Positive attitude guides paralyzed alum after accident

first_img “One of my aunts … knew that I loved to rock climb and ate a lot of Cliff Bars,” he said. “She contacted [the company] and showed them my mountain project page, which is like Facebook for climbers. They liked what they saw and donated 66 pounds of Cliff Bars to the event.” After his Aug. 20 accident, Martinuzzi spent three weeks in a Biddeford, Maine hospital, where he got his respiratory functions back and did some simple occupational therapy (OT).  Support from family, friends and even people he has never met, has made the recovery process easier and helped him, he said. His family created a Facebook page called “Friends of Aaron Martinuzzi” and they also made a page on caringbridge.org, where family and friends can give updates about the status of a loved one going through a challenging health issue, according to the website.   “Everyone has been incredibly positive,” he said. “Every day I realize just how lucky I am.” Martinuzzi is mostly working on regaining the strength in his back and shoulders. One of his current goals is working to able to operate his wheel chair with a joystick. Currently he uses a “suck-n-blow” wheelchair, which moves the chair through either sucking or blowing air into a tube.  “Right now, I can see some significant gains, but I can’t predict what exactly will happen,” Martinuzzi said. “I just take it a day and a week at a time.” His ultimate goal is to be able to return to medical school at the University of New England, where he was working toward his doctorate of osteopathic medicine.  Since then, he’s moved to the University Hospital at the University of Michigan, where he is doing OT four to six times a day.  Some of his aunts have planned fundraisers to help cover some of the medical expenses. At their first event, a walk/run in October, a special donation was made in Martinuzzi’s honor. Martinuzzi said he is grateful for the support he has and the progress he’s making. He said his previous experience as an athlete has helped him keep a positive outlook on this while process. “I swam in high school and was an avid climber”, he said. “I was always working on improving my performance. Rehab is sort of the exact same process.” “I’ve always been someone that looks forward and doesn’t look back,” Martinuzzi said. “It’s nice to know that everyone else shares that attitude and can look forward to new goals.” Even though the recovery process is slow and tedious, Martinuzzi said he is confident in his abilities. He specifically wants to gain strength in his hands and shoulders because that will help him become more capable in all areas, he said.  “It’s been an exercise in patience,” he said.  After 2008 graduate Aaron Martinuzzi broke his neck diving into a pool in August, he was paralyzed from his shoulders down. He’s spent the past few months in rehabilitation trying to regain strength, but he looks at his life-changing spinal cord injury in a positive light. “Right now, due to the nature of my injury, I’m working toward really simple things,” Martinuzzi said. “I’m strong enough to use machines with really, really light weight. It’s not like I’m doing 30 pound bicep curls.”last_img read more

