Month: January 2021

Atheist group denied official club status

first_imgFrom the Basilica on God Quad to the chapels in every residence hall to the crucifixes in every classroom, the University’s Catholic identity is not easily missed. Not all Notre Dame students, however, share that identity. Last year, senior Stephen Love and a few of his friends decided to form a club for “Atheist, Agnostic and Questioning Students” (AAQS). Love said he felt the number of students who don’t prescribe to organized religion warranted an official campus group. “I think the [nonbeliever population] is vastly underestimated,” Love said. “I think people would be really surprised by how many students are interested.” The Student Activities Office (SAO) denied the club official recognition last year, citing a contradiction between Notre Dame’s mission and the intended purpose of the club. “A club’s purpose ‘must be consistent with the University’s mission,’” the letter stated. “No organization, or member of any organization on behalf of the organization, may encourage or participate in any activity which contravenes the mission of the University or the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.” Love said the given reasoning was inconsistent with the University’s policy toward other, existing clubs. “An easy rebuttal to that would be that we have a Jewish club, a Muslim club,” he said. “The only difference between us and them is that we don’t assume the existence of the Judeo-Christian God. We just thought if those clubs were allowed, we would also be allowed.” In the club’s current proposed constitution, the mission is specified as “to provide a forum for students to discuss philosophical, scientific, religious and political topics free from [in]tolerance.” The constitution said the club would create this venue by holding regular discussions, inviting guest speakers to campus to participate in academic conferences and forums. Love said official recognition is important because it would provide funding to make this program a reality. “We want to form an official club so we actually have official meeting rooms and we’d get some University funding so we could bring in guest speakers to come in and spur debate,” he said. Love said this dialogue would be open to the religious as well as nonreligious students on campus. “We technically have a secular agenda, but we want people from all different faiths to come and discuss,” he said. “That’s how you advance your ideas, by having them challenged.” In addition to the problems with the club’s mission statement, SAO’s rejection letter stated that AAQS had failed to receive the appropriate departmental approval. According to SAO, the concerned department was Campus Ministry. “For this proposed club, the approval of Campus Ministry is necessary to be considered a club,” the letter stated. “Upon review of the materials submitted, Campus Ministry indicated they would not approve this club.” Love said he disagreed with the department designation. “I don’t know where they got that, that Campus Ministry is the appropriate department,” he said. Love said, despite being denied club status, AAQS has been meeting independently and growing rapidly since last year. “We’ve been meeting underground this whole time,” he said. “When it started it was just a couple of friends and I, but within two or three weeks, just by word of mouth, it went from five to 10 then 30 to 40, and we haven’t even made an active effort besides one small advertisement in The Observer … Now we have 40 or 50 on the email list.” With an established “unofficial” membership, would-be club vice president Love and president Brian Robillard reapplied for club status last month. The new application has received approval from the Philosophy Department and is awaiting SAO review. While Love is hopeful about the reapplication, he understands the University is within its rights to reject the club, for whatever reason. “We understand the University is a private, Catholic institution, so we’re not demanding anything … we don’t have the right. We understand it’s within their power to do what they please,” he said. “We would just like to see the University give nonsectarian students a venue.” Despite this being Love’s last year to personally work toward official recognition for the club, he is confident the effort will continue after he graduates. “If we get rejected, we have enough underclassmen who will continue to apply and make changes based off what SAO suggests,” he said. “We’re willing to do whatever it takes to become an official club, within reason.” SAO was not available to comment on the matter.last_img read more

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Council presents LGBQ week

first_imgMembers of the Core Council for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning students encouraged the Student Senate on Wednesday to participate in next week’s StaND Against Hate Week. Sophomores Monica Daegele and Maggie Waickman, Core Council members, said the Senate can help call attention to the week’s activities, which include a movie watch with free food from Chipotle. “We have traditionally done a StaND Against Hate week for LGBQ students as a week to speak out against discrimination,”  Waickman said. “We wanted to come invite you to our events because student government has been such an integral part in establishing our group.” Waickman said Friday will be designated a day of solidarity in which some students will choose not to speak, standing in solidarity with those who are oppressed because of discrimination. “If we have a strong showing at events next week it will put us in a good position to start next year off strong,” Waickman said.   McGlinn Hall senator Toni Schreier presented a resolution from the Department of Academic Affairs regarding the current Collegiate Readership Program. “The mission of the program is to provide national newspapers to students on a daily basis so they are well informed, both in college and once they graduate,” Schreier said. “If this resolution is passed, we will provide the New York Times, USA Today and [the] South Bend Tribune, as well as online access to the New York Times.” Schreier said Notre Dame implemented a pilot program in 2005 in which these newspapers were provided for free, and students expressed overwhelming interest. “Eighty-two percent of students agreed that they were willing to pay an extra $10 to the student government in order to have access to these papers,” Schreier said. “This resolution proposes the creation of a Collegiate Readership Fund, rather than a program, in order to ensure there will always be funds for newspapers on campus.   “The fund would protect the interests of student academics, making sure we always have the money to provide quality journalism.”   After extensive back-and-forth discussion regarding the specific quantity of money and the fixed percentage of funds in question, the resolution failed with an 18-13-1 vote. The Senate nominated and approved freshman Ricardo Suarez and junior Danny Colston for roles as First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) director and director of internal affairs, respectively.   Contact Maddie Daly  at [email protected]last_img read more

