Members of Campus Life Council (CLC) discussed reopening the Campus Bike Shop, innovations in The Shirt Project and the new academic focus of the First Year Orientation (FYO) program Monday. Student body president emeritus Pat McCormick requested a vote on a resolution supporting the continuation of the Campus Bike Shop. CLC voted unanimously in support of the resolution. Senior Paul Baranay, vice president of The Shirt Committee, presented the new design of this year’s Shirt. He said the student-run committee chose to highlight Notre Dame’s past with a more complex design than in past years. “[The design] captures the tradition of Notre Dame, its past players and rising players, along with several accomplishments,” Baranay said. “The front [of The Shirt] is a throwback to a “Shake Down the Thunder” design of the 90’s with Knute Rockne’s face. Baranay said the choice of partnering with the Alta Gracia brand this year was novel, but kept in line with The Shirt’s original mission. “They were a great company with a history of success and a benefit of living wages for their workers in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “The shirt itself provides charity for students and organizations that need it.” Sophomore Alex Doctor, a member of the Student Campus Orientation Committee, then spoke to CLC members about refocusing the FYO program. The goal of FYO is to foster the social, spiritual and academic development of each student, she said. “We really want to develop the academic portion, which hasn’t been as focused on in the past,” she said. “The challenge we see in the FYO process is that the dorms and staff are focused on the social aspect and sometimes forget that they’re preparing freshmen for an academic journey.” Doctor said the team also worked with the First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) program to institute a series of training sessions for FYO staff. These meetings are meant to start conversation on cultural competency and inclusion, she said. “We’re really hoping through these meetings to emphasize this feeling of cultural competency, inclusion, a new type of event, diversity with events,” she said. “By the time FYO comes around, we’ll have a new, more inclusive process.” The Orientation Committee will meet with each of the dorms separately to ensure programming with purpose, Doctor said. “We’re trying to make it a University-wide effort this year,” she said. CLC postponed a discussion on the Town Hall meetings held in response to racial harassment on campus until next week. McCormick said members will discuss a resolution thanking the University for their work in stopping discrimination on campus. “We’ve been incredibly grateful in student government for the work of the Office of Student Affairs, which was strongly represented at the Town Hall meetings. There’s a real sense that this is an opportunity for conflict transformation,” he said. “Particularly as we move forward, it is a major point of the new administration, and we will honor that accordingly.”
Saint Mary’s will celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), during MLK Commemoration and Celebration Week, which will begin Monday with a multidisciplinary performance event. The event was organized by the student organization Sisters of Nefertiti.Bianca Tirado, assistant director of Student Involvement and Multicultural Service said she feels this celebration recognizes King’s work as the foundation of much of the modern Saint Mary’s community’s strength.“[King] advocated inclusivity and he advocated for us to be able to be where we are now. I see that MLK was someone ahead of his time … the fact that we can come together and walk together, that is something to me that I cherish because we weren’t able to do that 50 years ago,” Bianca Tirado, assistant director of Student Involvement and Multicultural Service, said.A little over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the University of Notre Dame and led the historic March on Washington, Tirado said. She said this anniversary factored into the planning of the week’s events around the theme, “justice.”“When I was brainstorming about the events to have this year with the Sisters of Nefertiti, we wanted to do something different … I think that the atmosphere is going to be more of a celebration and it will show how much we as a society have moved forward,” Tirado said. “We’re really happy with the events we have going on. And I think they really show a well-rounded view of MLK’s dream, his legacy, and what he was trying to promote through his life.”A “Kick Off” will jumpstart the week Monday evening, when students will celebrate King’s memory through poetry, music, spoken word and fellowship, junior Laura Early, president of the Sisters of Nefertiti, said.Early said she is especially excited about “The Loving Story,” a movie that will be shown on Tuesday. The movie follows the true story of the first legally recognized biracial couple and will be followed by a discussion panel, Early said.“At the movie discussion, I want people to be comfortable,” she said. “Come with questions and come with concerns, come to learn. MLK week is a chance to really learn about and recognize MLK.”Wednesday’s “March to Mass” will foster an environment of fellowship. Early said the Mass will be centered on justice and will allow her to share her own King experience with the Saint Mary’s community.