UPDATE: The University announced the tornado warning has expired. Students are returning to normal activity. Notre Dame issued a campus wide alert this morning notifying the community of a tornado threat and urging everyone to move to the lowest level of their building. The University notified students via e-mail, phone calls, text messages and overhead announcements to take cover. The messages called the threat “imminent.” Students are presently not attending classes. The University said it will notify students when the threat is over and they can resume their normal schedules. No funnel clouds were reported, but winds are reaching 70 mph. A tornado watch is in effect in St. Joseph County, where power outages have been reported, according to the South Bend Tribune.
In the wake of last month’s incidents of racial discrimination against two student groups and the March 5 town hall meeting held in response, Notre Dame student leaders, faculty, staff and administrators are formulating a “Plan of Action” for addressing discrimination on campus. Senior Brittany Suggs, chair of the Black Student Association (BSA), said the decision to create the Plan of Action arose from the student body’s response to the town hall meeting. She said students called for “more direct involvement in changes on campus” with regard to racial incidents and discrimination. “[The Plan of Action] also came from the belief of students that we have meetings and forums and discussions of these issues, but people leave feeling like, ‘I said all this, but what happens next? What will be done? How will the words we share be transferred to actual change?’” she said. Suggs sent a campus-wide email last week alerting the Notre Dame community to the creation of the Plan of Action. Town hall attendees submitted personal responses addressing the changes they wanted to see with regard to discrimination in specific areas of campus life, Suggs said. These responses will be used to formulate a formal proposal to be presented to the University administration in early May. “The committee goal is to have … something in place for transitioning officers [of student organizations] coming into their positions and to have something for seniors who have been involved to see something formally put in place to carry on in the future,” Suggs said. The Plan of Action committee unites Student Government, BSA, the African Student Association (ASA), Alliance of Black Leaders, Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), the Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity, the Progressive Student Association, MECHa, the Diversity Council of Notre Dame, the Center for Social Concerns and other interested individuals in compiling campus responses into a comprehensive proposal on how to address and combat discrimination, Suggs said. “We would love for the whole campus to be involved in the process, but it’s not feasible with the size of the student body,” she said. “We’re taking the main student leaders of campus majority and minority groups and faculty leaders, bringing them together from different backgrounds and points of view on the issue, meeting with them to first highlight the main problem and creating a goal of sorts to keep us focused on the task at hand.” MSPS Director Iris Outlaw said some recurring themes appeared during the categorization of personal responses from town hall attendees, including a lack of cultural competency in interactions with residence hall staff, Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) and faculty members; racial profiling by NDSP; inappropriately themed residence hall activities; the “isolating” nature of First Year Orientation, especially for students of color; and a lack of University support for departments like Africana Studies and the Institute for Latino Studies. “[The responses showed that] the campus climate overall is isolating, and majority students are often unaware of how international and minority students feel about it,” Outlaw said. “Even though we address diversity in the Contemporary Topics course, it only plants the seeds.” Outlaw said many responders expressed interest in a semester-long course in cultural competency that would educate students about real world diversity issues that specifically affect the Notre Dame community. “In cultural competency classes, students might study countries like Spain, Italy and Ireland,” Outlaw said. “But we need to talk about what’s going on in our backyard too.” Some town hall attendees also called for mandatory diversity training for faculty and staff members to further improve cultural competency on campus, Outlaw said. “Things are written in handbooks, but most people never look at them unless they have an issue or need it for something else,” she said. In the weeks prior to the February incidents involving the BSA and ASA, Student Senate passed a resolution advocating for increased reporting of discriminatory incidents, student body president Brett Rocheleau said. “We worked with Diversity Council and found that there are a lot of unreported instances of discrimination, so we want to advocate for students to feel free and safe to report instances of discrimination,” Rocheleau said. Outlaw said these unreported cases of discrimination prompted administrators to assess the availability and accessibility of resources for reporting and dealing with discrimination on campus. “That [assessment] has been key because some resources haven’t been easy to find, especially when important information has been lost in web page changes,” she said. “We’ve been introspective, so it’s great that we’re now trying to be proactive to make the University the place we know it should be.” This proactive mindset distinguishes the current movement from similar initiatives in the past, Outlaw said. “The call for accountability has been twofold across the institution,” she said. “We’re holding students accountable for incidents they experience or witness, and the administration is helping students navigate the system, speaking out against discrimination and doing an internal assessment.” Suggs said Notre Dame is fortunate to have a supportive campus environment. “Other campuses may have much more deep-rooted issues from living in a post-civil rights era, so thankfully campus is behind us and has the awareness that something needs to be done,” she said. “But we can’t let it die as it has many times before, and we can’t leave it in the hands of a few individuals.” All members of the Notre Dame community can act individually on that accountability, she said. “Everybody can take up their call with little things like reporting discrimination, encouraging teachers to facilitate discussion in class, doing your part when