first_imgInstead of Touchdown Jesus and the Golden Dome in the background of its performance, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol Building flanked the Notre Dame Marching Band this past weekend. The band played a set of patriotic songs and a few of its popular hits in front of the Capitol on Saturday as part of the football team’s neutral site game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., Band Director Kenneth Dye said. “To see the band standing there in front of the Capitol with the Irish Guard in their red uniforms, with the American flag in the background — it was a pretty special picture,” Dye said. The show took place the day after Veteran’s Day, and the band played songs such as “God Bless America” and a medley of military service academy songs to honor those who have served our country, Dye said. “Being Veteran’s Day weekend, we decided to focus on recognizing the veterans,” he said. The band spent three weeks rehearsing for the performance, Dye said, as there were a lot of strict rules for the venue. “We weren’t allowed to play ahead of time,” Dye said. “You get a start time of precisely 12 noon, and you have to end by 12:45 p.m. because they don’t want to think that it is some kind of a rally.” The band also would have had to move the concert if Congress had called a special session, he said. This was not the first time the band has played at a famous public setting. As a part of last year’s neutral site game, the band performed in the hustle and bustle of Times Square. “Times Square was a backdrop with a lot of people,” Dye said. “There were taxis honking their horns, there were police sirens and there were the video boards and lights going on.” Dye said the setting at the Capitol had a different feel. “In the Capitol, it was much more stately and solemn,” he said. “It was more patriotic.” Dye said the audience at the Capitol was very supportive and enthusiastic. “We got a terrific reaction [from the audience] because most of them were Notre Dame fans,” he said. “They really appreciated the setting. Bringing part of Notre Dame in front of the Capitol building was really special for the alumni, the parents and our students.” Sophomore piccolo Katherine Morrow said the band enjoys trips to different game sites because they allow its members to bond and share special memories together. “It’s trips like this that really bring us together as a band family,” Morrow said. She said performing in front of the Capital was “thrilling” and a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Sophomore trombone Andrew Marino said the performance was one of the band’s best. “It was surreal just looking out at the National Mall and seeing the Washington Monument in front of you and seeing all the famous historic buildings,” Marino said. “I thought we played to the occasion, and the amount of people there and playing in front of the Capitol building made us play really well.” Even though the band was 600 miles from Notre Dame Stadium, Morrow said the experience was familiar. “It felt like being in the Notre Dame Stadium, the reaction that we got from the crowd,” Morrow said. “They loved it.” Dye said the band concert was a perfect kickoff to the football weekend. “[The band members] did a terrific job,” he said. “They worked really hard, and it came across very effectively. It set the tone for the whole weekend.”last_img read more

first_imgPresident Carol Ann Mooney and the class of 2014 welcomed a special group of visitors Friday as Saint Mary’s College celebrated its annual Sophomore Parents Weekend. Allie Richthammer, committee chair and community liaison for the event, said the Class of 2014 Board wanted to give students and parents a unique way to experience Saint Mary’s. “We hoped to have a weekend for the sophomores and their families to get to know one another and for the parents to experience their daughters’ lives at (Saint Mary’s),” she said. “Events like these serve to strengthen the bonds and friendships of Saint Mary’s girls.” The weekend began on Friday with the parents’ arrivals, “mocktails” and a silent auction in Spes Unica. On Saturday, students and their parents celebrated Mass and attended a banquet dinner with President Mooney. The weekend concluded Sunday with brunch in the Noble Family Dining Hall. For some students, the distance between home and Saint Mary’s is short enough that they can easily see their parents throughout the year. However, for sophomore Christa McColl, this weekend was a special event. “My parents are not able to come for that many weeks out of the year because I am from Georgia, so this weekend is the perfect opportunity for them to make the journey up,” she said. Even students who see their parents on a regular basis appreciated Sophomore Parents Weekend, simply because it gave them the chance to bring family to campus. Sophomore Hannah Karches said she enjoyed giving her parents a glimpse of her life at Saint Mary’s. “I loved spending time with my parents and introducing them to my friends,” she said. “I also really enjoyed meeting some of my friends’ parents for the first time.” Sophomore Ellen Smith said she appreciated having the opportunity to spend time with her parents outside of the traditional Notre Dame football game weekends. “My parents usually come down for a day or two in the fall for a football game, so [seeing them for a whole weekend] is pretty rare,” she said. “I knew it was going to be a fun weekend because they were here.” Although the event was only three days long, the Class of 2014 Board planned Sophomore Parents Weekend for three months. “We started planning around November,” Richthammer said. “Planning the weekend was definitely stressful, but we have a great board.” Despite the stress and months of organization, Richthammer said the work paid off. “[The Board] had no idea what to expect leading up to the weekend, so seeing the events come together was incredible,” she said. “My parents were surprised when they found out we were eating with President Mooney. I loved seeing them rubbing elbows with the president.”last_img read more

