Faculty Spotlight

Carolyn Jenkins, an associate professor in the department of social work, was recently interviewed by “Dateline NBC” on Parental Alienation Syndrome, which is often used as a defense for those accused of sexual abuse during custody cases.

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)? The theory behind the syndrome is that in divorce cases where sexual abuse by the father is claimed, the sexual abuse actually does not happen but is a ploy by the mother, who is so upset about the divorce and wants full custody of her children that she coaches her children to say they were sexually abused. It was proposed by Richard Gardner in the late 1980s. He never did any empirical research and there was nothing to back up his theory. He only used it when sexual abuse was being claimed. And if you read Gardner at the time, he really didn’t believe in the sexual abuse of children. He never thought it happened. He thought social workers made it up. He thought moms were implanting this or coaching their children.

How could his theory hold water if there wasn’t any research involved? I don’t think anyone really knows. It really caught on and lots of psychologists started claiming the same thing. I think it’s because judges and the court system in general don’t want to believe that a parent would sexually abuse their own child. Make it a stranger or make it someone down the street and they’re on top of it. Also, I think that the judges are very impressed that we now have these men who so want their children that they’re willing to fight for them. It’s also easier for the judges and the court system to buy into PAS because it’s easier to accuse the mom of something rather than the child to see what really happened because the court doesn’t want to be seen as not believing a child or becoming an adversary with the child in terms of what happened.

What effect does this have on the children? I can’t begin to imagine how many kids we have put back with abusers because of this. With PAS, children lose all kinds of trust because those kids thought they would get justice. The public also doesn’t understand how difficult it is for kids to disclose this. A child can’t just say, “Yes, he abused me.” It’s kind of like women who have been raped who don’t report it and can’t talk about it. It’s very traumatizing, and the older they get, the more the children tend to blame themselves. They think it must be something they did or they are too sexy. At some point, they start to confuse this with love because most fathers are not going to use a lot of physical force. Fathers “groom” the child over a period of time and use either bribes or threats to keep the child from disclosing. Many children are ambivalent—they love their fathers, but they want the abuse to stop.

How can you fight against this? I found that the American Association of Judges has put out how an attorney is supposed to fight this. And, of course, you first need to get the credentials of any experts for the defense and find out if they know anything about child sexual abuse. But, more importantly, you have to make the court pretty well prove that there was no sexual abuse. You can’t get tied up in trying to prove or disprove parental alienation. Nationally, Ohio has probably the worst reputation. Partly what happened was that father’s rights groups got really involved in this and it’s really a shame because there are men who are mistreated by the court system, but they’re kind of being used by the abusers.

Faculty Spotlight

Priscilla O’Clock, professor of accountancy, discusses tax time

Why do we dread tax time? Most people dread tax filing because they view it as a complicated process that requires them to gather up all those important documents that may have been misplaced and then find time in their busy schedules to either prepare the returns themselves or find someone to do it for them. I think they dread the “drudgery” of the whole process rather than resenting having to pay taxes. And most people are very honest in this self-reporting process that we have, so most would have no reason to fear tax time—just dread it.

What do people seem to find most confusing about filing their taxes? I find one of the common misperceptions is with respect to filing status. Many people think that if they own a home they can file as “head of household.” Also, in general, people refer to the “capital gains tax” in a very negative manner when, in fact, the tax on profit from sale of an asset (capital gains) is a beneficial tax rate that is lower than the individual’s regular marginal tax rate. But the biggest misconception is in regard to getting a large refund. Many people use the withholding system as a forced savings account, so they can receive a large refund in April. They fail to realize they have just allowed the government to use their money, interest free, for more than a year.

What are the most common mistakes people make on their taxes? How can they avoid these mistakes? The most common mistakes are mathematical errors, and double-checking is my only suggestion to avoid them.

Is there a single, overriding piece of advice you can give people about tax preparation and filing? That’s a tough question. The answer would vary depending on the taxpayer’s income level. For higher income individuals with complicated transactions, my best advice would be in regard to recordkeeping. Most likely these individuals would have their tax returns prepared by a professional, and the cost for this service can be greatly reduced if the client comes in with good records.

