51% Show #1382

Jan 7, 2016

On this week’s 51%, we meet the last nun teaching at a certain college in New York and another nun who makes it her business to help bond people out of jail. We hear how a Maryland law that clears certain arrest records impacts one woman, and we bring you an essay on bystander racism. I’m Allison Dunne and this is 51%.


If we’re lucky, each of us had a teacher or two who inspired us, mentored us, even changed our lives. Most of us wouldn’t be where we are today without them. Many people in the music wouldn't be where they are today if not for Sister Mary Anne Nelson, a nun who has taught recording engineering, artist management and rock and roll. She’s the last sister teaching at The College of Saint Rose, a private college in Albany, New York. She founded the college’s Music Industry program in 1981, has directed it ever since, and coincidentally is the last nun to teach at the once all-girls Catholic school, the only full-time instructor remaining on-staff. 51%’s Dave Lucas reports.  

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Meanwhile, a nun in another state is working in a different way. By her own estimates, Sister Sue has handled more than 2,000 bond cases. And she has no intention of slowing down, as we hear in the following Kind World segment produced by WBUR’s Zack Ezor. 

According to a study based on federal statistics, about one third of all Americans have been arrested before age 23. The immediate consequences of crime are jail time, fines and parole. But a record also can impact many aspects of a person’s life: from employment to public assistance to housing. In October, several bills went into effect in Maryland that would allow certain misdemeanors and crimes that are no longer criminalized, like possession of small amounts of marijuana, to be shielded from public view. Jonna McKone has the story of one woman who has been working to clear a record that has followed her for the past 13 years. 

We close our show with an essay from writer Dr. Jeri Burns. 

Dr. Jeri Burns is a storyteller, writer, and educator living in New York's Hudson Valley. You can find her at www.storycrafters.com. She also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication at the State University of New York at New Paltz. 

And that's our show this week. Thanks to Patrick Garrett for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio.

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