American Studies club awaits official status

first_img“We want to make sure people know what American Studies is and increase the presence of American Studies as a major on campus,” she said. “Beyond bringing all the majors together, we wanted to bring American Studies to the rest of Notre Dame,” she said. “We study the complexities of the American identity, or identities, and it’s really challenging and enlightening.” Ruiz said the students who founded the club were looking for a way to enrich the meaning of their major.  Senior Cynthia Curley, one of the club’s founders, said her primary motivation in starting the club was to get young majors involved in the American Studies community on both an academic and social level.  “The club will give members an opportunity to meet their fellow students, as well as professors, outside of the classroom and in a more relaxed setting,” he said. “And if that isn’t enough, we’ll also be making t-shirts because, apparently, Notre Dame students love t-shirts.” Although the club currently consists of only American Studies majors, non-majors are certainly welcome, Johnson said.  “Hopefully we’ll be granted the status of an official student organization by April, and then things can really get started,” she said.  Junior Amanda Johnson, acting vice president of the club, said once the club is officially established, the members hope to sponsor at least one event each month. Possible events include film screenings, movie nights and field trips. According to Johnson, plans for a trip to the Chicago Art Institute are currently underway. Although Notre Dame’s Department of American Studies has been in existence for nearly 40 years, the American Studies club is a recent addition to the University.The club, still waiting for official recognition from the Student Activities Office (SAO), began the initial formation process last semester, according to Jason Ruiz, assistant professor of American Studies. “The department hopes to help form a community among the American Studies majors,” he said. “That is really our goal in sponsoring the club.”   Students interested in joining the American Studies club should contact Ruiz. The club’s first trivia night, hosted by the Department of American Studies, will take place March 18 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Alexander’s Grill in South Bend. last_img read more

Campaign infractions delay results

first_imgStudents cast their votes Monday for student body president and vice president, but they will not learn the results of the election until later in the week due to an alleged rule violated by one of the candidates. The results of Monday’s election will not be released until the Student Union completes its review of the allegation, Michael Thomas, vice president of elections for Judicial Council, said. “The election results will be announced as soon as the allegation process is complete,” Thomas said. “We are working to get that process done as soon as possible.” The Student Body Constitution mandates all information about allegations must remain confidential until the entire process of reviews and appeals in complete, Thomas said. The name of the candidates in question, the type of allegation and the nature of the sanction will not be released at this time. Thomas said the information is confidential so the election results do not sway anyone involved in the allegation and appeal processes. When an allegation is made against a candidate in the student body elections, it is brought before the Election Committee for review. The Election Committee met Monday evening to discuss the allegation against the candidate. The committee decided the ticket was in violation of the constitution and would receive a sanction, Thomas said. The candidates on the ticket then appealed the committee’s decision. “The Student Senate will have 48 hours from the time of the filing of the appeal to convene to hear the appeal,” Thomas said. The senators will first vote to decide to hear the appeal after brief presentations from Judicial Council and the candidate in question. “This basically works like a screening process,” Thomas said. “They decide if the appeal is legitimate.” If the Senate votes to hear the appeal, the ticket can call witnesses before the Senate and must answer questions about the allegation. After reviewing the appeal, the senators will make a final decision. “The senators can make one of two decisions,” Thomas said. “They can vote to uphold the original decision of the election committee, or they can choose to force the Election Committee to reconvene within 24 hours for the purpose of reconsidering the allegation.” After the steps of this process are complete, the Judicial Council will release the election results. The constitution requires a ticket to earn 50 percent of the vote to win the election, and with five teams on the ballot, Thomas said a runoff election is likely between the two tickets to earn the greatest number of votes. Details about a runoff election would be arranged after the results of Monday’s election are released.,Students cast their votes Monday for student body president and vice president, but they will not learn the results of the election until later in the week due to an alleged rule violated by one of the candidates. The results of Monday’s election will not be released until the Student Union completes its review of the allegation, Michael Thomas, vice president of elections for Judicial Council, said. “The election results will be announced as soon as the allegation process is complete,” Thomas said. “We are working to get that process done as soon as possible.” The Student Body Constitution mandates all information about allegations must remain confidential until the entire process of reviews and appeals in complete, Thomas said. The name of the candidates in question, the type of allegation and the nature of the sanction will not be released at this time. Thomas said the information is confidential so the election results do not sway anyone involved in the allegation and appeal processes. When an allegation is made against a candidate in the student body elections, it is brought before the Election Committee for review. The Election Committee met Monday evening to discuss the allegation against the candidate. The committee decided the ticket was in violation of the constitution and would receive a sanction, Thomas said. The candidates on the ticket then appealed the committee’s decision. “The Student Senate will have 48 hours from the time of the filing of the appeal to convene to hear the appeal,” Thomas said. The senators will first vote to decide to hear the appeal after brief presentations from Judicial Council and the candidate in question. “This basically works like a screening process,” Thomas said. “They decide if the appeal is legitimate.” If the Senate votes to hear the appeal, the ticket can call witnesses before the Senate and must answer questions about the allegation. After reviewing the appeal, the senators will make a final decision. “The senators can make one of two decisions,” Thomas said. “They can vote to uphold the original decision of the election committee, or they can choose to force the Election Committee to reconvene within 24 hours for the purpose of reconsidering the allegation.” After the steps of this process are complete, the Judicial Council will release the election results. The constitution requires a ticket to earn 50 percent of the vote to win the election, and with five teams on the ballot, Thomas said a runoff election is likely between the two tickets to earn the greatest number of votes. Details about a runoff election would be arranged after the results of Monday’s election are released.last_img read more

