Notre Dame students can now “Hangout” online with their social “Circles” through Google+ accounts open to anyone with a University Gmail account. The Office of Information Technologies (OIT) informed students last week that an advance release field trial of Google+ would be available through the University. Mike Chapple, senior director for OIT Enterprise Support Services, said students previously needed to be invited by a friend to join Google+. “Previously, you had to have an invitation for Google + to work, but now you can just sign up with your ND account,” Chapple said. “It’s the same service that’s been available to regular Gmail users since July, now available to ND users.” Chapple said one of the benefits of Notre Dame’s access to Google+ is that students no longer need to log out of their Notre Dame email accounts to access the social network. Sophomore Nicole Gantz said she is happy to have streamlined her email and Google+ accounts. “It’s nice to have the full functionality of Google all in one area,” Gantz said. “I’m excited by this new integration of Google’s services all under my ND account.” The email advertising Google+ accounts said the social networking site could be useful to the student body for a number of reasons. “There are many possibilities for using Google+,” the email said. “Below are just a few ideas to get you started: share your thoughts with a project group, friends or family circle; have a Hangout with up to nine classmates; keep up with your connections from your mobile device.” Despite the benefits promoted by OIT, sophomore Sean Doherty said he does not see the value of Google+. Doherty created an account, but does not plan to use it. “I created an account when it first came out, but since then I haven’t looked at it in a while because it didn’t offer me anything that Facebook didn’t,” Doherty said. Doherty said he does not know many other students that use Google+. “All of my friends are on Facebook, so I don’t see a point in going to another website that’s pretty much the same,” he said. “I don’t think Google+ really offers anything that Facebook doesn’t.”
Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion Today (PLC) program will expand its scholarships that honor young athletes for their moral integrity instead of sheer athletic ability, program director Kristin Sheehan said. Sheehan said the program has partnered with the Trusted Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization in Oregon, to create 12 new scholarships this year. The PLC program, an initiative developed through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), strives to educate youth and high school coaches nationally to develop character and integrity in athletes physically, emotionally, morally and spiritually. The Inspireum Soccer Awards, initiated this year, will give $25,000 in academic scholarships to 12 high school soccer players who best exemplify a combination of athletic ability, courage and personal character. Sheehan said the Soccer Awards would give more young female athletes a chance to be recognized. “This award certainly opens the field for young women to be acknowledged for character this year,” she said. Sheehan said the Soccer Awards program is one of two awards programs sponsored by PLC and the Trusted Sports Foundation. The second program, the High School Football Rudy Awards, and the Soccer Awards honor young athletes for their courage in the face of difficult circumstances. “Very often that award would exemplify someone beating the odds, a situation when an athlete had [faced] adversity in his or her life and continues to flourish in [his or her] character,” Sheehan said. “Really, these kids are heroes.” Sheehan said so much emphasis is placed on physical performance today that young athletes can easily lose sight of how important personal character is to sports. “In a world where we sometimes have negative examples of sports figures who are excellent at what they do physically, they aren’t [necessarily] the best [role models,]” she said. The High School Football Rudy Awards program presents $25,000 in academic scholarships annually to 12 young football players recognized for a commitment to excellence as well as demonstrated personal character. The awards are based on the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, known for his determination to make the Notre Dame football team as shown in the film, “Rudy.” “They are awarded to a high school student who most exemplifies the ‘Rudy’ spirit,” Sheehan said. “That is integrity … perseverance, persistence, hard work ⎯ all those virtues and values that we would applaud from a young athlete.” Sheehan said PLC began its partnership with the Trusted Sports Foundation back in 2008 after Ruettiger, who is involved with the charity, came to speak at PLC’s annual sports leadership conference. Any student across the nation can be considered for the awards, Sheehan said. “What we talk about is how to create champions from every child,” Sheehan said. “The character traits that we would focus on would be hard work, determination, persistence, fortitude, respect, justice, sportsmanship, integrity, care for others and passion.” Sheehan said a champion isn’t always the star player on the team, but a person of both athletic excellence and character. “What this award really celebrates is … character and integrity through sports,” she said.
