Despite recent reports of sexual assaults on campus, Safewalk, Notre Dame’s student-employed escort service, has not seen an increase in business, according to Safewalk supervisor Cappy Gagnon.“We would always like students to use Safewalk more just because it’s a free service that we provide,” Gagnon said. “On the other hand, we’re pleased that the students have a high comfort level on the campus and don’t utilize us as much as we would like.”Gagnon said the service averages two to three escorts a night.During the academic year, Safewalk offers confidential escorts to and from anywhere on campus from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Safewalk employees are in radio contact with Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), carry photo identification cards and wear a vest with lettering illuminated at night.Dave Chapman, assistant director of NDSP, said four sexual offenses have been reported this academic year, one of which occurred in 2009. Last year, NDSP reported a total of two sexual offenses.Chapman encouraged students to take precautions, including walking with friends, calling Safewalk or reporting suspicious behavior.“We can’t be everywhere at all times so we have to depend on students here to be our ears and eyes and to help each other out,” Chapman said.Chapman said students should contact NDSP with any information.“One lead can change a whole case, and it may be something where someone thinks this isn’t going to do them any good, and it’s the best lead that we have, and it leads to the arrest of a person so we encourage people to call us for anything at all,” he said.Last year, Chapman said a Notre Dame student reported an individual’s “out-of-the-ordinary behavior.” Although the student doubted whether the information would be valuable, NDSP discovered that the individual had been trespassing following a ban from entering onto campus. The student’s tip led to the individual’s arrest, Chapman said.Students can report information anonymously and to further prevent crime, sign up for a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class, a self-defense program taught by NDSP officers.Chapman said RAD has become more popular, following campaigns by crime prevention officer Keri Kei Shibata.“Now we are running classes every couple months, and they’re full, and we have to turn people away, and so we run them as often as we can,” Chapman said.Overall, Chapman said students’ perceptions of safety on campus can interfere with taking safety precautions.“When nothing happens to you while you are here, you get that mentality that nothing can happen to you, and that’s the kind of mentality that we want to discourage,” Chapman said. “Yes it can happen to you, and we don’t want it to happen to you but here’s what we can do to try to prevent that from happening to you.”
Bishop Kevin Rhoades praised Notre Dame for taking steps toward the “renewal of a culture of life,” in response to the University’s recent institutional statement that affirms its defense of human life.“I am grateful to [University President Fr. John Jenkins] and to the Notre Dame Task Force on Life for the efforts they are making to serve the Gospel of Life,” Rhoades said in an Apr. 18 issue of Today’s Catholic, the weekly newspaper serving the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.“I pray that their work will bear much good fruit,” he said.The University’s statement stemmed from a recommendation by the University’s pro-life task force, which was created by Jenkins in September.The statement said the University upholds the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and also clarified its position on charitable gifts in the principles on charitable activity.“Our Catholic universities are in a unique position to promote the renewal of a culture of life in our society,” Rhoades said. “Being actively pro-life in teaching and research, pastoral ministry and service, Catholic universities indeed contribute to the renewal of our society and to the promotion of the common good.”Rhoades also said Notre Dame’s statement falls in line with Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, “The Gospel of Life.”“[Pope John Paul II] called for ‘the renewal of a culture of life within Christian communities themselves’ and wrote of the specific contribution that Catholic universities should make in building a new ‘culture of life,’ Rhoades said. “I believe that the efforts that the University of Notre Dame is making in this regard are important for the Church and for society.”
Police arrested three Notre Dame students on felony charges for providing alcohol to minors early Sunday morning, according to South Bend police logs. One 19-year-old male was also arrested on a misdemeanor charge for the same offense. Of the three arrested on felony charges, one was 21 years old and two were 22. Police busted the party on the 900 Block of East Corby Street at about 1 a.m. The logs listed a 17-year-old male living in Dillon Hall as the victim of the felony. Four other minors were cited for underage drinking. Student arrests for underage drinking soared in August and September 2010 — reaching 70 arrests at the peak — but this weekend’s bust is one of the only cases during this school year that resulted in a felony charge for serving minors. Police arrested 11 and cited nine at a party bust at Irish Row apartments in January. Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Doyle told The Observer earlier this year that the University, student government and local law enforcement continue to work together on the issue of student arrests.
