Notre Dame improves sustainability

first_imgNotre Dame received a B+ on the College Sustainability Report Card 2011, improving from its overall grade of B in 2010. Sarah Levy, communications fellow at the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI), said that while Notre Dame improved in the categories of Climate & Energy and Food & Recycling, it received low grades in Endowment Transparency and Shareholder Engagement. The Report Card is an initiative of SEI, a nonprofit organization supporting research to advance sustainability at college campuses across the United States and Canada. Levy said the Report Card is designed to identify colleges and universities that are leaders in sustainability. “The aim is to provide accessible information for schools to learn from each other’s experiences and establish more effective sustainability practices,” she said. Universities are graded across nine categories: Administration, Climate Change & Energy, Food & Recycling, Green Building, Transportation, Student Involvement, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities and Shareholder Engagement. Data collection for the Report Card 2011 took place from April to September 2010. “SEI gets its information about each school from publicly available sources, from three surveys sent to school administrators and one survey sent to students,” Levy said. Since research on the first edition four years ago, Levy said the Report Card surveys show more activity on 52 green indicators, including sustainability committees, green building policy and trayless dining. Notre Dame’s grade improved in two categories from last year: Climate Change & Energy and Food & Recycling. “In terms of Climate Change & Energy, Notre Dame has continued to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and building energy consumption has decreased with the use of new efficiency measures such as cogeneration, energy management systems and lighting upgrades,” Levy said. “New sources of renewable energy … contributed to Notre Dame’s higher grade in this area.” Notre Dame’s changes in food budget and its electronics recycling program also contributed to a higher grade, she said. “In the Food & Recycling category, Notre Dame is spending about the same percentage of its food budget on local items as last year, but some of the vegetables are now sourced from an on campus garden and fair trade coffee is now available on campus,” Levy said. “Notre Dame’s electronics recycling program and the discounts and prizes provided to students who use reusable mugs and bags also raised the grade.” Heather Tonk, director of Sustainability at Notre Dame, said the University has stepped up its sustainability efforts since it was first evaluated in 2007. “Just looking at our scores — in 2007 we had a D, and we have steadily improved since then. This shows the commitment of the administration as well as the students, faculty and staff,” she said. Tonk said Notre Dame has always scored high in the category of Student Involvement — scoring an “A” every year since the first evaluation. She said over the last few years the Office of Sustainability has focused on energy measures, because those are what drive Notre Dame’s carbon emissions. Tonk said the University is in the midst of investing $10 million in energy conservation measures. “The Office of Sustainability is continually looking for ways to raise awareness,” she said. Levy said schools are generally weakest in the categories of Endowment Transparency and Shareholder Engagement. These were also Notre Dame’s weakest categories. “Access to endowment information is needed within a college community to foster constructive dialogue about opportunities for clean energy investment, as well as shareholder voting priorities,” she said. The weakest category overall, she said, was Shareholder Engagement, which had an average grade of “D” across the universities surveyed. “Endowment investment decisions are an expression of universities’ financial values and priorities,” Levy said. “Schools that own stocks in corporations have shareholder rights and responsibilities, including the right to engage in constructive dialogue with corporate executives.” Levy emphasized the responsibility universities have to look beyond green initiatives on their own campuses — universities should also promote such measures in the corporations they support. “These corporations have huge impacts on the environmental and social issues with their own products and policies,” she said. “As institutions of higher learning, universities have a responsibility to not only their own campus, but to the greater community, and even the world.”last_img read more

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Marching band wins prestigious award

