Month: January 2021

Students give feedback in Improve ND survey

first_imgCorrection: In the April 20 edition, the graphic, right, depicting percentages of undergraduate student satisfaction taken from the ImproveND survey misidentified the percentages of student satisfaction. The graphic should have read: 91 percent of students were satisfied with extracurriculars, 88 percent were satisfied with sense of community, 78 percent were satisfied with support of students and 41 percent were satisfied with diversity on campus. The Observer regrets this error.If students notice improvements in campus services and facilities upon arriving to campus next fall, they can thank the 51 percent of the undergraduate student body that responded to the University’s ImproveND survey.The Office of Strategic Planning administered the survey in January to undergraduate, law and graduate students in order to assess student opinions on campus services.Overall, 51 percent of undergraduates, 58 percent of law students and 41 percent of graduate students responded to the survey, according to survey results.The survey questions pertained to three main categories: academics, extra- and co-curricular activities and campus environment and services. Each of these categories included subcategories such as campus safety, food services, RecSports, academic advising and cellular reception, among several others.The results of the survey were recently sent to each service-providing unit on campus and student government, Erin Harding, associate vice president for Strategic Planning, said.“We have asked both the campus units and student government to return their suggestions and priorities for which aspects of campus services should be changed to the Office of Strategic Planning by mid-May,” Harding said. “We will then go through the compilation of suggestions and prioritize the things to be changed.”Although overall undergraduate satisfaction rates were extremely high for the categories of academic experience, extracurriculars and sense of community, only 41 percent of survey respondents said they were happy with diversity on campus and international student interaction.“The 96 percent satisfaction rate for academic experience was terrific,” Harding said. “However, the lower satisfaction rates correspond with the University’s focus on improving both ethnic and international diversity on campus.”Harding said she was surprised to see that 46 percent of respondents had not volunteered at all during the first semester of this school year. However, she said the wording of the question could have affected the results.“We don’t know if that low percentage was because the question asked about first semester volunteering or if students volunteer infrequently,” Harding said. “Either way, that gives us quite a bit to think about.”One figure the University and, more specifically, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), may be able to address in the short-term is student satisfaction with cellular reception on campus. According to the survey, 60 percent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with cellular reception, whereas 28 percent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.“OIT has asked our office for more data on this issue so they can really start to address it,” Harding said. “We will probably see some improvement in this area as an outcome of the survey results.”Another area of relative dissatisfaction was with the [email protected] system. Fifty-six percent of respondents reported satisfaction with the system and 63 percent were interested in more public print stations on campus. These results could potentially lead to improvement in the near future, Harding said.In addition, students may see more concrete improvements in RecSports in the next year due to the high percentage of respondents that listed the renovation or possible expansion of the Rockne Memorial Building as a priority.Although over 80 percent of respondents were satisfied with fitness and instructional classes, club sports and intramural sports alike, the survey results will prove helpful to RecSports in seeing what they can improve over time, Harding said. Other areas that demonstrate room for improvement are awareness of gender relations and multicultural student services, as well as the value for price of merchandise and textbooks at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. Harding said the Bookstore is considering implementing a textbook rental program in the future.While the results of the survey will undoubtedly help the University determine which areas of campus services to improve upon and how to do so, these prospective changes are not finalized by any means, Harding said.“We will have a more definitive list of improvements by next fall,” Harding said. “By then, we hope to be able to communicate what changes resulted from responses to the survey.”In addition, Harding emphasized the ability of students to make their opinions heard on the various issues addressed by the survey.“If students have any questions or ideas, they are more than welcome to contact the Office of Strategic Planning,” Harding said. “The whole point of the survey is to improve campus services for students.”Harding also said the Office of Strategic Planning hopes to administer the survey on a regular basis to measure improvement or show additional concerns. Currently, the Office plans to conduct the survey every other year.last_img read more