Far from the cold of South Bend winter, senior Audrey Mitchell is spending her winter as an intern at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The Film, Television and Theater (FTT) and English major said the internship opportunity was offered to her by a contact she made working at the Cannes Film Festival last May. “There are people that go from festival to festival,” Mitchell said. “If you make those contacts then you’ll have a better chance at getting to go to the next festival.” Now, Mitchell is spending the beginning of her last semester at Notre Dame working at a screening venue reserved for Sundance press and industry viewings, where she has immersed herself in the festival while selling tickets and ushering shows. “Just being in this environment, in this experience, is amazing. Everyone here loves film and wants to work in film,” Mitchell said. Mitchell said though the long hours can be tiring, she attends events after work to build her contact base in the hopes of securing a position in the industry after graduation. “I have been in the press office all day,” Mitchell said, “and then I have to go to my ushering job until 10 tonight. Then after work there are a lot of cool films and events where you can go and network.” Mitchell said that she was excited to attend a performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his production company hitRECord.org Thursday night. Outside of work, networking and evening events, Mitchell spends most of her time with a group of 12 fellow “film nerds.” “We text each other when we see anything important, if we hear about any free tickets, or if we see anyone important,” Mitchell said. After graduation, Mitchell said she plans to enter the industry through film production or festival coordination. “I’m looking at a couple internship options with LA-based production companies, but right now it’s all about making connections,” she said. The experience has been intense at times but extremely rewarding and enjoyable, she said. “When I’m working with film it doesn’t feel like work. It just feels like I’m here and I’m excited,” she said. “I haven’t slept in four days — but that’s awesome.” Mitchell will return to campus next week to complete her final semester at Notre Dame and graduate with the senior class in May.
Comedian Eric O’Shea had Saint Mary’s students in stitches Wednesday as he performed his routine in Carroll Auditorium, sponsored by the Student Activities Board (SAB). O’Shea has been nominated for College Performer of the Year five times. “I say that humbly [referring to his five nominations] — I expect the very best out of myself every show and want to leave a great impression,” he said. “I am very proud to be around after 17 years and to be working so much and, as I say, it is not hard to get there, it’s hard to stay there.” Along with his five nominations, O’Shea has over 4 million hits on YouTube, has received a rave review from Steven Spielberg and was able to present at the Creative Emmys with Betty White, who he calls, “my golden girl.” O’Shea said he has performed at colleges around the country for 17 years and has done about 60 shows a year since 1996. “I became a comic because my thoughts could not survive in a nine-to-five world,” he said. “I’m curiously opinionated.” Even though O’Shea has performed all over the country, he said he does not have a favorite place to do his act. “I love what I do and to share my thoughts with young minds,” he said. “I don’t have a favorite place, although there is nothing like a show where the chemistry is perfect.” O’Shea said his writing is for everyone — young and old, male and female. While he does not write for the college market specifically, he said his material fits in really well. “[The college market] seems to be a good fit where they appreciate wit, pg-13, unique humor with a sizzle factor,” he said. “Colleges keep you honest. You can’t get away with cheap club bits and the students are privy to the very best, have a little swagger and have seen it all in terms of entertainment. “It is a frustrated, self-deprecating look at everyday life with random ideas and thoughts thrown in for fun. It moves fast and keeps you relating.” SAB member senior Allie Courtney said the group brought O’Shea to campus in an effort to make February a month full of fun. “This semester we really tried to up our events in February and offer a different event every Wednesday,” she said. “February can be the worst month on campus with the weather and no break so we are just trying to make it better.” This month, SAB has also shown the film “The Help,” hosted a tie-dye event and will show the film “50/50” next week.
