Senior design major Mary Kate Healey said she tries to think of her major as problem-solving.In the spring of their junior year, design majors propose an idea for their big final project. Healey said when coming up with an idea she mulled through the things she was really passionate about and eventually decided she wanted to do something raising awareness for sexual assault, specifically at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.Mary-Kate Healey “We always hear about statistics, we get crime emails,” Healey said. “There’s a lot of impersonal information passed around. It’s very statistics driven and there’s also the kind of hidden shame and embarrassment that comes with it.“I wanted to collect these very intimate stories and display them in a very public, unapologetic way while still maintaining the story of the storyteller.”Healey’s project is a 9-foot wide and 4-foot tall white sheet with quotes from sexual assault stories from students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. The quotes were first written out on the sheet and then Healey went back and stitched them on afterwards.“The reason I’m doing the stitching is because there’s a lot of art history between women and the domestic craft,” she said. “Women have always been making art, but because they didn’t necessarily have the resources, doing domestic crafts like creating clothing, embroidery, cross-stitch, quilting … those were never considered art because those women weren’t considered artists.”Healey said stitching and embroidery has been used a lot among feminist artists such as suffragettes and most recently on signs at the Women’s March on Washington.“I wanted to tap into that history,” Healey said.Healey said use of a sheet as her canvas was purposeful; the fabric itself holds a double meaning since a bed should be considered a safe place for rest, but that for many people “it often becomes a crime scene.”Healey went through the Institutional Review Board since her project technically counted as human research and had to be declared ethical before she could proceed. After it was approved by the board, she went on with a survey that she circulated and received 64 responses from. On April 7, her project will be put on display at the Snite Museum of Art.Healey said the act of sewing itself was so laborious and that it took her several hours to sew even a sentence, however, that was not the most difficult aspect of the project.“The hardest part of it has been the emotional toll of it,” she said. “A lot of these people revealed very upsetting stories and I don’t know if I anticipated going into it how difficult it would be.”One story that stood out, Healey said, was a submission that was in the form of a poem. She said what was striking was that each line of the poem started of with “he was a friend of mine.” Healey said the way the poem ended powerfully when the student wrote, “I wish trying to erase my pain hadn’t caused me more pain.”Because she wanted the project to be collaborative, Healey started a sewing circle to create dialogue in a very straightforward way. The group has met five times so far and she said everyone is welcome to join, and most of those who have joined did not have prior sewing experience.Healey said she received some negative responses from her survey from people who had misconceptions about rape on campus and thought that it was not as prevalent a problem as she was making it out to be. She said her hope is that her project expels these “rape myths” and raises awareness.“I think people also just don’t understand that it could happen to anyone,” she said. “It happens to tons of people, so I think that just the way people interact with each other, the way people look out for each other, the way people speak with each other … I just want people to be more conscious of that and to have the courage to engage in these conversations.”Tags: design, Mary Kate Healey, sewing circles, sexual assault
Past University Commencement speakers have included United States Presidents, television personalities and famous journalists. This year — despite months of speculation on whether or not the University would invite President Donald Trump — Vice President Mike Pence, the former Governor of Indiana, was selected to address the class of 2017 at Sunday’s Commencement ceremony as the graduates go forward into the next stage of their lives.Michael Yu | The Observer The March 2 announcement of Pence as the Commencement speaker was met with mixed reactions across campus, with students and community members both coming to Pence’s defense and protesting against what they consider to be his record of exclusionary policies.Sophomore Dylan Jaskowski, president of the Notre Dame College Republicans, said the organization is looking forward to Pence’s visit and speech.“We at the College Republicans are very excited to have Vice President Pence here to speak on campus,” he said. “It’s a great honor that the University can bring in such prominent figures like the Vice President of the United States to speak, and I think it’s especially a great thing given he was the Governor here for many years and he can come back to speak at Commencement.”Pence previously visited the University during his time as Governor of Indiana, meeting with College Republicans while he was on campus.“Last year, [Pence] called up our club and just wanted to sit down with us and some of our members,” Jaskowski said. “ … From what I heard, it was a great event.”The reaction to Pence’s selection has not been universally positive among members of the class of 2017, however. In order to protest Pence’s record on issues relating to LGBT rights, fifth-year student Bryan Ricketts helped organize the distribution of LGBT pride flags to be displayed across campus.