first_imgThe Sousa Foundation announced on Dec. 17 that the Notre Dame Marching Band received the 2011 Sudler Trophy. The Sudler Trophy is awarded every two years, and a marching band can only receive it once. The same company that manufactures the Heisman Trophy also manufactures the Sudler Trophy, Kenneth Dye, director of Notre Dame Bands, said. This prestigious award recognizes a contribution to the field of bands over a long period of time and is the only award given to college marching bands. “This is a huge honor for our band,” Glynnis Garry, drum major of the Marching Band, said. “It puts us in a category of marching bands that have been recognized as outstanding groups that have really contributed to American culture, like [the University of] Michigan [and] Michigan State.” College band directors across the country submit nominations for the Trophy, Dye said. These nominations usually come from directors who have received the award in the past. Each nominated band submits an unedited video sample, usually of a single show, to a screening committee that reviews the videos and selects finalists. Finalists must then submit more video footage, and a selection committee chooses the recipient of the Trophy. The last band to receive the Trophy was Western Carolina University in North Carolina, Dye said. Notre Dame learned of its status as a finalist for the award in early November. The Trophy will be presented to the University at the Oct. 8 football game against the Air Force Falcons. It will remain at Notre Dame for two years after its presentation in October. “[The Trophy] is 22 and a half inches tall, which is the same length as a standard marching step, and it has a bronze drum major over a big stadium and a marble base,” Dye said. Although Notre Dame will only have the Sudler Trophy for two years, the Marching Band is allowed to order a replica to keep on campus permanently. Additionally, each member of the Band will receive a pin to wear on his or her uniform for the next two years in recognition of winning the Trophy. “We’ve worked really hard to be innovative, to do new things, but we have a long history of service to the University that includes playing for all the troops that have left campus since the Civil War,” Dye said. “Being 165 years old and the oldest college marching band, that probably was a big difference [in the selection process for the recipient of the Trophy].” Garry said student band members were very excited and proud to receive the award. “What’s special about The Band of the Fighting Irish is that with our without any awards or recognition we all take immense pride in what we do,” Carolyn Weinschenk, a freshman piccolo player, said. “The Sudler Trophy is a well-deserved testament to the dedication and hard work of the directors and student leaders of the Band that make it all possible.” Bobby Reichle, a sophomore trombone player, said the award is a sign of band members’ hard work. “Hopefully this inspires the band to continue to improve, especially since our football team has been making such impressive progress,” he said. Garry said many band members did not know the band was in the running for the Sudler Trophy. “It was a secret that we had made it to the finals, and this was really quite a surprise to the Band,” Garry said. The band is constantly improving and has been moving in a positive direction since Dye became the director, Garry said. “With huge events like the Alumni Band Reunion and the New York trip, the Band has become very goal-oriented,” Garry said. Dye said his main goal for the marching band is “to constantly come up with new things while maintaining the tradition of the band’s history. “[Marching bands] really do contribute to American lifestyle and culture, and I think our band certainly does that,” Garry said. “It contributes to the lifestyles of students and alumni, but I think it [also] does so nationally, and this award recognizes that. It’s really cool that you can only win this once. To be a part of that group of bands that has won this is quite an accomplishment.”last_img read more

