Dodge on an online edition of Subversity.

Thus it is not surprising that the campus paper would, several weeks later, rush to publication in providing its front page with a one-sided attack on the Student Regent.

Jesse Cheng, the target of the original scoop, is surprisingly generous in his defense of the paper that printed his ex's allegations against him initially, telling the OC Weekly that "I'm going to be real: It's a campus newspaper. I support the work they do. I might not like it, I might think this was a harsh article, but I support the work they do." Although he was quoted as adding a caveat about possibly suing if "they go ahead and add something else," Cheng told me later that all he meant was that he did not want to predict anything in the future. As a writer, I must say that libel suits are harder to win if one is a public figure, and definitely not recommended. Let's battle this out in the court of public opinion, but be fair about it.

I am all for advocacy journalism, having earned my spurs as a journalist in the alternative media, and I concede that the New University tries hard to be an advocate for students at UC Irvine. But this advocacy must be tempered with journalistic standards and actual training, not just taking some literary journalism classes. Ethical reporting guidelines, as suggested by the Society of Professional Journalists ethics code, tellingly include this admonition under minimizing harm to sources and subjects: "Be judicious about naming criminal subjects before the formal filing of charges."

My recommendations: The New University when printing corrections or retractions should append the revision or correction to the original articles. The paper should also institute a formal advisership relationship with an experienced journalist. As a one-time activist in the writers union, I also recommend individual freelance writers there and elsewhere join the National Writers Union. - Daniel C. Tsang.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Look Back: "Subversity" Goes Viral

Rightwing video seeks to tie Obama to Ayers with audio from KUCI's Subversity show.

Anarchism and anarchists are convenient scapegoats in mainstream politics.

Just recently, when the Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackhaukus charged the Irvine 11 Muslim students and former students with conspiring to disrupt Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s 2010 UCI talk, he invoked the specter of anarchy: “We must decide whether we are a country of laws or a country of anarchy,” he proclaimed, giving credence to the widespread belief among activists on campus that he was on a political crusade.

Thus it is no surprise that it was because of the "A" word, back in 2008, when "Subversity" , the KUCI show I host that has often featured controversial speakers, inadvertently got swept up in the presidential race.

On 6 October 2008, knowing it would be newsworthy, I re-aired Subversity interview, originally conducted 12 April, 2002, with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers - who had in 2002 written a biography Fugitive Days, about his life.

Turns out Barack Obama lived in the same Chicago neighborhood as Ayers and had served on a committee with him at a community-based organization after Ayers surfaced. When she discovered that, Sarah Palin, whom Obama's Republican opponent in the race, John McCain, had picked as his Vice Presidential running mate, accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists". As the AP noted in a story then (4 October 2008), this was Palin's attempt at stepping up her campaign's effort to paint Obama as "unacceptable to American voters".

Within days of the re-airing, the right wing media went ballistic, with someone creating a video incorporating audio from that 2002 Subversity interview. That video, subsequently posted on YouTube, assailed Ayers' statement on Subversity: “I mean I am as much an anarchist as I am a Marxist.”

The video even credited me as a source of the audio clip just as Obama's image appeared on screen - - while calling KUCI college radio from the "University of Irvine.” By Election Day, some 80,000 viewers had clicked on the video clip, and Ayers' 2002 interview comments were covered on conservative and such rightwing media as Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, O'Reilly Factor, National Review Online.

"Amazing Audio Uncovered from Same Week Obama Worked with him! Extremist Ayers Obama Views Matched Almost Word for Word!" proclaimed the Naked Emperor News, which posted the video on YouTube on 19 October 2008. And Bill O'Reilly boasted: "New Information about Ayers and His Association with Obama" (22 October 2008).

Luckily for Obama, the smear campaign failed. As a counter-point, OC Weekly that same week in October named KUCI Orange County’s "Best Radio Station," while mentioning Subversity as one of KUCI's "long-running programs." [The show first aired in Fall, 1993.]

As for Ayers, whom I interviewed 15 December 2008 after the elections, on educational reform, he laughed at the attempt to portray Obama as an anarchist.

But these days, I wonder whether some other old interview on KUCI might surface in a future political campaign. By the way, the video using the Subversity audio - -without permission I might add -- has now been seen by at least 104,357 viewers, some 24,000 since the 2008 election.

- Daniel C. Tsang, Subversity show host.

