ND works to reduce food waste

first_imgNotre Dame students cleaned their plates yesterday on the first Waste-Free Wednesday to reduce the 1.25 tons of food wasted each day in campus dining halls, student Food Services representative Elizabeth Davis said. “At Notre Dame, we are currently wasting 6.27 ounces per meal,” Davis said. Students who present a clean plate with no wasted leftovers during dinner on Wednesdays in November will be entered into a raffle to win 100 Flex Points. Food Services, the Office of Sustainability and student government teamed up to bring Waste-Free Wednesdays and the Holy Cross Harvest food drive together under the eND Hunger campaign. They hope to make students more aware of how their food choices affect others, Davis said. During Energy Awareness Week earlier in the year, Davis and other student volunteers physically scraped the plates and emptied cups after meals at North and South Dining Halls. The volunteers weighed the wasted food and liquid to find exact numbers for waste at Notre Dame. Davis said the volunteers will return to the dining halls on ­­Nov. 17 to weigh leftovers again and see if the earlier statistics improved after Waste-Free Wednesdays. The figures collected from the dining halls include liquid waste. “A lot of people do not realize that liquid is a waste,” Davis said. “It was interesting to see how fast everything accumulates.” Plate waste and unusable leftovers from the dining hall are sent through a garbage disposal and then a waste treatment facility, William Yarbrough, associate director of Food Services operations, said. “The best thing that could happen would be for diners to take only what they could eat or drink and eliminate most of the food waste,” Yarbrough said. “Many beverages are costly too, such as milk and juices.” Leftover cooked food that is not used in the dining halls and does not need to be thrown away is donated to the Hope Rescue Mission and the Center for the Homeless in South Bend, Yarbrough said. “If we used less food because diners were not throwing away 6.27 ounces each meal we would purchase and prepare less food, which would save a significant amount in dollars spent for food each year,” Yarbrough said. Taking less food to begin a meal at the dining hall and going back for more later is a simple way to be conscious of the waste that will remain at the end of the meal, Davis said. The Holy Cross Harvest food drive also kicked off yesterday for students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s as another part of eND Hunger, Beth Simpson, chair of student government’s eND Hunger campaign, said. “I think combined with eND hunger as well as the Holy Cross Harvest food drive we can make a unified approach to this issue,” Davis said. “Working together creates a greater awareness that can be really positive.” Simpson said waste increases inequality between Notre Dame tables and the tables of those in the local community who suffer from food scarcity. “It is important not to devalue the reality that one plate does make a difference,” Simpson said. “Our personal consumption choices can make an impact on the grand scale.” The vision for the Holy Cross Harvest was a more unified effort for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. “The food bank receives wonderful donations from these initiatives,” Simpson said. “But they also result in inefficiency because the food bank itself was having to dedicate a lot of time and resources to receiving the donations from these varied efforts.” Students can place non-perishable items and toiletries in collection boxes in their dorms until Nov. 17. The Food Bank of Northern Indiana requested toiletries as a donation because food stamps cannot help families purchase those items, Simpson said. Student government will also set up tables for Domer Dollar donations during the last week of the drive in the LaFortune Student Center. “One dollar makes seven meals for the food bank,” Simpson said. “Even a small monetary donation makes a huge impact.” The food, toiletries and money will be presented to the food bank during a concluding rally on campus Nov. 17. “The Office of Sustainability also said they would match with $300 if we raise $300 in donations,” Davis said. “We could potentially donate $600 dollars to the food bank if enough people participate, which translates into 4,200 meals.” These meals could serve people living on the West Side of South Bend, the targeted area for the eND Hunger campaign. “The food drive is an immediate manner for students to contribute to the community and help alleviate food scarcity,” Simpson said. “This problem is especially acute during the holiday season when income can be tighter than ever.” Social concerns chair Patrick McCormick said Notre Dame students can use the campaign to guarantee the right to food in local neighborhoods especially during the holidays. “We wanted to really bring the eND hunger campaign to people,” McCormick said. “We can see it in the dorms and in the dining halls where we eat and in our community. We wanted to cover all the bases.” Students from the eND Hunger campaign will attend their second meeting with members of the local community on Nov. 19 to discuss how to best target food scarcity in the West Side of South Bend. “Many individuals receive the food that is extra from what we do not consume,” Simpson said. “As a result, they are not getting what is best nutritionally and they are not able to make healthy food choices because of the injustice in the food system.” The campaign’s goals were not to attack a huge issue like world hunger, but to begin fighting against that issue in the University’s neighborhood. “Our hope is that this hunger campaign demonstrates the potential of community engagement on the local level,” McCormick said. “We can confront food scarcity there to fight for justice.”last_img read more