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Everything but equality

first_imgThe rising call for the expansion of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students, faculty and staff hit a speed bump last week when the University announced it would not add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination clause. In a press release, Notre Dame stated it would not change the wording of the nondiscrimination clause, but would take other steps to help LGBTQ individuals feel more included on campus. However, three gay professors who shared their stories with The Observer said the University’s latest step toward inclusion was not enough. They say the administration’s current nondiscrimination policy sends a clear message to LGBTQ students, faculty and staff – they are second-class citizens, and there is reason to be afraid. It was because of this message that one professor asked not to be recorded during The Observer’s interview. In addition, these professors said this same message has caused other LGBTQ professors to leave the University and stopped some prospective students from enrolling. However, these professors, who have collectively been teaching at the University for nearly 70 years, were willing to share their experiences in light of the student body’s recent push for expanded LGBTQ rights at Notre Dame. In the words of one, “The students have got the courage to sort of go and advocate for this stuff. We have to be willing to stand up and support them.” *** In Susan Cannon Harris’ office in Decio Hall hangs a colorful drawing created with a child’s scribbling enthusiasm. To “mommy,” it reads. Next to it is a photo of Cannon Harris and her 4-year-old – the daughter she raises with her wife of nearly 24 years. Cannon Harris is not hiding who she is. The English and Irish studies professor is out to her colleagues in the English department, her students and even University President Fr. John Jenkins. “I have not made any attempt to conceal it,” she said. Though she feels accepted by her colleagues and students, Cannon Harris said the University’s official policies – particularly the nondiscrimination clause – make it difficult to feel completely comfortable as a lesbian faculty member. “The fact that they refuse again and again to put [sexual orientation] in the nondiscrimination clause sends us the message that they want to preserve the option of discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation,” Cannon Harris said. “It is hard to feel as if we are equal members of the community.” While Cannon Harris was grateful that last week’s press release recognized the University’s need to improve inclusion of LGBTQ individuals, she said being “included” and “tolerated” as members of the Notre Dame community is not enough. “Those things are both different from having equality, which is, you have rights and we cannot infringe them,” she said. “I do wonder why they’re willing to give us everything but equality.” Cannon Harris said the absence of sexual orientation from the nondiscrimination clause has a psychological effect on LGBTQ faculty.   For example, when coming up for tenure, professors typically ask themselves whether they have done enough research or met the standard in the classroom. “I, because of Notre Dame’s special situation, also had to ask the question, is all of that going to matter? Are they going to deny me tenure just because I’m a lesbian?” she said. “Even though I mostly didn’t think that they would, it was in the back of my mind. And that is very destructive.” Since Cannon Harris received tenure in 2004, she has had to worry a bit less. She now feels safe telling her students she is a lesbian on the first day of the semester, and is able to more openly discuss literature with gay content. Still, the anxiety lingers, and Cannon Harris simply wants to be given equal rights by the University she has given so much to.   “I have been working here for 13 years. It’s the only academic job I’ve ever had,” she said. “I have been very loyal to the institution … All the other gay faculty here have done the same, and the staff too. We deserve for the institution to recognize that and treat us the way we deserve to be treated.” *** While Spanish professor Carlos Jerez-Farrán has never experienced overt discrimination during his 26 years teaching at Notre Dame, he said there is a different type of discrimination here – one that is unseen, but equally destructive. “The invisible discrimination that tells people inaudibly and invisibly, ‘Don’t appear if you do not want to disappear,’” he said. “In other words, don’t make yourself too audible or too visible [or you will be silenced.]” Jerez-Farrán said he felt this type of discrimination when he put up posters about LGBTQ issues on his office door, and later found they had been taken down. It can also be felt by the University’s unwillingness to promote LGBTQ research, he said. While he has received funding in recent years to conduct research on LGBTQ issues, he said the University is unlikely to promote it. “You may publish a book on politics or music, and chances are that it will be granted some recognition on the web page of the University,” he said. “I haven’t been featured by the University for my work on LGBTQ issues for obvious reasons. I don’t expect to be either, no matter how innovating my research may be.” Jerez-Farrán said the University might not not publicize his books because it considers them incompatible with Catholic values, but he said he could make the same argument about some scientific research, such as that done in the radiation lab. However, Jerez-Farrán said linking someone’s sexuality with their academic contribution seems like an outdated way of thinking. “As if what people chose to do with their genitals had anything to do with what they chose to do with their intellect,” he said. “It is this pre-modern attitude adopted by a pre-modern institution that can make promising scholars and students think twice before coming to Notre Dame.” While Jerez-Farrán said he does not discuss his own sexuality in the classroom, the first course he offered after receiving tenure was one on gay and lesbian literature.  In other classes, he will teach a few texts and films by gay writers and directors to show how art can stem from the gay experience. “It is the most effective way to combat homophobia, through education,” he said. “Ironically, it is one of the components of the courses I teach which often seems to be enjoyed most.” Despite the challenges of teaching at a university that he considers quite closeted, Jerez-Farrán has stayed at Notre Dame for a quarter of a century. He enjoys his students and with Chicago nearby, he can take advantage of cultural opportunities.   “I prefer to be positive and look for the virtues and advantages of a given institution rather than its phobias,” he said. “Homosexuality, after all, is a problem heterosexuals have. We, gays, just want to be left alone.” *** While art history professor Robert Coleman’s own experience as a gay faculty member has generally been positive, he has watched LGBTQ students suffer during his 30 years at the University. “Coming here, I didn’t expect to find such a wall, barrier,” he said. “One basically lives quietly.” In the mid-80s, Coleman served as an unofficial advisor to a gay student group seeking official recognition from the University. In that role, he said students would come to him in tears as they struggled to come to grips with their sexual orientation. “I heard a story from a young man whose mother told him if she had known he had been gay, she would have had an abortion,” Coleman said. “Even now, I kind of tear up when I think about that young man’s story.” It was around that time that Coleman decided he could not continue investing himself in a cause that was met with such resistance from the administration.   “Emotionally, I had to pull myself back,” he said. “I became too depressed by the whole situation.” However, Coleman has not completely detached himself from the issue and occasionally chooses to make his voice known. For example, Coleman came out to Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy when he was University president.   “I said, ‘You know, as one of your gay faculty, I really must protest the way in which the administration views the GLBT issue here,’” Coleman said. “It was not easy to say that … but I felt it was my responsibility.” Coleman said Malloy was receptive to his point of view, and he has never experienced any form of discrimination or harassment during his time at the University. He also said he has never felt any limits on his academic freedom to discuss LGBTQ issues when appropriate in the classroom. However, he said the University’s policy on LGBTQ issues gives the impression that Notre Dame does not embrace everyone equally. For example, last week’s press release did not include the term transgender, which is traditionally represented by the T in LGBTQ. “They left out the ‘T’ on the LGBT, so where are they?” Coleman said. “You’re not being acknowledged as being a whole person here.” While he said some steps the University mentioned in the press release are important, they do not change the fact that Notre Dame has not given equal rights to LGBTQ members of its community. “In light of this more recent press release, it’s just a lot of florid language … I don’t really see much of a difference here, frankly,” he said. “If a person doesn’t feel comfortable and have the same rights as everyone else, then they are second-class citizens. It’s as simple as that.” Coleman said he knows of students who turned down the University because of its stance on LGBTQ issues. While he is not aware of any faculty who were denied tenure or fired because of their sexual orientation, Coleman has seen LGBTQ faculty leave because they did not feel comfortable.   “I know plenty of people who have upped and left,” he said. “Some people have decided that this wasn’t the place for them.” While Coleman understands the argument that adding sexual orientation to the nondiscrimination clause goes against Church teaching, this has not stopped other religious universities from giving LGBTQ individuals equal rights, he said. “We know of other Catholic institutions in this country where it’s not a problem, so why is it a problem here?” he said. “It makes you begin to wonder who runs this place.”last_img read more