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Title IX streamlined at ND

first_imgThe email that appeared in student inboxes Wednesday afternoon was the first of its kind this year, but it is not likely to be the last. “Crime alert,” it read. “Sexual assault reported.” The email informed students of the first assault reported on campus this year. It also arrived a little more than a year after the beginning of a new and more structured sexual assault policy at Notre Dame. That subject line may be jarring, but associate vice president of Residence Life Heather Russell is familiar with reports of sexual assault on a college campus. And she doesn’t mind if, for the moment, students are familiar with them too. “I’m a firm believer that if we’re building a system that works … our students will know, and the numbers (of reports) will go right up,” Russell said. “That’s not in my opinion because there are more sexual assaults or sexual harassment cases on campus. It’s because people who previously would not have reported are now coming forward to report. And that’s what we actually hope will happen.” In addition to her position at the head of Residence Life, Russell served as the University’s Deputy Title IX coordinator this past year. As the University adjusted its sexual assault policies to reflect new requirements from the federal government, she was the first point of contact for all reports of sexual assault on campus. In the first year of the new policy, Russell said she handled eight reported cases of alleged sexual assault. Six additional cases of alleged sexual harassment, which include a variety of environmental concerns such as language or posters, were also brought to her office. Those numbers significantly exceeded the staff’s expectations for the number of reports this past year, Russell said. “I think in terms of setting the right expectations, the timeline and the process, students knew what to expect,” Russell said. “Students didn’t seem surprised who went through the process. I believe we had really good communication throughout the process, and we were timely in our investigations and our decisions.” Making adjustments A report of sexual assault begins with a conversation. Last year, the University’s new policy laid out guidelines for bringing that conversation to Russell’s attention for a Title IX investigation. Some sources – members of Campus Ministry, health professionals at St. Liam’s or local hospitals, counselors – could keep the conversation confidential. Others – resident assistants, professors, law enforcement – were required to bring such conversations to Russell’s attention. “Rectors were considered confidential sources last year,” Russell said. “This year, OCR [the (Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education]) has asked us to keep all hall staff in the same category.” After Russell learns of an assault, she said the investigation must be conducted within 60 days. In that time period, Russell issues a no-contact order between the accused and the accuser, and each party is assigned a sexual assault resource coordinator (SARC) to help him or her through the process of the investigation. Sometimes this process involved a series of interviews to describe the reported assault to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), a Title IX investigator and the ResLife disciplinary investigators. “What I consistently heard was it was a little overwhelming for our students, both the complainant and the accused, to go through what felt like a repeat process,” Russell said. Now, the interview process will be more streamlined and less repetitive, Russell said. If both parties have been interviewed by NDSP, they do not need to repeat those interviews with more investigators in Russell’s office. “We’re cutting out that middle process,” she said. Breaking a trend In April 2011, all universities and colleges also received a message about sexual assault. This one came in the form of the “Dear Colleague” letter issued last spring by the OCR. The letter called for all colleges to more strongly implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sexual discrimination at institutions that receive federal fund. The letter required the University to create Russell’s position and develop a more clearly outlined investigation process for sexual assault. Russell said OCR penned the letter and changed the federal regulations to combat the trend of “bad actors,” or repeat perpetrators of sexual assault. “So [if] a student assaults one of our students, there is a high likelihood that that student will hurt somebody else,” Russell said. “So even though that student who was assaulted may not want to pursue the case, if we don’t pursue it, another one of our students may be at risk.” Previously, Russell said Notre Dame’s policy allowed the victim of an assault to determine whether he or she wanted to pursue disciplinary or criminal action against the accused. If a victim requested not to go forward with any penalties, the case would automatically be closed. In the letter, OCR required universities to pursue cases against any individuals who might be a bad actor, even if the victim did not want to open an investigation for university discipline or criminal justice. “The fear across the country was that what that ‘Dear Colleague’ letter was asking would inadvertently have a chilling effect on reports of sexual assault or sexual harassment on a college campus,” Russell said. Instead, the increase in reports showed an opposite effect. And despite the high possibility of bad actors, Russell said she did not work with a single case that involved a repeat offender this past year. “The reason the guidelines were put in place was to ferret out those kinds of people, and as of yet, in one year testing the guidelines, we did not see that here,” Russell said. A veteran advocate for sexual assault prevention, Russell said she was not surprised by the trend she did discover in this year’s reports – alcohol abuse in connection with sexual assault. “I’m happy to say we didn’t find [that trend at Notre Dame],” Russell said. “What we found to be a trend is what we knew to be a trend even before this year, which is in cases of sexual assault on our campus typically alcohol is involved with at least one of the parties, sometimes with both parties.” Looking ahead This week marked the beginning of the policy’s second year in operation, but it also is the end of Russell’s tenure ae Deputy Title IX Coordinator. As she returns her focus to Residence Life, Dr. Bill Stackman will assume control of sexual assault investigations. Stackman will officially begin his job as the associate vice president for Student Services on Monday. “We’d like to get to the place where Title IX is less about our reaction to cases and more about a comprehensive model that has to do with prevention, education, intervention and response,” Russell said. “And [Stackman] is a person well equipped to do that.” Russell said her time as a shepherd for the new policy was demanding but positive. “It was a fantastic part of the position not because I want those things to happen, but because it’s great to be able to be present to students in those kinds of situations and help see they get the resources they need and help bring things to closure for them.last_img read more