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‘Revue’s Clues’ prepares to provide hilarity

first_imgEmma Farnan | The Observer Residents from Keenan Hall perform at last year’s “Keenan Revue” in Stepan Center. This year marks the Revue’s 39th anniversary and will take place this weekend.Directed by senior Briggs Hoyt, this year’s Revue bears the title “Revue’s Clues: A Private Investigation,” although senior Mattie Conaghan, one of the show’s head writers, claims there will only be “20-30 seconds” of references to “Blue’s Clues.”According to the show’s producer, senior DJ Valenti, the Keenan Revue began in 1976 after the death of a classmate of the Keenan Hall residents who founded the Revue.The student passed away after falling asleep in the snow after a night of drinking, Valenti said.“[The Revue] started out in Washington Hall as a variety show. After [the student] died, it was Keenan’s way to provide something to do on the weekends that didn’t involve drinking,” Valenti said. “Apparently the first show was just miserable. They had seats for all the administrators saved in the front row, but none of them showed up. But then it got a really good review, because it showcased all the talent in Keenan that nobody knew about. So then they asked them to do the same show in the spring, and they called it ‘The New Keenan Revue.’“So the production value went up, Fr. Hesburgh attended, everyone went and it became a tradition. Over time though, it evolved. Pretty quickly they realized that the comedy was landing more than the variety,” Valenti said.For many years, the Revue took place on Saint Mary’s campus, however in 2011, the College decided not to renew the event, according to Hoyt.“We moved to Stepan four years ago, and now we hold and fund an entire stage production, which is supported in a large part by Keenan alumni,” Hoyt said.Valenti said the hall turned largely to alumni to fund the Revue, which this year had expenses totaling roughly $23,000.“This year it’s a little bit more expensive, but not a significant amount for us that we’re worried about it. The lighting itself is the bulk of the cost,” Valenti said. “… It’s pretty much all through hall alumni, we get some through Hall President’s Council, and we get some funding through SAO.”The production represents about four months’ worth of work and about half of the dorm is involved, Conaghan said.“We’ve had more participation in the odd roles — ushers, stage crew, a lot of people are really involved in that. The writing and the creative side have still been relatively concentrated to the head writers and the staff,” Conaghan said.Hoyt noted the people on stage during the Revue represent only about one-third of all those involved in the production.According to Hoyt, tickets to this year’s Revue sold out in record time largely due to the success of last year’s production.“We sold out this year — 3,900 tickets — in 40 minutes, well in a way, because tickets are free,” Hoyt said. “So half the student body may see this, it has a strong presence on campus.”Valenti said the very nature of a stage production makes the Revue stand out from other dorm events.“You end up finding kids who normally slip through the cracks, who just kick ass in the show,” Valenti said. “People just come out, and they blow you out of the water. There are a couple of guys on stage playing in the band who you would not have known they were these incredible musicians.“And a lot of times in the dorms, it’s all baskets, with all sports and the guy stuff. You don’t really see people jamming … it’s a way to see kids find their own. It’s really cool, and it’s a really rewarding part of leading the Revue.”Tags: 39th annual keenan revue, briggs hoyt, DJ Valenti, Keenan, Keenan Revue, Mattie Conaghan, revues clues: a private investigation The 39th annual Keenan Revue — a beloved though historically controversial staple dorm event — opens Thursday night at the Stepan Center.last_img read more