others are victimized and not turning your head in the other direction and pushing a zero-tolerance mission for discrimination,” she said. Former student body president Pat McCormick said the work of student groups and responses to the town hall demonstrate solidarity among the University community. “The initiatives that have developed in the call to action and the work of Student Senate, student government and members of the coalition indicate that the student body is standing in solidarity on these issues,” he said. “My hope is that it’s one of the things we’ve taken away from this … and that it’s not the end but rather the beginning of facing these challenges together.” McCormick and Suggs said the administration and faculty members have been receptive and active in addressing the responses to these incidents, especially the Offices of the Provost, the President and Student Affairs. “The Office of the Provost and [vice president and associate provost for undergraduate studies] Dr. Don Pope-Davis have been extremely generous with their time and are looking for ways to confront challenges systemically from the perspective of the academy,” McCormick said. Most importantly, the campus community must understand the importance of uniting in the fight against discrimination, Suggs said. “It’s not just my issue or a BSA, ASA and minority issue,” she said. “Whether you have a past, present or future at Notre Dame, it’s all our issue to solve this.” Suggs said Notre Dame should be held to its reputation and the high standards it has in “everything you could possibly name,” and discrimination is no exception. “This is a crucial part of the Notre Dame and Holy Cross mission that has been overlooked,” she said. “We need the Notre Dame community to further that mission and see it through … with the same vigor as we see everything else through.”
Lauren Weldon Editor’s note: This is the sixth day in a series on disability at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s story focuses on the resources available for faculty and staff with disabilities at the University. While students with disabilities rely on the Sara Bea Center for Students with Disabilities for accommodations, University employees with disabilities look to the Office of Institutional Equity for resources.Monique Frazier, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) program manager, said she joined the office in 2014. “My main role is to work with faculty and staff and their department and physician in a collaborative, interactive process, in which we find workplace accommodations that will help them complete the essential functions of their job,” she said. Faculty and staff must self-identify as disabled to receive accommodations, Frazier said, so the burden is initially on the faculty member to begin the process of requesting accommodations. “They can initiate that when they first start, they can initiate it three years down the line. They can initiate it at any time,” she said. “After they have initiated that process, the burden is then going to be on the University, the supervisor, the chair of that department to provide the resources and initiate that interactive process.” The accommodations available to faculty and staff vary widely, “depending on their medical condition and the type of work they do,” Frazier said. “I work really closely with their physician to get documentation to confirm their disability and to seek recommendations seeing what would be best regarding the accommodations in place,” she said. “If we need to make changes regarding their schedule, sometimes they might work in the morning and we change their position to an evening position, just based on their medical condition.”Frazier said the office works with the office of Risk Management and Safety to do ergonomic assessments of workspaces.“If there’s any workplace equipment that they might need, if they need a certain type of software — say if it’s for visual disability — we provide larger screens, we provide different chairs if it’s for back issues,” she said. Available accommodations include changes of lighting, for faculty and staff who have migraine conditions or light sensitivity, Frazier said, and employees with diabetes could receive extra breaks to perform insulin checks or have snacks. While the office is not able to provide the exact number of employees who have self-disclosed a disability to the University, Frazier said including any temporary faculty and staff members, the number is fewer than five percent of all active employees. “It’s a very small number, just based on the fact that it’s self-disclosure, so obviously if it were required it would be a lot higher number,” she said. Tags: disability, Office of Institutional Equity
Chris Cobb, Saint Mary’s professor of English and environmental studies, spoke to students about environmental policy in an event called “Environmental Policy Explained” on Wednesday. The event was held as part of an initiative of the Office for Civil and Social Engagement to inform the Saint Mary’s community about issues relevant to the upcoming midterm elections.“Environmental policy itself is a broad term that describes any kind of law or rule or regulation that government would put into place in order to achieve certain kinds of environmental goals,” Cobb said. “Depending upon what the goal is, that may engage a different level of government, and there are many different kinds of laws or rules that might be set up.”The distinction between the levels of federal, state and local governments is an important part of understanding how such policies are created, he said.“The key thing to keep in mind when thinking about environmental policy in the U.S. is that the structure of government in the U.S. is highly influential in the way environmental policy gets formulated,” Cobb said.Different policies are set at different levels of government, Cobb said, and this affects the ways a person might go about expressing interest in environmental matters.“If you’re concerned about environmental policy, that means you need to be concerned about what government is doing at the local level, at the state level and at the federal level … and depending upon what questions [and] issues are of concern to you at the moment, one or another of those governments may be the one that you need to be engaging with in order to make environmental policy,” he said.Cobb said he worked to start an organization called the Environmental Network of Northern Indiana during his sabbatical last year that began with the intention of connecting with others and building coalitions in order to influence the formation of environmental policy at the city and county government levels.