University responds to contract lawsuit

first_imgThe University claimed former Notre Dame professor Oliver Collins was fired because he used $190,000 of grant and University money to purchase equipment that he used to take pornographic photographs in a recently filed legal response a breach of contract lawsuit filed by Collins. Collins became a tenured electrical engineering professor at Notre Dame in 1995, was officially dismissed in June 2010 and filed a lawsuit against the University for breach of contract on July 12. Notre Dame’s response, filed Aug. 18 in the U.S. District Court in South Bend, makes a counterclaim of fraud against Collins. The University’s allegations state Collins used National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and University matching funds to purchase at least seven cameras, lenses, a printer and other computer equipment. “Collins took many of these cameras and accessories to his home and used them extensively in pursuit of his personal hobby of photography, including taking landscape and pornographic photographs,” the counterclaim states. The University also alleged Collins was dishonest in reporting his use of funds. The University’s claim states that in his written proposal and budget, Collins misrepresented to NSF and the University that he intended to use the federal grant funds to purchase several different pieces of high, mixed signal test equipment, consisting of data generators, network analyzers and signal analyzers. “Collins did not identify digital cameras, camera accessories or printers in his proposal or budget,” the University’s court document states. Collins’ original complaint says the University’s findings against him did not merit the “serious cause” required by the University’s Academic Articles to dismiss a tenured professor. He also claimed damages to his personal and professional reputation, as well as being subjected to public ridicule. While Collins was not officially dismissed from the University until June 2010, court documents state that the chair of the Electrical Engineering Department began an inquiry into his purchases with NSF grant money and University matching funds in July 2009. University President Fr. John Jenkins informed Collins in an Aug. 24, 2009 correspondence that he was suspended with pay from his rights and privileges as a professor and was locked out of his lab and office. Collins received a letter from Associate Provost Donald Pope-Davis in September 2009 informing him that the University would seek “dismissal for serious cause,” based on the conclusion of six specific acts. These acts include failure to inform NSF of the equipment he purchased and taking and storing sexually explicit and pornographic images on University equipment. Following this letter, there were two December 2009 telephone conferences: between Pope-Davis and Collins and between Collins and members of the Academic Council to “attempt informal resolution of the matter,” as is part of the procedures in the University’s Academic Articles. After the informal resolution process did not succeed, the case went before a faculty hearing committee in April 2010. The decision resulted in a unanimous vote by the committee that dismissal for serious cause was warranted. Collins appealed the decision, and an appeal board supported the hearing committee’s findings. The appeal board submitted a report to Jenkins, who dismissed Collins in a June 2 letter. “I accept their findings and dismiss you as a faculty member of the University of Notre Dame effective immediately,” Jenkins wrote in the letter. University spokesman Dennis Brown said the University is confident in its answer and counterclaim to the lawsuit. “We’ve made our position clear in our response to his lawsuit and we’re confident in that position,” Brown said. “And we’re equally confident that our process throughout the matter is thorough and fair.”last_img read more

Junior Class Council hosts Domecoming activities

first_imgThis year’s annual Domecoming Week, hosted by Junior Class Council (JCC) will be “fun for a cause,” junior class president Kevin Doherty said. Monday’s Domecoming kickball game, Kick for Kans, launched a weeklong food drive sponsored by the junior class. Students who donated a non-perishable food item could play the game on North Quad. “We thought that giving back to the community would be a good way to give Domecoming a new dimension of ‘fun for a cause’ that would attract more interest from the student body and the local community,” Doherty said. “We will have collection boxes available at all of the events this week.” Doherty said the week offers a chance to bring the junior class and other members of the student body together. “Its purpose is to unite students in a week of fun events and activities on campus,” Doherty said. “Our hope is that Domecoming will continue to grow and involve more student groups, and be carried on as a tradition for years to come.” The junior class will also sell Class of 2013 “bro tanks” throughout the week. Doherty said an initial order of the tanks sold out almost immediately. “We sold out within a few hours during our first sale in the dining halls,” Doherty said. “We ordered a little over 200 new tanks and are hoping these will sell out over the course of the week.” JCC representative Kelsey Eckenrode said Domecoming is Notre Dame’s version of homecoming at other schools. “We wanted to give the students something similar,” Eckenrode said. “We were surprised that a big football school like Notre Dame didn’t already have homecoming.” The junior class will also host song-led adoration service at 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Ryan Hall Chapel. “The song-led adoration should be a really awesome event for people to relax, reflect and listen to some great music,” Eckenrode said. “The JCC is really excited for all of the events this week.” Juniors can skate for free on the JACC ice rink Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Doherty said students could still register for a Thursday dodge ball tournament online or at the event. “The winning teams will be awarded Chipotle gift cards and bragging rights,” Doherty said. The second annual Domecoming Dance on Friday will end the week with music and dancing under a tent on South Quad, as well as free food from Chick-fil-A, Eckenrode said. “We’re happy that the dance is outdoors this year since the weather is supposed to be great on Friday,” Eckenrode said. The junior class will host all the Domecoming events this week, Doherty said, but the activities are open to all students. “While the focus is on the junior class, we welcome all students to our events this week,” he said. “The only exception is the Domecoming Dance, which SAO classifies as a junior class dance, but non-juniors are welcome to attend as long as they accompany a junior. Our goal is to involve as many students on campus as possible in Domecoming Week.” Further information about Domecoming events can be found on the Domecoming 2011 Facebook page.last_img read more

