Over the past month, communities around the world have been grappling with the effects of systemic racism. Las Vegas joined countless cities nationwide and beyond in protesting police violence, and UNLV made the decision to remove its Hey Reb! statue on campus and continue conversations on the future of the university’s mascot.
Communities have also continued to respond to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic. As the state moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan and casinos in Las Vegas welcomed guests back, UNLV, in collaboration with Clark County, expanded hours for coronavirus testing at the university’s Tropicana Parking Garage. UNLV faculty also continue to research the disease and provide insight to local and national media on how we can all continue the fight.
UNLV is also stepping up in the fight against another disease where more answers are needed: Alzheimer’s. UNLV’s Department of Brain Health in June launched the Chambers-Grundy Center for Transformative Neuroscience to provide hope to patients and families affected by neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia through research and clinical trials for treatment.
These highlights and more are reflected in the news headlines below.
Black Lives Matter Movement
In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter protests quickly spread across the country, including Las Vegas. The protests are a call to end systematic racism and police brutality. Over the past several weeks, UNLV faculty have been called upon to provide their expertise on the movement.
Tyler D. Parry, assistant professor of African American and African diaspora studies
- San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post (twice) (three times), KLAS-TV: 8 News Now (twice), The Tillsonburg News, Mashable, Times Herald-Record, KSNV-TV: News 3, The Christian Science Monitor, Newswise
Frank Rudy Cooper, director of the Program on Race, Gender & Policing at UNLV
Tamara D. Herold, associate director of UNLV’s Center for Crime and Justice Policy
Claytee D. White, director of UNLV’s Oral History Research Center
Kenneth J. Varner, associate professor of literacy education
William Sousa, director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy
Robert Futrell, professor of sociology
UNLV Removes ‘Hey Reb!’ Statue
In response to recent events, along with conversations over the past several months with campus and community stakeholder groups, UNLV decided this month to remove the Hey Reb! Statue in front of the Tam Alumni Center on the main campus.
- Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, KSNV-TV: News 3, The Washington Post, Yahoo! Sports, AP, Las Vegas Review-Journal, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC News, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now
UNLV Launches New Brain Research Center
The UNLV Department of Brain Health formally launched the Chambers-Grundy Center for Transformative Neuroscience, offering hope for patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other brain and neurological diseases. The center will drive research, track the progress of clinical trials around the world, and provide learning opportunities in the science of developing treatments for these diseases. The center will be led by UNLV research professor Dr. Jeffrey Cummings.
UNLV Dental School Clinics Reopen
The UNLV School of Dental Medicine reopened its clinics on June 29 to existing patients. The clinics closed at the end of March for non-emergency visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure the safety of staff, students, and patients. Despite the closure, dentists screened and treated more than 1,100 patients with urgent needs.
Public Health Researcher Lends His Expertise
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of local and national media outlets have relied upon the expertise of public health researcher, Brian Labus, to help answer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic for their readers. During the month of June, Labus, who’s also a member of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s coronavirus task force, continued to lend his expertise to news stories exploring the safety of reopening businesses, travel precautions, and increasing coronavirus cases. Here are just a few examples:
- Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice) (three times) (four times), Las Vegas Sun (twice) (three times)
- HuffPost (twice), PopSugar, Mashable, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, Healthline (twice), Runner’s World, Yahoo!, USA Today, Nevada Current, KNPR, Business Insider
Casinos, Tourism, and COVID-19
To much fanfare, Las Vegas casinos and hotels reopened their doors to Nevadans and visitors on June 4. The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the hospitality and tourism industry, and moving forward, the industry, like countless others, will continue to grapple with questions on how best to operate in this new reality. Expert faculty from numerous disciplines have given insight to local and national media on the matter:
Amanda Belarmino, professor in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality
Robert E. Lang, executive director of The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West
Alan Feldman, distinguished fellow with UNLV’s International Gaming Institute
David G. Schwartz, gaming historian and associate vice provost for Faculty Affairs
Mehmet Erdem, professor in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality
- Huffington Post spoke to Ruben Garcia, co-director of UNLV’s Workplace Law Program, about job-training provisions secured by the local culinary union, and how the COVID-19 pandemic might impact those provisions.
- Dr. Michael Gardner, vice dean of clinical affairs for the UNLV School of Medicine, weighed in on the rising coronavirus numbers.
- Sociology professor Simon Gottschalk provided his insight to Big Think on skills that employers look for in potential employees.
- Nancy Lough, professor and Title IX researcher in the College of Education, co-wrote an article in Sports Business Journal about the power of women in sports.
- Couple and Family Therapy Program professor Katherine Hertlein offered her expertise to Yahoo! Life on how couples can avoid resentment during quarantine.
- Arya Udry, associate professor of geoscience, wrote a piece for The Conversation on how meteorites collected from the Mars 2020 space mission will provide clues about the Red Planet’s geology.
- Political science professor Austin Wang, spoke to The National Interest on how Taiwan is continuing to fear a Chinese invasion.
- UNLV astrophysicist Jason Steffen provided his expertise to BBC on how COVID-19 could change how people board planes.
- Tax law professor Francine Lipman was quoted in Bankrate about her take on the ‘Explore America’ stimulus proposal.
- Law professor Stewart Chang spoke to KSNV-TV: News 3 about a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring workplace discrimination against LGBTQ individuals
- Life sciences professor and insect expert Allen Gibbs explained the benefits of dragonflies to House Beautiful readers