3rd Annual Mu Zeta Chapter Induction Ceremony

The Annual Honor Society Induction Ceremony was held this past Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at Florida International University.  Induction of new members into the National Honor Society is one of the most important traditions associated with any National Honor Society and is an important event for the student, the chapter, and the school.  

The induction ceremony was conducted by the national advisor, national and local chapter officers and members of the local chapter.  Thirteen students were inducted, ten were FIU students and three were FNC students. 

The inductees enjoyed a night of celebration with family, friends, and colleagues.  Florida National College congratulates all inductees and sends best wishes to the FNC students who got inducted:  Nathaly Almonte, Margarita Landa, and Gustavo Omana.

If you are interested in joining the Criminal Justice Honor Society at Florida National College, please contact the Chapter Advisor, Jelenny Hernandez at (786) 364-9564 or email at jhernandez@mm.fnc.edu.

 

Trace Evidence Collection and Preservation Training

“Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him.  Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects.  All of these and more, bear mute witness against him.  This is evidence that does not forget. “ – Professor Edmond Locard.

This past Saturday, April 21st, the students of the Criminal Justice and Legal Studies programs at Florida National College participated in a Trace Evidence Collection and Preservation training sponsored by the Gold Coast Forensic Association of West Palm Beach.  The Gold Coast Forensic Association was formed in 2003 by a group of Forensic Investigators to enhance the level of training on Florida’s Gold Coast.  The associations numbers in approximately 100 members and is growing on a daily basis. The member’s of the association’s expertise extends to Crime Scene Investigators, Medical Examiners Investigators, Latent Fingerprint Examiners, DNA Laboratory Scientists, Firearms Examiners, Detectives, Police Officers, and Educators and Students.

The Trace Evidence Collection and Preservation training was held at the West Palm Beach Police Department and it included topics such as fingerprints, small evidence, hair and fiber, body fluids and alternate light source examinations.  The participating students were able to cast footprint and fingerprint impressions, dust for fingerprints, collect small fiber, analyze blood, semen, and urine through alternative light source equipment, and determine various substances through chemical enhancements. 

If you are interested in participating in upcoming trainings you must be enrolled in the criminal justice or legal studies programs and preferably hold membership in the Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society chapter at Florida National College.  For more information, contact the Chapter Advisor, Jelenny Hernandez at (786) 364-9564 or email at jhernandez@mm.fnc.edu.

Is What You Say at Work Protected by the First Amendment?

By: Florida National College Professor, Joseph S. Giannell, Esq.

Is what you say at work protected by the First Amendment? The answer to this question depends on the situation. The United States Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that helps answer this question for government employees. In the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos, the Court held that when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, their statements are not protected by the First Amendment. However, when public employees make statements outside their duties, then that speech may be protected by the First Amendment.

So what does this all mean for college students that decide to work for the government after graduation? Basically, the extent of you First Amendment rights will depend in large part on your job description. For example, if a state attorney paralegal as a part of his/her job duties has a meeting with an attorney, anything that the paralegal says at that meeting is not protected by the First Amendment. On the other hand, if the paralegal were to write a letter to a newspaper complaining about government budgeting and waste, all of that speech would be protected by the First Amendment because it is not a part of a paralegal’s duties to write letters to newspapers.

So why is it important to have your speech protected by the First Amendment as a government employee? When speech is protected by the First Amendment, your employer cannot discipline or retaliate against you for things you say that are considered protected speech. However, your employer could discipline you for unprotected speech because when government employees engage in speech pursuant to their job duties, they are technically speaking for the government, so the courts allow public employers to have the ability to control what their employees say in these situations. The bottom line is that anything you say pursuant to your job duties is unprotected speech and can be regulated by your employer; however, if you say something outside of your job duties, your speech will likely be protected by the First Amendment and your employer cannot hold that speech against you.

Graduation – Honor Society – Sports – Politics

A Step Closer to Graduation

This Friday a group of FNC students will be a step closer to fulfilling their academic goal.  FNC will hold its graduation rehearsal at the Ramada Inn on April 13, 2012 at 7:00pm.  Many of these students have gone through difficulties to achieve this goal.  This is a big step in life and the advising office would like to congratulate all these students.

Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society – Mu Zeta Chapter

Also, on April 13, 2012 from 6:00-7-00pm the Criminal Justice Honor Society will hold a meeting for all its members. This meeting will discuss many issues relating to the Honor Society. Congratulations to the Honor Society for standing out at the National Conference in New York!