“In his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech he [King] said, ‘I have a dream that one day little black girls will be holding hands with little white girls,’” Early said. “And that really signifies what Saint Mary’s does here: We’re here as a family, we don’t see skin deep.Early said the week will culminate with a formal “Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner” on Thursday, where guests including President Mooney will share in a community celebration of King as well as listen to a guest speaker while enjoying a meal catered by Sodexo.“I want anyone who attends the events to walk away with a sense of satisfaction. I want them to take away that it’s a celebration of how we have moved forward as a society, and to be aware that change has happened,” Tirado said.All events are free and open to the public. Information on the locations and times of the week’s events can be found on OrgSync as well as on saintmarys.edu. Please RSVP for the Thursday dinner by emailing [email protected]: MLK Day
Professor Nitesh Chawla, professor of computer science and engineering and director of both the Interdisciplinary Center of Network of Science and Applications and the Data, Inference, Analytic and Learning Lab, was awarded the 2015 Early Career award by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computational Intelligence Society (CIS).“I am very excited and honored to receive this award,” said Chawla. “Every year IEEE CIS selects one scientist or engineer working in computational intelligence area, under the age of 40, to receive the IEEE CIS Outstanding Early Career Award. “It is a recognition of the contributions to-date and the promise of the contributions that lay ahead.”The IEEE CIS awarded Chawla the award for his groundbreaking research in data mining, machine learning, network science, and its numerous applications especially with inconsistent and difficult-to-read data.“[My work involved figuring out] how to learn and develop algorithms to cater to data sets which have extreme events, rare events and distributions that are not consistent and stationary and how do you develop algorithms to react unique challenges and data,” said Chawla. “Some of my work is the most-cited work in learning from imbalanced data such as in a method called SMOTE [Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique] … and some of the work we have done in developing machine-learning algorithms for non-traditional distributions and non-stationary data was also consideration for this award as well as awards have more recently earned for work I was doing in network science where we published groundbreaking work in link prediction.”Chawla said he is applying that data to help healthcare systems provide personalized care that is more focused on treating the patient rather than care that is strictly focused on fighting disease.“For a long time, we have been focused on a disease-centered approach. That’s when we have an individual who has a Disease A, we try to cure the disease not really looking at who the individual is, what are the more common diseases that individual has, or the circumstances that individual may be in. … Our researched is focused on [thinking] about who that person is, how do you personalize medicine, personalize care or customize wellness strategies for that individual based on anatomical and health records of that individual.”Chawla said his work is also adapted to suit roles in fields ranging from medicine to security.“[In] the next couple of years the basic foundation of research is taking a big shift towards Big Data … So how do we calculate how much we trust in the data? … How do we attach a veracity and reliability on that data? So that’s one area of research that will keep us busy for the next couple of years,” he said.Tags: Computer science, engineering
Underneath the high altar of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart rests a relic of St. Marcellus, a Roman centurion martyred in 298 A.D. for refusing to deny his Catholic faith.Campus Ministry hosted its annual prayer service for St. Marcellus on Thursday night in the Basilica to remember and celebrate the martyr and all he represents.Fr. Peter Rocca, rector for the Basilica, said St. Marcellus refused to offer incense to an idol in honor of the emperor’s birthday during his time as a soldier in Tangiers, Morocco. He was put on trial for his disobedience and ultimately sentenced to death for his refusal to renounce his Christian faith. Oct. 30 is the feast day of St. Marcellus.“The story goes that he stood in front of the standards of his legion — the legion’s flags — and then made a public declaration that he was a Christian and could no longer keep the oath that he had made to serve the emperor,” Rocca said.The Basilica is also home to the relics of members of the Theban Legion, including its chief, St. Maurice. During the rule of Diocletian, a time of Christian persecution, the legion was instructed to kill a group of Christians they encountered. Many of the soldiers believed in the Christian faith and refused to follow orders, choosing to die instead.