New art exhibit arrives at SMC

first_imgA new exhibit at the Saint Mary’s Moreau Center for the Arts calls students to study humanity’s interaction and manipulation of the environment, according to artist Marilyn Propp. Propp and her husband, artist David Jones, will display their work at the center beginning today. The exhibit, titled “Industrial Reconstructions,” will be open until Nov. 4. The collection includes oil paintings on wood panels, as well and pen and ink drawings. Propp, a professor at Colombia College Chicago, said their works are meant to provoke thought about the environment. “You seduce people with color, lines or form,” Propp said. “Then, you get them to think.” Propp said she finds inspiration in every injustice to the natural world. “I was very upset about the gulf’s oil spill because my family lived down there for a number of years,” Propp said. “The rape of the earth has been bothering me for 30 years.” Her sequence features a mixture of animal fossils, human body parts, marine life and the remnants of old machines. In one piece, a blue lobster’s body is indistinguishable from a whirring propeller. In another, titled “Paradise Lost,” the tentacles of jellyfish are entwined in netting and trash. Propp said her work does not always revolve around the environment though. “[My earlier art was] much more interior,” she said. “There was more symbolism. It was more psychologically pat. I’ve spent the past few years looking outwards.” The connected pieces of her collection reflect “our interdependence, interconnectedness and continuity.” “There is ongoing movement, morphing and interaction between the organic and the metal shapes ⎯ tools, hardware, pipes and conduits.” Jones worked mostly with photos for the past 10 years, but his display shows some of his recent sketches. He uses his art to reflect on his “obsession with mechanical things … specifically the automobile,” according to his website. “Machines are ubiquitous in the landscape,” Jones said on the website. “I see the drawings as a metaphor for our relationship with things, filling up our space and numbing our senses.”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s hosts International Cultural Festival

first_imgOn Thursday, The International Cultural Festival at Saint Mary’s showcased a variety of ethnic performances and presentations by international students and cultural clubs in conjunction with International Education Week, Terra Coham, assistant director of international student and scholar advisor at the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), said. “[The festival] is a chance for our international students to share with everyone where they are from and some of their cultural traditions,” said Terra Cowham. Cowham said this event has been going on for years but has changed each year. Nonetheless, the goal is always the same – to feature international students and traditions from their native countries, she said. Cultural presentations included slideshows and speeches, a piano performance, Irish dancing from the ND/SMC Irish Dance Team and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Throughout the room, poster boards displayed photos and facts about these countries and tables provided food samples, clothing and other cultural items. The event featured presentations and exhibits on China, Vietnam, Burma, Egypt, Peru, Korea, Japan, Turkmenistan, Costa Rica, Nigeria and Ethiopia. “This is not all of our international students,” Cowham said. “We actually have a total of 43 international students and scholars from all over the world. There is more countries represented at Saint Mary’s than just what you see here [tonight].”   Sera Lee, Young Lee and Seri We, all students from Korea, provided one of night’s performances. They highlighted the various aspects of dating culture in Korea. Sera Lee said she hoped to demonstrate the differences between the relationships of Korean couples with couples from the United States. First-year Chisom Igwe was the event’s emcee and also spoke about her native country of Nigeria. “Today was the highlight of my week,” Igwe said. “I enjoy enlightening people about Africa because a lot of people think they know a lot about Africa in general. I just think that it is a very wrong misconception and I like sharing the side of Africa that I grew up knowing, so I enjoyed performing tonight.” Junior Asha Gilmore, president of Around the World Club, said several departments and clubs were involved in hosting the event. These included the Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership, Student Government Association, Around the World Club and the Departments of Modern Languages, Music and Political Science. “It is more fun when you can incorporate food, dance and music into teaching different cultures,” Gilmore said. Cowham said this week encourages students to be global citizens. “This week is about celebrating and focusing on the way that we are all global citizens and what international education can do for someone, no matter what country they are from,” Cowham said.   Contact Liz Kenney at [email protected]last_img read more