Apple Store opens in Mishawaka mall

first_imgFor the many students who own MacBooks, iPhones and other Apple products, the brand-new Apple Store at University Park Mall will be a welcome addition to the South Bend area and Notre Dame community. The store, which opened at 10 a.m. Saturday, is only the second Apple Store to open in Indiana, joining the technology giant’s Indianapolis retail location. The new location will provide students with a geographically closer option for purchasing and repairing Apple products than the Chicago location, which was previously the closest Apple Store to Notre Dame. Several students said they believed the arrival of an Apple Store in the South Bend area was inevitable, if late in coming. “I personally think it was long overdue,” sophomore Kristin Ruekert said. “I can’t believe the closest one before was in Chicago.” Sophomore Meredith Angell expressed similar views on the store’s recent opening and the services it will be able to offer to Notre Dame students. “I’m surprised there wasn’t already an Apple Store around here because so many students have Apple computers,” Angell, a Mac owner, said. “I’m excited because I’ll be able to go there to get my computer fixed or ask questions about any problems I have.” Although the Office of Information Technologies provides vendor authorized warranty repairs on Apple, Dell and IBM/Lenovo computers, according to its website, some students were unaware Apple computers were included in OIT’s repair expertise. “I didn’t even know I could take my Mac to OIT to get it fixed if needed,” Angell said. “Now that there’s an Apple Store nearby, I would definitely take it there if anything happens.” Sophomore Maddie Smierciak said having an Apple Store close to campus was a factor in deciding which computer to buy prior to her freshman year. “When I bought a computer, I looked into whether or not South Bend had an Apple Store, and I was initially apprehensive about buying a Mac because there wasn’t one,” Smierciak said. “It makes me happy that the store opened because it gives me confidence that there is someone certified to handle Apple products nearby if anything happened.” The convenience of the new location in case of technological emergencies was also important to sophomore Mac owner Colleen Bailey. “I think the Apple Store will be a handy resource in case my computer breaks in the future,” Bailey said. Although the store is located a few miles from campus, Ruekert said the off-campus location of the Apple Store may hinder some students from bringing their computers there for repairs. “Students that don’t have cars probably won’t bring their computers on the bus with them to the mall,” Ruekert said. “I’m guessing a lot of students will still take their Apple computers to OIT if they have problems.” Sophomore Mac owner Tylor Gauger said he thought OIT’s Apple repair customer numbers would not change much as a result of the new store opening nearby. “I think it’s a good thing for the South Bend community, but I don’t think it will play a huge role for students because a lot of people will still take their computers to the well-learned Mac specialists at OIT for free,” Gauger said. “It would make more of a difference for purchasing Apple products.” Although she does not own an Apple computer, sophomore Betsy McGovern said she is interested in purchasing other Apple products from the new store location in the future. “I would definitely rather buy a new iPod there than have to wait to get one when I go back home,” McGovern said. “It will be way more convenient for people to get their iPods fixed there as well.” Smierciak also noted the prevalence of iPod-related issues among students and the fact that iPod repair locations were few and far between before the new store opened. “OIT can’t really fix your iPod if it breaks, and it’s a common problem for a lot of students,” Smierciak said. “The new store will be awesome for students who have iPod problems.” The “Go Irish Jobs” section of the Notre Dame Career Center website is currently advertising job openings for students at the Mishawaka Apple Store location and at locations across the country.last_img read more

Senior studies local ecology

first_imgWhile many students interned with businesses to advance their careers or traveled to sunny beaches for vacation this summer, senior Allison Zandarski completed biological research and presented it at a conference in Alaska.   Zandarski and Amy Gillan, assistant professor of teacher education, collaborated over the summer on research, experiments and investigations as part of their Student Independent Study and Research (SISTAR) grant. Awarded in the spring, the grant pairs a faculty member and a student to work on a scholarly or creative project together. Zandarski said the SISTAR grant facilitated a great summer learning experience that will prove valuable beyond her time at Saint Mary’s. “I learned that no matter how crazy or impossible your dream seems you have to be faithful and diligent in order to achieve it,” she said. “Dr. Gillan has helped me to understand that no matter the odds, you have to do what makes you happy or else you’re almost guaranteed to be the opposite.” A biology major, Zandarski was awarded the grant to analyze and study the potential restoration of a freshwater lake near Saint Mary’s and document the pair’s collaborative efforts and findings. “Allison studied a nearby lake from an ecological stance and I documented her work in order to create video-supported curricula to support a ‘flipped classroom’ model of science education,” said Gillan. The grant, which stipulates the recipients must spend eight weeks during the summer between the student’s junior and senior year researching a scholarly project, also gave Zandarski and Gillan the opportunity to travel in June when the pair flew to Alaska to present their research at the National Marine Educators Conference. Zandarski and Gillan said the trip to Alaska was the highlight of their SISTAR experience. “Traveling to Alaska was definitely my favorite part,” Zandarski said. “Dr. Gillan and I got to see a lot of the Alaskan countryside and do a lot of fun stuff like hiking, biking and climbing glaciers. It was so great and I got to learn a lot about marine life and how we affect the environment.” Gillan said the trip was a one-of-a-kind experience that strengthened her bond with Zandarski. “Our trip to Alaska to present our research at the National Marine Educators Conference in June was the icing on the cake,” she said. “We started out with a great working relationship that morphed into a friendship that will last a lifetime.” Despite their strong working relationship and productive trip to Alaska, Gillan and Zandarski both said the summer was not without its problems. “The physical work at the lake was by far the most challenging aspect,” said Gillan. “It was hot and dirty work – shoveling the lake muck, siphoning lake water with a cantankerous gas-powered pump and hauling the 12 horse troughs that we used for the microcosms.” But Zandarski said she refused to allow these setbacks to ruin her summer or negatively impact her work by maintaining a positive attitude. “My motto for the summer was ‘Just keep testing,’” she said. “Truly the way I over came the many discouragements was just by staying positive and organized.”last_img read more

