COVID-19 Safety Information

Scholars to discuss women and legal future of asylum

Scholars to discuss women and legal future of asylum

03/09/2020 

Many women have been forced to leave their home countries and seek better shelter and safety in the United States.

While asylum applications have decreased since 2017 — mainly because of U.S. policy changes that have limited the number of refugees and asylum-seekers admitted into the country — the backlog of cases in immigration courts recently surpassed 1 million.

Two researchers will discuss what these mainly women are facing on Wednesday, March 25, at SUNY Cortland.

Their talk, “Women and the Legal Battle for the Future of Asylum,” will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.

Presented as part of the university’s celebration of Women’s History Month, the event is free and open to the public.

Valeria Gomez, the William R. Davis clinical teaching fellow in the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law, works with law students to represent asylum seekers who have fled persecution and are seeking protection in the U.S.

She will address how the backlog makes this effort vital, as migrants with active immigration cases have been waiting an average of almost two years for decisions.

Austin Kocher is a faculty fellow in the Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse in the S.I Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. As a legal and political geographer, his research focuses on the intersection of law, space and immigration.

Kocher will speak about recent changes to asylum law and policy under the Obama and Trump administrations and will incorporate a longer historical perspective as well.

“As a child growing up in a single-parent household, I saw the courage that my mother had to raise four of us by herself,” Kocher said. “When I started working with immigrant women and mothers who were coming to the United States to seek asylum, I saw that exact same courage in women who risked everything to keep their children safe and give them a better life.”

A daughter of immigrants, Gomez is passionate about educating people about asylum-seekers, especially under the Trump administration.

“I want to help provide context to the kinds of hurdles that asylum-seekers face, and especially asylum-seeking women,” she said. “They have been caught in the crossfire as the Trump administration has changed longstanding interpretations of asylum standards.”

The national theme of Women’s History Month is “Valiant Women of the Vote” and celebrates both the brave women who fought for suffrage, as well as those to currently continue the struggle for representation and equity.

This year’s focus is especially timely as the campus simultaneously celebrates a century of women’s suffrage and look forward to a presidential election.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The Women’s History Month schedule of events includes: 

  • Wednesday, March 11: “100 Years Since Suffrage: The Current Status of Voter Mobilization in New York State” a Sandwich Seminar at 12:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.  Sponsored by the New York Public Interest Research Group. 
  • Wednesday, March 11: “Macro-Financial Stability and Household Debt from the Perspectives of American Post-Keynesian Economics, the Cambridge approach, and the Monetary Circuit School” by Joelle Leclaire from SUNY Buffalo State at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Sponsored by the CICC and the Economics Department. 
  • THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED. ORGANIZERS WILL TRY TO RESCHEDULE FOR A LATER DATE. Thursday, March 12: “An Afternoon with Cheryl Strayed” will begin at noon in a location that has been changed to Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. This sandwich seminar discussion is open only to SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact Heather Bartlett or John Leffel. The event is sponsored by Distinguished Voices in Literature.
  • Thursday, March 12: “The Politics of Care and the Aesthetics of Money” by Scott Ferguson from the University of South Florida at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.  
  • Tuesday, March 24: “In Pursuit of the Vote: Highlighting Local Suffragettes and Resources” a talk about the exhibit at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Library.   
  • Tuesday, March 24: “She Can Climb. They Can Climb. You Can Climb!” For women-identified and non-binary climbers at 10 p.m. at the rock wall in the Student Life Center. 
  • Wednesday, March 25: “Gender on Trial: Women and the Legal Battle for the Future of Asylum” by Valeria Gomez and Austin Kocher at 4:30 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.  
  • Thursday, March 26: “Susan B. Anthony as PR Pioneer: Public Relations and the Women’s Suffrage Movement” a Sandwich Seminar by Arien Rozelle at noon in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.   
  • Thursday, March 26: “In Pursuit of the Vote: Highlighting Local Suffragettes and Resources” a talk about the exhibit at 3 p.m. in the Memorial Library.   
  • Thursday, March 26: “Care: An Interdisciplinary Keywords Conversation” at 4:30 p.m. in Old Main Colloquium Room.  
  • Monday, March 30: “Being a Parent and a Student: Dual Responsibilities (Conversation and Food)” from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. in Cornish Hall, Room 1221. 
  • Monday, March 30: “Pretty Strong” a screening of a film about eight of the world’s strongest female climbers at 7:30 p.m. in Outdoor Pursuits in the Student Life Center.   
  • Tuesday, March 31: “Being a Parent and a Student: Dual Responsibilities (Conversation and Food)” from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. in Cornish Hall, Room 1221.  
  • Tuesday, March 31: “Moving Beyond Hate: Strategies for Combating the Old Right and the New Left Antisemitism on the American Campus” a Sandwich Seminar by Miriam F. Elman from noon to 1 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.   
  • Tuesday, March 31: “Reading and Q&A Donna Masini” at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Sponsored by Distinguished Voices in Literature.

More information on upcoming Women’s History Month events will be posted in the March 24 Bulletin.

Women’s History Month Events are sponsored by: Advisement and Transition; the Campus Artist and Lectures Series; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; he Disability Resources Office; the Economics Department; the History Department; the Geography Department; Hillel; the International Studies Program; the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office; the Clark Center for Global Engagement; the Gender Policies and Initiatives Council; the It’s On Us Action Team; Jewish Studies; the New York Public Interest Research Group; the Memorial Library; Outdoor Pursuits; the President’s Office; the Sexual Orientation, Gender, Identity, and Expression Committee (SOGIE); Disability Resources; the Student Government Association; the SUNY Cortland Chapter of the American Association of University Women; and the TransAfrica Project.

For more information, contact Curtis at 607-753-2979.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Erica Mirlas