Professor details author’s legacy

first_imgSamuel C. Ramer, associate professor of history at Tulane University, presented his memories of Joseph Brodsky, Russian poet and essayist, in a lecture entitled “Writing a Memoir of Joseph Brodsky: Problems of Memory, Selection and Truth.”Ramer focused on his recent memoir entitled “Remembering Joseph Brodsky: The Genre of Commemorating a Person.”In the lecture sponsored by the Department of Russian and East European Studies, the Kellogg Institute of International Studies, the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures and the Nanovic Institute, Ramer said he was a friend of Brodsky.“He left a deep impression on me,” Ramer said. “It is a rare talent to be able to convey the importance of your subject.”Brodsky was born in Leningrad during the 1940’s. He emigrated to America during the 1970’s and became a resident poet at the University of Michigan, and later a visiting professor at universities such as Queens College, Columbia University and Smith College. He was also a Nobel laureate and later a Poet laureate for the U.S. Library of Congress.Ramer said Brodsky possessed a direct, self-reflective attitude that gave him a constant sense of improvement throughout his life and he also enjoyed recognizing others’ positive qualities.“He was very laconic,” Ramer said. “He had this recognition that no matter how hard you try to be a decent person, a great artist, there was a human term of recognition that there are many people a lot better than ourselves.”Ramer said the themes in Brodsky’s poetry drew mainly on ideas of moral questioning and guilt.“Somehow, his poetry suggested that we were all guilty of something,” Ramer said. “There was some sense that we all had to engage in some sort of moral introspection. There is some suggestion in his poetry that we are able to contemplate who we are and where we stand.”Ramer said Brodsky avoided dwelling on the political situation in Russia during the time, even though the Russian government exiled him.“He was averse to talk about his sentence in exile because he was afraid that this political interruption in his life would overshadow his literature,” he said.Ramer said Brodsky was highly appreciative of American poetry and especially admired Robert Frost, who later influenced Brodsky’s presentations on American literature.Ramer said the themes in Brodsky’s poetry drew mainly on ideas of moral questioning and guilt.“Somehow, his poetry suggested that we were all guilty of something. There was some sense that we all had to engage in some sort of moral introspection,” Ramer said. “There is some suggestion in his poetry that we are able to contemplate who we are and where we stand.”Brodsky’s poetry became prominent due to his ability to adapt well to American culture, despite the difficulty emigrant writers usually face when leaving their home country, Ramer said.“He made himself a fixture in American culture,” Ramer said. “There was about his writing a certain stoicism and an absolute refusal to consider himself a victim. There was a ferocious commitment to artistic freedom.” Tags: department of german and russian languages, Joseph Brodsky, Poetrylast_img read more