I would advise individuals with either less-complicated transactions or only W-2 income to prepare their returns themselves and to e-file. Lower income taxpayers can take advantage of free e-filing through the IRS online or through VITA programs. The tax software available today is very user friendly and the average person should be able to prepare their returns using one of the tax packages. The return preparation is facilitated if you have the prior year’s return.

Faculty Spotlight

William Madges, chair for the department of theology, discusses the impact of Pope John Paul II

You met with Pope John Paul II in October. What was that experience like?
It was amazing to be in the first row of “special guests,” only a few feet from the Pope. Even though the morning was overcast and included a brief downpour, about 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to see the Pope and hear his reflections on Psalm 49. After the general audience was over, we were escorted in front of the Pope. After introducing James Buchanan, Rabbi Abie Ingber and Yaffa Eliach, I explained to the Holy Father the nature of our project [creating an exhibit titled A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People] and said that we wished to honor him by having the exhibit premiere on his 85th birthday, May 18, 2005. It was a very special moment.

What feelings did you take away in terms of his health and awareness?
I was quite surprised at how strong he appeared to be. I had expected an aide to read at least some of his remarks during the audience, but the Holy Father read all of his prepared remarks in six languages. When we spoke with him, his attention was clearly focused on us. I could tell that he understood what I was saying because he nodded approvingly or smiled at those points in our presentation when one would anticipate such a reaction. Of course, the physical toll of the Parkinson’s disease and other ailments were evident by his slightly slumped posture and his limited range of movement.

What feelings did you take away in terms of his presence?
I was struck by his strength of will. It was not easy for him to sit for more than an hour and a half in damp fall weather outside, but he persevered through the general audience. He seemed energized by the crowd. As different language groups were recognized, some would shout out the Holy Father’s name or burst into song. He responded by waving and showing his gratitude for their affirmation.

It can be difficult to see historical context as events are happening, but how do you think history will view him?
I think history will view him as a charismatic and very influential pope, who sought to build bridges of understanding to other churches and other religions while simultaneously erecting clear boundaries around the Catholic Church. I imagine that history will see him as a pope whose formative experiences in Poland—the need for a strong, unified church in the context of political repression; the church’s need for a strong, countercultural stance; a rich piety and distinctive Catholic devotion—such as devotion to Mary—left an indelible imprint on his decisions and achievements as pope.

What sets him apart from the popes who preceded him?
He was the first non-Italian pope to be elected in the last four-and-a-half centuries; the youngest pope in more than a century; the most traveled pope ever, visiting more than 130 countries and traveling more than 750,000 miles; the first pope to engage in commercial book ventures; the first pope to have his life portrayed in a comic book. He has beatified more people and declared more saints than any pope in history. After the time of St. Peter, he has the second longest papacy in history. Consequently, his vision will live on in the men he has appointed to leadership in the church. He has appointed more than half of all the bishops in the world and more than 90 percent of the cardinals, who will choose his successor.

What will be the pope’s legacy?
One of his most important legacies is that he has fostered relationships and dialogue between the religious leaders of the world. He has arguably done more for interreligious relationships than any other person in history. He has also been seen in person by more people than probably any other figure in history.

Another legacy will be a more culturally diverse and global leadership structure in the church. He has made the College of Cardinals and the Curia more international by reducing the percentage of Europeans and increasing the percentage of Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans in prominent positions. This reflects the changing demographics of the worldwide church.

Another legacy will be his clear voice in defense of human dignity and human rights, expressed in many of the 14 encyclicals he wrote during his pontificate.

Another challenge for the next pope will be how to discern if and how the church might need to change [e.g., the issue of married priests] in response to changes within church and society, and how to respond effectively to the post-modern appreciation of relativity in Western nations and the resistance to post-modernism in other parts of the world-church.