“We discovered that the economic development office of St. Joseph County was working on a plan that would lead to somewhere between 10 and 22,000 acres of farmland being converted to heavy industry, which is about 33 square miles,” he said. “It’s an area about a quarter of the size of the city of South Bend as it currently exists.”The discovery of this plan has led to the network to work with others in the community who would be affected by this plan, Cobb said.“It’s actually led us to start another organization with which the Environmental Network can be in coalition called the Open Space and Agricultural Alliance, which is seeking to bring people together in that part of the county … to be able to articulate their own interests in this so that the people of the other parts of the county — through the environmental network — can ally with them and support them,” he said. “They are the ones who are the most affected. They are the ones who can actually speak to the government that this is taking away families’ land and homes.”Cobb said the economic development office is now working with consultants to see how this plan could move forward.“The St. Joseph County Council is the one that ultimately makes the big decisions,” he said. “There are a variety of smaller decisions that might be made without their having any ability to influence it.”At the federal level, Cobb said there are two types of routes when approving international agreements. Cobb described the route that the Obama administration took in order to agree to the Paris Accords as an example of the first route. This form of approval of an agreement would be dependent on the current President and stay within that administration. The next President could change their mind about whether they will maintain the agreement or not.The other route the U.S. government could pursue, Cobb said, would be officially ratifying a treaty. Cobb said this process can be much more complex and difficult to accomplish depending on the administration.“Most people, regardless of their political identification, value that things that environmentalists are seeking to protect — clean air, clean water, parks, nutritious food,” he said. “All these basic public goods that come to us through the environment are things that people want.”Tags: environment, policy
The University announced six individuals who will receive honorary degrees at commencement exercises on May 19, 2019 in a press release Tuesday.Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan, John Affleck-Graves, who has served as Notre Dame’s executive vice president since 2004, Carol Corrigan, an associate justice of California’s Supreme Court since 2006 and James Poterba, a professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will all receive honorary doctor of laws degrees. Ignacio Sánchez, a physician who serves as the president of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree. Professor Esther Takeuchi, “one of the world’s leading energy storage researchers” at Stony Brook University, will receive an honorary doctor of engineering degree.Noonan, who was one of President Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters and has worked as a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, will also serve as commencement speaker.According to the release, the University will be awarding Affleck-Graves, retiring in June, with his degree to commemorate his career “as a teacher, researcher and administrator.” Affleck-Graves has overseen the fiscal development of the University over the course of his tenure as executive vice president, the release said.“As the University’s chief financial officer, [Affleck-Graves] oversees the operating budget, endowment, finance, information technology, human resources, campus safety, event management, construction, building services, landscaping, food services and auxiliary operations,” the release said. “During his tenure, Notre Dame’s annual operating budget has grown to $1.5 billion from $650 million and the endowment has increased to $13.1 billion from $3.5 billion. Thirty-six new buildings have been constructed, totaling 3.3 million square feet.”Affleck-Graves, who is both a native of South Africa and a naturalized U.S. citizen, will return to teaching finance upon his June 30 retirement, the release said.Corrigan, the California Supreme Court justice, has served in numerous roles in the state’s judiciary system and has won many awards for her work, the release said. The magna cum laude alumna of Holy Names University, who was re-elected in November for another 12-year term, recently served as the co-chair of the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System.“[Corrigan] and a fellow associate justice were described by the Los Angeles Times as judges whose ‘votes and opinions peg neither as an obvious liberal or conservative, ideologue or pragmatist. Both are considered deft thinkers and writers,’” the release said.In addition to his work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Poterba also serves as president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the “official arbiter” of recessions and recoveries of the U.S. economy. He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his doctorate from Oxford.“The National Academy of Sciences, of which he is a member, honored him with its NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing for ’his influential and comprehensive review of factors determining the savings of individuals over their lifetimes and the private accumulation of wealth for retirement,’” the release said.Sánchez, who was appointed president of his university in 2010 for the first time and again for a second term in 2015 by Pope Francis, is a specialist in the medical field with a focus on “cystic fibrosis, asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children and is the author of a handbook and more than 200 articles on the subject,” according to the release. In the past he has served as both the director and dean of the university’s school of medicine.“In addition to his scholarly work in the medical field, he has written two books on Chilean higher education. He is the head of the Chilean chapter of Catholic universities, which is a part of the International Federation of Catholic Universities,” the release said.Takeuchi, an alumna of Ohio State University and the University of Pennsylvania, has collected many honors for her work over the course of her career, the release said.“[Takeuchi] has been honored many times over, including induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Engineering, and as a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, for her development of the battery to power the implantable cardiac defibrillator,” the release said.According to the release, the device has helped save many lives and is one of several inventionsTakeuchi is attributed with creating.“Invented during her 22-year career at the technology firm Greatbatch Inc. (now Integer Corp.), the life-saving device provides a combination of high power, small size and long life — about five years, compared to the previous device batteries that lasted less than two years,” the release said. “The devices are implanted annually in more than 300,000 people with ventricular arrhythmias. She holds more than 150 patents and also is a chief scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory.”Tags: Commencement 2019, Honorary degree, John Affleck-Graves