“These men, many of whom were martyrs, gave their lives for Christ,” Rocca said. “They point, not to themselves, but they point to their commitment to Jesus Christ, their faith in Jesus Christ. We need those kind of reminders, I think, in our daily lives.”Alan Kreider, professor emeritus at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, recounted the martyrdom of St. Marcellus at the prayer service. Rocca said a large number of Mennonites travel to the Basilica from Goshen, Indiana, each year to participate in the prayer service.“The Mennonites have almost adopted St. Marcellus in particular as a patron saint of their commitment to pacifism,” Rocca said. “ … They come all the way here, sometimes walking on foot, from Goshen, Indiana, to offer their prayers to God in front of the icon of St. Marcellus.”At the prayer service, Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, associate professor of theology and peace studies, delivered the 2015 St. Marcellus Day Address.St. Marcellus is considered the patron saint of conscientious objectors, which aligns with values Notre Dame hopes to instill in its students, Rocca said.“I think [St. Marcellus] is very important and relevant to students because he was willing to stand up for what he believed in, no matter what the cost might be,” Rocca said. “He had the courage to profess his faith in Christ, to speak the truth, to be a real witness to Jesus and his beliefs. I think we need models of people like that today.”During the years of Christian persecution, Mass was often celebrated in Roman catacombs on the tombs of martyrs, Rocca said. He said relics are often placed under altars in observance of this tradition. Fr. Sorin brought the relics of St. Marcellus, St. Maurice, the Theban Legion and many other saints to the University from his trips to Rome during the 1860s.“These relics are visible, tangible signs that speak to — in this case — the sacrifice that the individual made for his belief in Jesus Christ,” Rocca said.Rocca said St. Marcellus provides an example to guide students faced with making decisions.“I think too often we are hesitant to speak up, hesitant to do the right thing, hesitant to say the right thing,” Rocca said. “It’s a matter of taking to heart what we profess as Christians and living it out in our daily lives. And sometimes it will mean disagreeing with friends.“I would hope and think that all of our graduates would have the guts and the courage to say and do the right thing, just like St. Marcellus.”Tags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Campus Ministry, St. Marcellus
Saint Mary’s junior Anna McCambridge proves college students can make a difference in politics.In August, the business major ran for and won the role of precinct delegate during the Michigan state primaries. Later, at a county convention, she was elected state delegate.McCambridge represents the Republican Party for Kent County, which encompasses her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. After spontaneously attending a state convention as a guest along with a few friends, McCambridge said she felt inspired to run. She said she’s always been interested in politics, especially after coming to college; seeing other college students getting involved inspired her.“I saw what kind of impact I could have, despite my age,” McCambridge said.McCambridge attended her first state convention as an elected official in August. “The governor — as well as other Michigan state officials — attended and gave powerful remarks about how important it is to have representation even at such a local level,” she said. “It was pretty cool. As a delegate, I’m an elected official just as many other big name individuals are, so it’s not uncommon to be waiting in line for the ladies room with a senator in front of you and the governor’s wife behind you.”Recently, McCambridge traveled home for a county convention. “Myself and other Kent County delegates met in downtown Grand Rapids,” she said. “We listened to speeches from candidates running for local and party offices. “They travel to different county conventions to campaign and, later, state delegates from each Michigan county, including myself, will meet at the state convention to vote on them.”McCambridge has already voted for many leadership positions, including the Michigan Board of Education. “These are the people that will make a difference in our children’s education,” she said. “The people on the Board of Education are going to be passing laws that will affect the next generation, which will probably include my own future children.”Getting involved at the local level is one of the best things concerned citizens can do, McCambridge said. “While everyone’s focusing on the federal government, nobody’s focusing on the government here at home,” she said. “But it’s these smaller decisions that will affect us the most. That’s why I find it important to get involved in the local level as much as possible. That’s where you have to start to create real and effective change at the federal level.”McCambridge said she believes it’s important for women to get involved in politics. “Some say politics is a man’s world, but I kind of disagree,” she said. “Women just don’t get as much coverage [in the media], but we’re making progress.”In the future, McCambridge said she hopes to continue participating in the political process. “Now that I know how campaigns are run, I can definitely see myself running for office again,” she said. “We, as women, need to not be afraid of losing. Losing is part of life.”Tags: Board of Education, Michigan, Politics
