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Welfare Reform: The Political and Ethical Debate

Does welfare assistance stem poverty? Does it help families in the short-term or hurt them in the long run? Does it promote dependency instead of responsibility?

A sharp divide still exists between those who oppose the sweeping reforms of welfare policy that eliminated major cash assistance 12 years ago and those who support them. Opponents claim that welfare reform betrays the most fundamental values we hold as a people and as a nation. Supporters hail welfare reform as a major step in eroding a culture of dependency.

A two-day conference, The Politics and Ethics of Welfare Reform: A Continuing Debate, will bring the political and ethical debate to Pittsburgh and Duquesne University.

Keynotes will be delivered by the Rev. Thomas J. Massaro, professor of moral theology and social ethics at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, who will discuss Welfare Reform and Catholic Social Thought: Ongoing Ethical Concerns, and Dr. Frances Fox Piven, president of the American Sociological Society, who will address Challenging Authority and Welfare Policy.

A panel of government, community and academic participants will offer ideas for welfare reform, including Estelle B. Richman, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare; Rochelle L. Jackson, advocate/organizer of the Welfare Justice Project for Just Harvest and Bradley R. Berger, vice president for human services at Goodwill Industries.

The Center for the Study of Catholic Social Thought will present this event, along with the Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts and several other departments.

Headed by Dr. Christina A. Astorga, Duquesne’s Center for the Study of Catholic Social Thought serves as the hub of the University’s participation in both intellectual and social solidarity within the tradition of the Catholic Church’s commitment to issues of poverty, racism and interreligious dialogue.

Dates: Tuesday, April 15, and Wednesday, April 16

Time: 1 to 6:30 p.m.
Registration, noon

Location: Pappert Lecture Hall in the Bayer Learning Center, Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Ave.

Cost: Free and open to the public; advanced registration requested

Information: For more information about the Center for the Study of Catholic Social Thought or to register for the event, visit www.duq.edu/cst-welfare.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.