University President Fr. John Jenkins held his first office hours of the year Wednesday, which gave students the opportunity to discuss issues on campus or in their personal lives with the president. Junior Reid Brewster met with Jenkins to discuss the death of someone in his family. “I definitely came out of the meeting with Fr. John feeling refined,” Brewster said. “He sort of gave me a new perspective on how to deal with death and how best to move forward not only as a Catholic, but also just as a person.” Brewster urged students to take advantage of Jenkins’ office hours. “It gives you an opportunity to connect with him much more personally and get a backstage view of what kind of man he is,” Brewster said. Jenkins had previously sent a campus-wide e-mail inviting students to his office hours. “I was so surprised that the president of a university would want to, amidst his busy schedule, meet with the students and hear about their issues,” Brewster said. “It’s something I definitely respected and appreciated.” Senior Liz Furman, a member of the Campus Labor Action Project, addressed the University’s investments in HEI Hotels & Resorts with Jenkins. Furman said hotel workers have allegedly poor working conditions, expensive health care premiums and are intimidated when they try to form a union. Other worker complaints involved low wages and heavy workloads. “It’s just really hard to fight against a corporation, especially a corporation that’s employing you,” Furman said. “We think that the University should be investigating this more thoroughly.” During her discussion with Jenkins, Furman urged the administration to meet with HEI hotel workers and adopt more transparent investment practices. Furman said the meeting was worth her time, even though she still disagrees with the University. “I think it gave me a better idea of where the University stands on these issues, even though I disagree with it,” Furman said. An average of about 300 students request an appointment to meet with Jenkins during his office hours, but the office can accommodate only a third of those students, said Mirella Riley, executive assistant to the Office of the President. “There’s a widespread interest in students to participate in office hours and to meet Fr. Jenkins or to bring a special concern to his attention,” Riley said. The office typically groups students who have a common complaint together. “Students themselves can dialogue with one another in Fr. John’s presence, and I think he does a good job of facilitating those perspectives and sharing his own perspectives,” Riley said. “Obviously when the conversations are more personal or confidential in nature, we don’t do that.” A typical complaint involves construction on campus. “We’ve had students who have said, ‘This is great in terms of facilities and I’m glad that Notre Dame is providing these types of facilities for us as students,’” Riley said. “Then students on the other end have said that in expanding, Notre Dame is losing the intimacy and character of the campus.” Jenkins will hold office hours again in November. Students must sign up in advance by completing a form available at http://president.nd.edu Jenkins has been holding office hours since 2006 and Riley said he values interacting with students in a more informal setting. “We notice at least in the office that he is very energized by meeting with the students,” Riley said.
Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) apprehended two juveniles Thursday night after finding a stolen computer in their possession, said Dave Chapman, assistant director for NDSP. After several thefts recently occurred in dorms, NDSP officers had been looking for the suspects. “One of our officers saw two subjects who fit the description of the people we were looking for,” Chapman said. In checking the suspects’ backpacks, officers found a stolen computer. The owner of the computer, who lives in Zahm Hall, was filing a report at the same time, Chapman said. “Obviously, the theft just occurred right before we stopped them,” he said. “It was a heck of a job by the officers.” Chapman said the two juveniles were not necessary involved in the other incidents and NDSP will continue investigations into previous thefts. Chapman asked students to contact NDSP and report anything they witness that seems out of the ordinary. “I encourage students to call us if they see any suspicious activity,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, retained his seat in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District Tuesday, narrowly defeating Republican Jackie Walorski in one of the country’s key congressional races. Donnelly won 48.2 percent of the vote, while Walorski had 46.8 percent. In a statement released to the South Bend Tribune, Donnelly thanked Northern Indiana voters for their support and reiterated his focus on improving the job market in his district. “What’s at the forefront of all of our minds is the economy, and I won’t stop until every Hoosier who wants a job, has a job,” he said. Adjunct professor of American Studies and South Bend Tribune columnist Jack Colwell said with Indiana polls being among the first to close nationally, the early results of this particular race would