Experts discuss HHS contraceptive mandate at panel

Four experts contended the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate is an attack on religious freedom in a panel discussion Tuesday titled “Notre Dame and the HHS Contraceptive Mandate.” Daniel Philpott, a professor of international relations, moderated the Notre Dame Right to Life-sponsored event in the Eck Hall of Law and said the United States was meant to be an example of religious freedom. “Many people feel, however, that in recent years … there’s been a move toward closure and increasing [governmental] control and management over the Church,” he said. “And perhaps nothing signifies that so much and exemplifies that so much as the recent contraceptive mandate.” Carter Snead, a professor of law and expert on public bioethics, said in March 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which required health care plans to cover certain preventive services to women without charging them out-of-pocket costs. HHS asked the independent Institute of Medicine (IOM) to recommend which preventive measures should be covered, Snead said. In August 2011, the IOM determined all contraceptives, sterilization methods and forms of contraceptive education qualified. “Some of the drugs that are approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] … can function in certain contexts to cause the death of the newly developing human embryo, not only before implantation, but also after implantation,” Snead said. “There is not just a religious liberty objection to the mandate. There is also what I will call a pro-life objection because it includes these kinds of drugs that have embryo side effects.” Snead said HHS authorized an exemption n Aug. 3, 2011 for religious employers whose purpose was to inculcate religious values, employed and served primarily people that shared its tenants and was a non-profit organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. On Jan. 20, HHS announced a one-year temporary safe harbor to allow non-exempt organizations that object to the mandate to find a way to comply, Snead said. He said HHS later announced it would develop rules that would try to satisfy non-exempt organizations by August 2013. Richard Garnett, associate dean for faculty research at the Law School, said the HHS mandate is a threat to the religious freedom of minority groups. “The religious freedom of … communities like Notre Dame is not just the freedom to avoid being coerced into doing evil … [but] to bear witness of the truth of the faith and to act with integrity and to act coherently in accord with their Catholic character as they understand it,” he said. Garnett said the mandate potentially violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment by exempting some religious believers but not others. He said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires the government to identify a compelling reason for imposing a burden on religious groups. “Sometimes a democracy like ours, with ideals like ours, accommodates religious freedom even when it doesn’t have to,” Garnett said. “In this case, it seems to me, the better policy … would be to provide a broader religious freedom exemption to the preventative services mandate.” Even if such an accommodation was made, the exemption would still be very narrow, Garnett said. “To have that narrow exemption codified in our regulatory apparatus, it’s like leaving a loaded gun around for a kid to pick up,” he said. Lisa Everett, co-director of the Office of Family Life of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said the Obama administration flouted the principle of equal protection under the law by exempting certain groups and not others. “The conviction of those currently in power that contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs constitute essential preventive services that enhance the health of women … in the administration’s mind … trumps any right that religious employers might have to refuse to pay for such essential services,” she said. Everett said pregnancy is not a disease and many contraceptives are actually dangerous to women’s health. “We call on President Obama and our representatives in Congress to allow religious institutions and individuals to continue to witness to the faith and all its fullness, conscious that it is precisely this faith that protects the dignity of women,” she said. Gabby Speach, a senior and member of Notre Dame Right to Life, said female advocates of the mandate have charged to oppose it is to wage a war on women. But contraception cannot properly be called health care, she said. “Based on our standard conception of health, then fertility and pregnancy cannot be considered diseases that need a cure, and contraceptives are not medicines that cure fertility and pregnancy,” she said. Speach said contraception is easily accessible through drugstores, doctors and in some states, through Medicaid. She said it is also available at religious institutions for non-contraceptive reasons. “If you need contraception for a medically necessary reason that’s not a contraceptive reason, you can get it here [at Notre Dame],” Speach said. “To say that opposing the mandate is a war on women is to twist the rhetoric.” Everett said HHS could develop a policy allowing religious institutions to act in accord with their moral principles. “To me, one possibility would be to have employers offer insurance coverage for family planning methods that are in accord with their moral principles,” she said. Contact Marisa Iati at [email protected] read more