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When TV meets academia

first_imgChristine Becker, associate professor of Film, Theater and Television, was one of just 20 professors selected to attend a seminar sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation last week in Los Angeles. The exclusive seminar chose professors from across the country through an application process and invited them to the Academy’s headquarters for five days of educational panels, presentations by television executives and behind-the-scenes set visits. “It appears to be a way to create ties between the television industry and academia,” Becker said. “It’s partly to help us learn more about the industry and partly to help them with outreach into the educational community.” The Academy emphasized the wealth of opportunities they offer students such as internships or scholarships, as well as advice they give for graduates looking to get into the media industry. “[There was] advice from the panelists on how to find work in the industry when you’re just starting out,” she said. “Many of the participants enthusiastically recalled their own college experiences and how they carried things they learned in college into their careers.” Becker, who applied for the seminar last year but was not selected, said the academy chose educators from a variety of institutions and backgrounds. “About half of the professors taught television production and broadcast production, and the other half of us were television studies – what I would consider myself – or people who teach television history and criticism,” she said. Participating faculty traveled from institutions across the country, including Penn State, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Ryder University. Becker said the insight of the television industry members who work behind-the-scenes was the most beneficial experience. While television stars and showrunners, or “above-the-line” players, are likely to provide interviews and discuss their jobs, it is uncommon for “below-the-line” players to do the same. “The below-the-line panel, with an editor, cinematographer and production designer was really invaluable,” Becker said. “We got to hear them talk about what they do and how they create shows. … It was direct access to industry people we wouldn’t get otherwise.” Other panel discussions included topics such as how content is created for children’s television and the day-to-day duties of showrunners. The most fascinating panel featured program executives from each of the five major networks, Becker said, who are tasked with setting up the weekly schedule. “It was really interesting talking to them,” she said. “Increasingly, audiences are watching shows by other means, and their job is to find ways to keep the schedule in a traditional mode while also considering the fact that people are watching the shows from different means.” Regardless of their insight, Becker said she was honored the executives attended the conference in the first place. “These are extremely busy people with high-pressure jobs, and it’s gratifying to see they care enough about the fact that we are teaching the students this information that they would take time out of their day to talk to us,” she said. Trips outside of the Academy’s facilities to television and film production sets complimented the in-house panels. The group visited Stargate Studios, a visual effects studio that provides special effects for shows such as “Walking Dead,” and the Warner Bros. production area, where the Academy showed the professors the sets of multi-camera sitcoms such as “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Becker said she particularly enjoyed a trip to the YouTube hangar, where industry workers are charged with creating professional-looking YouTube videos with high-quality content. “We got a look at the traditional method of Hollywood and then a glimpse of what the new future of content could potentially be,” she said. Becker said the seminar helped highlight some connections between traditional media practices and what students are beginning to explore. “When I ask my students if they watch shows on the time they’re scheduled, they say no,” Becker said. “It’s interesting, knowing that the students I teach, some of whom are going to be the future of the television industry, are doing very different things than the people in the industry are right now.”last_img read more