set the tone for the 2010 Midterm elections. He noted an article in Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times, which listed the race as one to watch. “Everyone knows there will be a big Republican tide,” he said. “It’s a bellwether race that everyone will be watching.” Eileen Flanagan, president of Notre Dame College Democrats, said she is extremely pleased with what the victory represents, not only for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, but also for the nation as a whole. “We’re absolutely thrilled,” she said. “It’s really taken over the national narrative because he is a moderate Democrat running against a very conservative opponent.” Flanagan said the club was especially pleased with the results because of all the hard work they put in to aiding the reelection of Donnelly. “It validates us as a club because we knocked on hundreds of doors and made thousands of calls,” she said. President of Notre Dame College Republicans Josh Varanelli said Walorski’s loss was not a shock for the club. Colwell said Republicans had targeted this race as one to make a statement, as indicated by the amount of money spent by independent groups on negative advertisements directed at Donnelly. “They [had] picked this race as a target,” he said. “He raised more than Walorski, but she had more money from independent groups.” Varanelli said despite the local congressional loss, on a national scale his club is extremely excited with the Republican results, which indicate that the party will gain a majority in the House of Representatives. “It was a relief to take the House,” he said. “As of now our expectations have been fulfilled. We’re just waiting to see what else falls in our lap.” Flanagan said the disappointment of losing the House is coupled with the political challenges this change will present. “We’re obviously disappointed we lost the House but we did what we could,” she said. “I think the Democrats will have to re-evaluate their priorities because in order to get legislation passed, they must compromise.” Varanelli said while legislative change may not be swift, what is important is the statement Americans have made with their voting choices this election. “It’s not like we’re going to see instantaneous change,” he said. “I think Americans have spoken, and Democrats will not take voters for granted as they have. This proves the lack of substance behind some of the promises of 2008.” Flanagan said now that Election Day is over, her group can appreciate all the hard work they put into the campaign. She said such efforts have defied the notion that young Americans are unconcerned with the election process. “People really stigmatize young people as being apathetic, but our club defied these stereotypes,” Flanagan said. “We really care about the community and the Democratic party.” Once the lame-duck period ends and the newly-elected officials take office in January, Colwell said Republicans and Democrats would be even more confrontational than they were during the 2010 campaign season. He said this is due to the fact that a Republican House will be squaring off n President Barack Obama. “The initial thing will be that it will be more divisive, more partisan than it has been,” Colwell said. “The switch of the House to Republican will be a stalemate.” “We’re not terribly surprised. Joe Donnelly has been an incumbent for a while,” he said “We didn’t expect her to pull this off, but she definitely came quite close, closer than we expected.”
Several Notre Dame professors first knew the United States as a foreign country. Professor Ghada Bualuan from the Classics department moved to the United States from Lebanon after marrying her husband. “At first it was hard and very challenging, for I missed Lebanon so much. I missed my family and friends,” she said. “I felt awfully lonely.” For others though, the transition was not as difficult. Professor Olivier Morel, from the Romance Languages and Literatures department, said he had few problems moving from France to America. “Perhaps it was because of my experiences, because [I moved here for] love,” he said. “But I did not struggle with moving here. Morel said, however, that everyone has to adjust to acclimate themselves to a new environment. From mannerisms in social interactions to adapting to a new diet, every aspect of life changes, he said. “The human body and mind goes through a cultural change,” Morel said. Pointing to a hot dog on his desk, he added, “I would have never eaten this for lunch before.” Several professors said they lost sense of community. Professor Mahan Mirza from the Classics department said in his homeland of Pakistan, people seemed more connected. “We would come out and play in the wonderful neighborhoods. You would know the people at the local store,” he said, speaking of his childhood. “It felt very organic and connected. Here you tend to feel a little more isolated.” Bualuan also commented on this feature of American society. She said differences in tradition, while respected, could cause a person to be set apart. “I, like many other Arabs in America, have faced prejudice and some sort of discrimination. I didn’t initially feel that most people accepted me for who I am, but I didn’t take