Speaking as a theologian, how would you characterize John Paul II?
Pope John Paul II has sought to keep the church faithful to his understanding of Jesus’ message and to the traditions of the church. On the one hand, this has meant an evangelizing outreach to all people and an insistence upon the protection and the promotion of human dignity. He has championed a consistent ethic of respect for life, from conception to death. And he has spoken out loudly in support of political freedom and human rights, world peace and economic rights.

On the other hand, this has meant setting firm parameters to acceptable theological speculation and to what counts as “Catholic.” He has reaffirmed traditional moral teaching concerning artificial contraception, abortion and homosexual activity and denied the permissibility of female ordination. He has established new guidelines, backed up by church law, that seek to regulate more strictly the nature and the work of Catholic seminaries, colleges, universities and hospitals.

On account of this dual nature of his papacy, some people say that he is liberal on social issues but conservative on theological issues. Yet, I think that he would reject both the conservative and the liberal labels. I suspect that he would say that he is trying to be faithful to the demands of the gospel and the demands of his office, as he understands them, and that these demands are not in tension with each other.

What do you see as his defining moments?
I would include his trip to Poland in 1979 and his support for the Solidarity Trade Union, which emboldened his native countrymen and women to work for radical change. The collapse of Communism in Poland caused significant ripple effects, contributing to the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The Pope’s trip to the synagogue of Rome in 1986 was another defining moment. He was the first pope since the time of St. Peter to enter a synagogue. He spoke appreciatively of Jews as Christians’ “elder brothers.” This event was perhaps the most dramatic expression of his desire to build bridges of greater understanding between the Catholic Church and other religions. It was followed by a series of other events, both with regard to Jews and Judaism [e.g. establishing diplomatic relations with Israel] and with regard to Islam [He was the first pope to enter a mosque], etc. He brought together at Assisi leaders of the world religions for a World Day of Prayer for Peace in 1986, 1993 and 2002.

A third defining moment is actually a series of moments. Early in his papacy, Pope John Paul II set into motion the promulgation of church legislation that would draw more sharply and clearly the borders of Catholic faith and practice: a revised Code of Canon Law, the Oath of Fidelity, the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

An Army of Two

Everything was all arranged for my wedding to Stephen. My gown was ready, the club was booked and the honeymoon was paid for. Most of the details were in place. All that was left to do was to anticipate the big moment. Then the phone rang. It was the day before Thanksgiving 1993. Stephen was calling with good news and bad news. He just received word that he was going to be promoted to Captain, but his unit was also deploying to Haiti on a peacekeeping mission. Our wedding would have to be postponed. I was devastated.

Our invitations were due to go out the following Monday. I called all of our vendors. They were wonderful to me and never charged me a penny for their inconvenience. Then I called my family and friends. They were very supportive, although one of my brothers thought it was the appropriate time to suggest that this was Stephen’s clever way of backing out of the wedding. It was not his brightest moment and I told him so in very colorful language. Our wedding was on hold. I wasn’t even married yet, and I learned my first lesson about being an Army spouse-the Army waits for no one and nothing. Not even weddings.

His commander, a wonderful man, took his young aide aside and insisted Stephen bring me to Hawaii to get married before the deployment. That way, God forbid, if anything would happen to Stephen I would be taken care of. I was living in Florida at the time helping my Father take care of my terminally ill mother. My Daddy kissed the bride, gave us his blessing and said he’d be patient until he could give me away at the church. Stephen sent me a plane ticket for Christmas and the elopement was on.

A borrowed dress was my gown and my handsome soldier wore his class B uniform. My friend made me a bouquet and lent me her veil. We were married in a judge’s chambers . They had a celebration dinner for us, including a wedding cake. It was a wonderful day. Not the day we had planned but special in it’s own right.

Believe it or not this is a common occurrence among the rank and file. Our closest friends here in Heidelberg had two weddings due to Haiti as well. This common experience bonded Janet and I instantly. He returned with the 25th Infantry division on the 3rd of April. I will never forget the sight of him marching in to join the welcome home ceremony. After the fan fare died down and a little leave, we packed up to move to Virginia.