Members of the Notre Dame men’s basketball band will travel to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to rally Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team in the Big East tournament games. “I have been to New York City many times, but I am still really excited,” junior Kathryn Murphy said. “Madison Square Garden is one of the most iconic places in the world, and I am excited to be representing the band and to show my support for the team.” Since the mean’s team secured a bye for the first round of play, senior Jonathan Miller said he will use the spare time to sight-see. “We get to spend an extra day in New York City, and a few band members and myself hope to see a Broadway show or do some other sight-seeing,” he said. Having already experienced the tournament atmosphere his freshman year, senior trumpet player Joel Graczyk said he is excited to play at a major game again and to watch the team play at the tournament. “As a freshman, I played in the band when the men’s basketball team played against Penn State in the National Invitation Tournament semifinal at the Garden, so I’m excited for the chance to go back,” he said. “I’m excited to watch our team compete as one of the best teams in college basketball right now.” Graczyk said the band will play a key role in fostering support and enthusiasm for the team. “With the games beyond the travel capacity of most students, the band and cheerleaders play a key role in showing student support for the team,” he said. Miller said this enthusiasm and support is especially vital in an away-game atmosphere. “Tournaments have a very different atmosphere than regular season games,” Miller said. “The pressure is higher because every game is a must-win and not having the advantage of a home crowd makes winning even harder.” Despite the raised stakes and added pressure, Miller said he thinks the Irish will have a successful tournament run. “I have full confidence our basketball team will do well in the tournament,” he said. “They have proven that they have what it takes to win the big games when it counts. I just hope they can feel out those rims in the Garden. The Big East is a tough conference.” After analyzing the bracket, Graczyk said he is confident that the Irish have the opportunity to advance to the final game. “Looking at the bracket, we have demonstrated that we have the ability to beat every team that potentially stands between us and the championship game,” he said. “If we can play tough through a couple of games, there is a real possibility that we can play for the championship.”
With just two weeks remaining before Election Day, President Barack Obama and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney squared off in the final of three presidential debates last night. Students tuned in to hear the presidential contenders’ views on foreign policy and offered praise and criticism of both performances. As much of the debate focused on military intervention in the Middle East, senior Greg Doonan said he felt Romney’s reference to foreign intervention as a “mantle of leadership” and “honor” may have painted too rosy a picture of the American reputation abroad. “I think it’s a little misleading,” Doonan said. “I think Americans get a lot of flak for immersing ourselves in situations we shouldn’t necessarily be involved in. I don’t necessarily agree with Romney on that one.” Senior Ben Kim praised Romney’s assertion of economics as a threat to American security. “My personal opinion is that [intervention] should be more economic than military,” Kim said. “When Romney said one of the greatest threats to the [United States] is the budget deficit and the economy, I think he’s right. We can’t help others if we can’t help ourselves.” When the topic of military spending arose, Romney criticized the reduced size of the Navy’s fleet, to which Obama responded with what Kim called one of the president’s best lines of the debate: “Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.” “I think he had one of the best one-liners of the night,” Kim said. “I think what Obama said about [military] spending will appeal to voters. … Romney’s playing a dangerous game. He wants to seem pro-American and pro-military but that’s also very expensive, to maintain that kind of military prowess.” Doonan said he felt the president may have crossed the line with this and other quips. “I kind of think he crossed the line toward being a little petty, that he was belittling Romney too much,” he said. “But he was also trying to enforce the notion he has way more experience in foreign policy than Romney does as a former governor. I think it was a little too patronizing but that’s not totally foreign to a debate atmosphere.” As the debate shifted to the controversial topic of the country’s policies toward Israel and Iran, Romney suggested increased sanctions on Iran, while advocating containment of the situation with the hope of Iran being able to eventually “reenter the community of nations.” Soon after, Romney