Foundation supports particle physics program

first_imgFifteen years ago, physics professor Randy Ruchti started the QuarkNet Center at Notre Dame to develop an interest in particle physics among students and provide research opportunities for high school teachers across the country. Now, professor Mitchell Wayne and the University run the national QuarkNet program, currently comprised of 50 centers nationwide involving more than 500 high school teachers. As a result of its growth and progress, the National Science Foundation awarded the Department of Physics a $6.1 million gift to support the educational program. “It’s important to receive funding from the government to continue research and do broader education outreach to bring the excitement of physics to high school students and teachers,” Wayne, the program’s principal investigator, said. Local high school teachers meet every week at Notre Dame’s QuarkNet Center on Eddy Street to discuss curriculum development, methods for bringing research into the classroom and ways to get their students excited about science. These teachers and students collaborate each year to conduct research at the center. Wayne said one of the two detectors that discovered the groundbreaking Higgs boson particle has components built by local high school teachers and students working with Notre Dame professors and students in the lab. “I’ve seen some of our local students really get excited about scientific research and go on to do well in science fairs and decide to study physics in college,” Wayne said. “A couple years ago, we saw the first of our QuarkNet students receive a Ph.D. in physics who began as a high school junior in our lab. It’s great to see the local teachers get involved, conduct research and get excited about physics.” Last December, the University submitted a proposal to receive an additional five years of funding, Wayne said. “We then had a joint review with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., during the springtime,” he said. “We were officially notified a few weeks ago of this award.” Wayne said the department will use the $6.1 million award to support other QuarkNet centers through stipends. “It all goes to helping our staff to provide help and support to high school teachers across the country,” he said. Education and outreach are important pillars of the department’s mission, Wayne said. “It’s really important for Notre Dame to be giving back to the community, especially in S.T.E.M. [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] areas,” Wayne said. “Our center provides professional development for local high school physics teachers and helps get students interested in the subject.”last_img read more

Tuition increases by 3.8 percent

first_imgObserver Staff Report Undergraduate tuition will increase to $44,605 for the 2013-14 academic year, according to a Feb. 13 University press release. The rise in tuition amounts to a 3.8 percent increase over the current cost, an uptick consistent with the previous three years’ tuition rate increases. This 3.8 rate of increase is the lowest since 1960. Including average on-campus room and board rates of $12,512, total student charges for next year tuition will be an estimated $57,117. The release paraphrased University President Fr. John Jenkins’ statement in a recent letter to parents of returning students. “Fr. Jenkins wrote that Notre Dame seeks to return the highest value for the students’ educational investment. He said new resources will help Notre Dame grow in areas such as internships, study abroad programs and undergraduate research,” the release stated. Jenkins pointed to a high four-year graduation rate, average salaries and average satisfaction from post-graduate surveysas metrics proving the tuition to be a worthwhile investment. In the statement, Jenkins assured students the University will make the best use of these funds to continue to offer an excellent education and experience. “We are committed to careful stewardship of the University’s resources so that we may offer your student the best possible educational experience and prepare them well for life beyond Notre Dame,” Jenkins said.last_img read more