The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday for its first meeting of the 2020 spring semester. The minutes from the last Senate meeting (Dec. 11) were read and approved without objection.Student body vice president Patrick McGuire opened with several announcements. He welcomed the senators back from the break, then reminded the senate about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. next Monday, at which activist and civil rights movement leader Diane Nash will be in attendance as keynote speaker.“It’s a really important event, and I think it’s really important that we all go,” McGuire said. “We have been given tickets for the senate, and I highly encourage you all to go. If you can’t, then please give it to someone who can or who will go.”McGuire also reminded senators of the other events planned for Walk the Walk Week, and urged senators to attend as many events as possible and to encourage their constituents to attend.After several other announcements, McGuire suggested that for the rest of the meeting, senators and others in attendance could discuss potential resolutions they had been working on in December, and new resolutions could be proposed and brainstormed.Quentin Colo, Off Campus Council senator, suggested a resolution encouraging the University to abandon the “senior exclusion policy” — a policy change aimed at reducing off-campus students’ access to on-campus activities and amenities.“I know there was a resolution last year to encourage the University to get feedback on the senior exclusion policies and how students felt about it,” Colo said. “Although I have not looked at the feedback, I can probably assume what it’s saying, and I think it’s fair to say that the feedback’s pretty negative and students want the University to abandon the senior exclusion policies. I was hoping to propose a resolution … to encourage the University to abandon those policies.”After several senators had offered their feedback and discussed potential measures Student Government could take, Colo asked sophomore class council president Jordan Theriault, who met with and interviewed associate vice president for Residential Life Heather Rakoczy Russell on Dec. 10 during a public meeting in the Dahnke Ballroom, to talk more about the discussion and the feedback that he has since received.“After the meeting we sent out a survey form … we asked ‘Do you understand the policies?’” Theriault said. “So we were just trying to figure out if people understood that it’s kind of malleable. The response was kind of iffy, which was interesting because I think we kind of hoped, and the administration as well, to open it up to the class and make them understand that they’re willing to work and to give them ideas. From there, it’s kind of split between people who want to still abandon the policy and encourage the University to reevaluate the exclusionary policy, and the other half was different solutions.”Theriault also mentioned that he had been working on a resolution with others regarding club funding, and encouraged any interested senators or other members of student government to speak with him.After those in attendance had offered and discussed several other proposals, the meeting broke into several small groups to continue these discussions.Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Quentin Colo as the Club Coordination Council’s Special Interest Division chair. Colo is the Off Campus Council senator, not the Special Interest Division chair. The Observer regrets this error.Tags: Notre Dame Student Government, senior exclusion policy, student senate
For weeks, they’ve been watching the world from their apartment window. Beneath them, the streets of Rome are empty, except for the rare passerby carrying groceries or walking a small dog.Saint Mary’s junior Zoe Ricker and sophomore Sarah Tschida are two students who opted to remain in Rome when the College officially suspended the study abroad program. Ricker and Tschida signed a waiver stating their independence from the College in early March and have been living in the John Cabot student residences since then.On March 9, Italy entered a nationwide lockdown, after the number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 9,000, banning all nonessential travel and large public gatherings. By March 11, all restaurants and bars were closed to the public.Ricker and Tschida, the lone Saint Mary’s students remaining in Rome, have been sheltering in place, taking online classes through John Cabot and occasionally venturing out to the local grocery store. They cook traditional Italian dishes, share wine and each other’s company, and sketch the view out the window for art class.It’s possible that the pair will still have to return to the U.S., Ricker said, though they would be forced to organize their own departure, as per the agreement waiving their ability to travel through Saint Mary’s.