alleged the Obama administration had left an impression of weakness among foreign foes. Doonan gave some credit to Romney’s accusation, but didn’t take issue with the president’s handling of the Middle East. “I think possibly Obama’s come off too weak on Iran. … I think overall Obama’s built up our reputation in the Middle East,” he said. “I don’t think either is promoting the perfect policy. It’s a very touchy subject.” Kim said he didn’t feel either candidate distinguished himself on the issue. “I think neither [candidate] really came out on top. Their policies are very alike,” he said. “They both want sanctions, neither wants a nuclear Iran.” In the end, Doonan said he thought Obama emerged as the victor. “I definitely think Obama won the debate,” he said. “I thought he came out on the offensive, and Romney was agreeing a bit too much with him. I thought Obama did a good job with pointing out things Romney said in the past that he kept denying. It was a good third debate for Obama.” Kim, who plans to vote for a third-party candidate, said the president won based on performance and greater foreign relations experience from his time in office, not for the content of his policies. “I think Romney didn’t seem as confident as he did with domestic policies, and I think that makes sense,” he said. “Romney could win that [domestic issues] debate. But in terms of composure and articulation, I think Obama won. In terms of foreign policy, I can’t really tell the difference.” Contact John Cameron at [email protected]
News of Nelson Mandela’s death spread worldwide last Thursday night, and senior South African native Bertie Nel said the loss of the nation’s former leader was an event “we were never really prepared for.” Nel said South Africans anticipated Mandela’s death, but it didn’t take away the pain of the loss. After speaking with his family back home, they told him the country was mourning collectively. While Mandela’s presidency ended in 1999, his impact on South Africa is lasting, Nel said. “If it weren’t for him, a lot of what’s going on in South Africa wouldn’t be possible. He was the big instigator of [ending apartheid] and making sure that everyone had equal opportunity,” Nel said. “Regardless of who you are, regardless of white or black, it’s very important that everyone have the same opportunity and [Mandela] brought that to South Africa. “Back home they call him ‘tata’ and that’s the word for father. I think that’s very fitting. Everyone saw him as the father, ‘tata.’” Saint Mary’s sophomore Emily Rojas studied in South Africa this semester but had returned to the United States when she learned of Mandela’s death. She said a friend still in the country called her and asked her if she had heard the news. “I said ‘no,’ and she said ‘Well, Nelson Mandela passed,’” Rojas said. “There was a pause from both ends, and she said the country is in a standstill and from TV to people in the streets, you can feel the sadness, the mourning. “It was something that really hit home. It hurt because he was like a father, a figure you could look up to, because he spoke so much about having people of different races, different nations come together and be unified.” Nel said while it would be amazing to be back home for the ceremony commemorating Mandela’s life at FNB Stadium near Soweto on Tuesday, he still feels he is able to pay his respects from afar. “Everyone knows who Mandela is and I think tomorrow’s ceremony is going to attract so many viewers from across the world,” Nel said. “Everyone around the world revered him and knew that what he did was good for South Africa.” Nel said he thinks Mandela’s actions inspired people around the world to stand up for their beliefs and accomplish good work. “He was a great man. He did a lot for South Africa,” Nel said. “I don’t think we would be where we are without him and we are very lucky to have a man of that caliber in South Africa.” Rojas said she believes Mandela’s legacy will continue to motivate the whole world to take action. “Beyond the country, I think he impacted the world,” she said. “[Everyone] should become educated on what he did because [he taught] that we dignify every individual despite the fact they are Afrikaan or Zulu, from whatever part of the world, and I think that is something the country itself embraces. The people who really took what he said, it helped themselves shape into who they are.” Rojas said being in South Africa taught her more about Mandela’s legacy than anything she read before the trip. “[I realized] how much he shaped and molded the country, and I don’t think that his legacy is going to end,” Rojas said. “This is just the beginning toward a more unified nation, and that was his vision.” Nel said there are many positives things that can come from Mandela’s life, but he believes is forgiveness is the most important. “The biggest positive that I think anyone can take of [his life] is his ability to forgive people,” Nel said. “Yeah they put him in prison for 27 years, but as soon as he got out of it he forgave. He never held a grudge, and that’s just amazing that he was able to turn around like that.” Nel said that remembering Mandela’s life is important and while many are saddened by his death, it should move people to take action. “It’s now time for the rest of the world to step up and follow his example and do good in the world,” he said. Contact Haleigh Ehmsen at [email protected]