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SMC selects Emmy winner for commencement speaker

first_imgJudith Mayotte, a humanitarian, professor, author and Emmy Award-winning television producer, will deliver the 167th Commencement address at Saint Mary’s College on May 17, according to a press release.Mayotte and Helen Murray Free, a pioneering chemist, will receive honorary doctor of humanities degrees from the College at the ceremony.“I am delighted to recognize two exceptional women this year with honorary degrees from Saint Mary’s College,” Saint Mary’s College President Carol Ann Mooney said. “Their backgrounds and achievements fit perfectly with our dreams for our graduates.“Judith Mayotte is an internationally-recognized humanitarian who has spent her life working to affect positive change for refugees and others. Helen Murray Free’s discoveries in the field of chemistry improved health monitoring for people with diabetes and other conditions. I look forward to meeting them both and learning more about their extraordinary lives.”Jerome McElroy, Saint Mary’s economics professor and close friend of Mayotte, praised Mayotte for exemplifying a life of dedicated service.“From her Midwest roots in Wichita, Kan., through her remarkable career from convent, to TV journalism, academia and Cape Town, South Africa, Judith Ann Mayotte has demonstrated a life of unstinting excellence in service to the marginalized of the world,” McElroy said.In the 1960s, Mayotte taught in the inner cities of Los Angeles, Kansas City and Milwaukee as a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, McElroy said.In the next two decades, Mayotte worked as a television producer in Chicago and won an Emmy award for writing and producing the ‘Washington’ segment of Turner Broadcasting’s Emmy and Peabody Award winning documentary series, “Portrait of America,” McElroy said.In 1989, through a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mayotte began a three-year research journey that took her to the refugee camps in Cambodia, Thailand, Eritrea, Sudan and Pakistan, McElroy said. This work documented the lives and constrained socio-economic conditions of countless people displaced by ethnic conflict and war and culminated in the book “Displaced People? The Plight of Refugees,” now considered the classic in its field.Through the years, Mayotte has lectured and written extensively on refugee and development issues. She served as Special Advisor on refugee issues and policy at the Department of State in the first Clinton Administration and as Senior Fellow of the Refugee Policy Group in Washington, McElroy said.Prior to working under the first Clinton Administration in 1994, Mayotte was Chairwoman of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and served on the board of Refugees International, McElroy said.“Both are well-known advocacy organizations that took Mayotte to the field to assess refugee crisis and repatriation issues,” McElroy said.She has also held a number of academic posts including Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University, adjunct professor at John Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and co-director of Seattle University’s International Development Internship Program, McElroy said.In 2010, she was named the first Desmond Tutu Distinguished Chair in Global Understanding for the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea, McElroy said.“[She] is, indeed, a woman of the world whose faith, purpose and determination have made a great difference in the world,” McElroy said.Tags: Emmy Award, Graduation, smc commencementlast_img read more

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Former ‘drug czar’ warns against marijuana use