Professor forms reading group

first_imgStudents and faculty members eager to learn about a rapidly growing style of reporting will find an outlet in the literary journalism reading group, which meets for the first time today. Josh Roiland,  visiting assistant professor of American Studies, said he formed the club to facilitate discussion about this type of journalism, which takes the form of a short story or novel. The reading group aims to meet every two weeks and will eventually switch to convening early Friday afternoons, Roiland said. It will have no attendance requirement. Roiland said he developed the idea for the group while he was teaching a course called “Literary Journalism in America” at Case Western Reserve University. “Students really responded well to the readings to the point that several told me they were continuing to read certain authors like David Foster Wallace over the summer and have conversations with each other on Facebook about these readings,” Roiland said. “So I thought I would give that interest some organization and started the group.” The club began with 10 people and grew to more than 40 students, faculty and staff members by the end of the year, Roiland said. “It was pretty remarkable, and I attribute it all to the compelling nature of these stories,” he said. “It’s just such a different experience to be reading something that feels like a short story or novel, but know that it’s been thoroughly reported and is 100 percent accurate.” The literary journalism reading group at Notre Dame will seek to provide a similar structure for the growing interest in this new form of reporting, Roiland said. The club currently consists of 24 students and faculty members. Sophomore John Pratt said he signed up for the reading group after developing a fascination with literary journalism in Roiland’s class last fall. “It has a stronger story-like feel, while still remaining true to journalistic standards of accuracy,” Pratt said. “One of the aspects of literary journalism that excites me most is the fact that the personality of the author can come through very strongly as a result of the symbolism, character development and story-like features that are prominent.” Group members will read many contemporary pieces of writing, Roiland said. The club will look at work by John Jeremiah Sullivan, Susan Orlean and Joan Didion, among others. Roiland said he is open to suggestions about works to read and topics to discuss. “We’ll talk about whatever anyone wants to talk about, whether it’s formal themes, structures, and techniques in the writing, to questions about the reporting, to just whether or not we like it,” he said. “It’s completely open and laid back. The goal is to make people feel comfortable talking about whatever they find interesting, confusing or infuriating.” Pieces of literary journalism are compelling examples of storytelling, Roiland said. They have an untraditional structure and do not follow the classic reporting style of giving the important facts first. “These stories show that you can be a journalist and a writer, that you can be creative and accurate,” Roiland said. “And for students who do not want to be journalists but do enjoy studying the news media, this is an emerging field of study in English and communications departments, and it could spark an interest for further study after Notre Dame.” Senior Ben Zelmer said taking Roiland’s Literary Journalism in America class last fall gave him an appreciation for the literary genre of journalism. “Literary journalism is a unique form of writing that offers fascinating perspectives on issues and topics that are often not available through traditional journalism,” Zelmer said. “I’m looking forward to reading more fascinating pieces in the reading group and hearing thoughts and impressions from students and faculty in a group setting.” Roiland said he helped six former students at Case Western create a panel about undergraduate experiences with literary journalism for the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies. The panel participated in a conference in Toronto and was given the designation of “President’s Panel” by Professor Alice Donat Trindade from Universidade Técnica de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal. “The panel was the highlight of the conference, and really, the highlight of my teaching career,” he said. “Those students got to meet all of the literary journalism scholars they had been reading in class and citing in their papers. … And, ultimately, I’d like to replicate experiences like that here at Notre Dame.”last_img read more