“We’re in it until at least April 3,” she said. “We’ll see what happens then, and then we’re in it until May 9 when school is out. It’s getting harder and harder to leave. We’re just sticking to it. We’re too far in.”Despite hoping to remain in Rome for as long as possible, Ricker said she has felt some reservations about her decision to stay. If the lockdown is extended and her summer plans to travel with family are disrupted, regret will set in, she said.“Until then, I think we’re just we’re taking it day by day,” Ricker said. “We have to keep going. It’s a lot of emailing, just staying in touch with everybody and just staying sane. Our ultimate conclusion is that it’s going to be worth it. We hope.”Tschida said she has experienced the same sense of wavering since deciding to stay at John Cabot, even as the CDC raised the Level 2 safety regulations in Italy to Level 3, and other American students returned home. Initially, she considered it safer to remain in Rome, rather than board a long plane ride to an international airport.“I feel like it changes every week honestly, and you’re always going to go back and forth like, ‘Is this the right decision?’ I don’t know,” Tschida said. “I was pretty confident with that decision, and then it just changed.”Their situation will depend on the length of the lockdown, Tschida said.“Now that the U.S. is level four, we’re afraid that because airlines are flying empty flights, they’re not going to have as many flights out,” she said. “We might be stuck here.”If the two are forced to stay into the summer months, John Cabot has agreed to extend their housing.Ricker said her emotions change day to day, as she watches more and more students return home.“It’s been stressful,” she said. “People are still leaving. Today [Tschida] and I were trying to look at where to get more suitcases for when we do have to go in May — or if we need to go sooner than that for any other reason. And they’re really expensive. Like hundreds of dollars through Amazon. I think they’re upping in the prices.”The Italian locals never seemed to truly panic, Ricker said, even as restrictions on travel and congregating settled over the usually bustling city.“The grocery store is stocked full — people aren’t panic buying here in Rome,” Ricker said. “It really hasn’t been terrible. It’s just been kind of sad, and it’s emptier, like there’s just less and less people. Students really were just sad and distressed because they were slowly getting told that they had to go home.”In the first few days after most Saint Mary’s students returned to the U.S., Ricker said the city operated normally. She and Tschida paid a visit to the Vatican and were joined by other tourists, though she noted the site was less packed than usual.There has been a police presence on the streets since even before the official lockdown, Ricker said, though the officers were mostly patrolling to enforce appropriate social distancing. One day, while sitting on the steps of a piazza, an officer approached Ricker.“The police came up to us and they told us to disperse because we were in a group of four and they were not okay with that,” she said.After the lockdown, Ricker and Tschida have interacted with the police several other times, especially when walking to the grocery store. John Cabot has provided its students with paperwork intended to act as certification for approved travel, and Ricker said she has had to present these papers while walking to the store.“You sign it and then if somebody stops me, they sign it too,” she said. “We just keep it on us. It’s kind of scary being given that and told that, but for the most part, it’s been okay. We did get stopped today again. I think he could tell we were foreign; we’re both young.”John Cabot has offered to deliver groceries to its students, but Ricker said she enjoys doing her own shopping because it gives her something to do in the midst of the lockdown. The University is also providing a host of activities for students who are under lockdown, including online cooking classes.Because the waiver Ricker and Tschida signed released Saint Mary’s from all liability, they and their families are barred from suing the College should they test positive for COVID-19.“I release from liability and waive my right to sue Saint Mary’s College, their employees, officers, volunteers and agents … from any and all claims, including claims of the College’s negligence, resulting in any physical injury, illness (including death) or economic loss that I may suffer or which may result from my decision to remain in Rome,” the waiver states. “I, individually and on behalf of my heirs and assigns, agree to indemnify the College and hold it harmless from and against all liability, losses, damages, claims, liens and expense (including reasonable legal fees) arising out of or connected with my decision to remain in Rome.”Despite having claimed their independence, Ricker and Tschida said they have maintained a relationship with their professors.“We’re still their students,” Ricker said. “I’m emailing my professor right now about advanced registration for classes for my major. I’ve had plenty of professors check in — I’ve even had one DM me on Instagram. Everybody has been reaching out.”The College has been checking in on all of those who were part of the Rome program; however, they have yet to contact Ricker and Tschida individually and inquire about their status, Tschida said.