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Faculty group performs music from Bach

first_imgEnsembleND, a musical group which consists of four professors from Notre Dame’s Department of Music, performed the music of Johann Sebastian Bach on Jan. 25 at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.EnsembleND’s members are associate professor of piano John Blacklow, assistant professional specialist of piano Daniel Schlosberg, associate professor of cello Karen Buranskas and assistant professional specialist of violin Tricia Park. Each member also specializes in performance in his or her role as a professor at Notre Dame.Blacklow said ensembleND chooses pieces which are written for groups but which also provide room for solos, reflecting the ensemble’s members’ individual talents.“In the professional music world, many musicians are exclusively soloists or exclusively ensemble players, but it so happens all four of us have strong interests in both solo playing and ensemble playing and have had careers that have embraced these two areas,” Blacklow said.Blacklow said the ensemble plays once or twice a year at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, and the individual faculty members in the group have their own performances throughout the school year. He said Schlosberg will appear in a duo-piano concert and a voice-piano concert, Buranskas will appear as a soloist with the South Bend Symphony Chamber Orchestra and Park with the Gesualdo Quartet, which is the quartet-in-residence at Notre Dame.He said the nature of the pieces the ensemble plays allows faculty members to balance their work in ensembleND with their work as professors.“We rehearse any time that we have a performance coming up,” Blacklow said. “It helps that we include the solo portions because then we can practice on our own, without the difficulty of coordinating schedules.”Blacklow said performance is one of the most important aspects of being a music professor, akin to researching and writing books for scholars in other disciplines.“Performing and recording music is our mode of research into the amazing and vast body of music in the world,” Blacklow said. “From our own experiences as performers across the world, we are able to share our experiences in the guidance of the talented ND music majors in our studios.”Blacklow said ensembleND will not perform together again until the fall of this year.Tags: Daniel Schlosberg, ensembleND, John Blacklow, Karen Buranskas, Tricia Parklast_img read more

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Students attend White Privilege Conference

first_imgNotre Dame students in the White Privilege Seminar, An Introduction to the Intersections of Privilege, examined oppression and privilege at the White Privilege Conference (WPC) in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 11-14.According to its website, WPC is committed to “understanding, respecting and connecting.” The conference — which held more than 1,500 attendees this year — seeks to confront issues beyond skin color and invite different perspectives regarding the issues of privilege, the website said.Emily Danaher | The Observer “I think that I wasn’t there to necessarily learn but more so to absorb and understand,” sophomore Marlen Grussi said. “I feel like more than going to learn facts, I was able to become more aware of other people’s experiences and feel more sensitive to those experiences.”Grussi said she realized during the conference that every person plays a role in privilege and are often unaware of the injustices they may perpetuate.“The conference itself really did allow all of us to lean into discomfort by approaching topics that, as students, we don’t get the opportunity to unveil in a classroom setting and much less in a social setting,” Grussi said.Sophomore Hugo Munoz said he appreciated the opportunity to attend WPC because it initiated a necessary conversation about privileges in race, sexuality and gender, as well as other controversial topics.“I think that the most important thing I got out of it is how [privilege] is a problem that affects us all,” Munoz said. “It is invisible to people in my position, but it has a passive impact in my social group and a violently explicit one in minorities.”Both Grussi and Munoz said there were undeniable ties between the seminar class and the conference.“The biggest connection between the conference and our class is the ability to listen to differing opinions from people who have a true interest in the content of our conversations,” Grussi said.Munoz said the class offered limited preparation to engage with the topic on a more complex and physically larger level.“Thanks to the class, we were not people without understanding over the topic,” Munoz said. “However, it is really hard to be fully prepared to such an intense experience.”Grussi said seminar students were encouraged to reflect on the topic as well as finish a research paper after the conference. However, she said her reflection does not end after completing mandatory assignments.“After the conference, I realize that there is work to be done on campus, and by my own volition, I intend to work more diligently towards building our community’s ability to respect one another and to be more self-aware,” Grussi said.Munoz said he thinks it is important to talk about white privilege at Notre Dame because graduates will become contributing members of society through a variety of careers.“We need to acknowledge that our very own classmates are going to have the power to change our society — we just need to make sure they see it as a problem that needs a real solution soon,” Munoz said.Tags: Intersections of Privilege Seminar, White Privilege Conferencelast_img read more