first_imgThe former “drug czar” under President George W. Bush, John P. Walters, presented on the dangers of illicit drugs and potential solutions to a growing problem Thursday evening.Walters, the former Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2001 to 2009, gave a presentation titled “Pot: Hot or Not? The Young, American Democracy, and the Drug Problem,” addressing the effects of marijuana and illicit drugs and their potential legalization.Sarah Olson | The Observer Walter, who now serves as executive vice president of the Hudson Institute, highlighted how the consumption of most illicit substances decreased during the years 2001-2007.He also discussed how drug use among teens is growing, citing a culture that has embraced marijuana and advertised it as a natural remedy.Walters stressed the importance of screening programs that accelerate the process of an addict realizing he or she has a problem.“The use of court-mandated treatment has helped get people the care they need,” Walters said.Walters presented statistics that showed the the criminal justice system is the largest reason people enter treatment.“It would be nice if people could be educated by family members or friends, but ultimately the single greatest source of intervention and treatment begins with the criminal justice system,” Walters said.Walters said he wanted the audience to know how pertinent it was to seek out the necessary resources to help a family member or friend who is potentially struggling with addiction.“In almost every case if [drug users] get themselves treatment, there’s always someone who has been a source of compulsion to do that,” Walters said. “Although this usually is initiated by the criminal justice system, friends and family can be a vital resource of help.”Walters warned against the potential dangers of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, citing evidence that claimed crime rates in Denver have increased dramatically since the installation of marijuana dispensaries in the state.“Denver is becoming the new Detroit,” Walters said in regards to the growing rate of crime in the city.When a student from the Denver area challenged this statement, Walters drew the crowd’s attention to a potential business owner’s point of view, and how marijuana legalization causes apprehension in an owner’s mind.“Who’s going to want to bring a business to a city or region where they can’t get a workforce that is sober?” Walters said.The Center for Ethics and Culture, Potenziani Program in Constitutional Studies and Students for Child Oriented Policy sponsored the discussion.Tags: Drug Czar, marijuana, Students for a Child Oriented Policy, White House Office of National Drug Control Policylast_img read more

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Artist discusses past experiences, future plans

first_imgArtist and filmmaker Jake Fernandez gave a lecture in the Riley Hall of Art and Design about his artistic journey and current projects Wednesday.Fernandez was born in Havana, Cuba, and received degrees from the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. He is best known for his durational art — artistic pieces that have implications of work done over time.Kathryne Robinson | The Observer “I have worked on things for 10, 20 and 30 years … building on one particular aspect or concept over a long period of time,” Fernandez said.Fernandez talked about how his journey as an artist began in his early childhood and how he became aware of the power of provocation and two-dimensional work at an early age.“My very first impression of the power of 2-D work was this very small black and white picture of Elvis Presley … in one of the national magazines,” Fernandez said. “It appeared almost animated.”He said in high school the constant repetition of painting still-life pieces gave him an understanding of technique at a young age. He said it was intuition that led to the realization of his desire to become an artist.“I don’t know that was something I strived for,” Fernandez said. “There was very little there to encourage me. I just had this feeling that that’s what I should be doing.”He said musicians and their styles of music had more of an influence on him than artists and painters due to the complexity and understatement of their work.“I would work in layers, one layer over the other, like [musician] Les Paul used to do with his multi-track recording,” Fernandez said.During the premature years of his career, Fernandez worked exclusively with texture and black and white. He said he restricted himself to black and white for five years because he believed “color starts to immediately define forms” and he wanted to tackle certain layers individually.“I decided to strip everything down and start working at one level at a time and try to understand painting,” Fernandez said. “I started working with texture to try and understand how that particular track felt and how it fit with what it was that I wanted to say.”Fernandez cited “plausible reality” as a recurring theme in his works and showed how most of his pieces displayed images that varied in appearance depending on the distance of the viewer. For example, his Hidden Mandala project conveys a pixilated effect from afar, but can be seen as a composition of squares of laminated wood when examined close-up.“Your mind is the one that connects those dots … you’ll see it in a very individual way,” Fernandez said. “What you see has a lot to do with individual perception, what you bring to it.”The artist said many of his pieces involve layers and collages, best seen in his duration art which is a fusion of concepts thought of years ago, and current ideas and perspectives. Remaining loyal to his early discovery of the power of provocation, Fernandez said he drew inspiration from parks in New York City and the Florida landscape to create collages and other forms of visual art.“I was interested in finding places that were very ordinary,” Fernandez said. “[I wanted to] turn it into something that was visually exciting and not just common.”Tags: artist lecture, Jake Fernandez, Snite Museumlast_img read more