“There were a couple of us who came together after realizing that Mike Pence had been invited and understanding how frustrating that felt to the LGBT members of Notre Dame’s community,” Ricketts said April 20 in a previous interview with The Observer. “ … We came together and reached out to alumni who actually donated almost 500 flags for people to put up as a show of support, solidarity for the LGBT community and recognizing that it’s something that needs to be visibly said on Notre Dame’s campus still.”Ricketts said Pence’s record on LGBT issues made him a concerning choice to address students at Commencement.“[Pence has], in the past, been against same-sex marriage because it harms people, which is demonstrably false and really offensive,” he said. “In addition to that, he passed a budget which supported funding for conversion therapy … so it feels pretty offensive to have him coming on campus and [giving] a Commencement speech where he tells me how to go out into the world.”Jack Bergen, a member of the Class of 1977 and Chair of the LGBT Alumni Group of Notre Dame & Saint Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC), voiced similar concerns about Pence’s record.“For many years, Vice President Pence as governor of the state of Indiana has demonstrated his intense opposition to the LGBT community,” he said in an email statement. “He has advocated and voted repeatedly to restrict and/or to remove rights of LGBT individuals. He has expressed views that are totally without merit such as, ‘Being gay is a choice.’ … Notre Dame has made significant progress toward becoming a more welcoming place for all individuals. The decision to invite [Vice President] Pence is outrageously inconsistent with those goals.”Backlash against Pence’s speech has not been limited to the University, as members of the South Bend community have come together to organize a peaceful protest off campus. The main organizers of the event are We Go High! of St. Joe County, IN; Michiana Alliance for Democracy; the Nu Black Power Movement; South Bend Equality; Inclusive Michiana; and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.The Michiana Alliance for Democracy said it believes Pence has a record of infringing upon basic human rights.“As Indiana residents, we have lived through the extreme conservatism of a Mike Pence administration,” the group said in an email statement. “His theocratic doctrine and myopic view of what is essential for the good of his state led to disastrous legislation that continues to reverberate throughout Indiana. … We consider [Notre Dame] to be a valuable community partner and are confused by the decision to have Pence deliver the Commencement speech.”South Bend Equality shared the view that Pence’s selection was wrong and said in an email statement it ought to be protested.“We know all too well how his policies endangered or caused direct harm to public education, health care, women’s rights, the environment, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants and refugees, reproductive rights, local infrastructure, the economy of our state and more,” the group said. “We are angry and dismayed that the University of Notre Dame not only invited Mike Pence to be its Commencement speaker, but also its decision to bestow an honorary degree upon him. By exercising our right to peaceably assemble on public land in front of the University, we hope to draw attention to Pence’s failed policies, destructive ideology and abysmal legacy.”While there have been many protests lined up, Jaskowski said he felt it was an incorrect assumption to believe the University community was completely against the decision to select Pence as the Commencement speaker.“I think that with the protests coming out, there has been this sort of perception that Notre Dame doesn’t want Vice President Pence here speaking at Commencement,” he said. “But I would just reiterate the fact we have over a thousand people on our listserv for College Republicans, so there are a lot of people at this University who are very excited to hear Vice President Pence speak at Commencement.”Jaskowski said he hopes those protesting Pence’s invitation still listen to what the vice president has to say.“I would encourage them to keep an open mind,” he said “Obviously having a constructive dialogue is an important thing, and I think that if you don’t attend Commencement, it’ll be hard to keep that dialogue open.”Tags: Class of 2017, College Republicans, Commencement 2017, LGBT, Michiana Alliance for Democracy, Mike Pence, South Bend Equality
Saint Mary’s philosophy professor Patricia Sayre has decided to think outside the classroom this semester with the introduction of her new course, The Philosophy of Walking.This one-credit course takes a different approach to philosophy and requires that students simply walk during every class period. Sayre said she came up with the idea for the course after reading a book entitled “A Philosophy of Walking.”“It’s not something philosophers seem to talk about a lot,” Sayre said. “I read the book and I thought there was something I could build a course around here, but I don’t think I’d want to teach this as a straight academic course, because what’s the point in talking about walking if you’re not ever walking?”Sayre said she connects philosophical readings to every walk she and the students go on as a class. “We go on a different path every time, and it’s key to the reading in some way,” Sayre said. “One week the readings were about escaping — using walking to escape [from] ordinary life — so for this I decided we were going to go off campus. Each person got to lead for a little bit.”Sayre said she always is surprised by the walks with her students, and she is even more surprised at their responses to the walks. “Walks are unpredictable, and that’s part of the joy of it,” she said. “And even though I will do the walk in advance to plan it, it never goes the way I thought it would go. And so the responses are terribly interesting that I get in the written work.”Hanna Makowski, a senior in the class, said she appreciates this approach to philosophy because it allows room for individual thought. Makowski said she likes how the class differs from other classes.