it personally,” she said. “However, this fact made it difficult for me to truly belong.” In Pakistan, Mirza said religion is widespread, though its actual practice depends on each family. “[My family] was pretty secular, though my mother was devout and would pray,” he said. “Being a Muslim country, you hear the call for prayer five times a day.” While religion was more immediately present in his life while growing up, Mirza said coming to the U.S. allowed him to discover his identity. “You ask all the questions you never asked before. What does it mean to be religious? You have to make a choice now,” he said. “I began to take religion more seriously to keep my grounding and give myself some bearings.” Taken from another perspective, Morel said the feature that differentiates the United States from other countries is its relationship with war. “America is at war, but we don’t see any signs. I thought this would be a good time to come to the U.S. and witness what is happening to a society in a country I love,” Morel said. “In the United States, I have met people who have never been involved in a war.” Morel said this relationship transforms an entire society. War is often ignored, not out of disrespect, but simply because of everyday life. There are parts of everyday life that Morel said he enjoys. “This is a joke: You have wonderful beds, wonderful chairs — the first thing I notice when I go back to France is that my back hurts — and wonderful showers,” he said. “You invented V8 and the free refill.” Mirza said the quality of this nation’s academic institutions are distinguishable from other countries. “The academic institutions here are very strong. I can’t imagine giving up an opportunity [to work here]. Nonetheless, there are institutions coming up in the Muslim world like Pakistan,” he said. “You wonder sometimes if you would do a service by moving back and helping to uplift your homeland. Especially at Notre Dame, Morel said, the world of academia is thriving. “We are doing things here that we could never do in France. Universities there are more conservative,” he said. “Notre Dame is often seen as traditional, but when it comes to the Arts and Letters, the level of freedom that we have here is incomparable.”
A long-range maintenance plan will force the closure of The Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes during spring break, according to a University press release. The University announced Wednesday that the Grotto would be closed at 8 a.m. on March 14 and would reopen at 3 p.m. March 18. During the closing, digital scanning technology will create a model of the Grotto. “The model will be used to understand and document for historical purposes how the Grotto was built and for tracking future maintenance and repairs, specifically its periodic cleaning and tuck-pointing,” the press release stated. The Grotto sustained damage from a July 26 fire, according to the press release. At the time, cleanup involved removing soot from the shrine, cleaning melted wax from the floor, repairing damaged candle racks and inspecting the structure for safety. Candles will be available for lighting and a nightly rosary will still be held while the Grotto is closed. Both will be outside the kneeling rail. The Grotto, constructed in 1896, is a one-seventh scale replica of a famed French shrine where in 1858 the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette on 18 separate occasions.
Mad River Theatre Works, a traveling company of actors, will debut “Freedom Bound,” an original play that explores the history of the Underground Railroad, tonight at Saint Mary’s. Richard Baxter, director of Special Events for the College, said he first heard of “Freedom Bound” from a friend who recommended the theatre company to him. “I had heard about Mad River Theatre productions from one of my colleagues and we had an opportunity to book the group on a return trip from a performance in Chicago,” he said. Baxter said the play tells the story of Addison White, a fugitive slave in the mid-19th century. Though White successfully escapes to the North, he is not free due to a Fugitive Slave law that stated a U.S. Marshal could recapture slaves and send them back South. When White’s owner took the case to court, it received national attention, Baxter said. Baxter said the the chance to bring “Freedom Bound” to Saint Mary’s was too enticing to resist. “The opportunity was too good to pass up,” he said. Though he had difficulties scheduling the performance time, Baxter said he is excited to introduce the Saint Mary’s community to this historical era. “I hope the audience will leave with a deeper appreciation for the role of the Underground Railroad in our region’s history,” he said. Baxter said he hopes “Freedom Bound” will be an enlightening experience for all involved. “Audience members may expect an outstanding performance from an award winning theatre company,” he said. “Freedom Bound” premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. in O’Laughlin Auditorium at the Moreau Center for the Arts at Saint Mary’s. Tickets costs $8 with a student ID and $18 for the general public. Tickets may be purchased before the event, by visiting www.moreaucenter.com or by calling 574-284-4626.