“Saint Mary’s officially suspended all the programs abroad, but we continue to care for all our Saint Mary’s Belles,” director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership Mana Derakhshani said in an email. “They are still covered by the insurance we had purchased for them and continue their coursework online at the institutions where they were studying abroad. I am sure they are all trying their best to get the most out of the experience in very challenging circumstances.”Saint Mary’s administrators trust their partner institutions in all study abroad locations to take “good care of [the] students” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Derakhshani said.Every day, the students receive the same email detailing emergency protocols should they start showing symptoms of coronavirus.“If you start showing symptoms, they want you to self-isolate completely,” Ricker said. “Don’t go anywhere, and call the hospital.”Sophomore Nadia Hartman also signed the original waiver opting to remain in Rome but chose to return to the U.S. at the last minute.“A few days after I signed, however, my grandmother passed away and I decided that I needed to come home for the funeral and be with my family during my spring break,” Hartman said in an email.There was no screening process in place at any of the airports Hartman visited upon arrival, and when she contacted the CDC with questions, she was instructed to quarantine at home for a few days before returning to normal, as long as she didn’t display symptoms during that time.“My intention was to return to Rome after my spring break, but Italy shortly went on lockdown after my arrival and the travel bans went up, preventing me from returning,” Hartman said. “While I would absolutely love to return to Rome this semester, I am increasingly doubtful that this will be possible. With the way things are and the way things are heading, I do not think that the borders will open up in time for the end of the semester.”Hartman said she was disappointed to be barred from returning to Rome, but she hopes the health and safety measures put in place are effective in slowing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve.“In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy being with my family and doing all the things at home that I would otherwise not have the opportunity to do,” she said.In Valparaiso, Ind., Hartman and her family are sheltering in place, though essential travel is allowed.Those who are in Rome remain calm and organized, Ricker said, as many have agreed to abide by the restrictions imposed by the Italian government and the CDC.Though the streets of Rome are “dauntingly empty,” and will remain that way for some time, they are filled with music, Ricker said.“A lady across the way opened her window and played guitar and sang a song,” she said. “We’ve gone on a few, you know, forbidden walks, and you hear people singing, playing guitar. It’s all in Italian. It’s beautiful.”Tags: CDC, coronavirus, COVID-19, CWIL, Level 3, lockdown, Mana Derakhshani, Rome, study abroad
The cancellation of Notre Dame study abroad programs began with Rome. Next, all students studying abroad in the spring were recalled to the U.S. Then, summer and fall study abroad programs were cancelled. The pandemic has forced the hand of Notre Dame International to suspend its study abroad programs, which rank the University seventh in the country for study abroad programming. As of now, the University plans to run all 45 of its spring 2021 study abroad programs, but the coronavirus pandemic looms large over the programs’ existence. “At this time the University fully intends to run all Spring 2021 study abroad programs and will proceed accordingly.” Notre Dame International said in an email sent to students planning on studying abroad in the spring Aug. 10. The email informed students their pre-departure meetings specific to their programs will begin soon, while also urging students to refrain from buying any pre-departure purchases such as plane tickets until they receive further direction from their program directors. The situation is subject to change as long as the pandemic continues, senior director of global education Hong Zhu said in an email. “The decision may change as we continue to monitor the situation around the globe in the coming weeks,” Zhu said. Zhu explained that Notre Dame International is continuing to consider a variety of different factors affecting the future of study abroad. These include, but are not limited to, the COVID-19 response and healthcare capacity of each partner country, as well as its flight and visa restrictions. Additionally, Notre Dame International is basing future decisions on U.S. Department of State and Center for Disease Control and Prevention travel guidelines, as well as each host institutions’ preparedness for in-person instruction and safeguarding against the virus. The possibility of canceling some or all the study abroad programs remains contingent upon these considerations, and Zhu said either of these situations are possible. “We plan for different scenarios, and we conduct risk assessments program by program and country by country,” Zhu said. “With health and safety conditions improving in some