“In most classes you analyze and dissect the work of others, but in this class we are given the chance to create our own work based on our own philosophy of walking,” she said in an email.The unconventional approach to the class about more than just walking, Sayre said, and the course is about creating connections to the larger world. “We’re doing philosophy in a somewhat different way,” she said. “It’s more like thinking symbolically about what you’re doing, what you’re seeing and how, in many ways, it might be a metaphor for other existential problems you might have in life.”Sayre said one of the best things about her course is how free walking makes her feel. For her and her students, she said, this time is a time to get away from the stress of the responsibilities of everyday life.“It’s like this little window of time when you are free from all of that,” Sayre said. “When you’re walking you simply can’t do those other things, you have time to yourself, your mind is free.” Tags: new class, philosophy, walking
Photo courtesy of Ben Wilson Junior Shelene Baiyee, second from left, and a group of other Notre Dame students who completed a Summer Service Learning Project, or SSLP, in northern St. Louis over the summer.Ben Wilson, director of SSLP, said about 245 Notre Dame students participated in the program this year and served at around 160 different sites.Wilson explained that SSLP students volunteer for eight weeks over the summer and work for a wide variety of organizations, including free healthcare clinics, homeless shelters and educational facilities.Though students only volunteer for eight weeks, the entire SSLP experience spans about eight months, he said.“We have a few preparatory class sessions in the spring to get them ready and then they’re doing most of the course work in the summer,” he said. “Then they complete their follow-up work when they get back.”Wilson said students may apply to participate in SSLP any time between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 of the preceding school year. Admission to the process is rolling, he said, so he encourages students to apply early.Wilson said what students gain from the program varies widely for each individual.“For some students, they very quickly recognize themselves in the individuals they’re working with,” he said. “And for others, this is really a very eye-opening experience. So there’s a whole range of student narrative that’s brought them to the SSLP.”Sophomore Kevin Fox volunteered for DeSales Service Work, a Catholic organization serving impoverished areas of Camden, N.J.Fox said he spent part of the program working in a local garden, where he farmed vegetables and kept bees. However, he said, much of his work varied daily.“In the mornings, I would do anything that DeSales Service Work needed help with, which included cutting grass for local parks, picking up trash, and feeding the hungry,” he said.Fox emphasized the importance of immersing himself in the community he was serving.“It’s important to really throw yourself [in] and let everything else go,” he said.Sophomore Kate Brown, who also completed an SSLP this summer, volunteered at The Carpenter’s Place, a day center for the homeless in Rockford, Ill.Brown said The Carpenter’s Place provides a number of different resources to those experiencing homelessness, including employment training and assistance finding housing.The goal of the organization is to “help people get the tools they need to rebuild their lives,” Brown said.She said she especially enjoyed getting to know the guests at The Carpenter’s Place.“Working with marginalized populations and, in general, working in that close space with people in different life situations than you can be kind of difficult,” she said. “But it’s really, really worth it.”Junior Shelene Baiyee, another SSLP participant, worked with Revitalization 2000, an organization that aims to build up impoverished communities in northern St. Louis.“The goal was to form friendships across different backgrounds for a lifetime,” Baiyee said.During the first half of her SSLP, Baiyee and her team farmed vegetables in a community garden. Later, she also helped run a summer camp for underprivileged children, she said.“[The camp] was geared towards aviation and the environment,” Baiyee said.Baiyee said part of what she valued most about her SSLP was the opportunity to build relationships with the children she worked with.“Just seeing them smile and open up to you—that was really cool,” she said.Wilson said he enjoys seeing students grow over the course of the program.“I am really inspired when I see students come away from the summer with a sense of gratitude,” he said. “Gratitude for the amazing lives of the people that they’re meeting, a sense of appreciation for the resilience and vulnerability and precariousness, in some cases, of the people they’ve met. And to walk away with a greater reverence for human life. We see it just so consistently.”Tags: service, SSLP, summer In contrast to summers spent interning or studying abroad, this summer saw a multitude of Notre Dame students devote their time to serving communities in need.The Summer Service Learning Program, or SSLP, is a volunteering program aimed to educate students on Catholic social tradition through service to marginalized populations.