For the first time in recorded history, Notre Dame will hold a student body president and vice president election featuring only one approved ticket. Juniors Brett Rocheleau and Katie Rose filed the only completed official petition by the Jan. 27 deadline. If no write-ins are approved, they will run unopposed in the Feb. 8 election. Tuesday evening, the Student Senate voted against a recommendation by the Judicial Council to suspend the election, as outlined by the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body. If the order had passed, Rocheleau and Rose would have assumed the positions of student body president and vice president, respectively, without being elected by the student body. According to the recommendation, the request to suspend the elections was made to save “financial and human resources that would otherwise be expended in the conduction of an election.” The recommendation was filed because Rocheleau and Rose were the only interested candidates to file a successful official petition. Sophomore class president Nicholas Schilling, who served as Senate Chairman pro tempore as Rocheleau was absent from the meeting, said the group decided it was in the best interest of the student body to go forward with the election. “The general feel from the Senate was they didn’t want to deprive the student body from the right to vote,” he said. “Also, in case there were any write-in candidates they wanted to make sure there was an opportunity for those candidates to come forward.” Sophomore Cait Ogren, vice president of elections, said the circumstances surrounding this election were unprecedented in recent history. “Since 1996, there has been no situation like this,” she said. “Whether one happened before, we don’t have record of.” Though Rocheleau and Rose will run unopposed, write-in candidates have the opportunity to be approved up until midnight Monday. As outlined by the Constitution, those interested in running as write-ins must provide 100 extra unique signatures in addition to the 700 signatures mandatory for all candidates. They must also furnish proof of academic good standing from the First Year of Studies or the Office of the Registrar, and prove good disciplinary standing as determined by the Office of Residence Life. According to Ogren, no write-in candidate has been approved yet. Ogren said that while write-in candidates have been approved in Student Government elections in the past, they have usually replaced a candidate on a ticket. She said having an entirely new ticket emerge through this process is unheard of. “If for some reason in the past somebody has dropped out or has been deemed ineligible for some reason and the ticket has wanted to continue with a new candidate, that has happened before, but never in a situation like this,” she said. Ogren said it is too soon to decide if there will be a debate or public forum in which students can discuss campus issues with eligible candidates. “We just found out the election will be proceeding, so there are some things we are going to have to take into consideration with these unique circumstances,” she said. “The one thing we know is the election will take place as planned.” Though Rocheleau and Rose are the only official ticket, Ogren said she hopes students approach this year’s election as they have in the past. “We are hoping that students will participate in this election as fully as if it were a normal year,” she said. “We hope that everyone considers it their duty to the Student Union to vote for the candidate they see fit for the position regardless of the unique circumstances.”
On Wednesday night, retired priest Fr. Edward Ruetz spoke to Call to Action Michiana about the United States bishops’ stance on President Obama’s healthcare plan, insisting their handling of the issue is flawed. Call to Action is a nationwide Catholic group focused on altering the way the Church engages in the modern political sphere. According to its website, Call to Action demands Catholic political ideology first and foremost focused on “advocat[ing] for justice and building inclusive communities based on anti-racism and anti-oppression.” Ruetz traced the development of Catholic doctrine through history, concluding the bishops’ call for the repeal of the recently-revised Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate fails to abide by the 1965 Constitution on Religious Freedom. “I believe that the U.S. Catholic bishops have not read the 1965 document on the Constitution of the Church in the modern world and that if they did, they would take a different stance on the HHS mandate,” he said. The bishops’ failure to abide by the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom is alarming, because this article is supposed to define the behavior of all Catholics, Ruetz said. “What I’m concerned about is that the bishops do not follow the Constitution on Religious Freedom … Even though the Church promulgated that this is what we should be living by, they are not abiding by it,” he said. The most important element of this Constitution is the way it supports social justice efforts in politics, which is maintained by allowing those of a different faith to adhere to their personal belief system, Ruetz said. “They are saying these actions are intrinsically evil, saying Catholic institutions would be violating their conscience in offering these services to people who are not Catholic,” he said. “However, they have a different conscience, and that’s where the conflict of personal rights comes up.” Ruetz said the Constitution guarantees the right of every individual to follow the dictates of his or her conscience, free of coercion. Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame and the Church hierarchy should show respect for this right, he said. “Every human being has the right of private conscience, and they’re trying to coerce that,” Ruetz said. “The right of private conscience within each human individual comes from their inherent human dignity. Therefore, the right of religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition, but in the very nature of the human being.” Problems arise when the Church presumes to moderate the consciences of non-Catholics because that infringes upon their religious freedom, Ruetz said. “[From the Constitution] it follows that he should not be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience … But let’s look at the other side. What if the conscience of a non-Catholic tells them it is inherently good to use these services?” he said. Members of Call to Action Michiana debated these issues, focusing on analysis of the gap between Church rhetoric and the expressed desires of the people. Call to