If you heard a lot of chuckles emanating from Stapleton Lounge on Tuesday night, don’t be alarmed. Certified laughter leader Mary Labuzienski provided an optimistic guide to college life as part of Saint Mary’s “Love Your Body Week.” Labuzienski presented simple ways to be humorous in times of stress in the talk “Love my body? What’s not to love!” A clinical exercise physiologist, Labuzienski trains people of all ages to release stress in their daily lives. To live healthy lives, Labuzienski said students need to laugh, smile, celebrate and play. “Laugh and make others laugh,” she said. “You have to make it happen.” Labuzienski said laughter is a critical component in performing everyday tasks well. “Laughter is a positive emotion that helps us to move forward,” she said. “It allows us to act. We become paralyzed when we are too stressed.” Labuzienski said stress weakens the physical and emotional aspects of the mind and body. She said positive emotions allow people to take stress away from the body. “Laughter is the shortcut to stress resistance,” she said. For college students, a stress-free lifestyle seems near impossible, Labuzienski said. However, she said social environments full of laughter and positivity can release the negative energy anxiety causes. “On average, a person should laugh a total of 15 minutes, with each being three seconds long throughout a day,” she said. By isolating themselves from others, college students are unable to obtain the daily positive levels needed to keep concentration or creativity. Labuzienski said students need to take the time everyday to engage in humorous interactions, devoting at least five minutes at a time to initiate a comedic conversation or a funny joke. Positive psychology leads people to thrive, and as such, happiness should be a part of every person’s life, Labuzienski said. “Laughter is a shortcut to happiness,” Labuzienski said. “It makes us more attractive people when we are happy and others like happy people.” As such, the role laughter plays in everyday life can contribute to overall levels of happiness. “Fifty percent of happiness is genetic, 10 percent is what happens in a person’s life and 40 percent is what daily events occur in a person’s life,” she said.
Saint Mary’s welcomed Tony and Grammy Award winner Audra McDonald on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Gillespie Center at the Hilton Garden Inn. She took the stage among students, professors, faculty members and other members from the South Bend community. McDonald was brought to Saint Mary’s as this year’s Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artist. This is an annual event made possible by the generous gift from Hill, a Saint Mary’s alumna and a Broadway producer. The event offers students an entire day to spend with an artist of especially high quality. McDonald is most recently recognized for her performance on four seasons of ABC’s “Private Practice” and a nine-month run of the opera “Porgy and Bess,” winning her fifth Tony Award over the summer for her portrayal of Bess. She is also the first person under 30 to win five Tony Awards. The theatre, film, television and recording studio artist was introduced by Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney and received an overwhelming round of applause welcoming McDonald as she took the stage. She attributes all the training she still calls upon in her work today to the first theatre she was a part of, from age nine until she graduated high school. She shared her first on-stage experience in “The King and I” where she had never seen the final run-thru until the night of the dress rehearsal. When the king died at the end, McDonald immediately was shocked and began crying. Lesson learned: Read the script, she said. When it came time to apply to college, McDonald said she applied to UCLA, USC, NYU and Carnegie Mellon. After hearing a fellow classmate had auditioned at Juilliard, she decided to audition as well, confident she could do it. “I loved acting and knew I wanted to be on Broadway, but I thought I better [audition] with my strongest talent, which was singing. … [Juilliard] laughed at me during my audition and my call back,” she said. Despite facing ridicule during her audition, McDonald was accepted to Juilliard. “I thought, ‘Juilliard accepted me, I have to go,’” McDonald said. McDonald was accepted to Juilliard’s voice program, however, to her dismay, it turned out to be only voice and music while her peers had the opportunity to explore acting and opera, she said. “I do not regret my time at Julliard for one minute. At the time, I thought I was so far away from my road I would never get back to it,” McDonald said. McDonald said this was more than just disappointing to the eager student she was at the time. During her lecture, she explained how she had attempted suicide during her time at Juilliard. McDonald said that after being admitted to a