Town Hall addresses on campus construction

first_imgAt Monday’s fall 2014 town hall meeting, University President Fr. John Jenkins congratulated staff and faculty on glowing reaccreditation feedback and highlighted the mission of the recently announced Keough School of Global Affairs, while Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves asked for patience in the face of the inconveniences the Campus Crossroads project will soon bring to campus.“I want to start out just by reminding you of why we’re doing this, because there seems to be a lot of confusion,” Affleck-Graves said. “LaFortune [Student Center] is just not big enough to accommodate all the things we need for students.”After analyzing where students spend the majority of their time, it became apparent that “that area around the stadium is the real heart of our academic enterprise, and around that we have our residential zone,” Affleck-Graves said.“Most schools have come to this conclusion, and taken down the stadium and moved it off campus — but I wasn’t brave enough to suggest that,” Affleck-Graves said. “So why don’t we put [the student center] next to the stadium?” Caroline Genco | The Observer Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves speaks at the fall town hall meeting in Washington Hall on Monday.Affleck-Graves summarized the different facilities that will be housed in the new setup, emphasizing their potential to further increase the University’s academic mission and overall excellence. But until they’re completed, construction will restrict access to that area of campus.“For three years, we’re going to have a very tough, tough construction zone on the south side of campus, and it’s going to impact all of us,” Affleck-Graves said. “We will start work on the east and the west building — the student center and the anthropology building, immediately after the Louisville game this year.“Unfortunately, we have to take the trees down for the construction project, but we can save over 100 of them, so we will move them to places where we have lost trees in storms this past summer and last winter.”Affleck-Graves showed a diagram with temporary fences immediately surrounding the southern half of the stadium.“We’re going to put up a temporary fence so that we can do some tree removal and shoring up of the foundation,” he said. “This is going to be fairly restrictive. And then, unfortunately, after the Louisville game it’s going to get even worse.”Affleck-Graves showed another diagram, in which a much larger fenced-off area stretched from the Joyce Center to Mendoza.“We’ll have [this situation] for three years,” Affleck-Graves said. “… This will be permanently fenced off. If you want to go north on campus, you can walk through Mendoza [College of Business], or DeBartolo [Hall]. … There won’t be any pathways outside on that side. The same thing on [the Joyce side] … [although] you can see we have constructed a walkway.“I really apologize … but there is nothing we can do.”Jenkins concluded the meeting by commenting on the implications of the plans Affleck-Graves discussed.“I want to acknowledge … [that] all these things are inconvenient for you, and I know that,” Jenkins said. “It is disruptive, … [but] keep in mind: this is what a university looks like when it’s growing, when it’s active, when it’s vibrant. A university that just stays the same is sort of dying.”“I really do think people will look back and think, ‘[this] was a really important moment in Notre Dame history,’” he said.Affleck-Graves said the University will re-stripe the D Bulla Lot, due to numerous complaints about small parking spaces. In response to questions from the audience, he also confirmed that after 2018, current on-campus graduate residences will close, and in the near future an on-campus parking structure seems unlikely due to the cost of construction and maintenance.Jenkins, who opened the meeting, praised the staff, faculty and students of Notre Dame for a reaccreditation report “that was uniformly, enthusiastically positive.”While “there was really no question that the University would be reaccredited, it couldn’t have been better,” Jenkins said.Quoting the report, which was compiled by the Higher Learning Commission, Jenkins said, “Simply walking on campus at Notre Dame, one witnesses the goodwill extended to friends and strangers alike. A pervasive decency and generalized kindness lives on this campus … undergrads recognize their privileged place.”After briefly mentioning the University’s commitment to maximizing financial efficiency, Jenkins focused on the mission of the recently-announced Keough School of Global Affairs.“What this school will focus on is not simply what international schools regularly focus on, state-to-state relationships … but really go beyond that, to look at a holistic picture of peoples’ lives,” Jenkins said. “We will be able to focus on, say, religion, [which] plays such an important current role in the world.”“Our lives aren’t simply about politics and economics, but about religion, spirituality,” he said. “… What we hope to do in this school is bring that broader picture … [from] conflicts, civil wars, peace-building, means to combat crushing poverty … [to] dealing with the effects of global warming.”Jenkins concluded his portion of the town hall meeting by discussing staff diversity and inclusion, and encouraging any staff or faculty to report issues of misconduct.Tags: Bulla lot, Campus Crossroads, Campus Crossroads Project, D Bulla, Keough School of Global Affairs, Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, town halllast_img read more