Action member Tom Murray said he thought the bishops presumed too much when they expressed Catholics are against artificial contraception, and Catholics with a differing opinion should simply opt out of the artificial contraceptive services potentially provided by these insurance plans. “Though we know that 90 percent of Catholics practice artificial birth control if they are able to, if artificial birth control was to be paid for by this enacted insurance program, it seems to me that if Catholics don’t want to use it, they’re free not to use it,” Murray said. “I don’t understand why the bishops are allowed to get away with the lie that they are speaking for all Catholics.” Hank Mascott, a member of Call to Action, said he hoped for similar attitudes to prevail in Indiana, following the pattern of the 18 states that have already accepted Obamacare. “Catholic institutions in those 18 states have somehow worked out compromises with state arrangements, and it has not caused this ‘brouhaha,’” Mascott said. “It would be interesting to go back and look at how the Church has negotiated its position within those states.” Call to Action Member Br. John Dolan said he also believed careful analysis of the framework of the discussion will lead to a more productive result. “There are arguments and logic and reasoning on both sides, but the truth is somewhere in the middle,” Dolan said. “I thought the truth of this debate was that these sides are using overcharged emotional rhetoric.” Ruetz said he agreed with hopes for a compromise between the dissenting political factions and he thinks Notre Dame would likewise agree to potential arrangements. “I would hope that Notre Dame could agree with the compromises that have been made, that they would be able to compromise and accept the mandate like many colleges have done,” he said. “Social justice says that Notre Dame should look at the justice issue involved with offering these services to non-Catholic people who think the services are good actions.” The bishops’ stance on the health care mandate represents a larger trend within the Church of strictly adhering to established doctrine, which Ruetz said disconnects the Church from the concerns of the people it serves. “The hierarchy is losing touch with what is happening in the modern world … It is not willing to look at [certain] issues and confront them,” Ruetz said. “It doesn’t want to bring them up because if they did they would have to look at women’s equality, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, married priesthood and the ordination of women.”
Free online access to the New York Times is now available to Notre Dame students through the College Readership Program, an initiative funded by Notre Dame’s student government. Students were informed they would begin to have access to this service in a Feb. 12 email announcement. The College Readership Program, which came to campus in 2005, provides 300 print copies each of the New York Times and USA Today, along with a smaller number of the South Bend Tribune to select locations on the Notre Dame campus. Maxwell Brown, director of the Department of Academic Affairs for student government, said his department worked with representatives from the Times this year to extend the program to include the online access. “Essentially, the New York Times is now offering this [online] program to academic institutions due to a change on their end of the subscription,” Brown said. “We subscribe to the College Readership Program, and because we have 300 copies subscribed to, we now get 300 online seats per day.” Students can create an account on the Times website using their nd.edu email address, which will get them an online “seat” that lasts 24 hours. Brown said while the seat expires after 24 hours, the access is renewed simply by logging on again with the same password, and so the access is constant for all intents and purposes. “The most important part is that you get this 24 hour online access, and the seats refresh constantly so as long as there aren’t 300 people using it at once, there is a seat for you,” Brown said. The current user data shows that 300 seats seems to be the ideal number for the student body, providing enough spots for interested students without too many left empty each day, he said. Students get “locked out” of the access if more than 300 are using it at any given time. “The first day, we used as many seats as we had, but we think that was just a first push,” Brown said. “We haven’t gotten many reports of people getting locked out, so it looks like we have enough seats without buying more than we need.” Student Body President Brett Rocheleau said the project’s goal was to make it easier for students to stay informed and updated on current events, especially given the widespread use of electronic devices on campus. “The online access just allows students to use different media than the options we’ve worked with in the past with the College Readership Program,” Rocheleau said. “Moving forward in the digital age, this will help connect the campus more.” He said student government plans to pay attention to student usage patterns for the online access. “I think it will be interesting to see how many students will use this online access,” Rocheleau said. “At any time, they can log on with their net ID and get in for 24 hour, even if they end up just reading one article they happen to be interested in. “They’ll have a greater understanding of what’s going on in the world around them and this will hopefully help them have more informed discussions with others on campus.” Brown said this initiative fits into the mission of the Department of Academic Affairs to connect with students and make it easy for them to learn and acquire information. “We’re always looking for ways to get to students… and we think it’s really important that people have this access to current events,” Brown said. “That’s why we have the Collegiate Readership Program. Now, we’re excited that students will have the access they need from all kinds of different [electronic] devices.” The data that student government collects about the consumption of the newspapers across campus shows that the community values the print access and every week nearly all 300 copies of the newspapers are used, he said. “This initiative was a direct response to student desires,” Brown said. “The demand has always been there for the readership program in general. This is just a way to expand that.” Students interested in using this access can create an account at nytimes.com with their Notre Dame email address. Brown said anyone with problems accessing the online content should contact student government for help.