That was 11 years ago, and life since has been interesting to say the least. I now have the best husband and three amazing daughters. Along the way we have made many wonderful friends. Thanks to the Army, I have gotten to visit places that many only dream about. I have also lived in five states and now live in Germany, been both mom and dad, missed my sister’s funeral, spent anniversaries and holidays alone, and felt the heartbreak of separation with each deployment. And throughout the years, I’ve come to a conclusion: Although the soldier wears the uniform, it is the spouse that is the true strength behind this great nation’s military.

The soldier I married is another Xavier grad, now, Maj. Stephen Knotts, Class of 1990. He was an ROTC geek and a history major; I was a communications major. We both lived in Kuhlman Hall and had friends in common, but we never met. Amazing considering how small Xavier was then. I do have one memory of him; he was bounding out of the dorm and almost ran me over in his black satin ROTC jacket. During his senior year, one of our mutual friends kept trying to hook us up. I wasn’t interested. He had a girlfriend, and I was busy with school and focusing on my upcoming career in broadcasting. I spent the first Gulf War interning with WLWT-TV in Cincinnati.

Graduation arrived, and I started my new job in news. Stephen returned to Cincinnati over the summer and helped a couple of college friends move across town. They had a roommate-me. He was a great guy, but on his way to Hawaii to be a lieutenant in the Field Artillery. The morning he flew out he said, “I’ll write you.” I said, “Sure you will.” To Stephen that was a challenge.

We started out as friends with a continent and an ocean between us. Through hundreds of letters and who knows how many phone calls, we fell in love. It was all long distance. He came to visit me and flew me to Hawaii for vacation. Incredibly, by the time we were actually married three years later, we had only spent about six weeks together face-to-face. I just knew he was my soul mate and no matter what life or the Army could throw at us, we would make it through together. I never gave the reality of Army life a thought. The future was ahead of us and we would make the best of it. We have since lived in five states-Hawaii, Virginia, Texas Ohio for an ROTC teaching year at Ohio University, and Illinois. Now we are serving in Heidelberg, Germany. Heidelberg is the home of V Corps. It is a beautiful city on the Neckar River about 70 kilometers south of Frankfurt. The post or caserne where Stephen works housed a Nazi Panzer unit before the Americans took it over after WWII. You can just feel the history in the walls and see it on the cobblestone paved streets. We don’t live on post but are lucky enough to live in the small town of St. Ilgen. We have German and American neighbors.

We have assimilated well into our town. The community has been wonderful to us. My German has come a long way thanks to the patience and encouragement of our neighbors and the shopkeepers in our local stores. We have the commissary and the PX so American goods are readily available. Anything I can’t get there I can get on the German economy or our parents are happy to send us what ever we ask for. In fact, other than our families and friends there is little we miss about living in the states.

Our kids go to a Department of Defense school-Patrick Henry Elementary. It has been a great experience for our girls. Charlotte, 8, is in a multi-age classroom participating in a program similar to Montessori. Katie, 6, has the most wonderful kindergarten teacher. Ms. Erickson has given Katie the gift of loving school. What more could you ask for?

We have Armed Forces Network TV and radio. They program a large variety of American television. It’s about a season behind but not too bad. I am horribly jealous that I haven’t seen the new season of The West Wing, but I get to see castles and centuries old cathedrals on a regular basis so I consider it a fair trade.

We love living in Europe, but sometimes service comes with a price you don’t expect to pay. In October, my sister, Paula, who bravely fought a decades-long battle with melanoma, died. I couldn’t make it to say good-bye. I tried to get there, and the Army did all it could to help, but the distance was just too great and the time just too short. My family made it to San Diego to go to her memorial service. My Father turned 80 years old this year, and I worry about him and what this separation will do to my children’s memory of their Papa. He misses us, but we send pictures and talk to him daily, making him an every day part of our lives. I hope it bridges the distance but you can never replace actually being there. Stephen’s parents are experts at being part of their grand children’s lives long distance. My father-in-law, David, is a retired Lt. Colonel and my mother-in-law, Madonna, is an officer’s wife extraordinaire. We are raising second generation Army brats.

