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Monthly Archives: January 2021

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Gay student shares experience

first_imgAfter senior Brandon Buchanan decided to come out to the Notre Dame community as gay, he felt “surrounded and suffocated” by the heterosexual culture at the University. Single-sex dorms, parietals forcing his female friends to leave and talk of “ring by spring” felt overwhelming to Buchanan and he got severely depressed. “I had a really, really hard time,” he said. “I wanted to drop out of school.” Buchanan said the process of coming out was challenging enough when it was done by choice. If someone had outed him before he was ready, he “[couldn’t] even imagine” what it would feel like. The case of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide Sept. 22 after his roommate streamed a live encounter between Clementi and another male on the Internet, is one of several recent incidents that have raised questions about the level of acceptance on college campuses. The Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) at Saint Mary’s College held a candlelight vigil last night in response to the recent suicides. “The Rutgers situation was just horrifying. It was just one of those things that puts everything back into perspective,” Karen Borja, SAGA president, said. “If it happened there, there is a possibility that it can happen here.” Borja said the vigil was meant to “show that Saint Mary’s cares,” but also to give a voice to the issue and start a dialogue. Buchanan said this kind of preemptive dialogue is exactly what the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community needs. “[You] should never have to lose a person to have that conversation,” he said. But Buchanan said he hasn’t heard many students discussing the issue since Clementi and other similar cases made headlines. “I honestly don’t think Notre Dame people think it could happen here,” he said. “And I would disagree.” Buchanan estimated there are about 200 people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at Notre Dame. Among those, he said about 150 are closeted students who could potentially be outed without their consent. “There are people here who are completely unwilling to come out but are in these tenuous situations where something could happen,” he said. Another issue that played a role in recent publicized suicide cases among gay teens was bullying and harassment. “Being a teen in general is hard for everyone,” he said. “Every teen wants to be normal.” But fitting in can be more difficult for gay teens that often experience bullying and harassment. Buchanan said teens tend to react emotionally and think the mistreatment will never end. “You assume that the way you’re treated in high school is the way you are going to be treated always,” he said. Buchanan said this hopelessness is a significant factor in the choice to commit suicide and gay teens need role models who can tell them that it will get easier. “No matter where you go, homophobia will be there. However, your ability to handle it, your self-confidence and your own knowledge will grow as you get older,” Buchanan said. “You just have to wait for it. You just have to survive the pain that you feel now and believe that it will get better.” Another factor is the fear that they would lose their support system. In particular, Buchanan said many worry they will lose the unconditional love of their parents if they come out. “People don’t understand what it would be like to fear losing that foundation, especially when as a teen you are dependent on your parents for income and to support you,” he said. On Notre Dame’s campus, Buchanan said he has not experienced harassment or outright discrimination as much as an assumption of heterosexism. “People feel like the only crime against the LGBT community is a hate crime. No, no one has been beaten up between dorms in the middle of the night,” he said. “But it’s an atmosphere. It’s an apathy.” Buchanan said there is an assumption on campus that everyone is heterosexual. “I always feel uncomfortable with ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’” he said. Buchanan suggested using “inclusive language” by asking questions like, “Do you have a significant other?” Borja asked students to be tolerant of the LGBT community at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. “Coming out is something really profound. It’s like the essence of a person. If you can’t respect that then what can you respect?” she said. “There just needs to be that tolerance for other human beings.” Buchanan said change is slowly occurring at Notre Dame in regards to accepting the LGBT community, but that does not mean the University is immune to tragedies like those that have occurred throughout the nation. “Do I think that we’re making strides as a community? Are we trying? Yes,” he said. “But could it still happen here? Yes.”last_img read more