On Tuesday night, Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board hosted a discussion and Q&A during which students were invited to ask Interim Saint Mary’s President Nancy Nekvasil questions on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion on campus. Chair of the Board of Trustees Mary Burke, vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson, director of multicultural services Gloria Jenkins and vice president for mission Judy Fean also attended the event. Junior Jazmin Herrera, vice president of Student Diversity Board (SDB), said the Q&A was held in order to address concerns regarding the resignation of Jan Cervelli and the continuation of the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts.“We are all supporters of creating an inclusive community here at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “SDB along with other students are concerned as to where the College is now heading, with the goal of achieving a welcoming environment for all students. We ask this because [former] President [Jan] Cervelli was not only committed to achieving this goal but was also open to working with SDB to make this happen.”Nekvasil said that, going forward, the College will continue to focus on diversity, inclusion and equity. “I think that [diversity and inclusion] start with at least discussing things openly,” she said. “I will tell you that faculty, at least for several years even before President Cervelli came, were required to go to community events that dealt with diversity, inclusion and equity. We now have an interim director of diversity and inclusion, Leslie Wang, whose job this year is to help us define what this looks like so that we can actually begin to make a few more strides.”The College will continue to develop as a community that fosters diversity and inclusion as well as a community that focuses on retention as much as recruitment, Nekvasil said. “We can’t just do the recruiting part, both for students, faculty and staff, we have to form a community that welcomes people and that accepts people for who they are, where they are,” she said. “Unfortunately, you can’t change human behavior, but what we can do is try and get more and more people who believe in treating other people with respect and dignity.”Regarding diversity and inclusion, vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said the administration has created the position of director of First Year experience and retention. The director, Shay Jolly, will report to both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs and track student experience from their first consideration of the College to the first semester of their sophomore year. Johnson said the Office of Student Affairs investigates every complaint of bias and harassment brought to it, although there are many cases not reported to Johnson and her team. “Every complaint that comes through our office is investigated and handled through our code of student conduct process, which is a confidential process,” she said. “The big problem for me, though, is that very few complaints make it to my office. Students tell faculty, staff or each other about something that’s happened on campus and they never go online and file out a bias report. We can’t investigate things we don’t know about.”As the campus grows more diverse, the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion become more complex. Gender identity and transgender identities are at the forefront of this conversation, and Johnson said the College has a practice set in place for accepting transgender students. “Saint Mary’s doesn’t have a policy we have a practice,” she said. “To admit students, they must legally be women, either born as a woman or transgendered into a woman legally, but we do graduate students. So, if a student is here, comes in as a woman, starts the transition process, lives as a man, starts becoming a man, they are going to be able to finish their classes and graduate from here. The only time we would say no to a student is if they identified, legally, as a male.”Nekvasil said, especially with issues of diversity and inclusion, she will try to make things as transparent as possible for students, faculty and staff. “The vice president and I have met three or four times since this has happened, so we are really serious about making some headway, making things work, making decisions and moving ahead,” she said. “We hope that very soon there will be real action that you will see. I also want to be really transparent, so I want to meet with groups periodically, so that you know what we’re doing.”At the Q&A, several students brought issues of socioeconomic and racial disparity at the College to Nekvasil’s attention, including the disparity present in the room, as the number of those in attendance at the SDB diversity and inclusion Q&A were significantly less than those at the student assembly beforehand. Nekvasil said she will always give the same message no matter the crowd. “The message that I would give to you, I would give to that full crowd that was here before, and that’s not going to change,” she said. ”It’s not going to be a different message.”Tags: Diversity, inclusion, Nancy Nekvasil, saint mary’s