Military spouses are remarkable people. We can stretch a dollar, make friends in a commissary line, move our families every few years, be both mom and dad when needed and are often called upon to turn lemons into lemonade. Missed anniversaries, and there have been a few, are celebrated when he comes home like they’ve never passed.

When Stephen goes to the field to train, often for weeks at the time, my girls and I have little rituals to help with missing our daddy. We eat pancakes for dinner and write letters to daddy together. We pray for his safe and speedy return. Most of all we pray for peace. We go to church, CRE and after school activities. In short, we keep our routine. If the kids have the stability of normal things kids do, they handle the stress much better. When I need help, I turn to sisters in arms, my fellow spouses understand. We lift each other up, so we are very strong. We hold each other’s babies and cry on each other’s shoulders. We both love and curse the Army. We didn’t enlist or receive a commission but rather are in this for life. All because we happen to have fallen in love with a soldier.

I know that sounds naive and romantic but it’s true. I never thought about the possibility of him going to war even though I had just watched the Gulf War from inside a newsroom. I have heard people who have little or no concept of my life say dispassionately, “They knew what they were getting into so they have no room to complain.” The truth is that until you live it you have no idea. No one could have foreseen the world events that have lead to the deaths of over a thousand of our soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors. Almost every day, unimaginable anguish is visited upon a family just like mine.

I live a life of service. I chose this life, even though it is a hard row to hoe, and I’ve been known to hate it from time to time. It is full of rewards as well as hardship and duty. I will never forget cutting the cord of a friend’s newborn baby even though I wish it had been his deployed father doing the honors. Every deployment brings great sorrow and loneliness but it also brings me closer to the spouses I serve with, who’s friendship I treasure. The parting of deployment also brings homecoming with the amazing joy of seeing the man I love and have missed for the first time in too many days to count. I can feel the heartbreak of separation lift from my shoulders being replaced by his warm embrace. And for a while, everything is right with the world.

The last 18 months have brought great hardship to our families. So much time apart, so many deaths. Our soldiers have missed many milestones in their children’s lives. Last year, Stephen was deployed “down range” to Operation Iraqi Freedom. He missed our baby Lydia’s first Christmas. I still cry when I think about it. Our home was full of boxes but decorated in our holiday finest. Santa came of course and Stephen was able to call on Christmas Eve to read “T’was The Night Before Christmas” to the girls. We took lots of pictures but it was really hard to be merry and celebrate with the empty place he’d left.

Our homes are often short a parent, but we make the best of it. We try not to let our children dwell on the horror that might be in the next phone call or knock on the door. We lean on each other and march on. We plan trips, have dinners and play bunko to pass the time. It doesn’t quite fill the emptiness, but we try.

Deployments are tough. They train and train for the mission, the mission at hand, is war. Today there are three kinds of soldiers-those training to deploy, those deployed and those returning form deployment. During a deployment, whether training or real life, the possibility of Stephen not coming home to us is real. I try not to dwell on it but with every death in the Global War on Terrorism the reality is driven home. Every day he was deployed to the gulf I worried. I was one of the lucky ones who knew where her spouse was and we were in close contact. But every time there was a lapse in communication I panicked.

Having worked in the world of television news, I am a news junky. I watched a lot CNN. Whether I should have is a topic of deliberation. Did it increase my anxiety or empower me with information? I believe the latter. We are lucky; we haven’t lost any friends in Iraq or Afghanistan. But we do have so many friends there and I worry about them a lot. Many families are serving “down range.” My girls’ Uncle Bob, his brother and brother-in-law are all there. While Auntie Tammy is on the home front taking care of the family and praying. The most important men in her children’s lives are in the war zone We always had to be careful to not talk about when Stephen was coming home over the phone or e-mail. I didn’t even tell our families the details of the homecoming until after he was safely in our house. The Army calls it force protection. We practice force protection all the time, we take different routes when we drive around town, and we don’t wear clothing that have American emblems or are distinctly American. We try to blend in so that we aren’t the objects of interest to anyone looking to harm Americans. We haven’t personally encountered anti-American sentiment, but it is out there.