ND names honorees

first_imgNotre Dame will honor seven leaders in business, the Church, community outreach, education, engineering and the arts as recipients of honorary degrees from the University at its 169th commencement ceremony May 18, according to a University press release.Retired oil executive W. Douglas Ford and Harvard University professor Evelyn Hu will receive honorary doctor of engineering degrees, and biologist and higher education leader Sally Mason and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston will receive doctor of laws degrees, the release stated.Notre Dame will also honor choreographer Judith Jamison with an honorary doctorate of fine arts and surgeon and activist Ray Hammond with a degree in humane letters, according to the press release. They will join principal speaker Christopher Patten, chancellor of the University of Oxford and chair of the BBC trust, to receive their recognition, the release stated.Ford, a retired executive in the oil industry and member of the Notre Dame class of 1966, worked as chief executive of refining and marketing for British Petroleum (BP) and provided the funds to establish the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity at Notre Dame, according to the press release. He currently serves on Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees.A professor of applied physics and electrical engineering at Harvard University, Hu researches nanoscale electronic and photonic devices, according to the press release. She has developed products from her research by co-directing the California Nanosystems Institute and co-founding Cambrios and Siluria, two startup companies that develop novel materials for electronic devices.Mason, the 20th president of the University of Iowa, researches developmental biology, genetics and biochemistry of pigment cells. She has supported sustainability initiatives and fought to increase enrollment and retention at Iowa, the release stated.Dedicating his pastoral outreach to Latino and Haitian immigrants, O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston founded the Centro Catolico Hispano in Washington D.C.He currently serves on a council of eight cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to assist with Church governance and this year joins the inaugural Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, according to the press release.Artistic director emerita of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jamison led the company for 21 years, starred in a Broadway musical and founded her own dance company. She succeeded Ailey as the director of his company and established the group’s permanent home and international tour circuit, the press release stated.Hammond, “a Harvard-trained surgeon and urban community leader,” founded Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, where he serves as pastor, the press release stated. Hammond has held leadership positions with outreach groups in Boston and written papers and articles focusing on social concerns, including academic achievement and violence prevention.Patten will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree, according to a Jan. 15 University press release.Tags: Commencement, commencement honorary degrees, honorees, Staff Reportlast_img read more

Bagpipe Band enters 15th season of entertaining fans

first_imgWednesday nights, the unmistakeable sound of bagpipes echoes out of the back of Washington Hall. The Notre Dame Bagpipe Band is preparing for Saturday home football games.The band currently consists of 13 members, according to sophomore band pipe sergeant Tyler Johnson. And while the band may contain differing levels of experience, the passion that radiates off each of the members, decked out in their kilts and belts, as they lead the Irish into the stadium with their rendition of “Scotland the Brave” is undeniable. Photo courtesy of Dylan Klee The Notre Dame Bagpipe Band poses in Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 5 prior to the Texas game. “We have nine pipers and four drummers,” Johnson said. “Most bagpipers have experience, but I do some teaching with new people who want to learn. I don’t think any of the drummers have any experience with bagpipe bands.” Sophomore Allegra Wallingford, who plays snare drum for the band, said she joined this year because she loved the idea of being a part of a Notre Dame tradition.“I joined because I love playing music and wanted a way to do that while I’m here,” she said. “I also really enjoy being part of something very traditional and playing in bagpipe band makes me feel very connected to Notre Dame.” The band’s roots can date back to the early 1950s, according to their website, when the Irish Guard was began as a bagpiper unit in the Notre Dame Marching Band. But the bagpipes did not fare well in the cold and were abandoned by the Irish Guard until the 1990s, when Paul Harren formed a band and started teaching students how to play. The band first performed at football games during the 2001 season.Sending off the football team to meet their opponents isn’t the only thing the band does on game day, Johnson said. The band’s Saturdays consist of several short performances throughout the day. “For typical football weekend with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, we’ll start at 11:30 a.m.,” he said. “We’ll play a fifteen minute concert in front of the dorm, we’ll play marching through LaFun and then we’ll do the player walk.”Johnson said playing for a group that’s so well-known and beloved by the Notre Dame community has been a lot of fun. “I’ve been playing for twelve years — I’m the pipe sergeant of the band,” he said. “So I’ll do all the tuning and some logistic work, stuff like that. I play with a band back home, but on game days, it’s probably the best crowd I ever play for. It’s just insane the number of people who crowd around, especially because most people hate the bagpipes.”In addition to football game days, the band plays in a variety of other concerts through the year. They’ve even performed in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Johnson said.  “My experience has been pretty cool, being able to play for so many people and having such a receptive crowd,” he said. Tags: bagpipe band, football, Football Friday Feature, Game Daylast_img read more