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Incoming student dies in traffic accident

first_imgRebecca Draper Townsend, a member of the incoming class of 2019, died Thursday after being struck by a car during a local Fourth of July celebration, according to a University spokesperson.Townsend, a native of Brookfield, Connecticut, and a friend were hit just after the beginning of a fireworks show. There were no crosswalks available in the area of the accident, and police have not determined if they were crossing the road at the time, according to WFSB, a local television station.Townsend and her friend were transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short while later. Her friend is in serious but stable condition, police said.Townsend graduated last month with honors from Immaculate High School in Danbury, Connecticut, according to her obituary. News of her death quickly spread to the class of 2019’s Facebook page, where a memorial post appeared at 9 a.m.“Father Jenkins has offered his deepest condolences on behalf of the University to Rebecca’s family, several of whom have graduated from Notre Dame,” vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffman Harding said in an email. “Please keep Rebecca and her family in your prayers, and know that each of you are also in our prayers as we prepare for the start of a new academic year next month.”Townsend will be commemorated at the welcome mass for new students in late August, the email said.Tags: Class of 2019, Student deathlast_img read more

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Panel probes rise of Islamophobia in Europe

first_imgA panel of international studies scholars discussed the rise of Islamophobia in Europe on Wednesday afternoon at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. The panel, which is sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, examined reasons for the recent spike in anti-Muslim activity in several European countries, as well as possible solutions.Maurizio Albahari, an assistant professor of anthropology, said Islamophobia is nothing new, as the term itself was created in the 1990s.“When the world is compelled to coin a new term to account for increasingly widespread bigotry, that is sad and troubling,” Albahari said.However, Albahari said Islamophobia now is worse than it has ever previously been in Europe.“Opinions that you could not say out loud a few years ago abut Muslims—opinions that would have sounded racist—are allowed,” Albahari said.Visiting assistant professor Aysegul Zeren said recent terrorist attacks are largely responsible for the recent rise in Islamophobia.“Today, the escalation of Islamophobia in Europe has an obvious link to the Jan. 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings and the Nov. attacks on Paris,” Zeren said.Zeren cited a Reuters report as evidence of this disturbing increase of Islamophobia. According to the report, 400 hate crimes were committed against Muslims in France in 2015, triple that of the previous year.Zeren said this rise in Islamophobia could continue to have some extremely negative consequences.“We can make an argument that Islam is not the real danger, but fear from it could be very dangerous for individuals, communities, and state,” Zeren said.“The reactions can vary from verbal and physical attacks to negative stereotyping in the media.”However, Albahari said European governments have failed to provide any help to Muslims.“Muslims remain outside the domain of anti-racism legislation in Europe,” Albahari said. “This is applied for other racial and religious minorities, but not for Muslims.”Zeren said this discrimination against Muslims has contributed to the rising number of terrorist attacks.“This is a vicious cycle, with policies causing marginalization, and marginalization feeding terrorism, and terrorism igniting the Islamophobia,” Zeren said.Research scholar of Islamic Studies and peace-building A. Rashied Omar said the war on terror has only exacerbated the Islamophobia problem.“The war on terrorism is not helpful in ameliorating the root causes that provide the fertile ground on which religious extremism thrives,” Omar said.“On the contrary, it is generating conditions that favor extremism, thus rendering the task of eradicating Islamophobia extremely difficult.”In order to end the “vicious cycle” Zeren described, Omar said people of different faiths and cultures must set aside their differences and attempt to understand each other.“More efforts should be put in to mutual and respectful dialogue and interactions, so that people of different cultures, of different faiths and no faiths can get to know each other beyond mere toleration,” Omar said.In addition, an end to Islamophobia and terrorism in Europe will only be achieved if European citizens and governments treat migrants and refugees more justly, Omar said.“The challenge that global peace holds for Muslims, Christians, Jews, people of different faiths and people of no faith is to work towards the building of more welcoming environments as well as inclusive cultures for immigrants,” Omar said.Tags: European Studies, Islamic Studies, Islamophobia, Kroc Institute, Nanovic Institute, Peace Studieslast_img read more