Notes: Links to articles mentioned are at the Subversity section [scroll down that page] of the KUCI Full-Text Archive. This essay first appeared in a slightly different form in the current, print KUCI 88.9 fm program guide released earlier this month (February 2011).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jesse Cheng Proclaims His Innocence

Updated 21 February 2011: To listen to the podcast of this program, click

Jesse Cheng in his Student Regent office Friday, 18 February 2011. Photograph © Daniel C. Tsang 2011.

Under seige by fellow activists seeking his resignation as Student Regent of the UC system, Jesse Cheng, a fifth-year Asian American studies major, finally issued a a statement today clarifying his take on his self-described "messy breakup" with his ex girlfriend, a UCLA law student. After the breakup, his former partner, a former UCI Filipina American student, went to the Irvine police, which arrested him last November for attempted sexual battery and attempted rape, but the Orange County District Attorney's Office ultimately decided there was insufficient evidence to justify prosecuting him on misdemeanor charges.

Last Tuesday, the day the New University published a front-page article containing his ex-lover's accusations, Jesse Cheng told me, "I am innocent... this is just so crazy." Last Friday, I met up with the embattled student leader and found him to be still characteristically forthcoming, admitting that he was "stupid" to have agreed to send back to his ex girlfriend words he now regrets agreeing with, in an email now touted by his partner's supporters as a "confession."

Given how activists (including Jesse Cheng) tend to act politically correct on the issue of violence against women, it is not surprising to see the former partner's supporters demanding retribution, while even their target would feel he had to use the same politically correct language. As he expressed in his statement today, "I thought that by adopting her language and meeting the standards she set out, we could both move forward." As he indicated to me on Friday, her former partner had drafted the language while insisting he agree to the wording. As he added in his statement, "I regret lying to her in those e-mails, and it was a mistake to capitulate just so she would stop calling me incessantly." Despite the email, he did not feel he needed to resign as Student Regent.

On today's edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs show, we look back at the controversy that has shaken the campus and indeed the activist communities, as well as hear from Jesse Cheng himself during his earlier appearances on this show.

The show airs from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 fm in Orange County, and is simulcast via Podcast audio will be available later.

His public statement follows this earlier photograph of Jesse Cheng.

Jesse Cheng at a happier time in 1999. Photograph © Daniel C. Tsang 1999.

Statement released today by Jesse Cheng:

I'm writing this statement to respond to a number of accusations made about me in various media outlets in the last week. Initially, I did not feel it was appropriate to comment because I was trying to defend the interests and privacy of all the students involved, including my former partner. I now feel like I have no choice but to explain fully what occurred.

I am innocent of all accusations made. These accusations have been extremely painful for me, especially because I have tried to acknowledge the privileges that I have as a man and support gender equality issues throughout my college career. It is work that is essential to my identity, and I would never engage in behavior that would compromise those values.

My former partner and I were in a committed relationship for almost a year. Near the end of the year, it was clear that the relationship was not working out, and I initiated the break up.

Afterward, we agreed to remain friends. We saw each other three times after the relationship ended, all three times we engaged in varying levels of consensual physical contact, none of which was forced or coerced, none of which was intercourse. The first time she invited me to be her date to a UCLA graduate school event. The next week, on Oct. 3, the night that would become the source of the accusations against me, I invited her over for dinner at my apartment in Irvine. That night, although we we engaged in kissing, all contact was consensual and we did not have sex. Afterward, we ate dinner at my apartment and watched a movie.

A week after this visit, she called me, and accused me of sexually assaulting her the week before. The phone conversation lasted for hours. My reaction during the phone call was that her description of events did not happen. In the following weeks, I would get as many as 50 calls a day from her. The amount of phone calls became extremely stressful and disruptive.

During the time of these phone calls, she requested I meet her personally at her apartment. I visited her apartment two weeks after Oct. 3. During that visit, she initiated and engaged physical intimacy. It was the third time we met after the break up, and a few weeks after the night she had claimed I behaved inappropriately.

The phone calls continued, and began to have a serious toll on my well-being. She demanded that I write e-mail apologies to her, and specifying exact language that she wanted to see in those e-mails. Exhausted, I sent out those e-mails. What I said in those e-mails are not true and did not reflect my behavior, but I thought that by adopting her language and meeting the standards she set out, we could both move forward. I regret lying to her in those e-mails, and it was a mistake to capitulate just so she would stop calling me incessantly.