Pope Francis’ recently released list of 19 men who will soon become cardinals included a Notre Dame graduate and bishops from Haiti and Burkina Faso, highlighting the current patriarch’s commitment to pastoral leadership and inclusion of the poor, director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life John Cavadini said.“[Pope Francis] appointed cardinals from places that have never had a cardinal before … and that certainly indicates the desire to reach out,” Cavadini said. TORI ROECK | The Observer Pope Francis’ list of new cardinals included Kelvin Edward Felix, archbishop emeritus of Castries, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Felix received a master of arts degree from Notre Dame in 1969, according to the Notre Dame Alumni Association.“Of course he wasn’t elected because he is a Notre Dame alum, but because of his servant leadership in the Church for many years as bishop,” Cavadini said. “But it certainly shows [Notre Dame] can produce Church leaders.”Lawrence Cunningham, Church historian and theology professor, said the pope’s attention to marginalized countries will allow those regions of the world the possibility of participating in the College of Cardinals’ main responsibility, naming a new pope.“It’s usually around this time of year, the beginning of the year, that the pope typically nominates bishops and archbishops to the College of Cardinals,” Cunningham said. “One of the reasons he does that is to be sure that the Catholic world is represented in the College of Cardinals because the most important thing that the College does is to elect a new pope.“The most interesting thing … was the fact that he named a cardinal from Haiti and a cardinal from Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest, most wretched countries in Africa, and I think that that was done so that those bishops will have in the College of Cardinals a voice for the forgotten part of the world, not the third world but basically the fourth world, or the poorest countries of the world.“The most important thing is that it says something about [Francis’] tremendous concern for the poor of the world.”Cavadini said Pope Francis’ appointments of Archbishop Philippe Ouèdraogo of Burkina Faso and Bishop Chibly Langlois of Haiti reflected his attempt to promote the Church’s core mission.“Pope Francis wants to emphasize that the Church is not really here for its own sake, not here for itself,” Cavadini said. “The Church is here to serve. The Church is here to be a witness to God’s love and that means especially in places where that love seems to be most absent .“In one sense, [Francis] wants the whole Church to be a church of witness to the belief that God is love and so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son.”Cavadini said Pope Francis had continued Pope Benedict’s return to the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, but Francis’ commitment to pastoral ministry signified a different approach.“Pope Benedict had a lot of concern for getting back to basics of the faith like God is love; that was his first encyclical,” Cavadini said. “ What Pope Francis is really doing is translating that into a pastoral strategy.“So if you’re going to propose to get back to basics that God is love, then you should have a pastoral strategy that organizes the Church according to those principles more obviously.”Cavadini said the pope had set an example of his own emphasis on pastoral outreach by reaching out more frequently to those in his own archdiocese.“He adds a kind of personal touch to this,” Cavadini said. “I think he kind of expects us to have that touch.“For example, he says Mass every morning where he lives in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, in the [Vatican] guesthouse, for just regular people from the Archdiocese of Rome. In other words, he’s emphasizing that he’s the Bishop of Rome.”Cunningham said few of the bishops or archbishops on Francis’ list surprised those who follow Vatican decisions closely since the bishops and archbishops of certain major cities or regions almost always become cardinals.“He named a Canadian, but no one from the United States, and that’s because the places where you traditionally find cardinals named are already cardinals,” Cunningham said. “For example, if you become the Archbishop of New York, unless you do something egregiously stupid or egregiously immoral, you’re going to be named a cardinal.”Tags: cardinals, Catholic church, Notre Dame, Pope Francis