Candidates debate platforms

first_imgCandidates for 2011-2012 student body president and vice president debated their platforms and presented ideas for improving life at Notre Dame at a Wednesday night debate in LaFortune Student Center. Five tickets will be on Monday’s ballot. The candidates answered questions from Michael Thomas, vice president of elections for Judicial Council, on their plans to improve student life and student government. Candidates Catherine Soler and Emily LeStrange touted their knowledge of student government as their biggest asset. “Our experience is really a great advantage because there has never been the opportunity to have this continuity of leadership,” Soler said. “That takes a long time to develop. A huge part of when we started here was figuring out how to navigate through the administration and through student government so after this year we would save an incredible amount of time in transition.” Soler currently serves as student body president, and LeStrange is chair of the off-campus concerns council. “Looking to the next administration, we are really focusing on doing things in the academic world. For example, we have a really great plan to improve tutoring resources,” LeStrange said. While presidential candidate Pat McCormick and running mate Brett Rocheleau both currently serve in student government, they proposed a reinvention of student government as a platform for larger social justice issues. “Are we going to have the student government we have always had, or can we build this bigger? Can we re-imagine what student government is about? We have outlined a series of proposals in our platform that we think will do this,” McCormick said. “We think we can make Notre Dame the moral conscience of higher education in the United States.” Junior class president James Ward and freshman class president Heather Eaton presented their platform as modeled solely and specifically on student ideas. “We heard a lot of people complain that student government just works for themselves as an institution,” Eaton said. “Which is why we are running on platforms that are all student ideas. The things we are running for are things that we know you want to hear.” Presidential candidate Ricky Bevington and vice presidential candidate Olivia Colangelo said they want to bring more unity to campus. “The primary way we would like to improve campus life is by providing more opportunities for the student body to come together as one student body,” Bevington said. Their ideas included a student body prayer service, a student-to-student advice network and student pep rallies for more sports. The candidates outlined their plans to improve day-to-day student life. Eaton said she and Ward would revamp the current system for online course registration, increase the number of points for Grab n’ Go and install more power outlets in the Hesburgh Library and LaFortune Student Center. McCormick said he would create new ways for students to contact student government with ideas. He and Rocheleau also promised to make the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) more accessible to students and open a pub for students and professors to meet casually. “We think we have the most advanced student services platform of any ticket here,” McCormick said. Soler and LeStrange said they plan to begin “Whine Wednesdays” to receive consistent student feedback. They also said their administration would work to install lights on McGlinn Fields, build a heated bus stop at Library Circle and engage more with Hall Presidents’ Council. LeStrange said her ticket wants to improve kitchen and exercise facilities in many older dorms. Bevington and Colangelo discussed a plan to review the differences between residence halls. “We have a really unique residence life structure here, and we don’t want to change that,” Colangelo said. “But there are obviously ways we could make it better.” McCormick said he and Rocheleau would expand student government to make its governing body more effective. They would create a committee to work on small issues, such as printing quotas and dining hall suggestions, brought forward by students. Their points at the debate also included popular campaign promises, such as restoring the price of hot dogs in the Huddle to 25 cents. McCormick outlined plans for a large charity concert in the Joyce Center or Notre Dame stadium. Ward said he would like to analyze the financial aid system and establish a tiered tuition system similar to those used at Harvard and Yale. The Eaton-Ward ticket also offered ideas about drinking culture and disciplinary records, such as removing first-year offenses from students’ permanent records. “We want to address some of the drinking culture here on campus, in particular the ban on drinking games and the affect it has to student life,” Ward said. Candidates Kevin Noonan and Matthew Thomas formed the perennial Zahm Hall ticket and received loud support from fellow Zahmbies in the audience. Noonan and Thomas proposed “hangover hours” in the dining halls on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with a “firm no-speaking-above-a-whisper policy, dim lights, free Advil and no offensive food.” The ticket also campaigned to remove Mod Quad from Notre Dame and install a weather-control dome over campus. Voting will be held Monday. Students will receive an e-mail from the Judicial Council directing them to the voting website, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A ticket must win 50 percent of the student body vote to win the election, and the large number of tickets will likely send the election to a runoff, Thomas said. Another debate would be held between the remaining candidates before the runoff election.last_img read more