first_imgIn the midst of former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and moral debates about contraception and abortion in the political arena, the Mormon faith has garnered heavy media attention so far in 2012. Dr. Bruce Porter, a senior leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), will address this media attention in a talk Tuesday titled “The Latter-day Saints Come Marching In: Mormonism Abroad and At Home in the 21st Century.” He will address his church’s views on global events and its relationship to the Catholic Church. Prior to his service as a senior leader involved in international Church administration in 1995, Porter earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, taught political science at Brigham Young University, authored several books and academic articles and worked with the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Northrop Corporation. Porter also served as executive director of the U.S. Board for International Broadcasting for five years. In his talk, Porter said he will introduce the basic organization and doctrine of the LDS Church and address its significant international growth in recent years. “A lot of people still think we’re a Utah-based or American church, but we have more members abroad than in the U.S. – 14 million total members in 150 countries,” he said. “We’ve adapted to deal with that growth by making organizational changes, establishing large offices around the world to administer the church and building chapels and meeting houses.” Similar to the Catholic Church, the LDS Church is committed to promoting social justice through humanitarian missionary work around the world, especially in helping its members in poor countries rise out of poverty through a member-funded private welfare system, Porter said. In recent years, the Church’s humanitarian efforts have contributed more than $1 billion in aid in nearly 100 countries. “A key part of our religion is social justice. We believe all people are equal, and that the rich should be helping the poor,” he said. “All our humanitarian work is funded by thousands of members, and it’s making a huge difference in people’s lives.” Porter said the LDS Church also strives to maintain equality in members’ access to religious and educational resources. “We try to promote equality among members in church operations across country borders, rather than equality in private income,” he said. “We manage the contributions from members so that all the money is redistributed centrally so the same kinds of chapels and meeting houses [exist] in poor and rich cities.” Additionally, the Church’s private welfare system includes a fund that has helped more than 50,000 members attain higher education in 50 countries over the past 11 years, Porter said. “We realized a lot of members were stuck in poverty without education,” he said. “Like any church, we want to bring salvation to our members, but we also want to bring them a better life. We don’t just see our work as being for the next life, so we work in the here-and-now to help people.” The LDS Church’s humanitarian collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and other Catholic-affiliated charities aligns it with the Church’s commitment to social justice, Porter said, but the two institutions also share similar views on some moral and social issues. He said those issues include abortion, marriage and family values. “We have good relations with some senior Catholic leaders, and even though we come from different religions, we have common values and interests in the international arena,” Porter said. “We certainly have members with different views and don’t try to impose political views on people, but the Church has taken a fairly conservative stance on those issues.” Porter said the LDS Church agrees with the Catholic Church’s position on abortion and is opposed to same-sex marriage, but the churches differ in their views on the use of contraception. “Our church has no position on contraception. We agree that religious organizations or hospitals shouldn’t have to provide contraception because it relates to issues of religious freedom, but there is no prohibition on the use of contraception,” he said. “We think it’s important that people of conscience can follow that conscience, so in that regard, we’re 100 percent behind the [Catholic] Church.” In general, the LDS Church’s views on many moral and social issues are founded in its belief in the importance of the right to religious freedom, Porter said. “We believe religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights of all of our members and all people,” he said. Porter said the LDS Church is similar to the Catholic Church in their centralized world headquarters in Salt Lake City and the Vatican, respectively. However, LDS clergy are part-time volunteers who hold other jobs and are not paid for their ministry work, he said. In the final portion of his talk, Porter