Share: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) Jeff Foxworthy. Image by the National Comedy Center.JAMESTOWN – Tickets for this summer’s Jeff Foxworthy performance in Downtown Jamestown will go on sale to general public tomorrow.Center officials say Foxworthy will be joined by Saturday Night legends David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon part of the head-line performers for this summer’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.Foxworthy, the largest-selling comedian of all time with more than 13 million albums sold, will be performing on Friday, August 7 at the Northwest Arena.The “Legends of SNL” show with David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon will take place Saturday, August 8 at the arena. David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon were once part of the cast and writing team of Saturday Night Live in the 1990’s. Each of them created memorable and beloved characters throughout their run on the show, and each were nominated for Emmy awards.Tickets for the 2020 shows, along with other festival comedy events, went on pre-sale for National Comedy Center members last week.Starting Tuesday, tickets will be on sale for the general public at ComedyCenter.org.
Share: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) Photo: Ashley Buttle / CC BY 2.0JAMESTOWN – Americans are stocking up amid the Coronavirus pandemicSellers across the United States are reporting major spikes in firearm and bullet sales in the wake of the outbreak.Images of long lines outside gun stores in California, Oklahoma and elsewhere have gone viral across social media.The ammunition website ammo.com said it saw a 222-percent increase in transactions over a three-week period. The FBI’s national instant criminal background check system saw a 73 percent rise in background checks in February, when compared to February 2019.A background check is required for anyone buying a gun from a licensed gun seller in the United States.
Pixabay Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – There are indications that people who smoke, vape, or have substance abuse problems may be at increased risk when it comes to the Coronavirus.Doctor Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, flagged the concern.Volkow explained that because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it may pose a more serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana and those who vape.As for drug use, Volkow highlighted concerns specifically about opioids and methamphetamine. Opioids, she explained, slow down breathing and have already been shown to increase mortality in people with respiratory diseases.Methamphetamine has been shown to cause considerable pulmonary damage. Share: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)
Share: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) CDC Image.CAMBRIDGE, MA – American biotech company Moderna says its Coronavirus vaccine is nearly 95-percent effective.The company released its early clinical trial data on Monday morning.Moderna plans to seek FDA authorization for the immunization after more safety data is gathered later this month.Of the 15,000 participants who received the vaccine, only five contracted COVID-19 and none became seriously ill. It’s the second vaccine in the united states to have a stunningly high success rate.Last week, Pfizer announced that early data shows its vaccine is more than 90-percent effective against the virus.The nation’s top infectious disease expert Doctor Anthony Fauci says COVID-19 vaccinations could start as soon as mid-December.It’s expected that high-risk groups like health care workers, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions would get the vaccine first.It could be available to everyone else by spring.
Tony eligibility alert! The Tony Awards Administration committee has made rulings on 14 productions in the 2013-2014 season. Ready? Check out their decisions below: The Glass Menagerie star Celia Keenan-Bolger will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play category. Her co-star, Brian J. Smith, will be considered eligible for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a play category. Big Fish star Norbert Leo Butz will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his performance. All other eligibility determinations were consistent with the show’s opening night credits. The committee, which will meet a total of four times throughout the season, previously ruled that Soul Doctor star Eric Anderson will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category, and also ruled that First Date and Romeo and Juliet will remain consistent with the productions’ opening night credits. A Night with Janis Joplin star Mary Bridget Davies will be considered eligible in the Best Performance By an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category. The Snow Geese star Mary-Louise Parker will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category. Macbeth star Ethan Hawke will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category, while his co-star Anne-Marie Duff will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category for her performance. A Time to Kill star Sebastian Arcelus will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category. View Comments Richard III star Mark Rylance will be considered eligible in the Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category. The Winslow Boy star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play category, while her co-stars Michael Cumpsty and Alessandro Nivola will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category. For both Waiting For Godot and No Man’s Land, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category. Twelfth Night star Samuel Barnett will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category. The 2014 Tony Awards can’t come soon enough! Stay tuned for more eligibility rulings throughout the season, then see the live broadcast June 8 on CBS.