Eric Richelsen Saint Mary’s Safety Week aims to raise awareness about student safety on campus through a variety of creative and fun events this week. The Student Government Association (SGA), Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), Campus Security and the Health and Counseling Center will all be sponsoring events.SGA representative and junior Mimi Nary said the events will focus on issues including personal health, driving safety and campus responsibility. “We hope students will learn something new and utilize many of the resources that both Campus Security, Health and Counseling and BAVO offer,” she said. First year student Jane Horak said she plans attending several of the Safety Week events.“I am excited that Saint Mary’s is hosting its first Safety Week and looking forward to learning about safety awareness,” she said. “Also, I am looking forward to the chance to learn more about BAVO.”Starting today, Safety Week kicks off with the Notre Dames’ “Talk it Out Tuesday” at Stapleton Lounge in Le Mans Hall, according to a list of events distributed by SGA. The discussion will focus on the prevalence and problems with sexual harassment. Wednesday, students will be given the unique opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with Saint Mary’s security staff in Vander Vennet Theatre. Thursday, BAVO is sponsoring a make-your-own-trail-mix event where students can learn more about the Belles Against Violence Office. The event will be in Conference Rooms A and B in the student center from 10 to 12 p.m.To wrap up the week, the Health and Counseling Center will host a make-your-own-first-aid-kit in the Student Center. Students can participate by going to the Student Center between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Friday.SGA representative and senior Mati Dages said student government hopes to increase programming for Safety Week in the coming years. “We hope to expand safety week in the future, working with more partners, but this year we wanted to ask students to take a moment to consider their safety and how they can help promote a safe campus and live a safe life,” she said. Tags: BAVO, Safety Week, sga, SMC
Debbie Riddle spoke Tuesday evening at Rice Commons about the crime that took her sister’s life: stalking. As a national speaker for stalking awareness, Riddle shared her sister’s experience and the steps she has taken since to prevent such as story from repeating itself in a lecture sponsored by Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO). Kathleen Donahue Riddle said 7.5 million people in the United States experience stalking, but many cases are not reported.“The majority of stalking happens between the ages of 18 to 24, the college population … and the majority of victims know their stalker,” Riddle said.Debbie Riddle’s younger sister, Peggy Klinke, met a man in 1998 when she was 28 years old and taking college classes to prepare for medical school. Three years of an emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship followed, Riddle said.Riddle said she began to see negative signs in the relationship when the man showed up uninvited at a family function.“If you have brothers and sisters, trust your guts,” Riddle said. “Because my gut feeling when I saw that man standing on the front porch of my mother’s house, and I turned and saw the look on my sister’s face, I knew in an instant this was not a good thing.”When Peggy ended the relationship, the man proceeded to stalk her, Riddle said.Riddle said the stalking experienced by Peggy began as noncriminal behaviors, including excessive phone calls and text messages, surveillance by the ex-boyfriend outside of Peggy’s work and a surprise proposal. These behaviors escalated over time, with the man spray-painting a crude phrase about Peggy on her mother’s garage doors, hanging up inappropriate posters about Peggy around town and committing arson by burning down Peggy’s boyfriend’s house.“When you see how the pattern tends to build and escalate over time, and how that pattern, the one specific reason for those behaviors is to induce fear in someone, that’s when it can be identified as illegal,” Riddle said. “Stalking is illegal in all 50 states. It is a crime.”Riddle said despite numerous reports of the man’s behaviors, the police told Peggy to wait until ‘something happens.’ Eventually a trial was scheduled and then postponed for five to six months. For her protection, Peggy and her boyfriend left New Mexico to hide in California.On Jan. 18, 2003, three weeks before the trial, the man found Peggy, Riddle said.“When the police show up at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night in my mother’s neighborhood, it is not good news,” Riddle said. “All I needed was to see the shoulder of the law enforcement officer standing on my mother’s porch to know that my sister was dead. That’s all I needed to see.”Law enforcement told Riddle that Peggy was trapped in a closet when the ex-boyfriend shot her in the back of the head and then shot himself, she said.“Being the oldest, I became the family representative,” Riddle said. “People want to know what happened, but nobody wants to ask. As people were coming in and out of the house over the next several days, I began telling that story and what had gone on and what had transpired. I realized this telling of the story was making me heal, just a little bit.”Two weeks after Peggy’s death, Riddle began taking steps to protect other women and men from stalking. The beginning of the process was when she contacted the director of Stalking Resource Center.