26 Jan

Awareness week begins today

first_imgThe Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students’ annual spring awareness event encourages students to take a stand against discrimination and participate in healing dialogue.StaND Against Hate Week kicks off today and continues through Friday, the National Day of Silence, a nationwide movement to pledge a vow of silence against anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) discrimination.Senior and co-chair of the Core Council Eddie Velazquez said the Council hopes to bring the problem of discrimination to the attention of the Notre Dame community during this week’s events and provide opportunities for discussion, questions and healing.“It’s important that [the community] realize that there are certain situations where LGBT students are treated unfairly,” he said.For the past three years, StaND Against Hate Week has included a film screening, Velazquez said. Tonight at 7 p.m. the Core Council will present “The Laramie Project,” a 2002 film that documents the effects of the murder of Matthew Shepard on the citizens of Laramie, Wyo., in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library. Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man, was tortured and murdered near Laramie in 1998. His trial brought national attention to the reality of hate crimes and discrimination against the LGBT community.The film will be followed by a question and answer session facilitated by the University Counseling Center to examine questions — both emotional and psychological — for people that face anti-LGBT harassment, Velazquez said.“We start of the week immediately considering what happens not just to those directly involved [in acts of discrimination and violence] but also the people around then,” he said.The week will feature two new events this year: a guest lecturer and a coffeehouse.Psychology professor Dominic Parrott from Georgia State University will present a lecture titled “Homosexuality Under the Dome: Past Struggles and Present Solutions” at 7 p.m.Tuesday in the Carey Auditorium. Parrott’s research is focused primarily on violence against LGBT people, Velazquez said. The lecture will be followed by a panel featuring alumni and members of the Core Council discussing the experiences of LGBT students on campus and how relations have changed over the years.A coffeehouse in the Coleman-Morse Center Thursday evening is perhaps the “most important to take note of,” Velazquez said. Students will be given the opportunity to bring in artwork that represents love, hate, prejudice and healing to “share their responses to things like discrimination artistically,” he said.“The coffeehouse provides the student body a chance to really engage themselves and other students in tackling the difficulties in dealing with LGBT harassment,” he said. “Art gives people a creative outlet to deal with situations.”Other events include a talk called “Sexuality,” part of the Gender Relations Center (GRC) Signature series. The Core Council collaborates with the GRC every year during StaND Against Hate Week, Velazquez said.On Friday, free StaND Against Hate Week T-shirts will be distributed at Fieldhouse Mall beginning at 11 a.m. Velazquez called the T-shirts one of the highlights of the week, and Sr. Sue Dunn, co-chair of the Core Council and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, encourages students to wear the T-shirts in solidarity with the National Day of Silence.“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our Notre Dame students and community to stand against hate,” she said.The week will conclude with a prayer service in the Coleman-Morse chapel to reflect followed by an ice cream social.Velazquez said he observed an increase in support for LGBT students on campus and he hopes the support will be reflected in event attendance.“It will be refreshing and encouraging to see how much participation we can get,” he said. “We’ll work to keep that awareness alive at Notre Dame.”Velazquez said this year’s events have even more relevance after The Observer published an offensive comic earlier in the semester.“It had some really positive outcomes,” he said, including raising awareness of discrimination against LGBT members of the Notre Dame community and rallying support for the Core Council.“The Core Council absolutely and endlessly appreciates the support of the student body and the increase of support we see on a yearly basis,” Velazquez said. “We look forward to seeing people at the events and welcome all students to support [the Core Council] in an environment where everyone can feel welcome, especially LGBT students.”The week’s first event, an Ally Pledge and Day of Silence Banner Signing, will take place today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at both dining halls and LaFortune. Students will have the opportunity to sign pledges and banners until Wednesday.last_img read more