Student government recommends sexual violence policy reforms to Board of Trustees

first_imgEric Richelsen In their first of two reports to the University’s Board of Trustees, student government leaders on Oct. 15 presented a report on the current state of sexual violence at Notre Dame and how the University can further work to solve the issue.Student body president senior Bryan Ricketts said his administration chose to look at sexual violence in part because of the momentum the topic has gained both on campus and around the country in recent years.“Sexual violence is something we’ve been talking about on our campus for a long time now,” he said. “… There’s a lot of talk about prevention and what we’re doing on front, and in addition to that it’s sort of widely accepted as a rule — but also statistically at Notre Dame — that the number of reported assaults does not nearly match the number of actual assaults that we have on campus.“Those are still issues that we’re trying to work through,” he said. “That was a big reason behind the impetus of this report, to give some context to where we are on campus as well as to do a little digging what we need to do better and where we’re not meeting the standards.”The report focused on four major topics: campus conversation surrounding sexual violence, the trajectory of change on the issue at Notre Dame, alcohol culture’s role in sexual violence and a process overview, supplemented by students’ experiences.  It concluded with a series of recommendations to Trustees on how to curb sexual violence on campus, as well as how to improve the process of reporting and navigating the Title IX process.The campus conversation section included a history of sexual violence policy on campus in the last 10 years as well as a more thorough look at the last year and the It’s On Us campaign, student body chief of staff Dan Sehlhorst said.“We looked at all the major incidences, as well, that happened in Notre Dame’s [recent] history, like the Abram Elam trial, the Vagina Monologues and a number of other institutional changes that have happened along the way,” he said.Sehlhorst said the trajectory of change framework used in the report breaks down social change into three separate stages: awareness, education and action.“The first step, awareness, really corresponds to the One is Too Many campaign and some of the earlier efforts dating back over 10 years,” he said. “All of those efforts were centered around the idea that this is happening — building awareness that this is happening, the extent to which it’s happening, making sure it’s prominent on people’s minds.”Sehlhorst said the education stage was largely taken on by the original implementation of the It’s on Us campaign last year.The final phase, action, has focused on bystander intervention, particularly in the last year with the continuation of It’s on Us and the beginning of the GreenDot program, Sehlhorst said.Ricketts said the Board asked him and student body vice president senior Nidia Ruelas to look into the intersection of alcohol culture and sexual violence when they met last in June. Ruelas outlined a number of trends surrounding alcohol on Notre Dame’s campus based on information from the Wellness center.Ruelas said that, through interviews with campus rectors and residents’ assistants (RAs), student government leaders found that student perception of drinking culture might not align with the reality.“In these interviews was the acknowledgement that there is this perception among students on campus that more students are drinking than they actually are,” she said. “This kind of permeates this alcohol culture in which students think they have to go out and get drunk and that’s the only way to do this. And at the same time they’re putting themselves at risk, and not taking care of each other or taking care of themselves.”The fourth component of the report, the process overview, examined counseling and health services for students as well as the two reporting options students have available to them on campus — the Title IX process, which goes through the University conduct process, and reporting through Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), which opens a criminal investigation.By speaking with more than 30 students who had been through the process and others who are familiar with it, student government identified several parts of the process students found unnecessarily difficult or inadequate.In the NDSP reporting process, Sehlhorst said some students felt the tone of NDSP investigators came off in a way students perceived as unwelcoming. In addition, he said some Saint Mary’s students felt they had a more difficult time reporting at Notre Dame.Ruelas said students had similar complaints about administrators involved in the Title IX