Military spouses are a beautifully diverse group. We are men and women, not one race or religion. We are liberal fire breathing Democrats, right wing conservative Republicans and independent voters. We are all united by the love we feel for our soldier and all soldiers. Regardless of how we voted in the last election or whether we agree with the war in Iraq we carry one banner: “Support Our Troops.” It is not a political slogan for us; it is our way of life.

Please don’t think our lives are all doom and gloom. We live in Europe, and are enjoying all that it has to offer. My children are happy, well adjusted, pros at traveling and make friends easily. They know that even when we move we keep the friends we leave behind. The next assignment brings adventure and more friends to add to the Christmas card list. My girls have seen Amsterdam in the spring, skied for the first time on the Alps and spent their Thanksgiving holiday exploring the wonders of London. And those are just this year’s highlights. Our family has roots; we put them down every time we unpack our boxes. We plant them shallow so they move easily, but they are well nourished and carefully tended. Home is truly where the Army sends us.

My soldier is home now, but almost certainly will go again. I try not to think about it and just enjoy the time we have together now. I lean on my faith a lot and pray for the spouses who are alone and those who have paid the ultimate price for loving a soldier.

Beth Knotts ’91 is married to Maj. Stephen Knotts ’90.

Grad Program Perfect

Administrators are finding that its graduate program is a perfect six—out of seven, that is. In a graduate student satisfaction survey conducted in 2003 by psychology graduate student Luanne Carr, 491 respondents shared their opinions with the University. The results?

Those surveyed cited areas such as increased financial assistance and more convenient class times that needed improvement, but praised the easy registration process and social support provided by peers and classmates. The survey also revealed that among respondents—most of whom are enrolled in business or education programs—63 percent are female, 56 percent are married and 30 percent are between the ages of 25-29. And unlike undergraduates, most master’s students attend classes part-time while holding down full-time jobs.

This is the first time Xavier has surveyed graduate students on their satisfaction level—a practice that will most likely continue. “I was very pleased with the overall satisfaction level of our graduate students scale,” says John Cooper, director for graduate services. “It affirms that we are doing a good job.”

Faculty Spotlight

Bob Ahuja, professor of marketing.

Q: During the holiday season, do you see a difference in how toys are marketed to children than the rest of year?

No, there is no difference in how they market during the holiday season as opposed to the rest of the year, there is just more of it. In an average year, companies spend $20 billion a year on marketing to children under 18. A significant portion of that is spent in the last two months of the year, because marketers know more people are buying this time of year.

Q: Is it easier marketing to children than teens and adults because children have less of an understanding of the tactics that are being used? Do you see a difference in how toys are marketed today than five years ago? Ten years ago?

Children sometimes aren’t given the credit that they deserve when it comes to this topic, and marketers know this. Many of the old advertising media—television, radio and magazines—are being proven unsuccessful because children know what toys they like and what they dislike. However, marketing to teenagers compared to children has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that there are fewer government regulations when marketing to 13- to 19-year-old groups. Once they start marketing to 12 year olds, there are more rules and more agencies watching them. In addition, in the teenage years, many experience their first job and a choice on how to spend their new income. This translates into teenagers spending $67 billion a year.

Companies used to market to parents, then they marketed to both parents and children, and now most just market to the kids directly. Today, marketers are using an alternative method called buzz marketing to children and teenagers because they, too, are skeptical about the credibility of advertisers. There are marketing units for companies that recruit agents of kids and send them 10 or 20 of the latest products, like DVDs and compact discs, and tell them to give them to their friends. The free products serve as payment to the child, in addition to the psychological boost they get when they are the first at school with all the newest trends.

Getting the product out in the schools and on campuses will create a buzz around the product because it comes from a credible source, your friend, not an advertiser. A unit of Proctor & Gamble’s marketing division called Tremor does this type of marketing. Tremor is subcontracted by companies looking to reach children and teenagers with their products. However, telling your friends you are working for the advertisers alleviates buzz marketing’s effectiveness. Its deceptive nature creates some ethical dilemmas.