Marie Fazio | The Observer Associate vice president of residential life Heather Rakoczy Russell and vice president for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding attend a special senate meeting Tuesday evening to address new residential life policies.“We didn’t call this policy the senior exclusion policy. We called this policy differentiating on and off-campus experience,” Rakoczy Russell said. “What that means is what things off-campus will have access to and the ways that they will build community will look different than how on-campus students will.”Hoffmann Harding said the journey to the April 11 announcement began over four years ago, when Flaherty and Dunne Halls were opened to address the issue of overcrowding on campus. “We had seen a significant increase in proportion of seniors living off-campus,” Hoffmann Harding said. “We wanted to understand how important it was for all of us to have upperclassmen leadership in those communities. As wonderful as I hope all of your hall staff are, it’s equally valuable to have upperclassmen down the hall.”To determine the policies, officials used input from student focus groups and discussions and demographic analysis to determine trends in movement off-campus and possible factors that would entice students to say. Residential life systems at Vanderbilt University and University of Dayton were used as benchmarks, she said.“We believe deeply that this residential experience matters — it’s part of the undergraduate education,” Hoffmann Harding said. “We think it’s something that makes us different, we hope it’s something that makes us special. We hope ultimately that it’s a place where each student feels as if they belong.” This research led to the Sept. 2017 announcement of the six-semester residency requirement, which was announced prior to the application process of that year. A similar negative reaction to a six semester requirement overshadowed the announcement that several incentives would be announced as the first class affected by the residency requirement, the class of 2022, became upperclassmen. Rakoczy Russell said the team did not initially plan to announce the on and off-campus differentiation policies April 11, but were urged to include it in the announcement by rectors and members of residential communities. “We decided to tack on an extra item to the April 11 announcement, mainly so that first-year students will know that by the time they are seniors there will be a difference between the on and off-campus experience,” Rakoczy Russell said. “What that difference will be will be decided in conversation with students over the course of the next academic year with the idea that by this time next year, we can say fully fleshed out what that looks like.”Details are still undecided regarding senior fellow positions and block meal plans, although Rakoczy Russell expects to have official practices implemented by the fall of 2021.Rakoczy Russell said students have frequently mentioned the lack of consistency between residence halls — specifically across gender lines — in focus groups. To investigate this issue, 100% of rectors participated in an anonymous survey regarding enforcement of the policy.“Depending on the hall, depending on the rector, the size of the community, the perceived priorities or needs of that community, there were different practices relative to each hall, some of it divided on gender norms,” Rakoczy Russell said. “What I heard from students over time was that there was great dissatisfaction not knowing what they could count on as a hallmark of a residential community.”Rakoczy Russell said the survey found practices regarding off-campus senior differed between halls. This is a recent development, she said — about 10 years ago, some residence halls began allowing students to compete in interhall sports teams, particularly football, which eventually spread to other practices including dances. She noted future plans to send an email every August that details changes in consistency policies for that year. Katherine Fugate, an off-campus junior who plans to stay off-campus next year, said a certain kind of student — one who lacks the “mainstream Notre Dame identity of being white, Catholic upper-class student who is heterosexual and cisgender” — may not find community in their residence hall. She cited Notre Dame’s commitment to Catholic Social Teaching, specifically preferential option for the poor, as a reason to allow those who would like to move off to do so without repercussions. “Any conversations about inclusion also include conversations about who’s excluded from those activities,” Fugate said. Hoffmann Harding said although individual student needs differ, student discussion groups revealed students of color and students receiving significant aid were more likely to stay on campus. “The single biggest and most significant predictor of whether or not a student moved was actually not receiving financial aid,” Hoffmann Harding said.As a possible solution to those who do not feel at home in their assigned dorms, the interhall transfer process was streamlined. Students are no longer required to speak with both rectors, and an exemption process — which overrides housing decisions — was put in place. Hoffmann Harding expressed a desire to continue the conversation with students during the process of shaping the policy throughout next school year. “As much as we regret that maybe some of our intentions were misunderstood here, I actually think it’s really exciting,” Hoffmann Harding said. “This is a conversation that matters. We know that you care. You care about these communities that you were a part of and you care about the experiences that you had there and that to me is very powerful.”Tags: Housing policy, residential life, Six Semester Policy, Student Affairs, student senate Student senate was joined by associate vice president of residential life Heather Rakoczy Russell and vice president for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding for a special meeting to address recently announced residential life policies Tuesday night in Duncan Student Center. The policies — which include incentives for on-campus seniors, enhancements for all students and efforts that differentiate on and off-campus experiences — were announced April 11 and met with major pushback from the student body.