reporting process, and that they could at times come across as “abrupt and unconcerned.”The recommendations put forth by Ricketts, Ruelas and Sehlhorst fell into four main categories: campus climate for reporting and support, campus sexual violence policies, the Title IX process and accountability.The recommendations on climate and support deal largely with cooperation with students and administration at Saint Mary’s. Ruelas cited the issue of no-contact orders. As a part of the Title IX process, when a student files a complaint against another student, a no-contact order is put in place. The University then informs hall staff and NDSP of the no-contact order, but Sehlhorst said the University does not currently inform Saint Mary’s staff when a no-contact order is issued involving a Saint Mary’s student.“There’s not that same level of communication on the ground, with hall staff, professors and security. … That same burden of telling administrators and rectors is not there [for Notre Dame students],” he said.The report also recommends that “staff advocates,” or resource coordinators, be made available to students from the moment they report an incident of sexual violence, Ricketts said.“Right now when you go through the process, you’re given a resource coordinator, you can have someone with you. “… When you’re initially interviewed by NDSP, that may happen immediately following the assault. It may be at one in the morning at the hospital, they may be doing follow-ups the next day. And, if you haven’t reported to the Title IX coordinator, you don’t have a resource coordinator. It may just be you.“Given the issues that students had with tone and the questions asked, we think it would be helpful to have a support person there who can help if a difficult situation comes across.”Ruelas said they also recommended the inclusion of emotional violence to the dating and domestic violence policy. She said this would allow students in emotionally violent relationships to access the resources given to a complainant in a Title IX case, which are more extensive.As part of the Title IX process recommendations, student government put forth three specific policy proposals.First, they recommended that complainants be allowed to keep the notes they take during conduct hearings. Currently, complainants must leave their notes in the room and the notes are destroyed upon completion of the process — although an official record of all disciplinary proceedings is kept by the University.“The purpose of that is that if the complainant wanted to take this to a civil case outside of the University, they could do so with the notes they had taken during the proceedings on campus,” Ruelas said.The report also recommends the University resolve all pending Title IX cases of students who have been dismissed prior to their leaving campus.“If the same respondent is named in multiple cases, and that same respondent is temporarily dismissed on one of them, the process as of last year was that all the other cases would be suspended until that individual reapplied to the University — and who knows when that would be,” Sehlhorst said. “So then you have that problem of opening all the wounds again for the complainant.”Sehlhorst said the final recommendations on accountability focus on two specific areas.“There are two elements,” Sehlhorst said. “We are calling for the university to publicly release the 2015 [sexual assault] climate survey, including the raw data. There are 26 schools which have released their surveys, so this is not an unprecedented step for Universities to do this.“The second thing we recommend is publishing aggregate statistics on all sexual violence. That means the number of incidences of each type, the number that go into the Title IX process, the number of cases in which respondent is found responsible and the number of each type of disciplinary outcome.”Ricketts said his administration has been working with relevant departments on the policy changes they suggested.“We’ve had a good response, a positive response to this so far,” Ricketts said. “If I could say anything to the students reading this, first of all you are not alone if anything in this report or the students’ stories has applied to you. We encourage you to come talk to us, or publicly if you wish, and continue this campus conversation.“This is one of the big reasons we wanted to do this, to make sure that students feel like they can talk about these issues, because we can’t pretend they don’t happen,” he said. “They can’t get better if we pretend that they don’t. … It’s imperative that if we have students who have been traumatized, that we don’t let those feelings be perpetuated.”Tags: Board of Trustees, sexual assault, sexual violence, Student government, student government reportlast_img read more