said he would address the LDS Church’s attitude towards government, politics, war and national security in relation to the recent wave of publicity focused on the Mormon faith as a result of Romney’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. “As a church, we are politically neutral and do not endorse any candidate, but we have to deal with the publicity generated by Romney’s campaign, some of which has been inaccurate,” Porter said. Above all, Porter said he hopes to express the central mission and values of the Mormon faith during his talk at Notre Dame. “I want to express that the Church is a worldwide, not American, church that is politically-neutral and is very committed to uplifting the lives of its members throughout the world, and tries to do social good and social justice throughout the world.” Porter’s talk, sponsored by the Notre Dame International Security Program and the Tocqueville Program on Religion and Public Life, will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday in 119 DeBartolo Hall, and is open to the public.,In the midst of former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and moral debates about contraception and abortion in the political arena, the Mormon faith has garnered heavy media attention so far in 2012. Dr. Bruce Porter, a senior leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), will address this media attention in a talk Tuesday titled “The Latter-day Saints Come Marching In: Mormonism Abroad and At Home in the 21st Century.” He will address his church’s views on global events and its relationship to the Catholic Church. Prior to his service as a senior leader involved in international Church administration in 1995, Porter earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, taught political science at Brigham Young University, authored several books and academic articles and worked with the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Northrop Corporation. Porter also served as executive director of the U.S. Board for International Broadcasting for five years. In his talk, Porter said he will introduce the basic organization and doctrine of the LDS Church and address its significant international growth in recent years. “A lot of people still think we’re a Utah-based or American church, but we have more members abroad than in the U.S. – 14 million total members in 150 countries,” he said. “We’ve adapted to deal with that growth by making organizational changes, establishing large offices around the world to administer the church and building chapels and meeting houses.” Similar to the Catholic Church, the LDS Church is committed to promoting social justice through humanitarian missionary work around the world, especially in helping its members in poor countries rise out of poverty through a member-funded private welfare system, Porter said. In recent years, the Church’s humanitarian efforts have contributed more than $1 billion in aid in nearly 100 countries. “A key part of our religion is social justice. We believe all people are equal, and that the rich should be helping the poor,” he said. “All our humanitarian work is funded by thousands of members, and it’s making a huge difference in people’s lives.” Porter said the LDS Church also strives to maintain equality in members’ access to religious and educational resources. “We try to promote equality among members in church operations across country borders, rather than equality in private income,” he said. “We manage the contributions from members so that all the money is redistributed centrally so the same kinds of chapels and meeting houses [exist] in poor and rich cities.” Additionally, the Church’s private welfare system includes a fund that has helped more than 50,000 members attain higher education in 50 countries over the past 11 years, Porter said. “We realized a lot of members were stuck in poverty without education,” he said. “Like any church, we want to bring salvation to our members, but we also want to bring them a better life. We don’t just see our work as being for the next life, so we work in the here-and-now to help people.” The LDS Church’s humanitarian collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and other Catholic-affiliated charities aligns it with the Church’s commitment to social justice, Porter said, but the two institutions also share similar views on some moral and social issues. He said those issues include abortion, marriage and family values. “We have good relations with some senior Catholic leaders, and even though we come from different religions, we have common values and interests in the international arena,” Porter said. “We certainly have members with different views and don’t try to impose political views on people, but the Church has taken a fairly conservative stance on those issues.” Porter said the LDS Church agrees with the Catholic Church’s position on abortion and is opposed to same-sex marriage, but the churches differ in their views on the use of contraception. “Our church has no position on contraception. We agree that religious organizations or hospitals shouldn’t have to provide contraception because it relates to issues of religious freedom, but there is no prohibition on the use of contraception,” he said. “We think it’s important that people of conscience can follow that conscience, so in that regard, we’re 100 percent behind the [Catholic] Church.” In general, the LDS Church’s views on many moral and social issues are founded in its belief in the importance of