Professor compares religion and biology

first_imgSaint Mary’s students and faculty discussed the connections of spirituality and biology over lunch Thursday afternoon as part of the “Spirituality Mondays” series. The Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality sponsors the series, which is designed to give attendees a chance to analyze the interface of faith and reason. Keri O’Mara | The Observer Professor of biology Tom Fogle said biology and religion each search for “wholeness” in their own way.Fogle said the historical eugenics movement, which worked to apply genetics to improve social welfare but also earned significant criticism demonstrated social concern. This element reflected an effort to consciously control the effects of ever-growing scientific knowledge and protect the rights and dignity of an individual.Fogle said after the popularity of eugenics waned, scientists developed the idea that genetics are the blueprint of life.“The blueprint model is … the belief that the heart of the formative process stems with genetics,” Fogle said. “Genetics is the lead actor in a play with the environment serving as its supporting cast.”Fogle said he believes the blueprint model is flawed. Areas of study like ethnogenetics, which looks at how environmental influences impact future genetics, support the idea that genetics may seem linear but is actually contains multiple layers and structures, Fogle said.“The scientific community has long moved past simple nature-nurture dichotomy,” Fogle said. “The real action lies in the intersection of the two. Contemporary genetics not only highlights that point, but suggests that it is messy and difficult to untangle.”Fogle said the network model of biology views humanness as an ever-changing series of causes and connections between internal and external forces. The idea of personhood in Christianity is very similar, he said.“We are each unique, changing, responsive and complex in our relationship with a timeless and omnipresent God,” Fogle said, “Biology is moving towards a vision of humanness that is constructed from a broader vision more similar to what religion has understood for thousands of years. In other words, biology is discovering what religion has known all along.”Religion provides wholeness through biblical stories that try to craft and understand humanity, while biology focuses on the gears behind humanness, Fogle said. In time, these two paths searching for wholeness will converge, but not just yet, he said.“We don’t see convergence yet,” Fogle said, “We’re so busy studying science right now, there’s mountains of information, but seeing interconnections is the key to the future … there are so many points to link together.”Fogle said it’s hard to step back and see broad connections because it takes a narrow framework to be a successful scientist. A scientist can spend his whole life studying one type of cell, resulting in immense amounts of literature, but the public does not understand that even this work is only a small part of the vast amounts of scientific knowledge and research, he said.“If there is a convergence, it will be in recognizing that the deepest understanding, the core truths, whether it’s through faith or reason, will only come from a search for wholeness, the connectedness between our inner and our outer selves,” Fogle said.The final installment of the “Spirituality Monday” series will feature Fran Kominkiewicz, chair of the Social Work Department, discussing the relationship between spirituality and social work on Monday, Feb. 17.Tags: biology, religion, Saint Mary’s College, Spirituality Mondayslast_img read more

Two injured in downtown shooting

first_imgTwo men were injured in a shooting at the intersection of Michigan and Wayne streets near Club Fever early Saturday morning, according to a statement from police spokesman Capt. Phil Trent published in the South Bend Tribune.The two South Bend residents suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds in the incident, and police were called to scene at the 100 block of East Wayne Street around 2:30 a.m. Officers said they saw the gunman fire at a nearby parking garage with a handgun, the Tribune reported.When the incident occurred, a crowd was leaving Club Fever, located at 222 S. Michigan Street. Trent said several people were fighting, and both of the men who sustained gunshot wounds are believed to have been at Club Fever prior to the shooting.Officers approached a 29-year-old man whom they believed to be the shooter. The man had a gunshot wound on his hand, but no gun in his possession, Trent told the Tribune.Shortly after, a 28-year-old man entered Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to his forearm and said he was shot while getting into his car on East Wayne Street, the Tribune reported. Both men said they did not know who shot them. Officers recovered shell casings in the parking garage but no guns, and therefore could not make any arrests. Trent said a shooting downtown is unusual, according to the Tribune.The club’s website stated that Fever is open from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays. The Observer could not reach a Club Fever representative for comment. Trent could not be reached for comment either.Tags: Shootinglast_img read more