countries while deteriorating in others, we will continue to monitor daily the health and safety environments of all program locations.”Zhu, citing associate director of international travel and safety Jaime Signoracci, said there are always safety concerns running study abroad programs and the University has always followed a risk-based decision-making model in selecting safe program locations. “Living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future now requires everyone’s vigilance in strictly adhering to health and social measures (both national and local) to control the spread in the community we are a part of,” she said. “This is the same for our campus here and will be the same for any study abroad programs that run in the spring.”Zhu and Signoracci said COVID-19 training will be part of the student pre-departure meetings. There, the students will also receive clear sets of behavioral expectations for their time abroad. On June 8, Notre Dame announced the cancellation of all fall 2020 study abroad programs. In the same announcement, study abroad offered students who had planned to study abroad in the fall the option to be accommodated into the spring version of their programs, as well as the opportunity to participate in summer 2021 and fall 2021 programs. According to Zhu, of the 386 students scheduled to study abroad in the fall, 170 of them chose to study abroad in the spring semester. Currently, 611 students are scheduled to study abroad in the spring semester. Junior Clare Stoyell-Mulholland was supposed to study abroad in Santiago, Chile this fall, before she opted to study in the spring semester 2021. “I would rather take my chance that I will be going and will be able to get that experience, than miss out on it.” A neuroscience major with a peace studies minor, Stoyell-Mulholland chose to study in Chile to improve her Spanish, explore the country and build community with the other students of the relatively small program, among other reasons. However, she was not confident the program will happen and she expressed some concern over traveling during the pandemic. “Honestly, I’m more concerned for Chile,” she said. “I don’t think Chile will want people from the United States to go.”Stoyell-Mulholland said she had faith in the University to not send students if the situation remains unsafe. She continued, “If we’re going to be negatively affecting that country, I don’t think study abroad should go.” Stoyell-Mulholland was thankful to study abroad for waiving the withdrawal fee in the fall, but wished they would do the same for the spring semester. All spring study abroad students, including the ones who transferred their acceptance from the fall, had until Aug. 10 to withdraw from their program without being fined the fee, which starts at $200 and gradually increases as the start date of the specific program draws nearer. However, due to the extenuating circumstances, students may not have to pay the withdrawal fee. “The fees have always been waived for students for medical or other compelling reasons,” Zhu said. Junior Michael McElroy was supposed to be studying in Rome this semester. A lover of Italian culture, history, and language, he was disappointed when the program was canceled, as he had never been overseas before.“That being said, I was not surprised because the COVID-19 pandemic had devastated Italy even before the United States,” he said in an email.McElroy chose to transfer his acceptance and learned he could attend Rome in the spring. He said all fall students were allowed to list up to two other programs they’d be willing to attend, but Rome was always his first choice.However, McElroy said he has prepared himself for the strong possibility of spring programs being canceled.“Considering the fact that the U.S. continues to present an abysmal response to the pandemic, I’m fairly pessimistic that Americans will even be allowed into the EU by next spring,” he said.While he was concerned about the safety of traveling abroad, he suspected the University would cancel its programs if the situation remains a threat to students’ health.“So it’s not even so much my decision’,” he said.Walsh Hall junior Paige Cooper is scheduled to study in Puebla, Mexico this spring. The psychology major minoring in the Hesburgh Program of Public Service chose the program because she was attracted to the program’s host family residence feature to improve her Spanish and as a member of the Band of the Fighting Irish, she didn’t want to miss the football season. Cooper said in an email she was skeptical of her program’s vitality. “I think the chances that other countries will open their borders to the U.S. by the spring are slim unless we get a vaccine,” she said. Cooper said she almost withdrew from the program, but changed her mind. “Every important decision in my life has happened by accident so I just decided to let the universe decide for me,” she said.Cooper added she’s now concerned it was the right decision, as Notre Dame has moved classes online for the next two weeks. “I’m afraid we’ll be sent home again, and there’s a possibility I won’t see any of my friends until senior year,” she said. Zhu stressed the department will be transparent with students regarding the process in the upcoming weeks. “We understand that the disruptions to the spring 2020 study abroad programs and the cancellations of summer and fall 2020 programs have been very disappointing to students,” she said. “While we very much hope that the pandemic around the globe will continue to improve and study abroad will be a reality in spring 2021, students’ health and safety will always be a top priority when the decisions are being made.”Editor’s note: A previous version of this story identified Clare Stoyell-Mulholland’s last name incorrectly. The Observer regrets this error.Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Notre Dame International, spring study abroad, spring study abroad 2021