the right to religious freedom, Porter said. “We believe religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights of all of our members and all people,” he said. Porter said the LDS Church is similar to the Catholic Church in their centralized world headquarters in Salt Lake City and the Vatican, respectively. However, LDS clergy are part-time volunteers who hold other jobs and are not paid for their ministry work, he said. In the final portion of his talk, Porter said he would address the LDS Church’s attitude towards government, politics, war and national security in relation to the recent wave of publicity focused on the Mormon faith as a result of Romney’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. “As a church, we are politically neutral and do not endorse any candidate, but we have to deal with the publicity generated by Romney’s campaign, some of which has been inaccurate,” Porter said. Above all, Porter said he hopes to express the central mission and values of the Mormon faith during his talk at Notre Dame. “I want to express that the Church is a worldwide, not American, church that is politically-neutral and is very committed to uplifting the lives of its members throughout the world, and tries to do social good and social justice throughout the world.” Porter’s talk, sponsored by the Notre Dame International Security Program and the Tocqueville Program on Religion and Public Life, will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday in 119 DeBartolo Hall, and is open to the public.last_img read more

first_imgDancers will take to the stage tonight to present a series of choreographed ballets and movements in the opening performance of this year’s Dance Ensemble Workshop. The College’s Program in Dance within the Departments of Communications Studies, Dance and Theatre sponsors the workshop, which will take place today through Saturday at the Moreau Center for Performing Arts Little Theatre. The theme for the 2013 Workshop is DanceSpeaks, which was chosen because it captures the way the dancers convey their own messages to the audience, Artistic Director and dance professor Laurie Lowry said. “All art is a means of communication,” she said. “Dance represents non-verbal communication, but still offers a means of expressing ideas, feelings, joy, sadness and a full range of human emotions. As dancers, we speak through movement.” The performance will feature students enrolled in various dance classes at the College and some students from Notre Dame. Alumna Jean Rogers, who graduated from the College in Decemberwith a dance minor, said she is eager to return to campus and perform in the show. “I am in DanceSpeaks because I love to dance and have been involved in the dance program since my freshman year,” Rogers said. “I am performing in two pieces, ‘Say Something’ and ‘3M.’” In addition to Rogers’ pieces, the performance will feature a variety of styles, music and choreography from both solo and group dances. Lowry said the audience can expect to see something new with each dancer. “This performance offers many different pieces for curious people,” she said. “There are a variety of dance styles represented, including classical ballet in a Spanish style, contemporary ballet, Japanese ballet and various modern dance styles.” In order to prepare for the program, Rogers and the other dancers auditioned for their spots early last semester. Lowry said the overall process of rehearsals, choreography and costuming has been “fairly smooth.” “I have found this group of dancers very focused and professional throughout the working rehearsals,” she said. “They are very supportive of each other and the choreographers.” Rogers agreed with Lowry that the preparation for DanceSpeaks has been rooted in the rehearsal process and learning how to work together as a group. “It is all about rehearsing – rehearsing the piece itself, practicing hair and makeup, running through the pieces with our costumes on and working with the crew and the light designer to set the lights for each individual piece,” Rogers said. “It takes a lot of people to make a dance show successful and we have a great group.” However, despite the months of preparation and planning, there was some uncertainty about the future of the performance when the Moreau Center for Performing Arts caught on fire Jan. 27, the second blaze to hit the building in less than three months. Originally, DanceSpeaks was scheduled to occur on O’Laughlin Stage, but when damages from the January fire made that impossible, Lowry and the dancers had to search and plan for a new venue. “When the fire happened, we did not know where the performance would be or if the date might have to be changed,” she said. “Performing venues off campus were explored but in the end the theater and dance faculty were able to share the Little Theatre space, and we were able to keep the original date and adjust to a smaller theater.” As a dancer, Rogers said the fire proved to be the biggest challenge for preparing for her dances. “The stage in O’Laughlin is larger than the Little Theatre stage, and we have had to adjust some of the choreography and our spacing in order to accommodate the size of the stage in the Little Theatre,” she said. “Fortunately, it did not take too much time to adjust. Though the fire was challenging, we all were able to overcome and grow as a company.” DanceSpeaks opens tonight and continues through Saturday. Each show begins at 7:30 p.m., with an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets cost $8 for students and $10 for faculty and staff. To purchase tickets, visit the Moreau Center’s website at moreaucenter.com or call 574-284-4626.last_img read more