Hesburgh Libraries announces partnership with St. Joseph County Library

first_imgSaint Joseph County Public Libraries (SJCPL) and Hesburgh Libraries have formed a partnership that will allow Notre Dame students, faculty and staff to access public library materials.Lisa O’Brien, circulation manager for SJCPL, said the county’s public library patrons can place holds on materials for pick up at Hesburgh Library, and they can return most SJCPL materials to Hesburgh.Lauren Weldon | The Observer “The partnership is mutually beneficial,” O’Brien said. “Hesburgh needed a way for their patrons to access popular materials and SJCPL needed to increase usage by residents affiliated with Notre Dame, a service area that according to our data had very low library usage.”O’Brein said she thinks the partnership is a great example of how libraries can work together to be more effective.“By partnering, we have found a way to meet the needs of our patrons while minimizing costs,” she said. “Because of limited resources, libraries should consider partnerships as an appealing option for sustaining and expanding libraries services.”Tracey Morton, manager of Frontline Services for Hesburgh Libraries, said as a residential campus, it is not easy for a busy student to get to the downtown library to pick up and return materials.“After reading about the many projects Notre Dame has successfully worked and partnered on with the city of South Bend, it inspired me to approach the library senior leadership with the idea, and I was given leave to approach my former co-workers at SJCPL to see if there was an interest and if so, what would that service look like,” Morton said.According to Morton, Hesburgh librarians were investigating a way to provide the leisure reading materials for which students were asking.“SJCPL already provided the service our students were asking for, so why try and recreate it on campus?” Morton said. “Not only do they have popular fiction books, they have popular DVD’s, music and e-books.”She said the issue was figuring out how to help with access to the SJCPL collection.“We can issue or renew SJCPL library cards, as well as check in and check out SJCPL materials,” Morton said.Morton said discussions for the partnership began in May 2015 and the service launched in September 2015.“Right now, such a partnership between a public library and private academic library is unique,” Morton said.Morton said Hesburgh Libraries’ focus is providing excellent customer service to the community and continuing to become a premier research university.“Hopefully in the future we can have a limited browseable physical collection located in the Hesburgh Library,” Morton said.O’Brien said she hopes Notre Dame students, faculty and staff continue taking advantage of the service.“I also hope that we can find more ways to partner with Notre Dame or perhaps offer more library services to ND users,” O’Brien said. “In addition to offering this convenient service, we have many online resources that might be useful to ND users. For example, we have popular titles available for download as e-books and e-audiobooks on our website.”Tags: Hesburgh Libraries, Saint Joseph County Public LIbrarylast_img read more