26 Jan

Professor critiques war apathy

first_imgChoose one of two options in the war on terror: Either assent to continued war as necessary for the preservation of freedom and commit fully to its material and human costs, or abandon the struggle and settle for a constricted definition of liberty. These were the two options Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich presented to Americans on Wednesday afternoon in his lecture titled, “Cheap Grace and the American Way of War.” Bacevich said the way in which the United States has waged war since the September 11 terrorist attacks can be defined by the term “cheap grace,” meaning the American public enjoys a life of freedom and privilege without participating in the armed conflicts that ensure these liberties. By disengaging from the war effort, attempting to live unaffected lives by placing the burden on politicians, volunteer military forces and future generations, the American public has indulged in a “cheap grace” of unearned gifts, Bacevich said. “[American soldiers] fought while we watched, uninvolved and seemingly unaffected,” Bacevich said. “When it came to fighting and dying, we not only got a free pass, but we got to feel good about it. Courtesy of the Bush administration, this free pass also extended to the financial cost, with the obligation to pay for this global war on terror falling on future generations of taxpayers.” Bacevich contrasted the “cheap grace” of the war on terror with the shared sacrifice and commitment to the military cause displayed by the American public during World War II. He said World War II is an example of “costly grace,” or grace earned through struggle and unified devotion to the cause of freedom. For example, Bacevich said this idea of costly grace is visible through the equality of American public participation created by the draft system. “When it came to raising an army, equitability became a defining precept,” Bacevich said. “Rather than relying on volunteers, the United States implemented a system of conscription. The draft took black and white, rich and poor, the famous and the obscure, and Ivy Leaguers and high school dropouts. “In other words, the United States waged World War II with a citizen army that reflected the reigning precepts of American democracy.” Bacevich said such notions of collective responsibility in warfare have been replaced by a system in which citizens outsource their duty to defend American freedoms to a distant “warrior class,” alleviating their guilt for doing so through displays of veneration for the troops. He compared this unbalanced relationship between the public and armed forces to that between the lower class and the financial elite of the one percent. “If the one percent who are very rich are engaged in ruthlessly exploiting those who are not rich, their actions are analogous to that of American society as a whole in its treatment of soldiers,” Bacevich said. “The 99 percent who do not serve in uniform just as ruthlessly exploit those who do serve.” The costly grace of complete public sacrifice during World War II launched the United States to dizzying heights of prosperity, whereas more than a decade of public disenfranchisement and cheap grace in the fight against global terrorism has dragged the country into its current pit of recession and moral uncertainty, Bacevich said. The United States must either involve the public in its continued war efforts or accept limitations to its freedoms. “Cheap grace has turned out not to be that cheap after all,” Bacevich said. “It ends up exacting its own costs.”last_img read more

26 Jan

Gutiérrez highlights Pope’s ‘preferential option for the poor’

first_imgFr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, the John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology and the ‘father of liberation theology,’ presented the keynote address, “Pope Francis and the Preferential Option for the Poor,” Thursday afternoon as part of the International Conference on Archbishop Oscar Romero, hosted by the Kellogg Institute.Annmarie Soller | The Observer Gutiérrez focused his talk on the Christian call to solidarity and social justice for the poor, while emphasizing the need to understand the fundamental connection between Christian theology and the eradication of poverty. Gutiérrez said “with the teachings of Francis, we are going back to our source.”“To announce the gospel is this: Jesus is trying to make present the kingdom of God today, in our history,” Gutiérrez said. “To speak about the church poor means also to recall this link between the love of God and the love of our neighbor.”Gutiérrez said the biblical passage of the last supper serves as a memory of Christ and his message of serving and loving thy neighbor. This passage, as well as others, demonstrated the connection between the church and the poor, he said.“We have to recall a central point of the Christian message: we are challenged for this memory,” Gutiérrez said. “The center point is the relation between the kingdom of God and the poor. This point, I think, when we fulfill this, we are really in the center of the biblical message. The question of the poor is not only a social issue … it is above all a biblical issue”.Gutiérrez also highlighted Archbishop Oscar Romero’s work with the impoverished and marginalized in El Salvador and said Romero’s legacy served as a “witness of the central point of the Christian message”.Gutiérrez read a quote from Archbishop Romero, which said, “There is a criteria by which to judge if God is near or is far away. Everyone concerned about the hungry, the poor, everyone who has vanished in police custody, for those who have been tortured, for prisoners, for old people who have suffered, these have God close at hand.”According to Gutiérrez, the ability to love and serve thy neighbor is best exemplified by an understanding of spiritual poverty and the ability to engage in solidarity and friendship with the poor.Gutiérrez said the correct way to serve the poor is not to imitate a life of poverty, but rather to condemn poverty as a condition that dehumanizes others. He said the church does not condone poverty because it represents the marginalization and elimination of human identity .“Poverty is never good. … Real poverty is not only economic, it is political, social”, Gutiérrez said. “The poor are [perceived as] insignificant people for several reasons: cultural reasons, racial reasons, gender reasons. To be poor is to be nothing.”Tags: Gustavo Gutierrez, Kellogg Institute, Oscar Romero, Pope Francislast_img read more