Nutritionist presents on mindful eating

first_imgJocie Antonelli, nutrition and safety manager for Notre Dame Food Services, gave a presentation on mindful eating as part of the McDonald Center’s Mindful Mondays. Antonelli, who also offers nutritional counseling, said mindfulness is closely related to intentionality and explained how both are related to food in particular.  “Taking that idea of mindfulness and applying it to eating is, very simply, having an awareness of what you’re eating, why you’re eating, how you’re eating, all those kind of things that that involve eating, and being present in that moment,” she said. “We’re all busy, we’re all trying to fit a lot of things into our schedules, so we don’t always have time to eat without multitasking.”Freshman Reinaldo Angola-Hernandez said he took an interest in the presentation because he hopes to improve his health habits in college. “I was interested in going to the event because I want to build super healthy habits while I’m at college, partly because I want to prove to myself that I can make good choices without having my mother behind my back all the time,” he said. “Also, I’m always looking for any free events offered on campus that will help me grow as an individual.”Antonelli referenced New York Times bestselling author Dr. Susan Albers multiple times, saying Albers highlights mindfulness as a tactic to remove obstacles that prevent an people from determining their bodies’ dietary needs. “Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately decode your body’s feedback. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts, feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat or don’t eat,” Antonelli said.Antonelli also said Albers suggests it can be helpful to ask yourself questions about your environment, habits and body signals before eating to better register your body’s needs. To end the presentation, Antonelli led participants through a meditation that focused on fully savoring the experience of eating a piece of chocolate — listening to the crinkle of the foil, inhaling the smell and letting the chocolate melt in the mouth for a few moments before chewing.Angola-Hernandez said the chocolate meditation was a new experience for him.“I thought [the instruction] provided new and interesting insights, and I especially liked the chocolate meditation because I have never heard of that and I honestly thoroughly enjoyed those two tiny Hershey kisses way more than usual because of it,” he said. “I’m kind of excited to eat again just so I can actually slow down and savor every bite.”Antonelli said it’s important not to confuse mindfulness with being overly critical or strict with your diet. “Every item you’ve enjoyed can be part of a balanced and healthy diet,” she said. “It just takes moderation.” Tags: health, McDonald Center, mindful eating, mindful mondays, Notre Dame Food Serviceslast_img read more