Image by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.JAMESTOWN – Individuals are expected to gather this afternoon at 3 p.m. in Dow Park to urge Chautauqua County officials to cancel and not extend or declare any further states of emergency based on the COVID-19 numbers in the county.Local spokesperson and organizer for Open NY, Gerrit Cain, says the participants are expected to adhere to social distancing guidelines.Cain released the following statement Thursday:“We appreciate the efforts of our State Representatives to develop a plan to reopen upstate. Unfortunately, the looming possibility of more delays, more top down control, and more shutdowns as overreactions to a “spikes” in cases is cause for concern for the future of this plan.” “Western New York has seen its livelihood nearly snuffed out, the mental health and wellbeing of its residents decline, and the divide among the community grow deeper. We have been fortunate to have not suffered severe or widespread direct health effects from the virus, but the damage done by policies to “help” control the virus has been devastating. Some precautions are prudent but overall, these top-down mandates have done more harm than good.”“The solution we propose locally and beyond is based on restoring the liberty of individuals in western NY to live their lives and conduct business in a safe responsible manner. The role of government at every level should be to facilitate access to factual information regarding the virus, rework our budgets so emergency service and infrastructure are maintained and defend our natural rights.”“We are responsible, intelligent adults who weigh a variety of risks as we live our lives each day in an imperfect world. Our behavior is dynamic and adaptable to our society and our environment based on the information we obtain. It is our hope that our government officials and the press will provide us with honest, accurate, unbiased information. With that we are confident we can navigate this crisis without heavy handed unconstitutional regulations and restrictions.”“We support and encourage county and local officials including executives, legislators, DAs, local bodies and judges to in essence nullify the unconstitutional restrictions and policies of the NY PAUSE by executive action, legislative resolution, or official directives. Our Counties cannot survive another month of the PAUSE.”Governor Andrew Cuomo’s PAUSE Initiative is set to expire next Friday. From there, the state is expected to use a region-by-region approach provided the regions meet several criteria issued by Cuomo’s office.Related reporting: Residents Voice Concerns During Jamestown COVID-19 “Stay-At-Home” Rally 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),Whens the next one?
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) Pixabay Stock ImageWARREN — “I am going to be paying for it for the rest of my life.”This is what the mother of a two-year-old girl who drowned August 17 in Hatch Run Creek told investigators during the investigation into the child’s death. She and her husband have been charged by Pennsylvania State Police in the little girl’s demise.An affidavit filed with the district court indicates Nichol Barrett and Richard Barrett, of Conewango Avenue, have been charged with one count each of first-degree felony endangering the welfare of a child and two counts each of second-degree felony endangerment of a child.According to the affidavit of probable cause, two siblings, ages five and four, were found wondering alone with a dog on Hatch Run Creek at about 2:04 p.m. by a neighbor. State Police responded and moved the children to safety at a nearby residence. At about 2:51 p.m., police received a call from the mother saying she had found her daughter, aged two years nine months, floating face down in the creek. A responding Trooper administered life saving measures. The infant was taken to Warren General Hospital and pronounced dead in the emergency room.During the probe into the unattended death, the couple told Troopers the children were in the back yard playing. They told Police they were on the phone for about 5 minutes when they noticed the three children were not in the yard playing.Police told the couple that based on their timeline and phone records, there was no physical way three bare foot children could have traveled the roughly one-fifth mile to where they were found, especially with rocks, limbs and brush lining the creek.The mother then told Police she lost track of time and it could have been as much as 40 minutes. Her husband also gave police the same timeline, according to the affidavit.