26 Jan

MacArthur ‘genius’ Claudia Rankine, poet Solmaz Sharif deliver Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading

first_imgMichael Yu | The Observer Solmaz Sharif shares her poetry at the second annual Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading. Sharif was chosen by Claudia Rankine to read from her book “Look.”Aside from the packed auditorium for the reading, Rankine and Sharif also held a Q&A session earlier in the day that was open to the public. Both poets took questions about the role of poetry as a catalyst for change and reflected on the process it took to produce their works.Rankine talked about her book “Citizen” — a book of criticism and poetry filled with images and artwork, as well as stories of microagressions and racist language. She said poetry is a successful method for talking about topics like these because of its ability to hold feeling.“I think what poetry does that other genres don’t do that easily is … no matter what your approach is, the poem is still in the realm of feeling,” Rankine said.Rankine also discussed accountability in response to a question about the best way to get through to people who believe racism no longer exists in today’s society.“I think I’ve spent a lot of my life watching things happen,” Rankine said. “I don’t think you need to get to them — I think they’re around you and they’re getting to you all the time. And the question is, are you holding those moments accountable? If you hold your own space accountable that’s the first step to bringing it to those who are bringing it to you.”Time and perseverance are necessary, Rankine said, when it came to writing.“It has to do with the patience of staying in there while you’re still finding your way,” Rankine said. “I am inside these sentences, inside these lines and I can sit there for 12 hours.”Sharif, an Iranian-American poet, said her first book, “Look,” is a book about the costs of war and the abuses of speech. In response to a question about the subtleties of poetry and how poetry can act as an impetus for social change, she said she tries to “remain faithful to the ways that poetry is not journalism, is not fast-acting.”“[Poetry] never has been that kind of rational response to external events,” Sharif said. “Yes there is something about this moment that feels an acute crisis. There’s a cabinet of self-identified white nationalists. But to me a large part of that is a rupture in a kind of decorum … rather than an actual shift in ideology.”Sharif said although the themes she writes about have an element of urgency, she does not worry about the message getting lost in the subtleties of her writing.“I have valued always that within these moments of crisis and urgency and urgent action we need those patient moments too,” Sharif said. “So maybe the poem is that space for patience, for deliberation, for a kind of concentrated slowness within an otherwise chaotic and rapid world.”Tags: Claudia Rankine, creative writing program, Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading, Solmaz Sharif Seating was scarce in McKenna Hall Auditorium on Thursday night as students and faculty gathered to listen to poems and excerpts of stories about race, discrimination and how to find hope in it all.Poet, essayist and 2016 MacArthur “genius” Grant recipient Claudia Rankine delivered the second annual Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading hosted by the Creative Writing Program. She chose the poet Solmaz Sharif to accompany her for the reading as well as to share some of her own poems.last_img read more