“Six weeks into this, we have the Stalking Resource Center, the National Center for Victims of Crime, Erin Brockovich and Lifetime Television, the State Representative from New Mexico where Peggy resided, all on board,” Riddle said. “We decided to do something about this, to start talking about this, to start education.”Riddle said six months after Peggy’s death and after a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., January was identified as National Stalking Awareness Month. Riddle continues to travel as a national speaker on stalking awareness in order to educate the general public on stalking and the reforms necessary for the protection of stalking victims.“The change had to come from both sides of the fence,” Riddle said. “You cannot just point your finger at law enforcement and say do your job better. Law enforcement needed to be educated, but the general public needs to be educated as well. If you cannot define what is happening to you, then you cannot define the crime, you will not report it. If law enforcement isn’t trained, they cannot help you. … You can go one way. You can be angry, hateful, bitter for the rest of your life, because that’s a choice. Or you can do something about this. And I decided I wanted to do something about it.”Tags: BAVO, National Stalking Awareness, stalking awareness
The Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz will receive the University’s 2018 Notre Dame Award, the University announced in a press release Thursday.The group was founded in 2014 by eight mothers in the Mexican state of Veracruz who aimed to recover family members who had going missing as a result of criminal violence.“We recognize the Colectivo’s steadfast faith and tenacity,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “It inspires our students to engage the world as forces for good when confronted with injustice and suffering.”The group raised money to support their searches and excavations of human remains, without aid from the government or justice system, according to the release. In 2016, it discovered “more than 120 clandestine graves,” with the help of a tip, the release states. It has since recovered 300 bodies, as well as thousands of partial remains.Jenkins said the award honors the organization’s “tireless efforts on behalf of the families of victims, its heroic witness to human dignity and its service to the noble cause of justice itself.”“The previous recipients, each in their own way, have been pillars of conscience and integrity,” Jenkins said. “The University of Notre Dame recognizes that the Colectivo’s courageous work has drawn needed attention to victims’ disappearances and has helped to relieve some of the suffering visited upon the families of the victims of such intolerable violence. The Colectivo has made a marked difference for all Mexicans and for humankind at-large in our universal thirst for justice.”Past recipients include Judge Sergio Moro, the 2018 University Commencement speaker, as well as former U.S. President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, Mother Theresa, John Hume of Northern Ireland and Vinko Cardinal Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo.The award will be presented during a conference in Mexico on Oct. 16. The award was first initiated in 1992, according to the press release, and was reimplemented in 2017 to recognize “women and men whose life and deeds have shown exemplary dedication to the ideals for which the University stands: faith, inquiry, education, justice, public service, peace and care for the most vulnerable.”Tags: Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz, Notre Dame Award
The Notre Dame Police Department informed students in a Wednesday email that the South Bend Police Department responded to reports of a suspect firing of multiple gunshots near the 700 and 800 blocks of N. Frances Street around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The 700 block of N. Frances Street is approximately half a mile south of Notre Dame’s campus.A short while after shots were reported, a Notre Dame student living in the area went outside with his dog and found a man crouching in his backyard. The dog charged the man outside with the man subsequently yelling and pointing a gun at the student. The suspect fired one shot at the student and his dog. Neither was injured, and the shooter fled after the incident.“The subject is described as a Black male roughly 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, wearing black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt with a yellow repetitive symbol across it,” the email said.The Notre Dame and South Bend police departments are working together on the case and encourage anyone with information to contact the South Bend Police Department.Tags: gun shots, Notre Dame Police Department, South Bend Police Department
Photo: CGTN / YouTubeWASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has ordered a 30-day ban on travel from Europe to the United States in a step to battle the spread of Covid 19, the Coronavirus.The ban begins Friday, March 13, and will, the President said, be monitored and adjusted as needed based on conditions.He said Americans who have been properly screened can return prior to the 30 days.Trump called for political unity in the fight, saying the country must come together as one nation, one family. In addition, he proposed financial aid for workers who hit financial hardships because they have been infected or were caring for someone infected.He also proposed low-interest loans for small businesses impacted by the virus. 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)