Thumbs up to Fresno State faculty members Cristina Herrera, Larissa Mercado-Lopez and Rosa Toro for taking the lead to help their new colleague, Amber Crowell, and her husband, Zach, through a nasty ordeal while moving to her new job at the university. Thieves stole their car and U-Haul trailer with all their belongings.
She told the Fresno State Collegian that the trailer was found the next day, but everything was gone or destroyed. Insurance on the trailer didn’t cover theft. Herrera, Mercado-Lopez and Toro started a GoFundMe page and asked for $10,000. Within a month, donations surpassed the goal with more than 200 donors contributing.
Crowell is an assistant professor of sociology, so she looks at it this way: “We call it Gemeinschaft,” she told The Collegian. “When you have a society that is more in style of Gemeinschaft, there is a strong sense of community, and there are more empathetic connections.” If you take her class, you will learn that Gemeinschaft is a sociological concept where individuals value the community as much as they do themselves.
“I think Fresno State definitely has that,” she said. “My sense of this university is that the faculty are all very supportive of one another. So knowing that I was joining their family, so to speak, I think that they didn’t even think twice about helping. I am not a social theorist when it comes to altruism and donations, but I would say that it is probably the sense of community here that creates a sense of empathy for each other.”
Thumbs up to retired executive vice president and general counsel of Mitsubishi James E. Brumm for being named the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association. He and seven other alumni will be recognized Oct. 15 at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.
Brumm graduated magna cum laude from Fresno State in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and later earned a law degree from Columbia University. He served as an executive vice president and general counsel of Mitsubishi International Corp. in the U.S., where he worked for 35 years. Today Brumm is president of Glastonbury Commons Ltd., a consulting firm, where he is an adviser to Mitsubishi in New York and Japan. His commitment to human rights and environmental issues includes work with NatureServe, the New York City Bar Association, the International Crane Foundation, the Red-Crowned Crane Conservancy in Japan, First Peoples Worldwide, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Forest Trends and the American Bird Conservancy.
He lives in New York and travels internationally, yet Brumm connects with the Valley. He served on the board of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford and helped to bring an exhibition of samurai weapons and armor to the Henry Madden Library.
Thumbs down to the state workers caught cheating on their expense accounts. Wondering why people sometimes smirk at public employees when they say they “work” for the state? The Associated Press is reporting that a California state district engineer approved $3.9 million in payments to the firm that employed the worker’s spouse and the state public health department improperly reimbursed an official $75,000 for driving to work, according to an audit released recently.
The findings came thanks to whistleblower tips investigated within the first six months of the year. The report details seven substantiated investigations from several state agencies and identifies $400,000 in undisclosed gifts and wasted money due to improper travel expenses and mismanagement.
State Auditor Elaine Howle said the examples serve to deter wrongdoing. “If state employees know that others are watching and reporting on improper activities, they will think twice about engaging in improper activities,” she said. The cheating is slimy and small compared with losing a job. What are they thinking? A peace officer with the state parks department, which has had financial troubles, accepted 24 pairs of designer sunglasses valued at $4,800 from a vendor that does business with the agency.