ND seniors react to commencement speaker

first_imgCardinal Timothy Dolan will deliver the Commencement address to the Class of 2013, and the selection has prompted seniors to reflect on Dolan’s relevance to the student body and his ability to successfully connect with them. Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will receive an honorary degree from the University at the May 19 ceremony in Notre Dame Stadium. Senior Jason Kippenbock said he is thrilled by the selection because Dolan’s charismatic personality and intellectual background make him an ideal fit for the event. “When [Dolan] speaks, he has always emphasized how important it is to live out your faith fearlessly and not back down, like the way he lead the bishops’ opposition to the health care mandate,” Kippenbock said. “I’d expect his message to us as graduates of America’s greatest Catholic institution would be to not back down, and to use our gifts and our strengths to live out the gospel.” Senior Camille Suarez said she initially reacted negatively to the announcement because she doesn’t believe Dolan is the most relevant selection for the class. “I feel like this choice isn’t perfect for this moment,” Suarez said. “I was hoping Notre Dame would use this opportunity to kind of move the University forward, and I think this might be setting us back a couple steps.” Suarez said she hopes Dolan will present an image of the Church that is relevant and accessible to her and her classmates. “I hope he talks about Catholic Social Teaching because I think that’s one image of the Catholic Church that needs to be promoted,” Suarez said. “I hope he makes a call to the graduating student body and encourages us to use our [Notre Dame] degrees to promote Catholic Social Teaching and help the poor and suffering.” Senior Katie Pryor said she is excited to hear Dolan’s speech because he is a prominent figure in both the Catholic Church and the world, as demonstrated by his mention in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of the World in 2012. “When I heard Cardinal Dolan would be the commencement speaker, I was very pleased with the decision,” Pryor said. “He is not just another Cardinal but a Cardinal that actually has a lot of substance in his views and beliefs and a lot of wonderful things to say.” With the ongoing discussions about the next pope, Pryor said Dolan is an “especially exciting” choice because he is a member of the Church hierarchy. “Cardinal Dolan is even one of the people being talked about for pope, showing the great importance he has worldwide in the Catholic Church,” she said. Seniors Julia Kohn and Rachel Chisausky said while Dolan is a prominent leader, they are concerned the speech would be relevant only to students that identify as conservative Catholics, leaving others disappointed. “I took a moment to look him up before I formed an opinion … and everything I’ve read seems to indicate that he appears to have a political agenda rather than just being a religious figure, and I don’t agree with any of the views that his agenda suggests,” Kohn said. “I just don’t know what he’s going to talk about that’s going to be that relevant to my beliefs and opinions.” Chisausky said she hopes Dolan’s speech is not “homily style” and that it doesn’t alienate non-religious students. “I was disappointed, because I don’t really know much about him but I’m not Catholic or really religious at all,” she said. “I just hope [his speech] is very open and applies to every student in the graduating body and not just to religious people.” Kohn said if the University wanted a “famous” speaker, they should have sought a more relatable figure. “For a school the caliber of Notre Dame, that has the name recognition of Notre Dame, I feel like we could have gotten someone really exciting,” Kohn said. “I don’t know that Cardinal Dolan is as relevant to everyone as a different famous person would be.” Senior Colin Campbell said he understands there isn’t a speaker who can please everyone, but he is personally excited by the University’s decision to give Dolan a platform from which many will hear him. “I hope Cardinal Dolan helps us to understand the gifts that we have been given through our four years at Notre Dame and then provides motivation and support as we carry those blessings with us and walk out of that football tunnel for the last time,” Campbell said. Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected],Cardinal Timothy Dolan will deliver the Commencement address to the Class of 2013, and the selection has prompted seniors to reflect on Dolan’s relevance to the student body and his ability to successfully connect with them. Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will receive an honorary degree from the University at the May 19 ceremony in Notre Dame Stadium. Senior Jason Kippenbock said he is thrilled by the selection because Dolan’s charismatic personality and intellectual background make him an ideal fit for the event. “When [Dolan] speaks, he has always emphasized how important it is to live out your faith fearlessly and not back down, like the way he lead the bishops’ opposition to the health care mandate,” Kippenbock said. “I’d expect his message to us as graduates of America’s greatest Catholic institution would be to not back down, and to use our gifts and our strengths to live out the gospel.” Senior Camille Suarez said she initially reacted negatively to the announcement because she doesn’t believe Dolan is the most relevant selection for the class. “I feel like this choice isn’t perfect for this moment,” Suarez said. “I was hoping Notre Dame would use this opportunity to kind of move the University forward, and I think this might be setting us back a couple steps.” Suarez said she hopes Dolan will present an image of the Church that is relevant and accessible to her and her classmates. “I hope he talks about Catholic Social Teaching because I think that’s one image of the Catholic Church that needs to be promoted,” Suarez said. “I hope he makes a call to the graduating student body and encourages us to use our [Notre Dame] degrees to promote Catholic Social Teaching and help the poor and suffering.” Senior Katie Pryor said she is excited to hear Dolan’s speech because he is a prominent figure in both the Catholic Church and the world, as demonstrated by his mention in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of the World in 2012. “When I heard Cardinal Dolan would be the commencement speaker, I was very pleased with the decision,” Pryor said. “He is not just another Cardinal but a Cardinal that actually has a lot of substance in his views and beliefs and a lot of wonderful things to say.” With the ongoing discussions about the next pope, Pryor said Dolan is an “especially exciting” choice because he is a member of the Church hierarchy. “Cardinal Dolan is even one of the people being talked about for pope, showing the great importance he has worldwide in the Catholic Church,” she said. Seniors Julia Kohn and Rachel Chisausky said while Dolan is a prominent leader, they are concerned the speech would be relevant only to students that identify as conservative Catholics, leaving others disappointed. “I took a moment to look him up before I formed an opinion … and everything I’ve read seems to indicate that he appears to have a political agenda rather than just being a religious figure, and I don’t agree with any of the views that his agenda suggests,” Kohn said. “I just don’t know what he’s going to talk about that’s going to be that relevant to my beliefs and opinions.” Chisausky said she hopes Dolan’s speech is not “homily style” and that it doesn’t alienate non-religious students. “I was disappointed, because I don’t really know much about him but I’m not Catholic or really religious at all,” she said. “I just hope [his speech] is very open and applies to every student in the graduating body and not just to religious people.” Kohn said if the University wanted a “famous” speaker, they should have sought a more relatable figure. “For a school the caliber of Notre Dame, that has the name recognition of Notre Dame, I feel like we could have gotten someone really exciting,” Kohn said. “I don’t know that Cardinal Dolan is as relevant to everyone as a different famous person would be.” Senior Colin Campbell said he understands there isn’t a speaker who can please everyone, but he is personally excited by the University’s decision to give Dolan a platform from which many will hear him. “I hope Cardinal Dolan helps us to understand the gifts that we have been given through our four years at Notre Dame and then provides motivation and support as we carry those blessings with us and walk out of that football tunnel for the last time,” Campbell said. Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]last_img read more