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Notre Dame Dublin program integrates service learning with study abroad experience

first_imgRosie McDowell, the director of international community-based learning outreach for the Center of Social Concerns (CSC), shared her research regarding the community engagement of Notre Dame students in Dublin on Tuesday morning at the Geddes Hall Coffee House. McDowell discussed how Notre Dame’s Dublin program integrates service learning with the study abroad experience.While students study at host universities like Trinity College and University College Dublin, McDowell said they also have the opportunity to become involved in the community.“Once in Dublin, the students are placed in a variety of social service organizations, serving at-risk youth in after school programs, young adult refugees, the elderly, those who are homeless and individuals with special needs,” McDowell said.McDowell said the idea behind this program is supported by research, particularly that of Robbin Crabtree, dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University.Crabtree’s research has shown that “service learning and study abroad get students out of their comfort zone and also get them the support they need to understand their experiences,” McDowell said.McDowell said the research of Barbara Parker additionally emphasizes how service learning can complement any study abroad program.“Students’ effective and cognitive content learning is impacted similarly by study abroad and service learning, but their connective learning, their personal road to development and solidarity to others is enhanced and more strongly impacted by service learning,” McDowell said, summarizing the findings of Parker’s research.Such an integrated program is of particular importance for students studying in Europe, McDowell said, because many Americans’ image of Europe is “composed of Disney representations.” This program provides students with a more realistic view of European life.“When a study abroad program is intentionally designed to give students opportunities to encounter the different facets of the community, the students contradict this imagined ideal that they carry with them,” she said.The service opportunities offered by the Dublin program confront students with the very real social issues present in Ireland, McDowell said.“They see firsthand the diversity of the immigrant families that are there and in need, the needs of the Irish homeless families, the growing need for after school programs for at-risk youth and the isolation of the elderly whose families may have all emigrated in search of better economic opportunity,” she said.“These encounters and engagements contrast greatly with the mythical, intoxicating images that students may have in mind on arrival,” McDowell said.For this reason, “adequate space is provided for unpacking these dissonances and contrasts” through reflection, she said.This reflection occurs in the form of six journals spread throughout the semester, McDowell said. These journals allow McDowell to see the effect this integrated study abroad and service-learning experience has on students.“Students gain insight into Irish culture and politics, they make comparisons between Ireland and the United States, they develop some compassion and understanding for those that they serve, and they reflect on the importance of developing relationships and understanding people through dialogue,” McDowell said. “They experience spiritual growth, they experience feelings of belonging, and they begin to think about their long term aspirations and how they might stay connected to the issue they worked on while they were there.”Tags: service learning, Trinity College, University College Dublinlast_img read more

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Sexual assault reported

first_imgA 19-year-old female who lives on campus at Notre Dame reported that she was sexually assaulted at a party Wednesday night, according to the South Bend Tribune.The woman reported the crime to the South Bend Police Department and said she did not know the suspect, according to the Tribune report. The police log said the crime occurred at a residence on the east side of South Bend.Tags: sexual assault, South Bend Police Departmentlast_img

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Campus Community town hall addresses Campus Climate results