The Art Troupe of the North China Electric Power University performed at Northridge High School in Middlebury, Ind. on Sept. 22, and Alice Siqin Yang, Saint Mary’s assistant director of global education, said the event reflected the growing opportunities for Saint Mary’s students to learn more about Asian cultures, particularly through the College’s study abroad programs.Yang said the performance at Northridge High School was not only meant for attendees to see a high-quality performance but also for the increased visibility of a unique culture. The Confucius Institute, which coordinated the performance, primarily “seeks to promote Chinese culture,” Yang said. The organization has established relations with more than 400 universities worldwide, with three located in Indiana at Indiana University Bloomington, Purdue and Valparaiso, Yang said.The Confucius Institute focuses on increasing Chinese and American students’ knowledge about one another’s cultures through education and performance, which is a goal Yang said she also shares. She said she helps promote these types of cultural events in the South Bend area through advertising at Saint Mary’s.“For Saint Mary’s, we emphasize internationalization and diversity, so I’m glad that students are interested in Asian cultures, for China is now the second largest economy … and developing fast,” Yang said. “It is essential that we help students make mutual understandings with different cultures.”This idea of mutual understanding parallels some of the activities in which the Saint Mary’s study abroad groups in Asia are able participate through excursions into other parts of the region, Yang said. One example of this is a visit students make to the Guizhou Shenghua Vocational College, Yang said.“This college … is Christian based, and they recruit students from the poorest provinces in a mountainous area … for almost free tuition,” Yang said.Yang said the Confucius Institute, which strives to provide realistic education centered on vocational learning, supports the Guizhou Shenghua Vocational College’s mission.“[The Vocational College] now [has] five majors; a few are: technology, hotel management and travel souvenirs,” she said.Yang said this college is also special because the institution recruits 20 to 30 international volunteers every year to help teach students English. She said many of the Saint Mary’s students abroad in the past expressed an interest in being a part of this program and were able to participate.Saint Mary’s students also played a role in the U.S.-China Student Summit in May, Yang said. The Summit brought together students and top leaders from both countries to speak on topics having to do with the relationship between America and China from a political, business and cultural perspective.“Saint Mary’s being a part of this is a big deal, for there had been around 200 American students attending, and Saint Mary’s itself had nine representatives including the faculty,” Yang said. “… [This was] an interactive session. The focus [was] student leadership, cross-cultural learning and business.”Yang said the dialogue created by the summit was effective in bringing the students of both countries together in “cross-cultural team building activities.”Dionne Bremyer, assistant professor of English, went on the study abroad trip to China. She taught travel writing as a course to help the students better understand certain aspects of their experience.“We looked at what it means to be a traveler versus what it means to be a tourist,” Bremyer said. “We also think about what it means to engage with experience and different cultures and how we process that through a lens in which we study and look at different cultures.”Bremyer said she found Saint Mary’s students were admirable because they were willing to live in a place with very little connection to western culture where they might at first be uncomfortable.“I think more than anything the open attitude to new experiences is more important than having a full understanding,” she said.Bremyer advocated cultural exchange and the importance of the China study abroad program for students.“I think it is the goal of study abroad for students to learn and understand the world better, than they should go places that challenge them,” she said. “The world can be very small and we are at a small school, so I think sometimes we feel very interconnected and interlinked, and I think one thing that is important about study abroad is seeing the world as a larger place where people have all kinds of experiences.”Like Yang, Bremyer sees the relations between the people of China and America as vital to global understanding and expansion. She said these growing relationships were reflected in the U.S.-China Student Summit.“It was amazing for [the students] to make connections with people from China and to think about all the places in which cultural exchange could happen … [not just through business and politics, but] through language through literature, through wanting to have a better understanding of each other as human beings,” Bremyer said.Tags: Asia, China, SMC, study abroad