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Student senate deliberates on ethics report

first_imgFor two weeks, the Student Union Ethics Commission conducted a confidential investigation of an unnamed member of the Student Union after receiving a preliminary report of misconduct April 1. In the student Senate meeting Wednesday evening, junior Zach Waterson, Judicial Council president and chair of the Ethics Commission, requested a closed meeting to explain the Commission’s report, which found evidence of misconduct, and issue recommendations for further action to the Senate, Waterson told The Observer.“On April 1st, Judicial Council received a report of misconduct against a member of the Student Union,” Waterson said in a statement after the Senate meeting. “The Ethics Commission convened and, after hearing from the allegation initiator, allegation respondent and witnesses, determined that misconduct had occurred.“Pursuant to section 13.7 of the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body, we presented recommendations to Senate in a closed setting. Those recommendations were referred to committee for further review.”The identities of all parties — initiator, respondent and witnesses — will remain anonymous, Waterson said. The Senate committee will determine timeline of any decisions.The Student Union Ethics Commission is tasked with the job of making recommendations to the Senate or other University organizations “in the event of misuse of undergraduate student organization funds or misconduct of undergraduate student organizations and their members,” according to the Constitution.Neither the Ethics Commission nor the Senate released a full report, meaning specifics such as the nature of the misconduct and the timeframe during which it allegedly occurred are still confidential.“Since the recommendations contain sensitive information, I recommend a voting member of Senate move the Senate now be closed to non-members of Senate,” Waterson said in the meeting. “A motion to close Senate means all non-members of Senate are asked to leave, such as The Observer.”The senators then engaged in closed discussion for a little more than an hour. The Ethics Commission can only make recommendations; the Senate will determine any decisions or actions in light of these recommendations.Before Senate closed the meeting, the senators voted for Campus Life Council Senate representatives and selected  Fisher Hall senator Abraham Jenson, Sorin College senator Ethan Holland and Cavanaugh Hall senator Kathleen Rocks.The senators then discussed their topics of interest for the 2015-2016 school year. Some of the suggestions included placing another Grab n’ Go station closer to academic buildings, reducing food waste by starting to compost and purchasing more hydration stations to place in the dorms, as well as in academic buildings such as Jordan Hall of Science and DeBartolo Hall. Another suggestion was made to put prices on merchandise from the Huddle in LaFun.Addressing issues of campus safety was a major topic of discussion. John Kill, St. Edward’s Hall senator, said students are not adequately informed of incidents that happened on and around campus.“I did not even know that there were two events that occurred off campus last week,” he said. “I think that a prevailing issue on this campus is ignorance of incidents that are reported to [Notre Dame Security Police]. The students do not know where they are occurring, what’s occurring and that could affect student safety.”After closing discussion about topics of interest, the Senate approved the bylaws of the Student Union Senate and the Senate budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.Next, Michael McRoskey, the director of the Department of Campus Technology, gave an overview of the new DARTing procedure changes that will be implemented for class scheduling for the Spring 2016 semester. While the new program has many of the same features, it will make scheduling easier, McRoskey said.“You actually have class search and the registration all in the same window,” he said. “There’s a very visual way to see your schedule that shows up just like your week review.”Other changes include the ability to create up to five schedule options and to sign up for one entire schedule at a time, McRoskey said. If there is a conflict or a class is full, the student will then be able to input their next choice in a complete schedule or address that conflict individually, McRoskey said.There will also be the option to be put on a waiting list for a class that’s full, McRoskey said. When a spot opens, whoever is at the top of the waiting list will automatically be enrolled in the class, McRoskey said.Additionally, the format is much cleaner, McRoskey said.“It looks a lot better than it does now, and it will give you really good contextual reminders of why you can’t register for a certain class or what you need to do for error messages,” McRoskey said.Kill, on behalf of the entire Student Union, then presented a resolution to commend University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh for his service to the University. The Senate passed the resolution.Tags: darting, department of campus technology, ethics violation, grab ‘n’ go, student senatelast_img read more

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SMC student contracts meningitis

first_imgA Saint Mary’s student was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis Wednesday morning, according to an email the Health and Counseling Center sent to the College community.The student is receiving treatment, and no other cases have been reported. The College is collaborating with the St. Joseph County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health to decrease the risk of further infection. According to the email, a team of campus professionals is notifying individuals who may have had close contact with the infected student, whose identity will not be released for privacy reasons. Preventative antibiotics will be distributed to the identified students, according to the email.Vice president for students affairs at Notre Dame Erin Hoffmann Harding alerted the Notre Dame community of the diagnosis in an email sent Wednesday evening. The email said the College has not determined any significant connection between the student and the Notre Dame campus, but both schools will continue to monitor the situation closely.Two information sessions will be available for students, faculty and staff at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium. Concerned individuals are encouraged to contact the Health and Counseling Center at 574-284-4805. Tags: Health and Counseling Center, meningitis, meningococcal meningitislast_img read more