Q: All things considered, can you describe the purchasing power of children? How much do companies depend on revenue from children?

Children ages 4 to 12 spend $24 billion a year on products themselves, which is remarkable considering they don’t have a steady source of income. However, children influence $200 billion a year, and the holidays account for a lot of that. Therefore, companies depend on the revenue from teenagers and children, especially during the holiday season.

Faculty Spotlight

Ken Overberg, S.J., professor of theology who has lived in the Holy Land.

Q: As we near Christmas and the celebration of Jesus’ birth, tell us what Bethlehem is like today. Is it still just a small town in the middle of nowhere?

A: By way of introduction, I want to point out that I have been blessed to visit the Holy Land several times, once spending several months there studying and visiting many sites. My group lived in Bethany, only a couple of miles from the Old City of Jerusalem but located in the occupied West Bank. This location allowed us to experience some of the daily struggles of the peoples. Indeed, any discussion about Palestine and Israel—even just questions about Bethlehem—needs to acknowledge these struggles, rooted in Israeli oppression and occupation and in Palestinian reaction, often including violent actions. Bethlehem is only about five miles from Jerusalem. Bethlehem is a small city not unlike some towns that surround Cincinnati. Given its history, tourism has been a major part of its economy, once flourishing but now suffering.

Q: Tens of thousands of people used to flock to Manger Square every Christmas to celebrate Jesus’ birth, despite Bethlehem being in a Palestinian-controlled section of Israel. Several years ago a Palestinian uprising began and this year Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died. Is it even safe to celebrate there now?

A: Because of the various forms of violence present in Israel and Palestine, there is always risk involved. The same is true, of course, in many areas of the U.S.A., especially our big cities. Caution, patience and awareness would be important for any visitor or pilgrim.

Q: What do the Palestinians think about Christians celebrating in their area? Are they tolerant of other religions? Or do they just see the people as tourists with money to spend?

A: First, it is important to remember that some Palestinians are Christian. Not only did they welcome us into their stores but also into their homes and churches. Also, many Palestinians who are Muslim have great respect for Jesus and Mary. My last visit was in 1999, so I do not know if the present policies of the U.S. government have lessened the welcome and warmth—the kind of welcome we received—or if the people distinguish between U.S. citizens and the U.S. government.

Q: How else/where else is Jesus’ birth celebrated in the Holy Land?

A: Because of the oppression and other forms of violence, many Christians have moved from the Holy Land. This is a grave concern for the Christian churches. Still, Christmas will certainly be celebrated throughout the land wherever Christian communities gather.

Q: Where can we learn more?

A: On the struggles in the Holy Land, please see articles in “America” by Drew Christiansen, S.J. For some Scriptural insights into the Christmas stories, see “An Adult Christ at Christmas” by Raymond Brown, S.S. (Liturgical Press) or chapter three in Brown’s “Reading the Gospels with the Church” (St. Anthony Messenger Press).

Putting a Face on Xavier

Beth Bowman and her husband, Ted, were all set to help their son, Charlie, with his college search when they realized they had a daunting task in front of them. Not only were they searching for a perfect match to Charlie’s thirst for Latin and Greek languages and history, but they were struggling to find any firsthand insight about the schools they looked at. “We didn’t hear anything from parents or alumni of other schools,” says Beth. Except, she says, from one school: Xavier.

Last fall, the University created the parent and alumni recruitment team, better known as PART. The interdisciplinary organization spawned from a collaborative effort between the office of admission and the national alumni association as an effort to generate alumni and parent involvement and to help ease the burden from the University’s nine admission counselors. PART’s goal is to train parents and alumni on how to help recruit students to Xavier.

PART volunteers represent Xavier at college fairs, deliver materials to high schools, place phone calls to parents of prospective students and participate in other admission events. Those who know the University are always the best sources of advertising. Charlie Bowman—now a sophomore in the honors bachelor of arts program—is a good example.

Eager to share the positive influence they had with helping Charlie, Beth contacted Lisa Burns, PART director, to see what she and her husband could do. After receiving a list of area high schools in the Toledo, Ohio, area where they live, they agreed to host a luncheon for guidance counselors. Everyone who was invited showed up—plus some extras.

