Violence focus of CLASA professor talk

Domestic violence will be the focus of the second event of the school year hosted by CLASA, the James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive.

Dr. Laura Finley, the author of seven books and an expert on domestic violence, will speak on the McNichols campus on Thursday, Oct. 2, 5-6 p.m. The talk will be free and held in room 114 of the Chemistry Building.

Finley holds a doctorate in sociology from Western Michigan University and has taught in Michigan, Colorado and Florida. She is an associate professor at Barry University in Florida.

Finley believes society should view domestic violence as a community problem, not simply a law-enforcement one.

Each year, CLASA holds several events at UDM.

The organization honors a former UDM student, James Guadalupe Carney, who became a Jesuit missionary and began his fight in Honduras to help families that lost land due to natural disasters or government actions.

During the 1970s political upheaval and injustice erupted throughout Latin America. People inside the United States began to form groups called solidarity groups.

These groups formed alliances with Latin Americans and started to change policies in the U.S.

One solidarity group was formed after the killing of several Jesuit priests who were teaching at the Central American University in El Salvador in 1989.

These priests were killed by soldiers of El Salvador trained in the United States.

During his time in Honduras, Carney lived in poor conditions and fought for basic human rights for the people of Honduras. He disappeared in 1979. He was declared dead in 1983.

Through his lifetime, he had documents and letters written to government officials as well as documentaries and films.

All of this items were donated to the university and are part of the archive.

CLASA aims to serve students, scholars and community members working on Latin American solidarity work and human rights.

The organization helps students with research, and hosts events throughout the year to fundraise money for poor students to attend Central American University in El Salvador.

Last year, according to Gail Presby, director of CLASA and a philosophy professor at UDM, CLASA raised enough money to have about four students attend that school.

Presby has been director of CLASA for ten years. She did not expect to become director, but because the prior director left, she took over and says she couldn’t be happier.

She said she works hard to find the right speakers to come to UDM to speak about social justice in different countries.

She tries to schedule at least six events a school year.

Where does she finds the diverse speakers?

“A lot of these people I know personally or know through friends,” she said. “The network I’ve built over the past years continues to expand.”

After Finley’s Oct. 2 talk, the next event will occur on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m., when the documentary “Hit and Stay” will be shown.

The film delves into the hidden history of the social justice and civil disobedience that some Catholic populations undertook between 1967 and 1972.

Special guest Jerry Berrigan will share his reflections after the movie.

All of the events appear on the CLASA page of the UDM site.