mental hospital and taking some time off, she auditioned for summer performances and began belting out songs in English, something rare among her peers. While she was there she met a young woman from Boston. This woman went on to work for a casting director. She called McDonald and got her into an audition for her first major role in “The Secret Garden.” Following that performance, she finished up her in the show and graduated from Julliard in May 1993. She was then cast in”Carousel,” which opened on Broadway in the fall of 1994. “[Carousel] is one of the most special memories I have of any show I’ve ever done because it was the first one,” McDonald said. “This Broadway debut was conveniently located at the Lincoln Center, across the street from Juilliard where I felt untalented and struggled during my time there. It was the first of everything for me. It holds a really special place in my heart.” McDonald explained that her drive to continue improving led her to spend four years as Naomi on “Private Practice.” “With film and television, up until that point I was very afraid of the camera and fully letting myself go in front of the camera. I thought, ‘I need to get over that. Let me do a television show,’” she said. As for what comes next, McDonald said she is getting ready to record another album in three weeks, host “Live from the Lincoln Center,” and also begin another Broadway show either this fall or next spring. “I continue to be curious … my motto is I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” McDonald said. As the evening concluded, McDonald advised the young artists in the room to continue pushing themselves. “Aside from not putting limitations on yourself, get on stage. Anywhere. You learn something every single time you step on stage,” she said. Contact Meaghan Daly at [email protected]
The results of elections for the class presidents, vice presidents and senators that will join the Student Government Association’s (SGA) president- and vice president-elect, juniors McKenna Schuster and Sam Moorehead, were announced Thursday, Graci Martsching, the assistant director of student involvement and multicultural services, said.“The election process is always dynamic,” Martsching said. “We were lucky to have so many passionate women wanting to serve their community. The Saint Mary’s community responded to that passion by having more students vote this year than in recent years.” Keri O’Mara | The Observer Marsching said the 842 votes received in this year’s student elections was roughly 700 more votes cast than last year.Juniors Lauren Osmanski and Victoria Wilbraham will represent next year’s senior class as president and vice president. Sophomore Lindsay Rzepecki will serve as president for the class of 2016 and sophomore Maddie Kohler as the class’s senator. The class of 2017 president and vice president will be first years Ellen Raymond and Margaret Carswell, respectively. The class of 2017 elected first year Mary Claire Burchett as their senator.“As class of ’17 president and vice president, we promise to focus on the needs and desires of our class,” Raymond said in her platform. “By focusing on the core values of a Saint Mary’s woman, we hope to emphasize the importance of teamwork, sisterhood and community.”Raymond said she and Carswell hope to integrate their class in campus-wide activities. They stated they held particular interest in improving the communication between the class board and the overarching student body through social media and effective advertising and in increasing the board’s reliability and instilling trust between the student body and their leaders. Sophomore Kaitlyn Baker and first year McKenzie Johnson were elected as president and vice president, respectively, of the Resident Hall Association (RHA).Juniors Callie Brown and vice president Maeve Curley will head the Student Diversity Board (SDB) as president and vice president in the coming school year. As a fourth-year members of SDB, Brown and Curly expect to continue and expand upon the club’s mission, Brown said.“We plan to unite the Saint Mary’s College community in celebration of the diversity of every Saint Mary’s Belle,” Brown said. “We plan to emphasize diversity in all its forms, including socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, faiths, ethnicities and unique abilities.”The board intends to use the campus as a venue to learn about diversity through meaningful social and educational events, Brown said. The president- and vice president-elect said that this aligned perfectly with their goal for the board’s main annual event, the Diverse Students’ Leadership Conference.“We plan to increase the magnitude of this year’s Diverse Students’ Leadership Conference as we celebrate its 10th anniversary,” Brown said. Brown and Curley said they wanted to work with the College administration to increase the enrollment and retention of students with diverse backgrounds.The Student Activities Board (SAB) will welcome junior Arianna Thelen and sophomore Colleen Michael as president and vice president for next year. Their platform statet they intend to encourage community participation ie social and recreational events on campus.“We will ensure involvement by holding alcohol-free alternatives during weekends and getting other clubs and associations on campus involved,” Thelen said.Tags: elections, Saint Mary’s College, Student Activities Board, Student Diversity Board, Student Government Association