‘Try to heal, try to forgive’

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the second installment in a two-part series discussing two South Bend families’ experiences with the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in light of Notre Dame’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of this tragedy, to take place April 26. Read the first installment here.Photo courtesy of Marie Rose Gatete During the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis, in which more than one million people were killed in 100 days, South Bend residents Marie Rose Gatete and Gaetan Gatete, who both grew up in Rwanda, learned of the deaths of most of their close family members over the phone.Gaetan Gatete said most Rwandans living in the United States during the genocide were plagued with uncertainty and relied on secondhand information about their loved ones back home.“I had a sister who was living in Kigali, and that’s where the genocide started,” he said. “I don’t really know the exact time when she died, but I think it was in the first two days of the beginning of the genocide. I don’t remember how I heard the news of how she died, probably from a friend, but I know she died within a day because where she lived was very close to the military compound.“My brother was living close to the airport, so he got killed. I don’t know the exact time but probably within two days.”His parents, who lived in the south of the country, survived for longer than his siblings but could not escape the killers, Gaetan Gatete said.“They tried a couple times to escape, but unfortunately they couldn’t,” he said. “They were stopped and returned to their home. But the whole village … protected them for three months because people loved them. The whole village loved them. Unfortunately, they didn’t protect them until the end.“I don’t know who killed them. People were coming from some other areas, and it’s hard to know what happened because people don’t want to talk because they’re scared of being arrested because they probably participated.”Marie Rose Gatete said she kept in touch with her sister over the phone until she died.“I remember the last time I spoke with my sister before she died, before they killed her,” she said. “I was asking her why they can’t try to get out of the country because they called me on Easter. That was the last time. They called me to wish me a happy Easter. And I said, ‘Why can’t you please try to get out of the country?’“And she said, ‘No. It’s hard. I guess we are ready to die, but we are afraid that they’re going to kill the children this time.’ They had the feeling already.”Marie Rose Gatete’s young nieces and nephews were killed, and she said that was the hardest news to receive.“Even though you’re seeing tears, I’m a very happy person,” she said. “I have no grudges against these people. It’s just the tears of those memories that I wish I had with my parents. I wish I had my nephews and my niece who died too young, at 10 years old, four years old, five years old. Now, they would’ve been like 20, graduating from college. Why were their lives cut short?”Tutsis had been persecuted in Rwanda for decades before the 1994 genocide, and Marie Rose Gatete said she grew up in fear of ethnic-based violence.“My father was killed in what I can call pre-genocide training [in 1990] because … the real genocide happened in 1994, but the killings of the Tutsis started way back,” she said. “In 1959, they killed people. I lost my grandparents in 1959. In 1973, they killed more Tutsis. In 1973, we tried to flee the country, and we were arrested at the border, beaten up.“We came back. They threw my dad in jail. They left my mother with my siblings and my brother, and my younger brother was a year old. They beat him up, so we thought he was dead, and we got home. They had sold our house. The government took possession of all our belongings.”Because of her family’s history, Marie Rose Gatete said her father encouraged her to study in the United States to avoid the dangers in Rwanda.“I remember that [my father] was telling us that he would do anything to help us get out of the country, to help us get education and hopefully have a better life without fear of being killed, being tortured ⎯ what we went through when we were young kids,” she said. “When he passed away, I wanted to keep the legacy I told you about hard working and just keeping my faith. … It was during the hardest time in my life, during the genocide, when I was calling, and they were telling me, ‘This one died. Your sister died. Your aunts ⎯ they died. Your nephew died. Most of the family members.’“But I keep hearing my parents, my mother and my father, echoing in my ears, ‘You can’t give up,’ because there were times when I felt that I was about to give up. But I kept telling myself, ‘You can’t give up, because if you give up, you will let your parents down.’ And I can’t do it. Basically people who are killing my family, they want all of us to die. So if I give up, I will really accomplish what they wanted us to be: dead people.”Marie Rose Gatete and Gaetan Gatete met while studying at Indiana University South Bend, and in 1999, Marie Rose Gatete graduated from the executive MBA program at Notre Dame. Since then, the couple has been active in the local and national Rwandan community, and Gaetan Gatete said he serves as the president of the Rwandan Diaspora in the United States.“Our role [at the Rwandan Diaspora] is to coordinate all those Rwandan areas [in the United States], to teach them to try to promote their activities so, in the end, we get a better Rwandan community … [to] promote the culture and promote peace and transformation in our country and to make the community better and to link our country to the U.S.A., which is a big role that the Diaspora plays.”Part of their responsibility is to share their strength with others and to emphasize their faith, Marie Rose Gatete said.“I came to the point where I truly believe that God will never tempt us beyond our limit,” she said. “He knows better than anybody else what we can handle. If He accepted that I go through this, that I have nightmares sometimes, flashbacks of things I saw on TV, of things I heard from my own sister, my own friends, my people, it’s because He knows that I have the strength to move on and also I have the strength to use that pain as a stepping stone to a better, hopeful life, to not use those as roadblocks to so many things, and also he knows that I have the passion of trying to make peace and trying to really love people.“He allowed me to go through that so I can even be stronger so my sister, who lost everybody during the genocide, can lean on me, and she can cry on me, that my brother who lost parents when he was young can say, ‘I know that I have a strong sister.’ My other sister can say, ‘ I know I have a strong sister.’ My husband, who lost every single person, including parents, can lean on me.”Gaetan Gatete said he is grateful to have survived the genocide and believes his life has a particular purpose.“Fortunately God gave us a way to leave the country,” he said. “I’m sure if we were in Rwanda, we would’ve all been killed. So there’s a reason why we’re here, and there’s a reason why we survived.“And I think once you come to terms with what happened and you accept it, then you try to make meaning out of it, and the meaning is to make this world better. And that’s why, whatever we do, we question ourselves why we exist.”To help others heal, the Gatetes organized a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Washington D.C. on April 7 that featured survivor testimonies and a speech from someone whose parents survived the Holocaust, Marie Rose Gatete said.As the world remembers the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Marie Rose Gatete said it is important to recognize how far the country has come since then.“The bad leadership from before genocide had divided us,” she said. “We had those ID cards that were saying, ‘You are Tutsi,’ ‘You are Hutu,’ and those were like a guide to who should die, who should get school, who should be allowed to university.“But now, the end of the leadership was the genocide, killing people. And now, the good leadership is the leadership that came in and said, ‘People died. People killed. But we are all Rwandans. Let’s put aside that division, what divides us, and embark on a journey where we are all Rwandans, where we can walk together and try to rebuild the country and move on with our lives, try to heal, try to forgive.’” Tags: 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda, Tutsislast_img read more