first_imgSalma Ishak, one of Saint Mary’s two 2012-13 Fulbright teaching assistants, introduced faculty members and students to her home country of Yemen in Cushwa-Leighton Library on April 8. Ishak’s presentation was sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL).  The center’s director, Elaine Meyer-Lee, said becoming a Fulbright scholar is a “highly competitive process and these scholars do it all. They teach in our classrooms with our faculty and take classes with our students.”  Ishak began her presentation by pointing to Yemen on a map.  “People constantly ask me, ‘Is [Yemen] in Europe? Is it in Africa? Is it in Germany?’”, Ishak said.Ishak said Yemen is a country located in Western Asia, at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen’s geographical position, with more than 2,000 kilometers of coastline extending from the Red Sea in the West to the Arabian Sea in the East, is a gift, Ishak said. “Its geographical location has placed it at the heart of trade and cultural exchange between [the] East and West,” Ishak said. “It is known for its coffee exports, as well as its spices. … I am very accustomed to rich foods. When I eat American food, I always ask where I can find the spices.” Ishak’s home city is Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. Ishak said its altitude of 7,500 ft. makes it one of the world’s highest capital cities. “[Sana’a is ] one of the very oldest inhabited cities in the [Arab] world, and it still has the original architecture,” she said. Ishak said a typical day in her home city is interwoven with Islam, the main religion of the country. She said there is also a small representation of Jewish populations. “We wake up at five a.m. to pray, one hour before sunrise.” Ishak said.   Families in Yemen are often very large, Ishak said.  “It is weird in Yemen to have only one or two children, usually there are between four and seven in each family,” she said.  Ishak said women in Yemen are expected to remain home and raise their children. Less than 47 percent of women in Yemen are literate, she said, and the Yemen education system is very underdeveloped. Ishak said she is studying to obtain a degree in education in order to return home and contribute to the rejuvenation of the system. Because she has been studying English for some time, Ishak said there was no language barrier when she arrived at Saint Mary’s, but other cultural differences have taken some adjusting to.  “Last semester, I was almost the only one with a scarf, and that was very hard,” Ishak said. “Everyone here is very kind, so it was not so bad, but I could tell that many students wanted to ask about it and did not.” Ishak said the dining hall experience has helped her meet friends on campus. “In my culture, socializing at meals is very important.” Ishak said. “Those who work away from home come back for lunch each day to eat with their families. It is a similar situation at Saint Mary’s. If I did not have [the] dining hall, it would be very hard to make friends and socialize with people.last_img read more

first_imgThousands of fans flocked to campus Saturday under warm sun and cool breezes to experience Notre Dame football’s final meeting with Michigan for the foreseeable future, and the first night game weekend of the season brought several special guests to campus.“Coach Lou Holtz and David Feherty from the Golf Channel joined Coach Kelly and the team at the pep rally,” associate vice president for campus safety Mike Seamon said. “David Feherty was on campus filming with Coach Holtz for the Feherty Show for … Tuesday night’s episode.”“The environment in the Stadium on Saturday night was absolutely electric,” he said. “I can’t remember an environment as intense and exciting as this past Saturday night.“The Navy SEALs flying in the United States flag along with the Notre Dame flag and the game ball was an incredible sight and a great way to begin the game, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, presenting the flag for the national anthem.”Seamon said more than 1,100 people attended Friday’s football luncheon in the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center and 3,500 toured the Stadium tunnel. More than 1,300 people also visited the LaBar Practice facility, he said.“All parking lots were completely sold out and at capacity as people made their way to campus early given the great weather and the magnitude of the game,” Seamon said. “… As expected, we experienced high numbers throughout the entire weekend for all activities.“We had over 13,000 in attendance for the pep rally held outside on the Library Quad between Touchdown Jesus and [Notre Dame] Stadium.”Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) Chief Phil Johnson said traffic ran “smoothly” before the game, although motorists leaving campus experienced “very heavy” traffic, as expected. He said NDSP arrested 16 people.“14 arrests were for public intoxication or public order related offenses,” Johnson said. “Two men were arrested for shoplifting.”Indiana State Excise Police officers cited a restaurant and arrested or cited 15 people on 42 charges in South Bend throughout the weekend, according to an Excise police report. They did not arrest any tailgaters around Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.