Keynote address explores religious liberty

first_imgJohn H. Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America and former Notre Dame Law professor, delivered the keynote address of the Notre Dame Law Review Symposium on Friday afternoon and addressed the recent shift in focus in the religious liberty debate. This year’s symposium is titled “Religious Liberty and the Free Society: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ‘Dignitatis Humanae’” and is part of the 2015-16 Notre Dame Forum.The ideas of religious liberty as “freedom from” and “freedom to” are not in opposition, but parts of the same idea, he said.“We can’t talk about religious liberty without invoking both of them,” he said. Liberty, in the constitutional sense, is always a right against state interference, a ‘freedom from.’ Liberty is also always a right to do something, a ‘freedom to.’ The right to speak, to assemble to practice religion, to get married, to have sex.”Garvey said there have been two phases in the modern debate over religious liberty.“The first phase [was] in which the opponents of religious freedom focused on freedom from state interference. The argued that religion is an important social and theological good which deserves our utmost respect, but nevertheless, in this particular case the state should prevail because its concerns are especially weighty.”We are currently in the second phase of the debate of religious liberty, he said.“People are arguing that the religion which we are free to practice is a more limited one than we might suppose,” he said. “In this phase, it is not a matter of weighing private concerns against public ones and finding the public ones more weighty, but the private concerns simply don’t count as ‘religious,’ so we don’t get to balancing them against the concerns of the state.”Garvey said freedom has two aspects, and that assertion of rights is just the beginning, not the end, of a legal argument.“Because it’s a right to act, people can invoke it in any number of instances and ways and cases,” he said. “What it does is force the government to justify its interference, but sometimes government’s reasons will be important enough that they win and you lose. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right, it just means that your right was defeasible — it didn’t win in this case. In constitutional law we describe this process about making judgements on defeasible rights as part of balancing private rights against public concerns.”The government balances private rights against public concerns whenever it makes a law, he said.“But when the private actor has a right, the government must offer an especially good reason for interfering. So the right protects us from state interference, and we might describe this handicap as the ‘weight’ or the ‘value’ of the right we’re talking about,” he said. “For a long time the practice was to ascribe a great weight or value to claims of religious freedom and to rule in favor of the state only if could show, what the lawyers say, is a compelling reason for the prohibition or restriction it wishes to impose.”In 1990, the Supreme Court considerably limited the protection it would offer in cases on religious liberty in the case of Employment Division v. Smith.“It was a case that allowed a government agency to discharge two members of the Native American Church for ingesting peyote,” he said. “The Court was willing to assume that taking peyote was a religious act, just like taking wine at a Mass or a seder. The Native American Church, in the Court’s mind, deserved just as much protection as Catholics and Jews. … But the Court said the First Amendment ruled against laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, but just the laws that singled out religion for special bad treatment.”However, laws that aren’t directed specifically at religions and are generally applicable, like those that state no one may ingest controlled substances, can have indirect effects on religion, Garvey said.“But these effects are unintended and the state doesn’t need to offer any special defense of them,” he said. “We would, the Court said, be ‘courting anarchy’ with a demand like that, and the danger of anarchy, the Court said, ‘increases in direct proportion to the society’s diversity of religious beliefs and its determination to coerce or suppress none of them.’”In recent years, the attacks on religious freedom have centered on the very meaning of religion, rather than the state concerns that might outweigh them, Garvey said. Instead, the debate focuses on who is considered a religious actor and what is a religious activity.“The Obama administration has asserted, for example, that for-profit corporations are not religious actors,” he said.Garvey said the University’s lawsuit against the HHS mandate is an example of the conflict over whom can be considered a religious actor.“My own University, and yours, sued the Department of Health and Human Services in 2013 to challenge the regulations under the Affordable Care Act. The regulations require a certain group of plans to cover sterilization procedures and prescriptive contraceptives, including some that can induce abortions,” he said. “We think, your University thinks, it interferes with religious freedom because it requires it to provide services that we view as sinful. The regulations exempt what they call ‘religious employers’ from the requirement. These institutions that are viewed as religious employers don’t have to provide coverage and their employees don’t get it.“But ‘religious employer’ is defined very narrowly — it includes churches and religious orders, but not Catholic universities like Notre Dame or the Catholic University of America, not Catholic Charities. Nonprofits like us are classified as simply ‘eligible organizations.’ We get an accommodation of sorts, we don’t have to provide the mandated services ourselves, but we are required to contract with an insurance company, or if we, like you, self-insure, a third-party administrator, who will provide the objectionable coverage.”With the advent of laws protecting gay rights, Garvey said, the debate becomes a battle between religious liberty and human rights.“So the culture doesn’t see this as even a collision of rights, like when the workings of a free press may collide with a defendant’s need for a fair trial. Refusing service to gay patrons is intrinsically wrong and not ‘religion,’ just as obscenity, libel and true threats are not ‘speech’ in the First Amendment’s sense, as well.”Garvey said the shift in legal theory, from the focus on public concerns to the focus on private ones, says something important about the future of religious liberty, and it ought to be a matter of real concern.“Something very different is going on when people start to agree that Notre Dame is not a religious employer or that a photographer can be drafted into the nuptials of a same-sex couple. When this happens, we have a much more serious problem,” he said. “Disputes about the meaning of religion are all-or-nothing affairs. Acts that don’t count as religious or constitutional are … entitled to no more legal protection that trout-fishing.”Garvey said this shift is a reflection of growing cultural indifference towards religion.“I think the culture itself less about religion, and because it does, the proponents of religious freedom find themselves asking for protection of an activity that is unimportant,” he said. “If we don’t care about religion, we won’t care about religious freedom.”The only really effective response to the contemporary assault in religious liberty is prayer, Garvey said.“I don’t mean this in a despairing or pious sense. I mean to say that the practice we’re defending has to matter to us, above all things. If it does, our institutions will protect it. If it doesn’t, the case is lost.”Tags: HHS Mandate, Notre Dame Forum, Notre Dame Law Review, religious libertylast_img read more