When Saint Mary’s senior Marta Antonetti learned the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s student governments jointly moved to cancel the South Bend Transpo Midnight Express route, she created and distributed a Google Forms petition for students to sign if they were “angered by the decision.”Since then, about 40 students have signed the petition asking the Saint Mary’s administration to either reinstate the program or provide a new Saturday service as soon as possible, Antonetti said.“Recently the collective Student Administration of ND/SMC (of course [Holy Cross] was excluded from the conversation, we wouldn’t actually want to create [an] environment where we interact with one another) decided to cease the Midnight Express/Saturday service,” Antonetti said in the Google Form. “This decision harms ROTC students, band students, lower-income students, students with disabilities, student athletes, members of ND clubs, student workers and the ND/SMC/HCC community. As far as we know, this decision was made without consulting the student body … BAVO or GreenDot or anyone who might have a legitimate reason to keep the bus going.”Since starting the petition, Antonetti met with vice president for student affairs Karen Johnson to discuss the decision-making process that resulted in the cancellation and discuss potential solutions for the future. She said she feels frustrated that the administrations have yet to effectively replace the Midnight Express.“It’s been two months and there’s been no real solution,” Antonetti said. “A solution has to be put forward, an actual one that makes sense.”This summer, the student governments of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame decided to cancel the South Bend Transpo Midnight Express route after Transpo announced a 50% price hike in operating costs. Due to this cancellation and other scheduling changes, the final South Bend Transpo bus leaving the Grotto towards Saint Mary’s Regina Hall stop will leave at 9:13 p.m. Fridays, and no Saturday services will be provided at all.In a campus-wide email Aug. 27, Johnson said Blinkie, the Saint Mary’s escort van service, will serve as alternative transportation.“[Blinkie] WILL continue to run from dark to 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and from dark to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday,” Johnson said in the email. “Blinkie tries to get to Notre Dame at least once per hour to pick up students at the Grotto. Additionally, Blinkie will start service at noon on Saturday and Sunday starting Monday, October 28, 2019 through Monday, March 23, 2020.”Compared to the regular Midnight Express route, Blinkie is not always a reliable resource, as it doesn’t always maintain a strict schedule and can sometimes fill up quickly, Saint Mary’s sophomore Lisie Fahrenbach said.“Sometimes it’s just really hard to track down Blinkie and figure out when it’s going to come, and then it’ll pass you like five times and you can’t get in it yet,” Fahrenbach said. “I think that could end up being an issue for a lot of people, especially safety-wise, because it’s not going to stop people from going places. It’s just going to make it potentially dangerous for people to go places … when it’s dark out, instead of them having a safe option to get back and forth to areas around Notre Dame.”Blinkie does not serve the same purpose the Transpo Midnight Express and separate routes filled, sophomore Shannon Valley said.“The problem with trying to rely on Blinkie is that getting you over to other places is not its priority,” Valley said. “[Blinkie’s] priority is getting people from the parking lot to their dorms.”While some Saint Mary’s students might resort to using Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing apps, Valley said others relied on the free bus services.“Girls can’t afford to Uber anytime they want to go somewhere,” Valley said. “This is going to be a really hard thing for them. … If they depend on the buses for things, they’re not going to be able to go anywhere.”Junior Bridget Puetz said she does not think the cancellation will largely affect upperclassmen, but she expressed concerns for first-year students still trying to maneuver making their way across the street to Notre Dame.“I think it’s sad for our underclassmen,” Puetz said. “They’re still trying to figure out their friends, so if [they needed to go home alone], at least they had the bus. If I were a freshman and they took [the Midnight Express] away, I think that I would be really, really affected. I mean, I took it a lot freshman year. It was a really good backup just to know that it was there and to know that it was reliable.”Junior Hunter Kehoe said she also feared for the safety of students walking down Saint Mary’s Road, specifically first-years who are unfamiliar with campus.“I don’t think the administration realizes that girls are going over to Notre Dame very late at night and a lot of them are coming back intoxicated, may it be legal or not,” Kehoe said. “And it is just beyond me that they’re going to allow girls that just got here [and] don’t know their way around … to walk down a road that has one emergency service call on it [and] very, very dim lights.”Leaving students to walk across State Route 933 at night poses a grave danger, Kehoe said.