On Nov. 4, the police arrested me on campus and took me back to the police department for questioning. We spoke about the relationship, that particular night and the entire situation. Three hours later, the police released me, and the DA declined to press any charges.

I know this last week has been extremely difficult for the campus community. It has been difficult for me and my friends. I would ask people to please thoughtfully consider both sides of a story and the entire context of a relationship before jumping to conclusions or making assumptions. I do not know why my former partner has chosen to make these accusations or make them at this time. I loved her very much, and I really wish for her the best in the future.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Egypt's Revolution in Historical Context

Updated 15 February 2011: To listen to the podcast of this program, click on:
See also Prof. Makdisi's piece in Huffington Post: "Egypt: Why Is The United States Afraid Of Arab Democracy?".

The successful revolt in Egypt has laid bare the limits of U.S. attempts to impose its will over the Middle East. For the next edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we talk with Prof. Ussama Makdisi, a Rice University professor and the first holder of the Arab American Education Foundation Chair of Arab Studies there.

We also expect to provide listeners with a news update on the street protests in Yemen by UCI sociology graduate student Dana Moss of the Yemen Peace Project. She last appeared on Subversity last Monday.

Makdisi is the author of the new, critical analysis of U.S. interference in the region, Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations: 1820-2001, New York: Public Affairs, 2010.

According to his Rice profile: "His previous books include Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2008), which was the winner of the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and a co-winner of the 2009 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Makdisi is also the author of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (University of California Press, 2000) and co-editor of Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana University Press, 2006). He has published widely on Ottoman and Arab history as well as on U.S.-Arab relations and U.S. missionary work in the Middle East. Among his major articles are “Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: An Interpretation of Brief History” which appeared in the Journal of American History and “Ottoman Orientalism” and “Reclaiming the Land of the Bible: Missionaries, Secularism, and Evangelical Modernity” both of which appeared in the American Historical Review. Professor Makdisi has also published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and in the Middle East Report.

"By exploring missed opportunities for cultural understanding, by retrieving unused historical evidence, and by juxtaposing for the first time Arab perspectives and archives with American ones, his work counters a notion of an inevitable clash of civilizations and thus reshapes our view of the history of America in the Arab world.

"As a professor at Rice, Makdisi is interested in encouraging a new transnational approach to the study of American foreign relations as well as a more contextual understanding of the modern Middle East. He is also interested in new scholarship on overseas missionary work."

Subversity airs from 5-6 p.m. today on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via He is interviewed by show host Daniel C. Tsang. A podcast will be posted later.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beyond Egypt: Yemen Erupts in Protest

Updated 8 February 2011: To listen to the podcast of this program, click on:

February 3, 2011 protests poster.
The ripple effect from the Tunisian turmoil has reached not only Egypt but also other states in the region, including Yemen. For the next edition of KUCI's Subversity program we look into the evolving situation in Yemen, as protesters and the state deal with the fast-changing political situation.

We talk with two activists, one a graduate student from UC Irvine, who collaborated in co-founding the Yemen Peace Project.

Dana Moss is a graduate student at UCI's PhD program in Sociology where she studies comparative social movements, social change and the Middle East. She received her B.A. from Loyola College in Maryland and an interdisciplinary M.A. from Villanova University with an emphasis on Middle Eastern Studies. She spent the summer of 2009 studying Arabic at the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies with Will Picard, and co-founded the Yemen Peace Project with him and two other colleagues, Aliya Naim (UGA) and Tiffany Aurora. Dana has been researching women's issues, social movement organizations, and politics in Yemeni society for several years.

William Picard is a political and historical researcher and analyst based here in Orange County. He has spent a decade studying Southwest Asia, with a particular focus on the modern history and current affairs of Yemen. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Arabic, Persian, and Pashto, and completed a double major in Modern Middle East Studies and Southwest Asian Conflict Studies. In late 2009 he helped found the Yemen Peace Project (YPP) with Dana, a peace advocacy organization that seeks to educate the American public about Yemen, advocate for peaceful and constructive foreign policy, and facilitate communication between Yemenis and Americans. He directs the YPP’s research and public education efforts, manages the organization’s Twitter activity, and writes frequently for the Directors’ Blog.

They will be interviewed by Daniel C. Tsang, Subversity show host.

The show airs from Monday, 7 February, 2011 from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, Calif., and is simulcast via A podcast will be posted later.