Garden City country club with name tied to slavery unveils new name

The Plantation Country Club in Garden City has cast aside its only link to slavery and is now known as The River Club.

“Looking to the future of this great club and what it means to members and the community, the element we kept coming back to was the river,” Will Gustafson, CEO of owner Glass Creek LLC, said in a news release Thursday. “The Boise River is the lifeblood for this community. It was obvious that our club’s future had to pay respect to the river.”

The club announced in June, amid nationwide protests of police violence against Black people, that it was seeking a new name. In the U.S., the word plantation is associated with large farms built in the past on the backs of slave labor.

In August, the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise removed a stained glass window installed in 1960 that contained the image of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Church documents showed the window, featuring Lee standing with Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, was meant as an “inclusive nod to Southerners who have settled in Boise.”

Glass Creek, which bought the country club in 2018, planned to unveil a new name after a redesign of the course and other improvements were completed in a few years. However, Gustafson said the events of 2020 brought an increased focus on ensuring the club matched modern-day values.

“We felt from the very beginning that ‘Plantation Country Club’ did not reflect the vision we had for the club’s future: a fresh, modern, inclusive, and welcoming club for all members of the community,” he said. “This year brought a sharp focus on just how imperative it was for our club to not be attached to that dark piece of America’s history, and we knew we couldn’t wait any longer.”

The course, the oldest in Southern Idaho, opened July 18, 1917 as the Boise Country Club. Fourteen years later, the name was changed to the Plantation Country Club.

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©2020 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)

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Anger over Leeds Marsden House student halls’ fire exit ‘tied shut’

A fire exit with wire wrapped around the gate

image copyrightRyan Gleeson

image captionThe fire exit at Marsden House in Leeds was secured with cable ties “to keep out non-resident students”, a student claims

The parent of a Leeds university student said he was “furious” that a fire exit at his son’s accommodation had been tied shut with cable ties.

Marsden House on Burley Road, Leeds, is home to about 900 students.

Ryan Gleeson, whose step-son is studying at Leeds Beckett University, posted a photo of the secured gate at the halls and alerted the fire service.

IQ Student, which manages the building, said it was investigating and student safety was its “highest priority”.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had “resolved the issue” after attending the site on Monday.

IQ Student said the gate was “one of several escape routes from the building and is 2m away from an escape route through reception, which is staffed around the clock”.

But students say the gate is also the main point of entry and exit to the halls.

Mr Gleeson’s step-son, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it had been secured shut “all day every day” for four days before the ties were removed.

image copyrightRyan Gleeson

image captionThe adjoining turnstiles had also been blocked to stop people getting in and out, the student said

He claimed he had witnessed security guards securing the gate to keep non-residents from entering the building.

“It doesn’t make us feel very safe when we’re paying so much money to be here. It seems like we’re paying for our own house arrest,” he said.

Mr Gleeson, from Blackpool, said: “I was furious. Absolutely livid that a halls of residence where people are in party mode and will undoubtedly be drinking are put in a greater risk of not being able to find a means of escape from a building and to a point of ultimate safety.

“I understand during fresher’s week students are not entirely blameless in creating a situation but this is an absolutely dangerous way to try and resolve it.”

The fire service said blocking a fire exit was illegal, dangerous, “reckless and puts lives at risk”.

A spokeswoman said IQ Student confirmed “they did not secure the exit” and it was working with the company “to ensure this does not happen again and to identify the individual(s) responsible for securing the exit closed”.

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House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor

A bill aimed at shining a light on corporations benefiting from the use of China’s forced labor camps, which have targeted Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, passed the House in a 229-187 vote on Wednesday.



a group of people looking at a laptop: House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor


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House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor

The Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act of 2020 – spearheaded by Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) – would require companies that are publicly traded in the United States and do business within the region to disclose information on their supply chains, including whether their products could be made by forced labor.

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Proponents of the legislation argue it is a step in the right direction in taking a stand against human rights abuses in the region.

“This legislation is essential to protect American investors and consumers through stronger disclosure requirements alerting them to Chinese and international companies whose operations enable the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said during debate.

“It represents a clear and material risk to shared values and the corporate reputations of these companies and US investors and consumers,” McGovern added.

Critics argued that while they agree the United States needs to take action to crackdown on human rights violations, certain provisions in the bill that could place unnecessary regulatory burdens on companies. Republicans also took aim at Democrats for not having the bill go through the committee process.

“While the bill takes strong action to ensure American businesses are not complicit in China’s forced labor programs, there are outstanding concerns in the bill that may harm U.S. businesses. For instance, the bill requires public companies to file disclosures with the SEC if they imported manufactured goods or other materials that originated in or are sourced in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region and disclose whether those goods originated in forced labor camps,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) said on the floor ahead of the vote.

“These entities would also have to disclose the nature and extent of the commercial activity related to each good or material, the gross revenue, and net profits attributable, and whether they intend to continue importing the goods. China’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups must come to an end and we voted on that bill yesterday in a bipartisan fashion.”

The bill was brought to the floor as Republicans have repeatedly slammed Democrats over not being hard enough on China, making it a key component of their campaign strategy.

Video: U.S. House passes stopgap funding bill to avoid government shutdown (Reuters)

U.S. House passes stopgap funding bill to avoid government shutdown

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