“It scares my mom, because she’s like, ‘I don’t think they’re going to do anything about it until something horrible happens and they’re finally going to wake up about it,’” Kehoe said. “You come here and you expect to have like guardians, because your parents aren’t here. It’s so sad that I have to sit here and say that it’s going to take a horrible accident for [the administrations] to realize that this is the worst decision they could have made.”Kehoe said she thinks relying on ride-sharing apps provides more uncertainty for those seeking a way back to campus and hopes Saint Mary’s Campus Safety will fill the hole left by the cancelled Friday and Saturday services.“Karen Johnson said that the other alternative means of transportation was that girls would have to find Uber rides home,” Kehoe said. “All across the country, there have been reported accidents of young women in Ubers being kidnapped, being killed, getting in the wrong cars that aren’t their Ubers. If you’re going to cancel [the bus services], then every single time I call Security, they better come pick me up … whatever the case is.”Johnson did not immediately respond when asked for comment.Senior Olivia Allen, Saint Mary’s student government association vice president, said Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross student government executives met Friday to discuss future plans going forward in the wake of the cancellation.“During our meeting on Friday, we discussed different transportation options for the tri-campus community, looking into what other colleges have done and what each SGA can make work financially,” Allen said in an email. “We will be releasing a statement as a tri-campus SGA, so at this time I don’t have a definitive answer as to what the future will hold. We are putting a lot of work into finding a solution and to keep the students safe, but this requires an extensive amount of meetings with SGA advisors across the three schools as well as higher college administration.”Allen said she wanted to remind frustrated students the Midnight Express route was initiated and funded by Notre Dame student government, and Saint Mary’s only became involved in its cancellation late in the decision-making process.“For now, I think it is important to note that Saint Mary’s SGA never paid for the Midnight Express, it has always been a Notre Dame-funded program, as we were only consulted on the matter a few days before the decision was made,” she said.Students in need of a ride between the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses are highly encouraged to use Blinkie and call Campus Safety, Allen said.“The Saint Mary’s security department really cares about the well-being of the students and is doing their best to help us without the Midnight Express in place,” she said.
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden before a rally in Dallas on Monday night. Buttigieg ended his bid for the presidency Sunday.“When I ran for president, we made it clear that the entire idea was about rallying the country together to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for the values that we share,” Buttigieg said in his endorsement speech. “That was always a goal that was much bigger than me becoming president, and it is in the name of that very same goal that I am delighted to endorse and support Joe Biden for president.”Buttigieg officially ended his presidential campaign on Sunday evening with an announcement at the Century Center in South Bend. During the speech, he declined to endorse a candidate. The endorsement in Dallas comes just one day later, after Senator Amy Klobuchar also left the presidential race. Klobuchar has also offered her endorsement to Biden.Buttigieg dropped his candidacy ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states will hold their Democratic primary elections. Buttigieg won the Iowa caucuses earlier this month, and came in a close second to Senator Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary less than a week later. But, he received 14.3% of the vote in the Nevada caucuses and only 8.2% of the vote in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, behind Biden, Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer.Buttigieg was the mayor of South Bend from 2012 to 2020. Mayor James Mueller took office Jan. 1 of this year.Tags: 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg
Since classes began Aug. 10, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise among Notre Dame community members.The Observer will update this page daily with new numbers from the University’s HERE Dashboard. These numbers are based only on tests conducted by University Health Services and the Wellness Center.This post was updated Nov. 12 at 12:18 p.m.Serena Zacharias | The Observer Notre Dame administered 377 nasal swabs and 310 saliva tests Wednesday. These testing numbers stand in a sharp decline in comparison to previous weeks.The seven-day positivity rate is 6.0%. The University has administered 10,381 diagnostic tests and 61,031 surveillance tests since Aug. 3. The estimated active number of cases is 270, and the estimated number of recovered cases is 1,209 as of Thursday. The seven-day moving average was 25.4 cases as of Thursday.After a surge in cases Aug. 17, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced the move to online classes until Sept. 2 to attempt to curb the spread. Classes resumed in a phased return Sept. 2, as cases have decreased.On Oct. 15, the Office of Student Affairs announced gatherings would be limited to 10 people following a significant increase in cases. The limit was previously 20 people as of Oct. 1.Pre-matriculation testing resulted in 33 positive cases out of 11,836 tests yielded. Notre Dame reported the first positive case on campus Aug. 6. The University linked an increase in cases to an off-campus gathering Aug. 13.All data on the dashboard is subject to change. PCR tests, which take 1-2 days to result, may lead to an increase in the number of cases on a specific day a few days later.Find our latest COVID-19 coverage here.Tags: cases, community members, COVID-19 updates, health, safety
Department chair of humanistic studies Phil Hicks recently published a book entitled, “Old Notre Dame: Paul Fenlon, Sorin Hall & Me,” about a professor he became friends with when he was a history major at Notre Dame. “[It’s] a memoir of my undergraduate days when I befriended an 80-year-old professor who had lived in my dorm for 60 years,” Hicks said. “I wrote down everything he did and said — campus stories going back to 1915 — and helped him survive as the very last of the ‘bachelor dons,’” Hicks said. Hicks emphasized the importance of loyalty in his book, and he also discussed the uniqueness of friendships between the young and old. “One of its messages is that generations can be bridged in friendship more easily than we might think,” Hicks said. “The book also honors the value of history and tradition and of loyalty to institutions — in this case, Paul Fenlon’s loyalty to Notre Dame, Sorin Hall and the Catholic Church.“Hicks said he felt motivated to write about his professor because he was deeply involved in Notre Dame for decades. “Paul Fenlon had been a student at Notre Dame, a faculty member and a retiree, all the while living in Sorin Hall, and yet when I met him as a freshman in 1976, he seemed under-appreciated by the campus community, especially by my fellow Sorinites,” Hicks said.Even as a student, Hicks knew Fenlon’s story needed to be told. “I wanted to make a record of those stories and of Paul Fenlon’s daily life, because somehow I had become obsessed with the history of Sorin Hall, and I was convinced there was an audience for this material,” he said.For Hicks, writing this book wasn’t just about the history of the University and a narrative of Fenlon’s life. This book was deeply personal, as Hicks dug into parts of his own life as well.“Trying to set down on paper my own emotional response to his death was also hard to do because I’d never written anything so personal before,” he said.Writing this book took him around 44 years to finish, but the base of all of it was from his years as a student when he engaged directly with Fenlon. “By the spring semester, I was visiting him nearly every day, completely enchanted by his storytelling, and by the time I was a senior I had written a couple hundred pages on everything he did and said,“ Hicks said.Hicks elaborated on why, after all these years, he decided to write this book instead of donating his writings to the University Archives. “Originally, I thought I would just hand it over to the University Archives as a record of my undergraduate days,” Hicks said, “But it was so messy that I had to transcribe it first, and in so doing I recognized it made no sense without lots of explanatory context.” Once he decided that he wanted to turn his writings into a book, it took a few more years to find balance between writing, family time and work.“During the semester, I’m preoccupied with classes and departmental activities, so that leaves mainly summers and occasional sabbaticals for research,” Hicks said. “Don’t forget that my wife and four children are a priority for me, too. I don’t know if you could call my life a balanced one or not, because between family and work, I don’t have much of a social life.”Writing while raising a family and working a job was time consuming, but he was still able to publish his book. “It took about five years writing in my spare time to produce a good draft, then a few more years to get feedback on it, find a publisher and make final revisions.”Hicks hopes the book will resonate with many members of the Notre Dame community.“[The] book deals with so many facets of the school — the sports teams, dorm life, the professors and administration, the Holy Cross priests — that anyone with an interest in Notre Dame should enjoy it, whether they are current students, alums from the 1950s or just fans of the school,” Hicks said.Tags: department of humanistic studies, memoir, saint mary’s