In many cases, the Honor Code is at most a peripheral part of many students’ academic experiences at Notre Dame.Michael Yu | The Observer On their syllabi, many professors include the standard Honor Code pledge that reads “As a member of the Notre Dame community, I will not participate in or tolerate academic dishonesty.”Before registering for their freshman year classes, students must pass an online quiz about what does or does not constitute a violation of the Honor Code.And to upload an assignment to the Sakai online learning platform, many professors require that students check a box stating, “I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment” before the site will accept the submission.Since Aug. 15, Notre Dame’s Honor Code – and the investigation process for suspected violations – have become the subject of national attention. The University announced five Irish football players would be held out of practice and competition as investigations into possible Honor Code violations played out, and no resolution to their cases has come to light yet.The time frame for developments remains unclear since players could appeal any decisions, but for now, many students expressed concern about the toll the investigations have taken on the campus community.“[The academic investigation] wouldn’t have happened this seriously if it were other students who were non-athletes,” freshman Adrianna Duggan said. “If they didn’t treat the athletes the same way as they would treat any other kid who went through the process, obviously that’s not fair.”Given the high stakes and heavy publicity involved, some students said the process actually should be different for the players.“It’s been kind of a kangaroo court,” senior Eddie Flood said. “Just the idea that [the players] would go into all these meetings without an attorney, but Notre Dame can call their own shots.“The speed of the process too has been pretty alarming because these kids lose sleep every night not knowing what’s going to happen to them.”Freshman Stephanie Reuter said she has only a general understanding of what an Honor Code violation would entail or how the investigation process would unfold.“My brother went to [the University of Virginia], and a huge thing was the Honor Code. … He talked about it all of the time. It’s not quite talked about as much here,” she said. “Everyone knows about it, but I think it’s more you know about it in principle and not as much in practice and how it operates.“Once the situation became public, I think it changed the [process].”Junior Jon Wiese said he has an idea on how the investigation process works, but “not 100 percent.”“There was definitely an issue in the very beginning when they obviously had trouble keeping things private because everyone knew before the University ever said anything,” he said. “I think that was the biggest problem.”Several students said the ambiguity made them apprehensive of what it would be like to be involved in an investigation themselves as either witnesses, accusers or accused.“You know what you are not supposed to do, but you don’t know what happens,” Duggan said. “I just don’t know how this whole situation was handled.”“It’s nice that [the administration] is respecting their privacy and treating them like every other student,” junior Connor Judson said. “But … it should be innocent until proven guilty, and they have been treated like they are guilty, hence why they have missed five weeks.”Freshman Meghan Freeman went through the online Honor Code training just a few months ago and said, “Nobody really talks about it, you just sign it.”“There was an Honor Code thing you read, but you don’t really actually talk about the Honor Code,” she said. “We had so many talks when we came in for our orientation, but they never really talked about the Honor Code. I think they just assumed that everything we signed our names to over the summer, automatically you read it and understood it.”While the students involved were more high-profile than an average case, Freeman said it’s important to remember “they’re still students.”“I feel like that’s not everyone’s business,” she said. “They’re still students of the University, and they still have some right to privacy.“Just because they are on the sports team doesn’t mean that if they are in trouble that they should be broadcasted.”Tags: football, Honor Code, student-athletes