“Excise police officers also cited Between the Buns … on a preliminary charge of allowing carryout of alcohol not in its original container after officers saw several patrons leave with large plastic cups with alcoholic beverages,” the report stated.Other charges included: six for possession of false identification, five for illegal possession or consumption of alcohol, four for minor in a tavern or liquor store, four for false statement of age, four for misuse of license, three for open container violations, two for possession of a false government-issued identification and two drug-related charges.“Excise officers also issued several traffic tickets for seat-belt violations and one for not using headlights,” the report stated. “They also issued written warnings for seat-belt violations, no license plate light and failure to signal lane change.”Tags: arrests, Excise, football, Michigan, Mike Seamon, Phil Johnsonlast_img read more

first_imgThough 9 a.m. classes, milkshake Masses and anticipated football games keep planners brimming and schedules tight, Saint Mary’s Belles learn to adjust by participating  in weekly advising meetings with their freshman mentors as part of the Sophia Program.According to associate professor of music Laurel Thomas, these advising sessions are part of the Sophia Program and are mandated to encourage social development, stimulate academic understanding and embrace distinct viewpoints.First-year student Morgan Micetich said her advising group encourages her to succeed and serves as a support system during what would otherwise be a difficult transition.“The [advisory meetings] teach me to focus on myself and not to live by the expectations of others,” Micetich said. “It introduces me to my new sisters and helps me work through stress.”This new initiative benefits not only the students, but also the advisers and peer mentors who partake in the experience as guides for the freshmen class, Thomas said. Thomas said it becomes clear how exceptional each student is during the meetings and she hopes the emphasis on individuality will help them uncover their passions.“The class itself involves community building because students get to know people from other majors on a more personal level,” Thomas said. “We want everybody to be on the same page, to have heard this background information.”Thomas said the Sophia Program’s focus on self-discovery and a concept called integration of learning lies beyond the information covered in lectures and examinations in a standard classroom.Students are urged to synthesize what they grasp in one area of life with other concepts to best comprehend everything they learn and to gain a better understanding of collegiate life, said Thomas.“The courses that you take teach you different ways of thinking,” Thomas said. “Talking intentionally about integration of learning helps because at the end, you’ll be able to say much better what it means for you. I don’t think I realized until after I graduated from college and began graduate school that I actually could incorporate the learning that I had before. It sort of dawns on you that you’ve done it.”Throughout the advisory meetings and first-year required lectures, all first-year students read “What the Best College Students Do” by Ken Bain. The book details the atypical journeys of successful individuals like J.K. Rowling and Stephen Colbert, Thomas said.Students learn, through close readings, to focus more on their knowledge than on letter grades, as true understanding remains permanently beneficial while assessments cannot always accurately measure one’s ability, Thomas said.“The book is full of stories about people who did not take the standard path and who developed themselves based upon their interests and their passions,” Thomas said.First-year student Katie Long said she relates to the universal themes illustrated throughout the book and is confident that what she learns throughout the common course will assist her for her entire life.“Meeting with my adviser and mentor every week keeps me on track and reminds me to pursue my goals,” Long said. “I always look forward to the class because the environment is so friendly and productive. It’s a great learning opportunity.”Because the Sophia Program enforces leadership skills within its members, students engaged in this class are well prepared to take on every opportunity that presents itself, Thomas said.This common experience, though personalized, unites its participants in the values of persistence, ambition and dedication that will lead them to a lifetime of success, Thomas said.“The social responsibility aspect of the Sophia Program is especially unique about Saint Mary’s,” Thomas said. “We want our students, when they graduate, to be citizens of the world, responsible people who know what’s going on and are able to create change.”Tags: Saint Mary’s College, Sophia Program, What the Best College Students Dolast_img read more