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‘Listening to Puerto Rico’: ND professors document stories from Hurricane Maria

first_imgA few months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in Sept. 2017, Marisel Moreno received an email.The email was addressed to her and Thomas F. Anderson, both professors of romance languages and literature. It invited them to speak about the impact Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Ricans in a series of informational videos. A month and a half later, they found themselves on a plane to Puerto Rico with the mission of documenting one of the island’s most catastrophic storms in less than a week.“It quickly developed, we got our dates, we got our tickets and … next thing we know we’re getting an email saying we’re sending a film crew so that we can do this professionally and you can interview people,” Moreno, who teaches Latino literature, said. “Of course we’re not reporters; we’re both professors of literature, so that was a little bit nerve-wracking but we jumped into it.”Moreno and Anderson conducted the project this summer as part of a digital teach-out, a global community learning opportunity focused on a current issue. The original model was developed by the University of Michigan, which reached out to Elliott Visconsi of Notre Dame’s Office of Digital Learning in hopes of collaborating on a Puerto Rico series. Visconsi reached out to Moreno and Anderson, and the idea became reality.“To me honestly the most difficult part, it’s going to sound funny, is from the very beginning I just didn’t understand what a teach-out was,” Anderson, chair of romance languages and literature, said. “I mean, really, it ended up working great, but I felt almost the whole time like I was a little bit flying by the seat of my pants.”The traditional Michigan teach-out involves experts speaking about a particular topic, Moreno said, but the Notre Dame team suggesting flipping that model — allowing Puerto Ricans to tell their own personal stories. The result, “Listening to Puerto Rico,” features an array of on-the ground video interviews with Puerto Ricans of various backgrounds and experiences who recounted the impacts of Hurricane Maria. Moreno and Anderson served as interviewers on the Notre Dame team.“A lot of the technical side of it was done by Michigan, I think, but I do feel that Tom and I are experts on Puerto Rico because that’s part of our academic research,” Moreno said. “We were guiding the contents more.”The website includes visual narratives as well as an in-depth history of Puerto Rico, “Puerto Rico 101,” which Moreno and Anderson produced to give more context and background on the island. “We both felt very strongly that we didn’t want to have a course online [about] Puerto Rico where we were just imparting knowledge because it didn’t seem like it was appropriate for the given circumstance,” Anderson said. “So we ended up, like [Moreno] said, focusing more on personal stories.”The filming and interview process in Puerto Rico took place between June 15-20, Moreno said, which constricted the team’s schedule to about “four heavy days of no breaks.”“As soon as this idea was presented to us, we knew that we wanted to have all of the materials up prior to the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria,” Moreno said. “That was the deadline — Sept. 20. So it was an immense and incredible amount of work to get all of this done.”The videos are categorized in a variety of topics, among them “Call to Action,” “Economy & Migration” and “Infrastructure & Environment.” In total, the website presents over 50 videos documenting Puerto Rico and the impact of Hurricane Maria. “We also felt that video was an important medium because part of the story about Puerto Rico is the devastation, the changes to the landscape, and we didn’t want to have a disaster narrative so-to-speak, but to see the back-drop, to have visuals where people could explain some of the changes,” Anderson said.The project was split into multiple phases: first, there was an online teach-out course on Coursera which ran from Aug. 27 to Sept. 24. Second was launching the website.“We were surprised that people tended to not want to focus so much on all the horrible things but rather how Puerto Ricans united, how they came together in a time of crisis,” Anderson said. “ … There were a lot of stories about families getting closer, communities getting closer, people being unplugged from the internet — kind of finding simpler ways to entertain themselves.”Moreno said she was touched to hear how Puerto Rican communities gathered to take control and help each other in light of “inadequate responses” from the Puerto Rican and U.S. governments.“But also we’d be lying if we didn’t say that there was some anger, too, in the interviews, people very frustrated and upset with the governments and just with the way that things have been handled,” Anderson said. “They felt almost like a sense of relief to be able to speak.”The goal of the teach-out was to promote awareness about Puerto Rico, Moreno said, which includes promoting action in various forms and continuing to work on the issue.“It’s not over,” she said. “We have a whole academic year where we’re going to be bringing speakers, we’re going to have documentaries shown — so we’re continuing to engage directly, we’re trying to build those links between Notre Dame and different institutions, whether it’s non-profits or universities.”The team is also planning a follow-up visit, Anderson said, in which 12 to 15 faculty members from different fields will travel back to Puerto Rico in the spring, alongside Anderson and Moreno.“So much of what we do, articles and books, appeals to a very small limited audience of experts in our field for the most part,” Anderson said. “This type of work we feel is so important that we’d love to encourage [more faculty members] to do it because it’s an engaged scholarship that potentially can impact thousands of people that wouldn’t necessarily have contact with our scholarly work.“In the interviews themselves, several people acknowledged that it was so important for this kind of project to be done, that people were being given a chance to speak from their own platform. Hopefully the website will continue to be visited and people can take a listen.”Tags: Hurricane María, Listening to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, teach-out, University of Michiganlast_img read more