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Former director of Notre Dame Alumni Association dies at age 80

first_imgCharles “Chuck” Lennon Jr., former associate vice president and executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, died Saturday at the age of 80, the University said in a press release Sunday. “Few people have so enthusiastically stood for and represented Notre Dame like Chuck,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “He was a fount of optimism, knowledge and love for his alma mater who will be dearly missed.”Hailing from Joliet, Ill., Lennon received an undergraduate degree from Notre Dame in 1961 and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University in 1962. As a student, he played baseball for three seasons and received a monogram. From 1961 to 1966, he served as an assistant coach for the basketball and baseball teams and as an assistant ticket manager for the University, the release said. Lennon worked in South Bend after leaving Notre Dame, serving as executive director of the Mental Health Association of St. Joseph County, the South Bend Model Cities Program, the Community Development Agency, the Department of Redevelopment and the Housing Allowance Office, according to the release. Lennon served as  president of the St. Joseph Insurance Agency from 1978 to 1981 and was a member of the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees for 13 years, the release said.Lennon led the Notre Dame Alumni Association for 30 years after taking over in 1989. Under Lennon, the association grew from 176 clubs to 251 and was among the first alumni associations to offer continued education courses — such as the Hesburgh Lecture Series and Excellence in Teaching programs — and community service programs, the release said. Lennon also led the establishment of black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific and Native American alumni groups, created the website FaithND and crafted new career advancement, networking and communication tools for alumni.“Chuck Lennon’s impact on the Notre Dame family cannot be overstated,” Dolly Duffy, Lennon’s successor as executive director of the association, said. “He was a passionate, innovative leader who built an organization that set the standard for alumni associations in higher education. More importantly, Chuck’s kindness, generosity and warmth made him a dear friend and mentor to countless alumni and friends across the country and around the globe.”Lennon also taught a management class at both graduate and undergraduate levels in the University’s Mendoza College of Business, the release said. He received several awards, including the Irish Clover award from the student body in 1992, the Notre Dame Presidential Award in 1993 and the Professional Development for Mentoring Minorities in 2001 from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Lennon is survived by his wife, Joan, his five children — Sean, Molly, Brian, Colleen and Kevin — and 16 grandchildren. Tags: Alumni, chuck lennon, Notre Dame Alumni Associationlast_img read more

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Students comment on Blinkie schedule change

first_imgRiding on Blinkie is a time-honored tradition for Saint Mary’s students. The dark blue van with an eponymous orange blinking light on top runs on campus from dark until 2 a.m. each day, taking students to their various on-campus destinations, such as residence halls and the library when they might not want to walk alone. Blinkie’s route includes the Grotto after The Sweep stops for the night. Stops at the Grotto also occur on the weekends, when “The Sweep” does not run. Tom Naatz | The Observer Students wait for Blinkie to pick them up from the bus stop at the corner of Holy Cross Drive and Saint Mary’s Road Thursday night. It was recently announced that Blinkie will begin running on the weekends.In an email sent to the Saint Mary’s student body Oct. 27, vice president for student affairs Karen Johnson said Blinkie service would begin at noon on Saturdays and Sundays, making its usual route on campus before going to the Grotto at Notre Dame. According to the email, the route should take about 45 minutes.Last year, Blinkie made trips to the Grotto on Sunday afternoons from fall break to spring break.Sunday Blinkie service was funded by the Student Government Association (SGA) last year. Since The Sweep no longer runs on Saturdays, transportation between Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame, an additional day of the service was added for this year.In a subsequent email, Johnson said the service was utilized by many students last year. SGA will once again be paying for this service, she said.Freshman Madi Holdsworth said she and her friends ride in Blinkie every weekend and at least one time during most weeks.“We love Blinkie,” Holdsworth said. “It’s a great idea.”She said she sometimes walks to Notre Dame on Sundays for Mass but would not be affected much by the Sunday service because it begins later than she would leave Saint Mary’s to attend Mass.Because of its service to the Grotto, Blinkie affects more than just Saint Mary’s students. Without the Transpo Midnight Express running on Friday and Saturday nights, the van is the only free transportation between Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.Notre Dame junior Spencer Buzdon said he’s taken Blinkie numerous times over the past several years and has noticed a change in the experience of the ride.“Now that they’ve cancelled the Midnight Express, I feel like Blinkie has been a lot more crowded and difficult to use,” Buzdon said. “I think it’s even a matter of safety.”Every time he has ridden in the van this year, someone has been forced to stand, he said. Sometimes Buzdon himself stands in the trunk.“This year, I’ve found that Blinkie is really trying to pick up the slack that has been left by the Midnight Express, and it’s not equipped to do that job,” Buzdon said.Saint Mary’s students have also noticed a crowded van on Friday and Saturday nights.“I don’t take [Blinkie] often, but there’s only been one time this year that I wasn’t standing in the trunk,” junior Brynne Volpe said.While current freshmen did not have the opportunity to utilize the Midnight Express, they have also reported that the van is occasionally uncomfortable and crowded.“There was a time the first weekend that [my friends and I] were on Blinkie, and there were people on top of each other and in the trunk,” freshman Elena Sarmiento said. “In the trunk, people would just stand and pack together.”Since then, Sarmiento said she has seen large crowds late on weekend nights.Despite these challenges, Johnson said the number of riders on Blinkie has not changed significantly.“Our Saturday and Sunday late night usage was busy for the first two weeks of classes,” Johnson said. “It has, however, leveled out to usage similar to last year.”Even when the van is crowded, students feel a sense of safety and community when they take advantage of the Blinkie service“You know when someone who’s not from Saint Mary’s is getting on Blinkie, and you know the drivers, too,” freshman Fiona Connelly said.She said the Blinkie drivers are always kind to student riders.“They’re so nice,” she said. “There was one time when someone felt sick, and [the driver] gave her a recycling bin.”Holdsworth said a driver once gave her a cough drop when she was coughing during a ride. Connelly praised the drivers for their attention to their riders.“The drivers are very chill, very nice and very thoughtful,” Connelly said.Tags: blinkie, Midnight Express, saint mary’s, transportlast_img read more