Jenkins addresses campus issues, policies in annual address to faculty

first_imgUniversity President Fr. John Jenkins discussed Notre Dame’s contraception policy, the new housing requirements, the University’s sexual assault policies and other campus issues in his annual address to the faculty senate Tuesday.Jenkins addressed a recently settled lawsuit involving the University and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding insurance coverage for contraceptives that came about as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The act required organizations to provide contraception as part of insurance plans, and while certain religious institutions were exempted, universities were not.“This policy, which departed from a long tradition of federal law, was the result not of legislative process but administrative decree,” Jenkins said. “We found it gravely concerning, for if the government can decide unilaterally which religious organizations — to what extent and on what issues — can claim exception on the basis of their religious teaching, then they have lost any meaningful religious freedom in the face of the imposition of governmental power.”It was to defend this principle of religious freedom that Notre Dame joined other institutions in a lawsuit, Jenkins said.After a legal back and forth, a settlement was reached with the Department of Justice, a result Jenkins said the University “welcomed.”“As I have said from the start, the University’s interest has never been in preventing access to those who make conscientious decisions to use contraceptives,” Jenkins said. “Our interest, rather, has been to avoid being compelled by the federal government to be the agent in their provision.”Employees will receive “contraceptive services” directly from insurance providers Meritain and Optum without the University’s involvement, Jenkins said.During the address, Jenkins also gave an overview of the new undergraduate housing policy. He showcased the results of a survey given to graduating seniors about their Notre Dame experience. The school received high marks for its sense of community, and the “most highly rated” factor behind this sense of community was residence hall life. Though overcrowding has become an issue in recent years, the construction of Dunne and Flaherty helped relieve that problem, he said.“Having taken these steps, we turned our attention to a concerning trend for upper class women and men, and particularly seniors, to move off campus,” Jenkins said. “Due to the moves off campus and study abroad, on average, 64 percent of the students living in our traditional halls are first-years and sophomores.”The problem with this trend is fourfold, Jenkins said. First, it means that upperclassmen do not have leadership opportunities in their dorms. Second, living off campus gives students fewer safety nets. Third, moving off campus segregates students. Fourth, students who leave campus are less likely to be intellectually or socially engaged with the community.There are two main components of the new residency policy, Jenkins added. Students will have to live on campus for their first six semesters and the school will present incentives for seniors to stay in the dorms.“We will offer a collection of incentives to keep seniors in the residence halls,” Jenkins said. “Among these are flexible dining hall plans, financial incentives for students who commit early to staying on campus in their senior year and new roles with modest financial remuneration for seniors to provide leadership in the residence halls.”Jenkins also answered questions from the audience, covering topics such as Notre Dame’s sexual assault policy, the decision to close University Village and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).One audience member asked if the University will continue to follow the “preponderance of evidence” standard in finding responsibility for sexual assault, even though the Department of Education recently released guidelines calling for a higher standard of evidence. The audience member also asked if waivers will be granted allowing survivors of sexual assault to opt out of the required six semesters on campus.“I think the answer to the first one … is yes. And the second is I think we’re developing those waivers and certainly that’s critical,” Jenkins said.Multiple questions focused on the University’s decision to close University Village, which currently houses graduate students and married undergraduates. Audience members raised concerns primarily about the lost sense of community. Jenkins said the facility serves a relatively small population and is so dilapidated that it would have cost tens of millions of dollars to repair. He said there are facilities off campus that house large numbers of graduate students that the administration believes can meet students’ community needs.The final question related to what actions the University has taken since the Trump administration announced it was ending the DACA program and what will be done to protect DACA students.“These students are so talented and so wonderful and add so much to this country, so I feel strongly about it,” Jenkins said. “I don’t need to tell you the politics in this country are really pretty crazy. I would say a few weeks ago I felt very optimistic. Speaker [Paul] Ryan was here and I mentioned this to him and he said, ‘We’re going to get something done.’”Jenkins said he has also discussed his concerns with Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indianna.“Since that time — and I talked to Senator Donnelly as well — as you may know, President Trump has put certain conditions on, after there were indications that he wouldn’t, legislation that would achieve that goal. Is that political posturing? I have no idea,” he said. “Your guess is as good as mine. So I was very optimistic from both the Republican and Democratic side that something would get done. But I think since then the situation has changed. As I’m sure you know from reading the paper, it’s all tax reform all the time right now. So I don’t expect anything to be done soon, but I am hopeful.”Notre Dame’s process of “internationalization” has been “one of the most significant accomplishments of the past decade,” Jenkins said. He noted that former White House chiefs of staff Andrew Card and Denis McDonough have visited campus recently, and he spoke of his visit to Brazil to award the Notre Dame Award to Sergio Moro. Moro has been a leader of “Operation Carwash,” an anti-corruption probe that has brought down leaders of Brazil’s political and business classes. Jenkins said Moro’s bravery in prosecuting the crimes was one of the reasons he was invited to be the Commencement speaker this spring.“The willingness of Judge Moro to be present to receive the Notre Dame Award, to be our 2018 Commencement speaker and the international coverage these events were given speaks to the growing international reputation of Notre Dame and the role the University can play, not only in this nation, but in the wider world,” Jenkins said.In keeping with the international theme, Jenkins called attention to the recent opening of the Keough School of Global Affairs, saying that its first class represents a “talented and internationally diverse” group of masters students. He also noted the establishment of the Ansari Institute, which will focus on relations between different faith traditions.Jenkins also listed the new University facilities that have opened in the past year: Nanovic Hall, Jenkins Hall, Corbett Family Hall, Duncan Student Center and O’Neill Hall.“These new facilities have been built to last for centuries by skilled laborers from this region and neighboring states,” Jenkins said. “According to our long-standing custom, we were proud to pay these workers union wages, and we were delighted with the aid this construction gave to the local economy.”After a brief discussion of commercialization and innovation at the University, Jenkins discussed the school’s finances.“Aside from a handful of institutions that stand out from the rest in terms of financial resources, Notre Dame is one of the most financially healthy,” Jenkins said.Jenkins said much of the University’s spending is funded by the endowment, which means the school can implement new programs without raising tuition. However, it also means that market trends can affect the school’s budget.“Though we have had a number of years of strong markets, our endowment spending remains at the top of the acceptable range,” Jenkins said. “In coming years, we will need to bring this spending rate down, which will require us to lower spending to a degree. Although somewhat painful in the short term, this will provide the latitude we need to maintain spending when markets turn down.”Jenkins said he was concerned with a provision of the recently released Republican tax plan that would levy a tax of 1.4 percent “on investment income of private colleges and universities with endowments reaching a certain threshold.”In September, Jenkins attended an event in Chicago where retired Notre Dame professor emeritus Alvin Plantinga was honored with the “prestigious” Templeton Prize. Jenkins said Plantinga was an example of the “significant work” Notre Dame faculty are a part of.The president commended faculty for the fact that research funding in the 2017 fiscal year has nearly doubled from $74 million ten years ago to $138 million today, thanks to “strategic research investments.” This result was achieved despite more stringent government policies regarding university research funding, Jenkins said.Jenkins also talked about recent and upcoming Notre Dame events that will aim to foster religious dialogue. These events include a conference at Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway and a recent prayer service involving clergy from different denominations.“Notre Dame is unapologetically a Catholic institution, and one committed to facilitating dialogue, deeper understanding and greater collaboration among religious groups. We are in a position to make an important contribution in this area, so badly needed in our world today,” Jenkins said.During the address, Jenkins also described his involvement with beginning of the year activities to honor the University‘s 175th anniversary. Though he described anniversaries as “somewhat artificial temporal mileposts,” Jenkins said they offer opportunities for reflection.“I do not doubt that Sorin and his companions would be impressed and perhaps amazed at how far we have come from those days when Notre Dame was simply an aspiration,” he said. “We should be proud of that progress. Yet the surest way for us to fail in our time is to cease to reflect on the vision and mission that animated the founding and growth of the University, and to stop grappling with the question of what it means for us today.”Jenkins closed his speech by thanking the faculty for their work.“It is your talent, creativity, accomplishments and dedication to scholarship and teaching that are the foundation that makes this University strong enough to withstand any challenges. Thank you for providing this foundation, thank you for listening and thank you for all you do for Notre Dame,” Jenkins said.Tags: Address to the Faculty, contraception policy, DACA, Faculty Senate, Housing policy, sexual assault, University Villagelast_img read more