first_imgAs listeners and attendees of many lectures, students continually face the question of “Now what?” once each discussion has ended. With this in mind, Saint Mary’s is working to encourage open-ended discussions after the orations end.Most recently, a community-wide book discussion group on “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander has been formed for Saint Mary’s faculty, staff and students to continue the dialogue prompted by Alexander’s talk at the College on Feb. 7.The book addresses racial discrimination and mass incarceration in the American justice system, applying the term “The New Jim Crow” to the current situation of many African Americans in the U.S.Associate professor of psychology Catherine Pittman said groups of faculty members read the book last semester. Following the talk on campus, it was clear the student body wanted to engage in ongoing conversations in a collective setting, she said.“When faculty and students are exposed to the compelling information shared by Alexander, they want to discuss the information,” Pittman said. “The fact that so many people in American culture are being stopped by the police, often mistreated and [are] imprisoned [for] long periods for minor crimes is very distressing to those who hear the statistics.“Often students want to understand how this can happen, and taking some time to read the book can help answer their questions.”Pittman said in essence, this particular book helps people to actively recognize issues that may be overlooked in daily scenarios.“Part of college life should be about recognizing what is happening in American culture,” she said. “Right now, protests are happening in response to police actions, and Alexander explains what has been happening over the past 25 years that has led to the frustration that fuels these protests.“So many people think the biggest problem that African Americans have faced was slavery, and that ended years ago. But the problem is not that slavery occurred; the problem is that our country accepted the notion that some human lives were worth less than others, and that notion has never been successfully eliminated.”Pittman said the book and the ongoing book discussion help people recognize that the U.S. continues to behave in a way revealing that some lives are devalued.“Alexander helps us to see that pattern clearly in modern society, and once that pattern is pointed out to you, you can’t ignore it,” she said. “You want to discuss it, and try to figure out how our country can live up to the values we profess.”Junior and discussion group member Lauren Cushing said the book and the discussion surrounding it have allowed her to engage in eye-opening conversations on topics that she would not have otherwise considered on her own.For Cushing and the other group members, these types of discussion allow them to address issues outside the world of the College and relevant to the here and now.“There are a lot of things that I don’t pay attention to because they aren’t directly affecting me, and I feel like a lot of other people might unfortunately agree,” Cushing said.Pittman said the first discussion meeting, held on Feb. 13, provoked many questions centered around the drug war that has been transpiring for the duration of most students’ lives.“[Students] have wondered why in some states marijuana is legal, and in other states, people are imprisoned for a dozen years for [possession] of some,” Pittman said. “They want to know why so many more African Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses, when we know that more white people than African Americans use and sell drugs.“They have asked why would police plant drugs on a person?” she said. “They want to understand what rights people have. They ask about people in prison and wonder about how they are treated.”Pittman said this range of questions can be answered by reading books like Alexander’s and discussing them.Director of Multicultural Services and group member Gloria Jenkins said one of the best and most effective parts of hosting such discussion groups is the range of voices it invites. With a combination of students and faculty, the conversation can flow between fields of study, contemporary issues and varying interests.“It’s an opportunity to hear things that you don’t normally think of yourself,” Jenkins said. “We are in our own worlds and we sometimes don’t see what’s around us. By bringing these different people on campus together to address different topics … it gives us an extra awareness.”Jenkins said she hopes this will be the first of many book group discussions for students and faculty to react together to the visiting speakers brought to campus.Groups like these fit perfectly within the Saint Mary’s mission, she said.“When you look at the values of this institution, it’s all about building young women to be leaders and to commit to social change,” Jenkins said. “I firmly believe in this goal, and it’s great to be around women who want to do just that.“If this book or other lectures and discussions open our eyes to these opportunities to produce change, then I think we’ve done a good job.”All members of the tri-campus community are invited to join the book discussion group in the Office of Multicultural Services and Student Programs, located in 214 Student Center, for the second gathering Friday, and for the third and final gathering Feb. 27.Tags: book discussion, book discussion group, Catherine Pitman, Gloria Jenkins, Lauren Cushing, mass incarceration, michelle alexander, racial injustice, saint mary’s, SMC, SMC book discussion, the new jim crowlast_img read more