first_imgFollowing the Monday morning release of the results of the 2015 Campus Climate survey on sexual assault, a campus community town hall was held Wednesday evening in order to offer an “opportunity for faculty, staff and students to come together to discuss the topic of sexual violence and its impact on … [the] community,” according to a poster for the event. Rachel O’Grady | The Observer Students, faculty and staff gathered in DeBartolo Hall on Wednesday night to discuss how to prevent andrespond to incidences of sexual assault on campus. Panelists reflected on the recent Campus Climate results.Current student body vice president Becca Blais and former student body president Bryan Ricketts served as moderators of the discussion; current student body president Corey Robinson was also in attendance.Panelists included deputy Title IX coordinator Heather Ryan, former student body vice president Nidia Ruelas, director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC) and member of the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention (CSAP) Christine Caron Gebhardt and director of the Office of Community Standards Ryan Willerton. Notre Dame Security Police deputy chief of security services Keri Kei Shibata, psychologist from the University Counseling Center and member of CSAP Val Staples, GRC FIRE Starter Megan Sheehan and member of Men Against Sexual Violence (MASV) Pierce Witmer also sat on the panel.University President Fr. John Jenkins opened the event, emphasizing the importance of both prevention and effective response to sexual violence on campus.“Let me just say what has been said before — sexual violence has no place at the University of Notre Dame,” Jenkins said. “We must do everything we can to prevent [sexual violence]. At the same time, we cannot be blind to the reality that it has occurred and does occur and thus, we must do everything we can to respond effectively when it does occur.“Our efforts, then, all of us, must be directed both at prevention and response, and the results of this survey … are an important part, enhancing those efforts.”Members of the audience were then invited to direct questions to the panelists pertaining to the results of the Campus Climate survey and sexual assault at the University.Senior Monica Gorman asked how CSAP planned to address drinking culture on campus, as alcohol has been shown to play a large role in incidents of sexual assault.Gebhardt said CSAP had discussed the role of alcohol in obtaining consent, but is still working to find a way to address the drinking culture on campus.“Our survey actually shows that students are quite clear about what it means to have consent, but that it gets confusing when it comes to the use of alcohol as to who is responsible,” Gerbhardt said. “Policy-wise, I think we have always been clear that intoxication and the use of alcohol is not an excuse for not obtaining consent. I think one of the things that we have talked about at CSAP is really looking at the alcohol culture here on campus and realizing that that is not a responsibility of one entity. … The question is: Why do students drink the amount that they do? Why is that the coping skill that students utilize? Why do students say certain levels of intoxication happen?”Other students asked specific questions about the investigations and conduct hearings that occur following a complaint. The process has now been outlined clearly and concisely on the new Title IX website, Ryan said, as many students had indicated in the Campus Climate survey that the process was not made clear enough to students.“The kind of conversation I am having with you right now is what the hearing is like,” Willerton said. “ … Everyone thinks it’s a court-room type of situation. We don’t point fingers, we don’t raise voices, we don’t say, ‘You’re a bad person. How dare you do this? Why were you drinking that night?’ That doesn’t happen at all.”The difficulty of properly educating students on the idea of consent at a Catholic university where premarital sex is disallowed was also raised during the discussion.Gebhardt said through its analysis of the survey results, CSAP realized the conversations about consent on campus were not adequate enough. Consent should begin before any kind of sexual contact is initiated, she said.“I also feel like we, as an institution, really need to think about the fact that when we are talking about consent, we are not talking about an event,” Gebhardt said. “We are talking about an ongoing conversation that actually should begin way before there is any sense of sexual contact.”The University’s role as a Catholic university also allows it to offer a unique view on the very idea of consent, Gebhardt said.“I think, one of the things that I have come to learn through the years is that the hookup culture doesn’t allow consent to truly happen,” she said. “Because when you come into a hookup culture, by the very definition of a hookup, it’s transactional. I think we have an opportunity, as a Catholic university, to say, ‘When we treat each other as transactions, as instruments for our own personal pleasure, we’re missing the mark of who we are.’“ … How do we challenge students to respect each other and have those awkward conversations that really respect the dignity of each person involved? [How can we] do it in a way that you all are comfortable, in a way that people feel that they can ask and feel like they are learning on how to better communicate so that every person involved is respected and given dignity?”Tags: campus climate, CSAP, Fr. John Jenkins, GRC, Title IXlast_img read more

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University announces 2018 Commencement speaker

first_imgTags: 2018 Commencement, Fr. John Jenkins, Judge Sergio Moro, May 20th Judge Sergio Moro will deliver the 2018 Commencement address at the May 20 ceremony, according to an email sent to the Notre Dame student body Sunday night.Moro is a Brazilian jurist who has worked to combat corruption in his country, University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the email.“Earlier this month in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I presented Judge Moro with the Notre Dame Award, and found him a courageous, conscientious, humble public servant dedicated to justice and the common good,” Jenkins said in the email. “I asked him if he would come to address the graduates of 2018 at our Commencement, and he generously agreed.”Jenkins said in the email he encourages members of the Notre Dame community to inform themselves of Moro’s achievements.“Because his work has not been extensively reported in the media in this country, his is less a household name here than it is in Brazil,” he said in the email.Moro’s work — dedicated to exposing political corruption within Brazil — earned the name Operation Car Wash, according a Time magazine report. His contributions to a number of high profile cases revealed that lawmakers were accepting money in exchange for contracts with the state-run oil company, Petrobras, the report said, and as a result, hundreds of politicians were subjected to further investigation.Moro became a federal judge in 1995, one year after he earned his bachelor of law degree at the Maringa State University in his home state of Parana. He then enhanced his legal knowledge by studying abroad at Harvard Law School, and he received a Juris Doctor from the Federal University of Parana in 2002.When Jenkins presented the Notre Dame Award in Brazil, he said Moro exhibits exemplary behavior and showcases how to effectively promote justice, according to an National Public Radio transcript.“As a result of Dr. Moro and his team’s good work, Brazil, instead of being infamous for corruption, has become a beacon for the rest of the hemisphere on how to fight it,” Jenkins said in the transcript.last_img read more

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