26 Jan

University begins construction on Phase II of Eddy Street Commons

first_imgThe University has broken ground on Phase II of Eddy Street Commons, according to a University press release published Dec. 19.The project, which will cost $90 million and is a joint project between the University and Kite Realty, will result in 8,500 square feet of restaurant space, a new Robinson Community Learning Center, a stand-alone grocery store and more than 400 housing units, the press release said.Phase I of the project, the press release said, will open in September 2018, and “the two phases represent a nearly $300 million investment in the Northeast Neighborhood,” located south of the University.According to the release, the “mixed-use space — retail, office and apartments — is 100 percent leased, and the condos and townhomes have all been sold.”Greg Hakanen, director of Northeast Neighborhood Redevelopment for the University, said in the release the project will benefit the neighborhood as well as Notre Dame.“Massive steps have already been taken to revitalize and regenerate the Northeast Neighborhood for the good of not only the University but the community as well, and this is the last step,” he said. “Phase II will take the biggest existing negative in the neighborhood and turn it into a major positive.”Phase II, the press release said, will include “two graduate-style apartment buildings and a new Robinson Community Learning Center on the east side of Eddy Street and two market-rate apartment buildings on the west side of Eddy Street.”According to the release, the project will include space for “small, local specialty shops, small cafes or coffee shops or insurance or law offices.”Matt Gabet, senior vice president of operational strategy with Kite Realty, said in the press release that Phase II of the project will “complement” Phase I and the neighborhood, and he credited the University for being a “true partner.”“Because of our partnership structure and collective determination, we were able to work through issues, solve problems and deliver the project you see today,” he said.Hakanen echoed Gabet’s sentiments, and said Kite Realty was vital to the process of working on the project through the housing crash from 2008 to 2012.“It was this extraordinary commitment to the project that made engaging Kite as the developer for Phase II an easy decision,” Hakanen said in the press release.South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said in the release that the project will be a welcome addition to the community.“Eddy Street Commons Phase II will build upon Phase I’s success in growing the South Bend economy and strengthening the city’s relationship with Notre Dame,” Buttigieg said. “Because the project pays for itself, it is a win-win for Notre Dame, local employers and the South Bend community.”According to the press release, the Eddy Street Commons project is one piece of “a broader effort on the part of the University, city of South Bend, South Bend Heritage Foundation, Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization (NNRO) and Northeast Neighborhood Council (NENC) to improve the Northeast Neighborhood with strategic investments in education, housing and infrastructure.”Completion of the project will conclude with Phase II, the press release said, which is estimated to occur in mid-2020.Tags: Eddy Street Commons, Northeast Neighborhood Council, Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization, Phase II, South Bend Heritage Foundationlast_img read more

26 Jan

CSC eliminates the use of posters

first_imgAcross campus — on bulletin boards in dining halls, the library and O’Shaughnessy Hall — one poster read: “The Last Poster (from the Center for Social Concerns)”.James Shortall, director of communications and advancement for the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) said the organization will no longer be distributing its information for programs and applications by means of posters or any other paper-related source.Shortall said this decision was based on the papal encyclical “Laudato Si,” which was published by Pope Francis on May 24, 2015. The encyclical says that the poor are disproportionately affected by climate change, especially in developing countries whose natural resources often drive the economies of more developed countries.Shortall said after reading the encyclical, members of the CSC began to consider how its material consumption impacted the environment.“Because there’s so much in that document about how we have gotten into the predicament we’re in with regard to the environment and who it affects, we started talking about what we do here at the [CSC] that might not be great for the environment and how we could start to steward our resources better and undergo what that document calls an ‘ecological conversion’ and care for our common home together,” Shortall said.He said for the past two years the organization has looked closely at reducing paper usage in particular.“We produce 50 to 60,000 pages of paper every year in posters and booklets, and given that most folks learn about us through digital means these days, we felt that didn’t make sense,” Shortall said.He said when considering the effects of going paperless, the CSC conducted three surveys, polling students on how they found out about the courses, programs, applications and events they offer. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they found out about programming through digital means, he said. They decided to make the switch to not using paper last year and have since been building up their digital media platforms to reach a wider audience, he added.“We have an electronic newsletter that we send out every week to more than 3,000 people,” he said. “We have digital displays in the building that we just installed this summer, and those will show the 1,500 visitors to the building every week what we’re doing, and they also will let us exchange our images with other buildings that have digital displays. We have an enhanced website and four social media platforms, a podcast and extensive video capability.”Shortall said the environmental benefits of this switch extend beyond saving paper. Considering there are some materials in printers that cause harm to the environment, there is no way of guaranteeing that all the posters and pamphlets the CSC produces are recycled. The process of recycling can also produce additional pollutants.He added that he hopes the change will set an example for other organizations looking to be more environmentally conscientious.“The impact we’d like to have has more to do with being seen as and being a leader on campus with regard for environmental issues. Given our mission we think it’s appropriate that we be early adopters of this kind of thing,” Shortall said. “We’d love to see other units go paperless, too.”Tags: Center for Social Concerns, CSC, sustainabilitylast_img read more

