Panel Assesses President Trump’s First 100 Days

By Michael R. Malone
UM News

100DaysPanelCORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2017)–A panel of University of Miami professors, media strategists, and a former legislator convened Thursday at the UM School of Law to appraise President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, a period that historically provides a telling gauge for a president’s full term in office.

Hosted by Joseph Uscinski and Casey Klofstad, associate professors in the Department of Political Science, and the College of Arts and Sciences, “Trump’s First 100 Days” attracted an audience of approximately 150 students, alumni, and community members. Panel members included former U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy and publisher Justin Sayfie, both University of Miami alumni; Merike Blofield and Gregory Koger, associate professors in political science; and Fernand Amandi, a local pollster and host of the morning program on WIOD news radio. A short audience Q&A followed the panel discussion.

Panelists gave low marks to the new president based on his inability to enact major legislation and deliver on key campaign promises. Murphy pointed to Trump’s “inability to be bipartisan” and to the uncertainty and antagonism stemming from his campaign.

“You have to have created an environment for some collaboration. There’s no incentive for Democrats or even Republicans to work with him,” Murphy said.

“He’s in a tough place; Trump has seen warning signs from the alt right not to go too mainstream,” he added.

The panelists concurred that the Trump presidency is unique by any historical comparison, and Sayfie in particular cautioned against applying a generic template to evaluate.

“We’re seeing the rise of populism on both sides of the political spectrum—and we need to see Trump in this context. It’s a case of ‘reality television meets the presidency,’ and we have to understand him for what he is,” said Sayfie, publisher of the Sayfie Review and former senior policy advisor, communications director, and chief speechwriter to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Blofield, who is also director of the University’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, applied a “gender optics” lens to view the new president’s “politics of masculinity and male identity,” i.e., Trump’s appeal to male, working class, mostly white supporters. “There’s a sense [within this base] that the people who should be in power are now in their rightful place,” Blofield said. She shared an informal study of photos of 10 recent cabinet meetings that depicted the appearances of 108 men—and just 11 women. The Trump cabinet includes four women of the 23 posts.

Amandi highlighted the president’s approval ratings, peaking at 38 percent and lower than any president in the modern era, which is especially surprising for a president whose party controls both houses of Congress. Amandi noted the importance of the 100-day time frame as a “honeymoon” in which campaign promises can be enacted and Congress is generally willing to support new initiatives. Those presidents who perform poorly early “never recover” to enjoy successful presidential terms, said Amandi, of Bendixen & Amandi International, a public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm.

Koger said the president’s early stumbles are owed to four factors: his lack of understanding of enacting policy; failure to surround himself with those who understand the legislative process; staffing problems; and the fact that the Republican Party was ill-prepared to assume the role of majority party.

Asked for their insights on the short-term future of the Trump presidency, several panelists cited the complications and current investigations into dealings with Russia.

Sayfie noted that the new president was not alone in his low appeal and limited productivity—that both parties also suffer from a loss of direction and dysfunction.

“There’s a schism in both parties that makes it virtually impossible for either party to govern,” Sayfie said.




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Arboretum Director Receives Inaugural Bosey Foote Award

Stephen D. Pearson, Director of UM’s Gifford Arboretum, Receives Inaugural ‘Bosey’ Foote Prize

Deserae E. del Campo
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2017) – When Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote came to the University of Miami in 1981, the institution’s Coral Gables campus could be described as a large swath of concrete and cement. But Foote, the spouse of UM’s fourth president, Edward T. “Tad” Foote II, changed all that, spearheading an effort to beautify the campus with palms, cycads, and other plant life and becoming an ardent supporter of UM’s John C. Gifford Arboretum, a collection of rare plants and trees maintained for educational and research purposes.

Though she passed away two years ago, her legacy lives on—in the leaves, blades of grass, and flowers that bloom on UM’s campus and in the name of a new award that honors her memory.

Last Friday, as part of the University’s Earth Day activities, Stephen D. Pearson, director of the Gifford Arboretum, accepted the inaugural Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize for Natural Campus Beautification at UM. “I am so happy to receive this honor,” said Pearson, a retired attorney and passionate plant lover who is now in his fifth year as director of the arboretum, which, he said, is rightfully “getting the recognition it deserves.”

Nestled behind the Knight Physics Building, the arboretum is a peaceful oasis that is home to a diverse collection of more than 450 trees and other plants—the perfect place to meditate, be one with nature, and disconnect from the constant campus buzz.

“It is a wonderful place with a collection of plants and trees perfect for research opportunities within the community and the University. It truly is a beautiful treasure,” Pearson said at the awards ceremony, held on the University Center Lakeside Patio prior to UM’s Hug the Lake event.

“For many years, Steve has been a dynamic and passionate advocate for the arboretum,” said UM President Julio Frenk, who presented Pearson with the award. “Congratulations, Steve, for this well-deserved honor, and thank you to the Foote family. We are very grateful for the legacy left by your parents and everything they did to build this great University.”

For more than two decades Pearson has been a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Botanical Center. During his time as chairman of the City of Miami’s Beautification Committee in the 1990s, Pearson led volunteers in planting flowering and native trees along Interstate-95 and other highways. He was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Florida Urban Forestry Council and the National Outstanding Volunteer Award from American Forests and the National Urban Forestry Council.

The Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize was established by her children at the 2016 memorial service for President Foote.


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Going Green, Earning Platinum

Special to UM News

Frost School of Music. HOK architectsCORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 19, 2017—The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has received platinum LEED certification for the Patricia Louis Frost Music classroom/studios complex on the Coral Gables campus, making the buildings the first in Coral Gables to receive the highest level of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designcertification.