Worker Participation Committee presents licensing recommendations

first_imgMembers of the Worker Participation Committee presented a panel explaining their recent recommendations regarding the manufacturing of Notre Dame licensed products in other countries Wednesday.Panelists included Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves, doctoral student in moral theology Craig Iffland, senior Hannah O’Brien and professor Georges Enderle.The Worker Participation Committee was formed by University President Fr. John Jenkins. Its responsibilities include reviewing the existing licensing code of conduct and making recommendations on whether there should be a change, especially in regard to the production of Notre Dame products in China.The committee will expand its review of licensees and factories to include a broader range of human rights issues. These assessment tools will be reviewed annually to ensure they address the broad spectrum of human rights required by the University’s licensing code of conduct.“I think it’s important to look at the whole behavior of factories and not just focus on one or two important issues because it is possible that they can pass on the required issues, but fail on others,” Enderle said.One recommendation explained the annual assessment tool which will be used to evaluate each licensee. The global compliance company Sumerra will examine a licensee’s corporate responsibility program, level of knowledge of manufacturing processes and issue an audit on all overseas factories.Affleck-Graves said they had to hire an outside source to conduct this assessment, because there are so many Notre Dame licensees and factories that “it was clear that we could not possibly assess ourselves.”The next recommendation would change current policy. Currently, Notre Dame licensing does work with countries that do not recognize freedom of association by law, including China.However, this recommendation states that “in countries that do not recognize freedom of association by law, the standing committee may consider — within its discretion — a limited exemption to manufacture products in those countries only after the factory has completed both the Summera assessment and a more in-depth audit by Verité,” according to the presentation given at the panel.“We know that we cannot impact the legal systems and change national policy in these countries,” Iffland said. “The main aim here is to ensure acceptable wages and working rights.”Affleck-Graves said the recommendation as looking at the issue from a United Nations standpoint, evaluating the corporation and factory, rather than country.“Can you do good at the individual level?” Affleck-Graves said. “This is a question we have been grappling with.”The final recommendation acknowledged that the University should join other organizations to further the aforementioned goals of the Worker Participation Committee.“To have a lasting impact on workers’ rights and in these factories as a whole, that’s something we can’t do entirely on our own,” O’Brien said. “We want to partner with other universities and organizations to promote corporate responsibility.”Tags: Hannah O’Brien, John Affleck-Graves, recommendations, Worker Participation Committeelast_img read more