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Provost creates committee to alter Title IX procedures to comply with federal law

first_imgA committee will advise the Office of General Council to permanently adapt the University’s Title IX regulations in order to comply with the new federal regulations declared in May 2020 by the U.S. Department of Education, provost Marie Lynn Miranda announced in an email Wednesday.Vice president and associate provost for faculty affairs Maura Ryan will serve as chair. Other members of the committee were elected by Academic Council or appointed by Miranda.The Academic Council approved temporary measures to bring the University into compliance with the new regulations on Aug. 10.“The adopted changes removed the regulatory Title IX matters from Article IV/Section 9 of the Academic Articles and placed them within the Procedures for Resolving Concerns of Discriminatory Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Other Sex-Based Misconduct,” Miranda said.According to the meeting minutes, the University required changes in two areas to comply with the federal regulations. The University needed to use one standard of evidence across all cases and appeals, “regardless of who the complainant and respondent are.”While almost all hearings had used a preponderance of evidence standard, faculty members may request a hearing and appeal under a clear and convincing standard if a violation results in a severe sanction.The University was also required to change their regulations to “provide both complainants and respondents with equivalent appeal opportunities and processes.”In the past, the same appeal procedure was not granted to complainant’s when the respondent was a faculty member.The temporary measures applied the preponderance of evidence to all cases, and determined that the severe sanctions appeal process would “no longer apply to sexual harassment cases.”The proposal would only be in place for the 2020 fall semester, and required more significant changes in the long-term, Miranda said. Without further action by the Academic Council, the temporary measures will revert to the previous standards on Nov. 20 2020.The new committee, the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Institutional Equity will review proposed permanent changes to the Title IX policies.Miranda asked the committee to consider a number of questions including how the changes in the evidentiary standards may effect decisions to report or “participate in investigations of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations.”Miranda said the committee should address all of the following questions: “How do our procedures for addressing Title IX and other sex-based misconduct best protect due process across all parties, consistent with federal regulations? What are the features of an appeal process that is equitable across all parties? How do our policies and procedures reflect the protections and responsibilities of academic freedom?”Notre Dame will also determine the changes other universities have chosen to help in the decision making. All students, faculty and staff may submit comments and questions to t9tskfrc@nd.edu, and the committee will hold public presentations in order to provide the University community with updates.Tags: Office of General Counsel, Provost Marie Lynn Miranda, Title IXlast_img read more

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