Sports & Politics

In other news, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro.  Should he have been suspended for five games?  What about freedom of speech?  Ozzie Guillen has the perfect right to say anything he wants; after all, we live in a democratic society.  The customer base of the Miami Marlins has also the right to make an economic statement in answer, as do the management of the Marlins in hopes of preventing an economic disaster in their first year at a new ball park.

In the world of politics, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the challenger to President Obama this fall.  Rick Santorum officially suspended his campaign this month leaving a clear path for Governor Romney to earn the necessary delegates for the nomination.

The Nursing Scholarship Program

Here at the Advising Blog we have important information to share with our Nursing and Prospective Nursing students.  The Nursing Scholarship Program (NSP) application cycle has officially opened today and will close on May 8, 2012.

What is NSP you ask? The Nursing Scholarship Program is designed to aid nursing students in their academic program. The NSP provides scholarships to nursing students in exchange for a minimum 2 year full-time service commitment (or part-time equivalent) at an eligible health care facility located in a primary care or mental Health Professional Shortage Area also known as a Critical Shortage Facility. While in school, NSP participants receive tuition and fees, an annual payment for other reasonable costs to cover expenses for books, clinical supplies, and instruments, and a monthly stipend to cover living expenses.

The deadline to apply to the NSP is May 8,2012, at 5:00pm ET. To learn more about the NSP eligibility and requirements, visit http://www.hrsa.gov/loanscholarships/scholarships/Nursing/guidance.pdf

Don’t wait, this is a great opportunity for your future success.

Resume Clinic at FNC

My First Time at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Conference!

By:  Grace Rodriguez, Mu Zeta Chapter Member (to the far left in the photo below)

This year I got to be a part of the 70th anniversary of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.  The conference was held at the Marriot Grand Marquis in New York, NY right in the heart of Time Square.  We kicked off the conference with a very interesting icebreaker called “Happy Hour: It’s NOT About the Alcohol.”  The point of the exercise is to get to know the other students who had attended the conference. We were to sit at a different table to answer questions about our interests and goals.  I was surprised to find students with a variety of interests in the criminal justice and law fields.  It just reminded me how versatile the criminal justice field really is.

The conference’s keynote speaker opened up with a great taste of justice and fairness.  Barney Brown, who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned at the age of 13, spoke of the struggles he faced while incarcerated in an adult prison for 38 years.  His testimony was moving, very inspiring and showed his perseverance for freedom and justice. The entire room was moved by his message and that was “we live in the best country in the world where justice is always served – sooner or later.”  His sincerity and passion for justice were evident.  He is now the Senior Legal Representative for the law firm that assisted him in his release.

Throughout the days, several presentations made their way into what proved to be an excellent conference.  The various topics that were covered included mock trials, crime scene scenarios, and DUI presentations.  Our chapter, Mu Zeta of Florida National College as we are known, also made their mark at the conference.  We competed for the community service project of the year and won!  Our chapter presented on bullying.  We worked with our existing children of inmates mentees and incorporated a program successfully used in public schools.  Our chapter decided that having this anti-bullying policy at the public school level was great but it was not enough and so, we decided to take the same ideals to the private school sector.  Our chapter implemented the anti-bullying policy in private schools in Miami-Dade County for middle and high schools.  Our community service was so innovative and impacting that out of 45 colleges and universities represented in this category, we won the community service project of the year and were presented with a scholarship and certificate of recognition.

Other chapter accomplishments at the conference include the following:

Advisor of the Year – Our chapter advisor, Jelenny Hernandez was recognized as the 2012 Advisor of the Year among a participating 400 + institutions. 

Advisor Grant – Presented to Jelenny Hernandez, Chapter Advisor, to apply to a scholarship of her own design to benefit members of our chapter.

Yoalmis Rivero – Chapter Vice President, presented on a research review she worked on related to the misuse of power by police.  She was recognized for her research and will be presented in the next publication that is quarterly sent out by the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.   

Mearli Orozco – Chapter Treasurer and Secretary, was presented with a scholarship honoring her academic excellence and community service in our field.

The conference closed with a very appropriate Retro Ball in which all the decades starting from the 40’s, were represented by the participating institutions.  Our chapter decided to represent the 40’s in honor of the inception of Alpha Phi Sigma.  

It was bittersweet having to say goodbye to those we had made friends with.  I learned a lot from this experience and I’m working toward inspiring my colleagues to attend next year’s conference in Dallas, Texas.  I cannot wait!