first_imgThis Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s ruling against the University’s lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate.In February 2014, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied Notre Dame an injunction against the mandate, which requires insurance companies to provide contraceptives. In response, the University filed a petition Oct. 3 asking the Supreme Court to review the ruling in light of the higher court’s June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby’s decision not to provide certain types of birth control in its health insurance plan.Five months later, the Court granted the University’s request, asking the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision in light of the Hobby Lobby ruling. Notre Dame’s lawsuit was the only one which had been ruled upon by a Court of Appeals before the Hobby Lobby decision.“We’re gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has vacated the opinion of U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and remanded our case for consideration,” University vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne said in an email to The Observer.The University began offering contraceptives Jan. 1, 2014 in compliance with the mandate and has continued to do so throughout the appeals process. Other organizations, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor and Wheaton College, have been granted temporary relief by the Supreme Court since the Hobby Lobby decision.“Notre Dame continues to challenge the Federal mandate as an infringement on our fundamental right to the free exercise of our Catholic faith,” Browne said.No timeline has been set for the Court of Appeals to revisit the University’s lawsuit.Tags: Contraception, contraceptive mandate, HHS Mandate, U.S. Supreme Courtlast_img read more

first_imgThe Student Senate passed a resolution recommending that the University revoke Bill Cosby’s honorary degree this week. Eight amendments to the Student Union constitution regarding elections were also passed at Wednesday night’s meeting.A committee consisting of Badin Hall senator Alex Fincher, Ryan Hall senator Isabel Fox and Pangborn Hall senator Taylor Still presented their resolution to recommend that Bill Cosby’s honorary degree be revoked, citing in the resolution that he “admitted under oath to using illegal sedatives to coerce women into sexual intercourse.”“Mr. Cosby’s association with these behaviors is in direct conflict with the University’s stance, as stated in du Lac, that ‘sexual assault is inconsistent with the University’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the Notre Dame community expects,’” the resolution stated.The Senate voted to pass the resolution, student body Parliamentarian Sara Dugan said.The constitutional amendments covered many areas of student body elections, including the campaign process, election dates and finance for elections. All physical campaigning materials must now be no larger than 11 by 17 inches — clarifications for where materials can be placed were also addressed. Previously, classrooms could not be used at any time for campaigning, but a new amendment states that classrooms cannot be used for campaigning during a class period or during an exam. Elections for student body president and vice president will now be on the fourth Wednesday of the second semester. If necessary, the runoff election will still be held on the following Monday. A new subsection regarding student body election finance was also added: “The Judicial Council shall make available funds to reimburse the candidates for student body president and vice president of expenses incurred for the purpose of campaigning. These expenses must have been presented to the Election Committee. Reimbursements shall not exceed the campaign spending limit [$200], and the Judicial Council president shall approve these reimbursements.” Sophomores Daniel Cohen and Alexandra Henderson were approved as the Student Union Treasurers after being nominated by current Student Union Treasurer Mason Shinn. Student Union Board (SUB) Director of Operations Rebekah Rumschlag, on behalf of the selection committee, said the committee chose junior Louis Bertolotti to serve a second term as the Executive Director of SUB. “I am fully confident that Louis has the skills, expertise and attitude necessary to choose and work with the rest of the members of SUB to maintain SUB’s standard of excellence in the upcoming year,” Rumschlag read from her letter.Michael Meyer, an associate professional specialist in the Mendoza College of Business, was awarded the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award after being nominated by two students, student body secretary Mae Raab said in an email. The Irish Clover Award is given to two individuals — students, faculty, staff or administrators — who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Student Union. This year’s award was given to Bryan Ricketts, student body president, and John Ritschard, a worker in South Dining Hall, Raab said.Ricketts was nominated by senior Zach Waterson, the outgoing judicial council president. “He has dedicated an incredible amount of time to the Notre Dame Student Union, serving as a role model for younger student leaders and as a resource to his peers,” Waterson said in his nomination letter.  Another committee including Dillon Hall senator Michael Finan, Cavanaugh Hall senator Kathleen Rocks and St. Edward’s Hall senator John Kill presented two resolutions regarding Notre Dame’s partnership with Zhejiang University, Raab said. The first resolution requested transparency regarding the partnership and the second proposed the creation of a standing committee “to represent the Notre Dame community, which shall be comprised of faculty, staff and students with the express purpose of discussing, assessing and making recommendations regarding the University’s partnership with Zhejiang University.”Tags: Bill Cosby, frank o’malley teaching award, irish clover award, Student government, student senatelast_img read more