University releases schedule of events to celebrate Fr. Hesburgh

first_imgA week of events on campus will celebrate the life of University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, according to an email sent to students today from Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president of student affairs.A major memorial tribute will be held Wednesday at Purcell Pavilion, and tickets will be available for students Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. in Stepan Center. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis and there is a limit of one ticket per student, the email said.On Monday, the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be held in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The Basilica will be open for a night of remembrance and prayer from 7 to 9 p.m., the email said.Public visitation will be open to all who wish to pay respects to Fr. Hesburgh on Tuesday from 12 to 6 p.m. and Wednesday morning from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m., according to the email. Undergraduate students will have designated visitation hours based on their residence halls, but students are not restricted to these specific hours, the email said. Hoffmann Harding advised that all other public visitation hours could have a lengthy line for entry and asked that attendees allow time to clear security and proceed through the Basilica.An invitation-only wake service will be held in the Basilica on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., the email said, but will be live-streamed on the web and to various locations on campus.Classes at Notre Dame will be canceled Wednesday after at 12:20 for the funeral Mass and memorial service.A traditional Holy Cross funeral Mass will be held for Fr. Hesburgh on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the email said. The Mass will be invitation-only but will also be live-streamed on the web and to various locations on campus.Following the Mass, there will be a procession from the Basilica to the Holy Cross Community Cemetery. Students are encouraged to line the path the procession will take to pay their final respects to Fr. Hesburgh, the email said. Students will be receiving instructions from their residence halls to meet and participate in the event together, according to the email, while other students can gather on Bond Quad before the end of the funeral Mass to walk to the procession.The ticketed memorial tribute will take place Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion and will be streamed live online and to various campus locations, the email said.According to the email, graduate, professional and post-doctoral students will be able to watch the live-stream of the wake service, funeral Mass and memorial tribute in DeBartolo Hall, room 141. All students are able to watch the events live in the LaFortune Student Center main lounge and in their respective residence halls, the email said. Graduate students who reside in the Fischer O’Hara Grace Community Center can watch the live-streams of the events in the Fischer O’Hara Grace Community Center, the email said. University Village residents can watch the events in the Beichner Community Center, the email said. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are invited to watch the funeral Mass and memorial tribute live from the Compton Family Ice Arena, according to the email.For more information on the memorial events, visit http://hesburgh.nd.eduTags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, celebration, Compton Family Ice Arena, Funeral, Hesburgh, LaFortune Student Center, Mass, memorial, Purcell Pavilion, Remembrance, tributelast_img read more