Data indicates lack of diversity in SMC study abroad programs

first_imgKathryn Mathews and Alice Yang thought there might be a lack of diversity in Saint Mary’s study abroad programs. So they decided to do some research.Mathews, a senior, and Yang, associate director for international education, presented the results of their research concerning the shortage of ethnic diversity in the College’s study abroad programs at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference in May.Each year, Saint Mary’s is asked to submit statistics about students’ study abroad plans to the Institute of International Education (IIE). Yang said the submission is important for the College’s institutional ranking on U.S. News and World Report.This year, the IIE asked the College to break down the data by ethnicity for the first time.“I was shocked by the numbers,” Yang said. “They were quite low for underrepresented groups.”Mathews, a global studies major, said the College is not alone.“It’s a national trend,” she said. “Institutes all across the U.S. are having low rates of study abroad. Many people want to change that and increase participation rates.”Yang said for the past few years about 50 percent of Saint Mary’s students have studied abroad. However, between 2010 and 2015, only 16 percent of African American students studied abroad.“It’s sad,” Yang said. “The African American student rate is much lower than average.”The duo decided to dig a little deeper.“We wanted to find out why that was,” Mathews said. “We want everybody who wants to study abroad to study abroad.”Mathews and Yang conducted their research by asking underrepresented students a series of questions as to whether they wanted to study abroad, and if so, what obstacles were keeping them from it. According to their results, the majority of students weren’t studying abroad due to financial reasons, ability to keep up with academics and fear for safety — especially with international terrorism on the rise.Based on their findings, Yang and Mathews compiled a website and booklet to help students see how they could overcome such obstacles. The booklet, titled “Study Abroad Handbook for Students with Diverse Backgrounds,” lays out the importance of study abroad, the different programs the College offers, the accommodations the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) office provides and possible scholarships or grants students can apply for. “We want to share all the programs, institutional research and scholarship info to encourage students,” Yang said. “The different scholarships, off and on campus, the national scholarships — they all give priorities to students who are underrepresented.”Senior Elizabeth Quaye is African American and studied abroad in Morocco last spring thanks to the information and assistance she received through the CWIL office about the Gilman International Scholarship, a $5,000 award given based on financial need. “It really allowed me to travel around the country and to enjoy my experience while I was there,” Quaye said. “It is life changing. That’s something I want underrepresented students to know — it’s not just about academics, it’s about making friends, making connections and creating new opportunities.”Yang said she came from China to study abroad in the U.S.“It changed my life,” she said. “I was 31 and my son was 6 years old. When I came, I was an atheist, and here I met God, and I had another child here. Nothing is impossible, anything can happen.”Yang said she hopes all students at the College can have the same opportunities.“Our purpose is to encourage every student,” Yang said. “Employers are more likely to hire students who have study abroad experiences. Students experience personal growth and gain maturity and confidence.”There are certain benefits that come with travel, Mathews said.“You are also increasingly aware of global happenings,” she said. “You’re not in the bubble of the U.S.”Quaye is now an ambassador for other underrepresented students like herself through the Sisters of Nefertiti, a Saint Mary’s club that celebrates African American culture. “My job is to be the bridge between CWIL and the club,” Quaye said. “I never would have seen myself in this role and even this confident. I didn’t realize how far I have come.”Mathews she is focusing on getting the message out to first year students. “It is our goal in the future to sit down with all first-year students one-on-one to see their goals for study abroad,” Mathews said.The pair is also working to make students aware of the different services the College offers, such as study abroad fairs, the handbook and the Belles Connect program. They’ve also joined the Diversity Abroad Network and plan to work with related offices, Yang said.According to the research, study abroad programs also reflect a lack of diversity in majors. “Some [majors] can be 95 percent and some are 11 [percent], like science and engineering,” Yang said. “We can advise students based on their major. We have 32 study abroad programs — different time lengths, different times of year.”“We [Saint Mary’s] promise you discovery of the universe and your place in it,” Mathews said, quoting the words of Sr. Madeleva Wolff, the third president of the College. “We do our best to make it work. It’s baby steps, but we’re headed in the right direction.”Right now, Yang said they’re looking ahead — she hopes to be able to compare the data two years down the road.“It’s not just about programs, it’s changing people’s’ lives,” she said. “We see people change and people grow. It makes our job meaningful.”Tags: CWIL, Diversity, Saint Mary’s study abroad, study abroadlast_img read more

No administrator accounts compromised during ‘phishing attack’

first_imgA spam email that appeared to be sent from provost Thomas Burish’s account Tuesday morning was sent to more than 2,000 faculty, staff and students, Jason Williams, director of information security at the Office of Information Technologies (OIT), said in an email.“We have not yet determined how or where the perpetrator obtained the email list, but it’s safe to assume that it was compiled from public sources such as Notre Dame websites or public email lists,” he said. “The list of constituents is far too random to be from only one source.”Williams said the email was a common hacking technique called a “phishing email,” and that there was “no indication that the person who sent the email had any ties to the University.” “From what we have heard from our peers, we are one of a number of universities that were targeted by this phishing email,” Williams said.No administrator accounts were compromised during the “phishing attack” and Williams said that unless a student responded to the email and had not yet enrolled in two-step login, it was “not likely” that any student information was compromised. “The OIT information security team is in the process of contacting people who responded to the phish and recommending that they reset their password to keep their information safe,” Williams said. Tags: office of technology, OIT, phishing emailslast_img read more