Counselors and parents approached Beth and Ted, chatting with them about the Xavier experience, eventually asking them if they worked for Xavier. “When I would say, ‘No, I’m a parent,’ they’d be blown away,” says Beth. “There was a human face attached and not just an admission viewbook. Parents enjoy talking to other parents.”

Next on the Bowman’s agenda is a send-off party in honor of the 30 newly accepted freshmen from Toledo, giving them a chance to connect with each other before heading off to the University in August. As for the Bowmans, they have never been more proud to spread the word about Xavier.

“I can unabashedly say to parents that it is a wonderful place,” says Beth.

Parents and alumni are already natural recruiters because of their interest in and enthusiasm about the University, says Burns. When combined with some training, they have the potential to become some of the most powerful and effective ambassadors for recruiting students.

Just ask Charlie Bowman.

Helping Your Child Succeed at Xavier

You may be wondering how your student can achieve academic success. You, as the parent, are an important resource for your child’s support and success. Therefore, it is important for you to know what tools are available on campus to help your student succeed.

At Xavier, the learning assistance center (LAC) is committed to helping your child succeed and provides several services with this goal in mind. If your child needs extra help developing study skills, such as note taking, time management or test taking strategies, the LAC has certified peer tutors who offer individual and group workshops to help your student improve these skills.If your child needs assistance understanding the content of a course, he or she can sign up for an appointment for one-on-one tutoring through the LAC.

For students who need occasional help in a class, the LAC offers drop-in tutoring in economics, French, Spanish, music theory, philosophy and others. No appointment is necessary; the student needs only to stop by during the designated time.

The LAC also organizes study groups in general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and college physics. These groups are facilitated by a trained peer tutor, meet once a week and foster community learning.

The LAC also provides disability services. If your child has a disability, please remind him or her to send documentation to the LAC. At the beginning of each semester, your student needs to fill out the form to request faculty letters. If you think your child may have a learning disability, encourage him or her to make an appointment with Ann Dinan, the director of the LAC. She can refer students to psychological services for testing.

Coaching is the most recent service that has been added to our office. Coaching is an ongoing partnership between the coach and the student to help the student set and achieve goals in his or her academic live. Both the director and assistant director can provide this service. We invite your child to visit our office to discuss his or her academic needs. We can then suggest which services would best fit these needs. Our services are free to Xavier students, and we are here to help at all levels in their academic careers.

Learning Assistance Center 3800 Victory Parkway Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-2612 Phone 513 745-3214 Fax 513 745-3387

Office hours: M-F 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

(Stephanie Mosier is the assistant director of the learning assistance center.)

Presidential Performance

On Tuesday, May 4, department of music faculty member Dawn Stone sang a selection of show tunes and patriotic songs for a crowd of more than 2,500 people gathered in Lebanon, Ohio, to greet the arrival of President George W. Bush. The president’s eight-bus caravan stopped in Lebanon before continuing on to a campaign rally at the Cincinnati Gardens in Bond Hill.

Stone, along with pianist Jay Mills, performed 30 minutes of music at the Golden Lamb Inn where President Bush met with supporters, including U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, whose grandparents own the historic restaurant and inn. “It was a really exciting day—Lebanon was so beautiful,” said Stone, who changed the words from the Showboat tune, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” to “Can’t Help Votin’ Republican.”

Bush was the 12th president to visit the Golden Lamb, but the first sitting one. “I’m proud to be the first sitting president to visit here…Actually, I’m a standing president right now,” he said, speaking from a podium. Bush arrived at 2:00 p.m., too late to hear Stone’s performance, but they exchanged greetings before he entered the Golden Lamb to meet with the restaurant’s kitchen staff.

Stone regularly entertains at the Lincoln Day Dinner, a Republican fundraiser, and was tapped by Warren County Commissioner Pat South to perform during the president’s visit. “I’ve sung on Broadway and throughout Europe, but this was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Stone said.