Right to Life looks to expand campus activities

first_imgANNMARIE SOLLER | The Observer Members of Right to Life gather on campus for the March for Life rally last January after canceling its annual trip to Washington, D.C. for the national event due to weather. The group hopes to attend this year’s rally, as well as put on a number of other events.The leadership of Notre Dame Right to Life — which, with over a thousand members, is one of the largest campus organizations— is hard at work spreading the club’s mission throughout the community, recruiting new members and planning new events to be held throughout the year.Senior president Aly Cox said the club’s primary goal for the year is to educate community members about what constitutes being pro-life, starting with a series of panel discussions about pro-life values.“This year, our largest goal for Right to Life is to really concretely teach our club members, primarily, but also all of wider campus, what it really means to be pro-life and all the issues that go alongside that,” she said.Cox said the club will also continue its  “You Are Loved” campaign, an event Cox started last year that brought various organizations such as GreeND and Junior Class Council together through mutual interest.“It was a week-long campaign of working with other clubs who do some sort of work involving human dignity. We were highlighting the work they do to the rest of campus and showing each other that we share a common mission of upholding human dignity,” she said. “It was a really wonderful way to engage with people on campus. We kind of looked at [the fact that] all Notre Dame students are passionate about something, and I think that a lot of us have similar motivations of wanting to care for people who are marginalized, or suffering, or who have a condition or somehow don’t fit into the normal mold.”While students might immediately associate the club with its anti-abortion stance, it is hoping to attract more students at the upcoming Activities Fair who might be pro-life in broader ways, such as those who care about immigration, education or abolishment of the death penalty, Cox said.“We want to make sure all the materials we present really show what our whole club is about [so that] people don’t just come up to sign up for the March for Life and call it a day, because we really want more involvement in our club on a week-to-week basis,” Cox said. “So we’re trying to reorient some of our materials for the Activities Fair and especially our opening meeting at the beginning of the [year] to be more representative of what we stand for.”The club keeps anyone who wants to be an active participant involved through smaller commissions that give students “creative influence” over events on and off campus, Cox said.“We have our [executive] board that does a lot of the big-picture planning, and then we have 19 commissions that run individual projects year-round,” she said. “Instead of a small group of people controlling all the events, we give a lot of creative power over to the commissioners. … I think that most of our members fit into one of these commissions really well, or they’ll pick one or two that they’re really passionate about and they can really jump into one issue or one project.”Cox said anyone who feels strongly about any aspect of human dignity is welcome to collaborate with Right to Life in various ways.“We really want to show campus that we’re a welcoming community,” she said. “… We’re competent in our beliefs, we’re open to hearing new ideas and we want to collaborate with other people. Even if we don’t share all of the same opinions, we want to collaborate with you on where we do stand together.”Tags: Aly Cox, March for Life, Pro-life, Right to Life, YOU ARE LOVEDlast_img read more

Therapy dogs help students unwind before finals

first_imgIn addition to the warm weather, students were drawn to North Quad on Wednesday by eight therapy dogs from Therapy Dogs International as part of the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being’s (McWell) “Paws to Relax” event.Assistant director for student well-being at McWell Katrina Conrad said the dogs at these regular events help students to relax and discharge stress, particularly at times such as the middle and end of a semester.“Knowing that finals are approaching, we wanted to provide an opportunity for student stress relief, and spending time with dogs is a great way to do so,” Conrad said. “Therapy dogs are natural vehicles for providing support and companionship to students.”The new initiative this year was inspired by Notre Dame students’ general love for dogs, Conrad said.“We have noticed that many students light up when they see dogs on campus, and we’ve had countless students approach our office about having therapy dogs on campus more often,” Conrad said. “We hope that it’s an event that gets students excited and supports their well-being.”Conrad said the events were also inspired by the growing popularity of therapy dogs at similar events on campuses across the country.“Therapy dogs visiting college campuses seems to be a rising trend,” she said. “There has indeed been research on the effects that this has on students related to how they can lower perceived stress levels.”So far, the event has attracted 472 students and staff members in total, according to the McWell Center, who gather on North Quad to pat, hug and scratch these therapy dogs. Senior Chris Maheu said he was attracted to the event because it reminded him of his own pets back home.“It was really cool [and] I maybe miss my dog at home,” he said. “For exam week I have four projects to do, so it’s a good break before I start getting ready for all that.”While students were energized by the event, therapy dog owner Ben Rose said the therapy dogs were also having a good time interacting with students.“Chance loves to come hang out with people,” Rose said of his dog. “He loves the atmosphere and getting pats. Most of the time he visits at the Memorial Hospital. Once a week he goes there and visits patients and staff.”The McWell Center has also taken extra considerations for the safety of both the dogs and the students, Conrad said.“We have chosen to work with certified therapy dogs because of all the extra training that they receive in order to become certified,” she said. “Their owners will be with them at all times and they are trained to be in this type of situation. When the dogs go to volunteer in the community, they wear a special bandana that helps them realize they are ‘going to work’ and not to just play.”Tags: McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, McWell, Paws to Relax, stress relief, therapy dogslast_img read more