The buildings were designed to provide more than  770 Frost School music students and 125 faculty an upscale, state-of-the art space for teaching, learning, performing, and recording–but one that would use resources efficiently, and produce fewer greenhouse gases. The lighting, power and comfort systems alone are designed to save over 50 percent in energy. Other green features include:

    • Electrochromic windows control daylight and reduce glare and solar heat gain
    • Rooftop rainfall is captured in on‐site cisterns for graywater uses inside buildings.
    • Rooftop photovoltaic solar power.
    • Landscaping irrigation system was designed to reduce water use
    • Indoor fixtures and fittings
    • High usage of regional materials and recycled materials

“The Patricia Louise Frost Studios have transformed the life and culture of the Frost School of Music,” said Dean Shelly Berg. “The 80+ spaces are the best possible environment for music teaching, learning, and collaboration.  We are thrilled that this facility leads the way in sustainability.”

The 41,000‐square-foot facility project features two sleek buildings with a reception center and a furnished breezeway terrace. It adds a new grand entrance, highlighted by prominent structures, to act as a gateway and define the edge of the Frost School of Music campus. The buildings sport two extra‐large rehearsal halls plus 77 spacious chamber music and teaching studios. Designed with careful attention to acoustical requirements, each room is a “floating box” within a box; no two rooms share walls, floors or ceilings. This structural independence creates an acoustical isolation, allowing students to learn, practice, perform, and record without interference from other artists practicing in the next room.

Yann Weymouth, the project design director formerly with HOK Architects, said the architectural team used every strategy and cutting-edge tool at its disposal to maximize efficiency, minimize energy and optimize comfort. As he noted, spaces are filled with glare-free natural light to easily read musical scores, using electrochromic glass windows which dim automatically in direct sunlight to cut solar heat load—a first-use in the Southeast. Artificial lighting is from efficient LEDs, which only turn on when light falls below a preset level. The extremely efficient chilled-beam air-conditioning significantly economizes further electricity. The innovative exterior white precast titanium dioxide concrete skin resists mold and catalytically neutralizes outside airborne pollutants. Finally, modern rooftop photovoltaic panels harvest solar energy.

“We set out to help Frost School of Music create the very best possible teaching, practice and learning environment for students and faculty,” Weymouth said. “It was a marvelous experience to have been part of the project, and it is profoundly gratifying that the Patricia Louis Frost Studios received this recognition, setting a leading example of sustainable architecture.”

Coral Gables City Commissioner Vince Lago, a leader in sustainable practices in local government, thanked the Frost School  and the University for its leadership in recognizing the importance of environmentally friendly initiatives and for their ongoing commitment to partner with the city in bettering the community. “These new LEED Platinum buildings set the standard for new construction that teaches us—beyond the classrooms—how to create a more resilient Coral Gables,” Lago said.

In 2016, the Coral Gables City Commission passed a Green Building Ordinance to encourage sustainable and construction best practices, and next week, on Thursday April 27, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce will bestow its Green Means Green Award for a green building on the Frost School studios.


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Reproducibility in Science: Writing, Data and the Growth of Knowledge


Elizabeth Iorns

SEEDS You Choose Awards and the Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy will present “Reproducibility in Science: Writing, Data and the Growth of Knowledge” on Monday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mailman Center for Child Development, eighth-floor auditorium. Keynote speaker Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., will discuss how to measure and incentivize reproducible research.

Her presentation, which will be followed by a panel discussion and lunch reception, will include results from the first replication studies published by the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology. The founder and CEO of Science Exchange and co-director of the Reproducibility Initiative, Iorns was an assistant professor at the University of Miami before starting Science Exchange in 2011. She remains an adjunct professor.

The panel will be moderated by Joanna Johnson, Ph.D., director of writing in the College of Arts and Sciences, SEEDS grant recipient, and program chair. Iorns will be joined on the panel by John L. Bixby, Ph.D., vice provost for research and professor of pharmacology and neurological surgery; Dushyantha T. Jayaweera, M.D., executive dean for research and research education and professor of medicine;  and Joyce M. Slingerland, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for translational research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor of medicine, and director of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute.

SEEDS You Choose Awards support investigator-initiated activities that enhance the awardee’s community and career. This event is co-sponsored by the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).



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Hug the Lake and Celebrate Earth Day

 HugtheLakeCelebrate Earth Day by joining University of Miami Random Acts of Kindness in the 11th annual Hug the Lake at Lake Osceola at noon on Friday, April 21. Free donuts will be available for green booth participants and free eco-friendly shirts will be provided to everyone who joins the group hug, which will take just 15 minutes. President Frenk will make opening remarks, including the presentation of the inaugural Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize to a member of the UM community who has made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the beauty, humanity, and future of the campus.

To volunteer for the event, complete the Google form.  RSVP on Facebook and/or OrgSync and invite your friends!

Other Earth Day celebration events will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Lakeside Patio, where visitors can learn about sustainable living in our region from the University’s Green Fair partners, win smart prizes (reusable water bottles, recycled fiber bags, Ben & Jerry vouchers, and other items) and enjoy a concert by the Frost School of Music bands, who will play a NET ZERO ENERGY concert. And don’t forget to drop by the UC lounge to see the surprising and eco-minded work of Professor Billie Lynn.

Visit Green U to learn more about the full day of events organized by Random Act of Kindness, Green U, the ECO Agency, and the Butler Center for Service and Leadership.

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