26 Jan

ND Votes to celebrate Voter Registration Day with festival event

first_imgND Votes will be celebrating Notre Dame’s National Voter Registration Day with a festival event Monday evening at the Geddes Hall Coffee House and patio. The celebration is open to anyone, and it is the culmination of a week-long voter registration drive the ND Votes task force organized.“[The event will be] American-themed, with apple pie, lemonade, music and a celebration of something that is as American as you can do, which is voting,” junior Sheila Gregory, director of community outreach in the ND Votes task force, said.The event will include opportunities to register to vote, request absentee ballots and sign up for election reminders. Students and faculty will also present information on how Notre Dame voted in the 2016 election, which is first time the results will be publicly announced. “It will be really interesting to not only have a fun celebration of voting, but also give students more information about the trends — especially for first-years who are brand-new to the political process — about how their school voted,” Gregory said. The ND Votes task force is also responsible for the week-long voter registration drive, which began Sept. 18. To celebrate, the task force set up tables outside the dining halls and in the student centers, Gregory said, and created a competition between dorms to see which ones could get the most voters registered and the most absentee ballots. The prize for the winning dorm is $500 and a free breakfast on Nov. 6, the day of the midterm elections.“[We are] doing this voter registration competition … to make it more fun,” Gregory said. “It’s hard to jazz-up getting everyone absentee ballots. We are hoping that through offering some prize money and food, we can incentivize people to get their absentee ballots, which is super easy.” The ND Votes task force is a non-partisan group whose mission is voter registration, education and mobilization, according to the ND Votes website. It is made up of interested students who either apply through their dorm or a club in which they are involved. Clubs like the College Democrats and College Republicans, Right to Life, the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy (SCIA), Diversity Council and more are all involved in the ND Votes task force, which was revived in 2016 for the presidential election after a period of inactivity. “[ND Votes] was supposed to be a three-semester effort,” Gregory said. “It started in the spring semester of 2016. After the presidential election, everyone on every side was extremely interested in politics. We were like, ‘We can’t just let this energy go to waste,’ so we continued to have the task force.”Junior Steven Higgins, another member of the ND Votes task force, said that energy contributed to a growing engagement in ND Votes.“In the last four or five years, we have seen this growth of ND Votes that has been pretty tremendous,” Higgins said. “I remember my freshman year there were not that many of us. There were four or five of us meeting in this little room in the bottom of Geddes, and now we are in the Geddes coffee house and we have to have overflow tables because there is not enough seating.”ND Votes has begun to expand past Notre Dame’s campus, Higgins said. The task force partnered with the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan group located in South Bend. These two groups are jointly putting on an event Sept. 25 that will focus on registering South Bend locals to vote. “Seeing the level of engagement with voting and the process of getting people registered to vote has been incredibly encouraging,” Higgins said. “And that is what the event in Geddes today is about — a celebration of voting [and] civic engagement. We are just going to be having a ton of food and some entertainment to just get people excited about [voting]. We’re hoping that as many people as possible come out.”Tags: 2018 midterm elections, National Voter Registration Day Festival, ND Votes, votinglast_img read more