Blais, Shewit, Juneja reflect on year in office

first_imgWhen outgoing student body president Becca Blais and outgoing vice president Sibonay Shewit, both seniors, ran for office a year ago, their slogan was “Reach, Reinvent, Represent.” Reflecting on their year in office as their term draws to a close, Blais and Shewit agreed they had succeeded in reforming the way student government operated as well as making it more accessible for students.“I would say I feel really fulfilled,” Blais said. “When I think about the past year, the moments that have been standing out to me the most are the conversations and the meetings with people who I had never encountered before, but they brought something forward and we were able to start working on it right away. We didn’t do things traditionally, and it was definitely a risk, but it worked.”Diane Park | The Observer Shewit said she was proud of their year in office.“I do feel like we expanded what student government works on,” she said. “Student government is totally different than it’s been past years, and I think it’s made it more effective. Just looking at the group of students that we’ve worked with, both individuals and clubs, too, I would say that more students feel that student government is a place they can go to have their issues represented.”An important change implemented in the past year, Blais said, was a restructuring of the executive cabinet. There were previously 17 cabinet departments; that number has now been reduced to 14. Under the old system, every department consisted only of a director and members; now, every department has a commissioner between the directors and members. Blais said this move created a “structure of accountability” because it means that more people have responsibility and projects get spread out.Junior Prathm Juneja, the outgoing student government chief of staff, said this spirit of inclusivity has defined the efforts of the administration.“Student government is now a place for everyone,” he said. “Probably the most important thing to the three of us during this year was including every voice. So, when I kind of reflect and think about our time as well as the University moving forward, what I’m thinking about is ‘Have we made Notre Dame a more inclusive place?’ I think we have.”Shewit emphasized this fight for inclusion when she said that one of her proudest accomplishments of the administration was the advocacy done on behalf of DACA recipients. As a product of an unforeseen political event, these efforts were not discussed in the platform Blais and Shewit ran on last spring.“This wasn’t a platform goal of ours, but everything that we did surrounding DACA, I think that’s probably what I’m most proud of, just because it was something we didn’t expect to be such a big part of our year,” Shewit said. “Kind of what Prathm was saying about how representing every student was so important. And I think that was our first opportunity to really stand by those words.”Blais acknowledged that some policies discussed on the ticket’s platform were not ultimately implemented. However, she said this was due to the fact that upon further research and consultation with students, it was determined that the policies were not necessary or could be approached in a more effective way. She also said that some successful programs, such as “town hall on the go,” in which Blais and Shewit visited every dorm on campus and gathered feedback and ideas, were not proposed in the platform but formulated later.“While we didn’t accomplish every single item we sought out to do, we found a better way to do it,” Blais said.In addition to concrete policy accomplishments, Shewit said she was proud of the work the administration did to start important conversations on-campus.“I think the biggest thing change I’ve seen is the number of hard conversations that take place within student government, and then the number of hard conversations that either start in student government and then are encouraged to take place in the classroom, or with different clubs, or just among students, that’s probably the biggest change,” Shewit said. “ … We had conversations surrounding sexual assault, DACA, the murals, representation. In the past, I feel like the biggest time for these conversations were through the board reports, but now I feel like they are almost every day.”Juneja said that he thinks that this principle can also be applied to the issue of inclusion.“I think conversations about inclusion were, at least during my first two years at Notre Dame, very much isolated into the groups that felt like we didn’t belong,” he said. “To see that conversations of inclusion are happening with a bunch of students who aren’t falling into the category who would be personally affected by that issue and continuously having hard conversations about that is definitely something I take a lot of happiness and a lot of pride in.”An email was sent to the student body on Tuesday with a list of policies and accomplishments of the administration. Blais said the positive reaction to the email made her reflect on the ability of people to make changes.“I’ve had a few conversations with people about our email that we just sent out,” she said. “The response that I got from it is exactly what I want people to remember: the idea that you can make a difference. Any student can come to this University and make a change in what they care about or on behalf of others. And that, I think, has fueled us in our time in student government and I hope it’s a wave that continues and I hope it’s something that people remember this term for. A lot of students got to make a difference.”Blais, Shewit and Juneja also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead the student body over the past year and build a better, more inclusive campus community.“The biggest thing I think I’ve taken away from these past four years, but especially this year in office, is that it’s very OK to not be OK with things,” Shewit said. “I love Notre Dame, but that doesn’t mean I have to be OK with every aspect of Notre Dame. Instead of sitting on that anger, I think I found an avenue to work on those issues. I’m so amazed at how many students care at this school. We love Notre Dame, and people dedicate so much time to making this a better place … and I feel so grateful to have had the chance to work alongside the students, and I hope that’s something that will continue to grow, that we’ll continue to work towards a Notre Dame that is inclusive for everyone.”Blais said she is thankful for her time as student body president.“I’m just so incredibly grateful for this experience and for the people who believed in us last year and elected us, and for everyone in the student body who has played a role and just everyone who is a student here who even if they never met us, even if they never looked at a student government event or initiative… they’re the core,” Blais said. “Everybody at this University is the core of why it works and why it functions so I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to serve this University and to get to know so many of its wonderful members.”Tags: Becca Blais, sibonay shewit, Student government, year in reviewlast_img read more