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Get a Sneak Peek of Idina Menzel on The Talk!

first_img Idina Menzel View Comments Related Shows If/Then star Idina Menzel will be entering your living room on May 16! No, she’s not performing a solo concert on your couch (but hey we can dream)—she’s appearing on CBS’ The Talk to chat about doing double duty as Liz and Beth in Broadway’s If/Then and providing the voice for Elsa, everyone’s favorite snow queen, in Frozen. Broadway.com photographer Bruce Glikas was on the scene to capture this sweet shot of Menzel hanging out with The Talk co-hosts Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood, Sharon Osborne, Julie Chen and Aisha Tyler. Check out the Hot Shot, then see Menzel in If/Then at the Richard Rodgers Theatre! If/Then Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015last_img read more

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Tickets Now Available for Our New Girl Off-Broadway

first_imgTickets are now on sale for the U.S. premiere of Nancy Harris’ Our New Girl. The Atlantic Theater Company production will begin performances on May 28. Under the direction of Gaye Taylor Upchurch, the play will star Mary McCann, Lisa Joyce, CJ Wilson and Henry Kelemen. Our New Girl will run through June 29 at Atlantic Stage 2. Opening night is set for June 10. Show Closed This production ended its run on June 29, 2014 View Comments Behind the shiny door of Hazel Robinson’s (McCann) perfect London home, nothing is as it seems. Hazel’s plastic surgeon husband Richard (Wilson) has embarked on his latest charitable quest in Haiti, leaving the heavily pregnant Hazel with a failing business and a problem son. When a professional nanny arrives unannounced on the Robinsons’ doorstep, Hazel finds her home under the shadow of a perfect stranger with an agenda of her own. Related Shows Our New Girllast_img read more

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Neverland Eyeing Broadway; Jennifer Hudson Will Sing on Concept Album

first_img View Comments Jennifer Hudson Mega-producer Harvey Weinstein has confirmed that Finding Neverland is eyeing Broadway and that Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson, who sang a number from the show on the Tony telecast on June 8, will be part of a concept album. Deadline reports that Taylor Swift and Alicia Keys may also sing on the record.Finding Neverland will play a limited engagement this summer at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, starring Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan as J.M. Barrie and West End vet Laura Michelle Kelly as Sylvia Llewelyn Davis. The Diane Paulus helmed tuner will feature music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham.Based on the Miramax film written by David Magee, Finding Neverland follows the story of Barrie (Jordan) and his relationship with the family of widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kelly). Llewelyn Davies’ children eventually became Barrie’s inspiration to write Peter Pan. The musical overhauled its creative team in 2013, bringing on board Paulus, Barlow and Graham. Star Files Jeremy Jordanlast_img read more

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Holler If Ya Hear Me Will Shutter on Broadway

first_img Holler If Ya Hear Me View Comments Holler If Ya Hear Me, the new musical inspired by the work of Tupac Shakur, will shutter on Broadway on July 20. At time of closing it will have played just 17 previews and 38 regular performances. Directed by Kenny Leon, Tony winner Tonya Pinkins, award-winning slam poet Saul Williams and Christopher Jackson star in the tuner, which officially opened at the Palace Theatre on June 19. Additional cast members include Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, Tony nominee John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone, Dyllon Burnside, Tracee Beazer, Afi Bijou, Mel Charlot, Carrie Compere, Otis Cotton, Ryan Davis, Brandon Gill, Ariana Groover, F. Michael Haynie, Jared Joseph, Jahi Kearse, Muata Langley, Candace Maxwell, Valentine Norton, Christina Sajous, Charlene Smith, Jaime Lincoln Smith, Donald Webber Jr. and Joaquina Kalukango. Featuring the music of the late rapper and written by Todd Kreidler, Holler If Ya Hear Me is an original story set in the present day on the inner-city streets of a Midwestern industrial city. The musical follows two childhood friends and their extended families as they struggle to reconcile the challenges and realities of their daily lives with their hopes, dreams and ambitions. Show Closed This production ended its run on July 20, 2014 Related Showslast_img read more

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