26 Jan

Junior Parents Weekend chairs reflect on event planning

first_imgObserver File Photo Students and parents enjoy brunch on the Sunday morning of last year’s Junior Parents Weekend (JPW). JPW offers parents an insight into their children’s lives at Notre Dame over a weekend in February. The 2020 iteration will take place this weekend.Events begin Friday night and continue almost nonstop until Sunday morning. Although no event is required, they all bring something unique to the weekend. Notably, there is an Opening Gala on Friday night, academic open houses, Mass and a President’s Dinner on Saturday and a Sunday Brunch. Each event is planned by one of the JPW chair members.“Going through the whole process is challenging, but very rewarding,” junior Devon Ngo, College of Engineering chair, said. “Seeing it all come together is humbling in a way, because you begin to see how much work it takes to run an event smoothly that, as an attendee, you don’t really get to see.”While the weekend does not change much year-to-year, Ngo tried to bring something new to the College of Engineering Open House.“One of the things that I’m doing this year is making it feel a little more personal,” he said. “I’m having a slideshow with engineering pictures. The one thing that our junior chemical engineering class has kind of developed over the past two and a half years is this really close connection with one another. It’s so rewarding to see and be able to display that to the parents.”Junior Shantae Harris, Gala Chair, said she was also excited to be a part of the process, especially because she was responsible for picking out every detail of the gala.“I get to be a part of the process, but also all the fun things that are associated with it, like planning the events, picking the menus, figuring out who’s going to be the homilist,” Harris said. “I feel like the gala was the best for me. I love finger foods, and I love cooking, so I had all these ideas for it.”While most of the events involve mingling, like the academic open houses and the gala, the President’s Dinner is unique in that it facilitates conversation, junior and dinner chair Beverley Watson said. The dinner is also the only time that University President Fr. John Jenkins directly addresses students and their parents.“Dinner is the time to sit down and really get to know people. You have this sit-down environment where you can have a nice conversation with people, and the Glee Club will perform right beforehand,” she said. “I feel like a meal is always a great way to experience the people you’re surrounding yourself with, and I’m so excited to help make that happen.”Although there are many details involved in JPW, they all come together to give parents the big picture of what their child’s Notre Dame experience has been like so far. But, Reddy said, JPW is not just a time for parents; the students should also take the opportunity to look back on all that they have accomplished in their two and a half years at the University.“I hope students enjoy looking back on their growth since freshman year, cherishing all of the relationships they’ve cultivated, and celebrating with their parents all of the work they’ve done,” she said. “I also hope they get the unique chance to introduce their family to the larger Notre Dame family they’ve created for themselves since freshman year.”Tags: Junior Parents Weekend, parents, University President Fr. John Jenkins This weekend, hundreds of parents will stream onto campus — not to see a football game, but to immerse themselves in the community and to discover the reality of their children’s daily lives at Notre Dame.Ever since its beginnings in 1953, Junior Parents Weekend (JPW) has been an opportunity for juniors to show their parents the lives they have built for themselves, the friendships they have forged and all of their achievements, junior Sara Rani Reddy, JPW co-chair, said in an email.last_img read more

18 Jan

Two Seriously Hurt In Randolph Crash

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN ImageRANDOLPH – Two people were taken to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania with serious injuries following a crash in Randolph on Sunday.The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office says a Jeep crossed the center line on Main Street, striking a van head on just after midnight.Deputies say two passengers in the van were transported to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment.The driver of the Jeep and van were taken to Hamot with serious injuries. Deputies say the crash is still under investigation and charges could be filed in the case.last_img read more

18 Jan

Jamestown Hotel Celebrates One Year Anniversary With Cookie Cutting

first_imgJAMESTOWN – A Downtown Jamestown hotel is celebrating its one-year anniversary.The DoubleTree by Hilton, at 150 W. 4th St., first opened on Feb. 28, 2019.General Manager Brandon Odell joined his staff for a ‘cookie cutting’ in the hotel’s lobby Friday morning.Odell says when visitors walk through the door, they are amazed at how newly remodeled architecture of the establishment fits in with Jamestown’s historic look. “They look at the historical aspects of Downtown Jamestown and they look around, see the bricks, and they come in and are like ‘wow, it’s a beautiful hotel,’ and you get the industrial chic design that we have here,” explained Odell.The 100,000-square foot hotel features 147 rooms, a pool, nearby parking, ball room, and many other amenities, including a full-service restaurant.The business employs around 70 people, but Odell says they generally hire more help during the summer. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.last_img read more