Sabres To Play Two Games Over The Weekend

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) BUFFALO – With their playoff hopes still alive, the Buffalo Sabres will have a chance to strengthen the possibility with a game on Saturday and another on Sunday. The first game of the weekend series Buffalo has will be a road game Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Sunday’s game will be at home vs. the Winnipeg Jets at 3 p.m.Currently, the Sabres are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 62 points, eight points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and 10 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes, who hold the Atlantic Division’s Wild Card spot.In their last game, Buffalo suffered a 7-4 loss in the hands of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Going into their weekend games, the Sabres are led by team captain Jack Eichel, who has a team-leading 75 points with team-highs of 33 goals and 42 assists.Besides Eichel’s numbers, Sam Reinhart has provided offensive support, as he has tallied 21 goals and 27 assists for a total of 48 points, good for second on the team.It is still up in the air whether Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will be back in action from either game, as he is recuperating from a lower-body injury sustained in January.Should Ullmark be unable to suit up for either game, the Sabres also have veteran Carter Hutton and Jonas Johansson, who in January was promoted from the AHL’s Rochester Americans, the Sabres minor-league affiliate team.Both Sabres games this weekend will be televised on MSGB.last_img read more

Chautauqua County Reduces On Site Staff

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel says County Government is currently working on a plan to reduce its on-site staff by 50 percent in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus-19.These actions are a result of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 16 Executive Order to local governments to reduce their overall on-site staff by 50 percent and to allow nonessential employees to work from home.“I am working with department heads on our plan to reduce Chautauqua County Government’s onsite-staff by 50 percent in order to meet the Governor’s order,” said Wendel. “We are currently evaluating our services and seeing where we can have employees work remotely from home and what offices may be closed or have limited services and staffing.”The County Executive stressed that this reduction in staffing will not impact essential COVID-19 response personnel or public safety personnel. “We anticipate having a plan in place by the end of the day on March 18,” said Wendel. “Once the plan is finalized, we will provide the public with more details on how this staff reduction will impact county government services and office availability.”last_img read more

On the Town is Heading Back to Broadway

first_img On the Town The Lyric Theatre is undergoing a renovation by its new owner, Ambassador Theatre Group, prior to the start of On the Town performances. Related Shows On the creative team of On the Town are set designer Beowulf Boritt, lighting designer Jason Lyons, costume designer Jess Goldstein and sound designer Kai Harada. View Comments Directed by John Rando (A Christmas Story) and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse (Smash), this new staging of On the Town was previously seen at Barrington Stage Company last summer. Featured in the cast were Jay Armstrong Johnson (Chip), Tony Yazbeck (Ozzie), Clyde Alves (Gabey), Elizabeth Stanley (Claire), Deanna Doyle (Ivy), Alysha Umphress (Hildy), Nancy Opel (Madame Dilly) and Michael Rupert (Judge Pitkin). No casting has been announced for the Broadway production. First seen on Broadway in 1946, On the Town follows the adventures of three sailors on leave in New York City. Based on the ballet Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins, the musical features music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Toe-tapping hits from the show include “New York, New York,” “I Can Cook Too,” “Lonely Town” and “Some Other Time.” The classic New York City musical On the Town is coming back to Broadway. The revival will start performances in October 2014 at the newly named Lyric Theatre, formerly the Foxwoods Theatre, where Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark closed in January. Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 6, 2015last_img read more

Calvin Klein & Anna Wintour Meet the Cast of Mothers and Sons

first_img Tyne Daly View Comments Bobby Steggert Related Shows Mothers and Sons Star Files Frederick Weller Show Closed This production ended its run on June 22, 2014 Tyne Daly and the cast of Broadway’s Mothers and Sons had two very fashionable special guests on April 15—Vogue editor Anna Wintour and fashion designer Calvin Klein! The duo took a fashion field trip to see the new play by Terrence McNally, and after the show, they greeted the entire cast backstage. Directed by Sheryl Kaller, Mothers and Sons tells the story of Katharine (Daly), a mother who, 20 years after her son’s death, shows up at the door of her son’s former lover (Frederick Weller), his husband (Bobby Steggert) and their young son (Grayson Taylor). Check out these photos of the fashion moguls meeting the Broadway stars, then see the new production at the Golden Theatre!last_img read more