Professor receives German award

first_imgGermany’s highest honor, the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, was awarded to political science professor Donald Kommers on Nov. 8. The award is given for outstanding service to the country and is reserved for both Germans and foreigners. “I [had] no idea who or what was behind this award,” Kommers said. “It took me totally by surprise.” The award was presented to Kommers in a ceremony at the German Consulate office in Chicago. Onno Hückmann, the German Consulate General, presented the award. Hückmann praised Kommers’ academic success and his contribution to building a bridge between The United States and Germany in a way that few others have. Kommers said he has been interested in Germany since he was a boy. He grew up in a German area of Wisconsin, and was exposed to the culture at a young age. He studied the language for three years in high school and then again in college. After receiving his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin, Kommers came to Notre Dame in 1967. After a trip to Germany in 1968 to study their high court, he decided to change the course of his academic life. “I’ve always been interested in the judicial system, so I started comparing the U.S. system to courts around the world,” Kommers said. ” I decided to combine my interest in the American constitutional law with German constitutional law.” In his 43 years of academic life spent at the University, Kommers has served as a professor of political science and law. In 1974, University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh named him the director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. It was under Kommers’ service that the center changed their goal from working toward civil and human rights domestically to a more international mission. Through out his career, Kommers has written countless articles on the subject of comparative constitutional government. One of his works, “The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic if Germany,” is going into its third printing. This book helped to develop the field of comparative constitutional law, Kommers said. “It brought the attention of the German courts to the English speaking world,” Kommers said. This is not the first time Kommers has been awarded by the German government for his academic work. In 2008, he was awarded the Berlin Prize, which allowed him to continue his study of the German constitutional courts at the American Academy in Berlin and in 1998, he received an honorary doctorate of law from Heidelberg University.last_img read more

Holladay announces housing project

first_imgAt the dedication of Holladay Properties’ Darby Row project Thursday, representatives released plans for another brand new housing development on Notre Dame Avenue to open for the 2013-2014 school year. The Thursday afternoon ceremony formally dedicated the building and announced its opening, though tenants have lived there since June. Drew Mitchell, project manager for Darby Row, said the other purpose was to announce the new project called The Belfry. “The Belfry is going to be similar to Darby Row, with 36 student bedrooms on the same block of Notre Dame Avenue, within walking distance to campus,” Mitchell said. “Because of the leasing success we had at Darby Row, we decided to replicate the living situations for our new project.”   Darby Row, which has 35 student bedrooms, is already 90 percent leased out for the 2013-2014 year, with a waiting list for the townhouses Mitchell said is “wildly popular.” “Darby Row truly set a new standard for student housing in the area, in terms of amendments and living situation,” Mitchell said. “The tenant mix is very interesting, with undergraduate students, graduate students, and some graduate student families. We deliberately kept the size down to less than 40 tenants to keep the tight community feel.” Mitchell said The Belfry’s name connects to the historical traditions surrounding campus – the building will be located at the corner of Notre Dame Avenue and Campeau Street after Campeau is extended as part of a local construction project. Campeau Street was named for Gregory Campeau, who built the first bell tower at the University of Notre Dame. “Belfry is the dictionary term for a bell tower, and so to incorporate this bell concept, we acquired two 350-pound church bells that have been in New Orleans for the past 180 years which we’ll use on either side of the building’s façade,” Mitchell said. “The Belfry will be located at approximately 740 Notre Dame Avenue, on the location of the old Club 23 building.” Mitchell said Holladay Properties plans to deliver a project quite similar to Darby Row, with 18 two-bedroom units in a variety of configurations. “Each unit will average 500 square feet or more per bedroom and is fully furnished, with bedroom and living room sets as well as 50-inch flat screen TVs and private bathrooms in each bedroom,” Mitchell said. “There will be granite countertops throughout each unit, and everything will be wireless internet ready.” Mitchell said the convenience factor makes The Belfry and Darby Row projects very attractive to students, with units within walking distance to campus and also located on the Transpo bus route. Rent Like A Champion Today handles Darby Row’s marketing and will also handle The Belfry’s. Mitchell said the students previously on the waitlist for Darby Row townhouses have been shifted to The Belfry, and the company will begin signing leases for the new development today. Construction on the project will begin next month, and The Belfry will open June 1, 2013. Mitchell directed students interested in learning more about the Notre Dame Avenue housing projects to the Rent Like A Champion Today website. We hired Rent Like A Champion Today to assist with the marketing efforts for Darby Row and the Belfry, especially reaching students,” Mitchell said. Mike Doyle, chief executive officer of Rent Like A Champion Today and a 2012 Notre Dame graduate, said a group of Notre Dame alumni founded his company to develop the neighborhoods around campus.  “We are proud to partner with Holladay Properties to help with the marketing of both Darby Row and The Belfry to the students of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross,” Doyle said. “There is truly nothing else like these projects in terms of quality, and we are happy to be able to provide these housing options to students.” Mitchell said he agreed with Doyle’s sentiment, praising the quality and pricing of the units. “As a double-Domer myself, I’m just trying to deliver the type of product that I wish had been here when I was at school,” Mitchell said. “This project is doing great things for the neighborhood – it’s got the Notre Dame Avenue marquis address, and there is no one else in the market delivering products as nice as this at rates as competitive as ours.” Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]last_img read more

Notre Dame to open arts center on West Side

first_imgSouth Bend residents and students alike will have a new venue in which to appreciate the arts when the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture opens in January in a renovated historic building on the West Side of South Bend. Located in the former Hansel Center in the West Washington National Historic Register District, the new Center will house the Notre Dame’s Community Relations Department and its Crossroads Art Gallery, according to a University press release. Notre Dame and the South Bend Heritage Foundation partnered to fund  the $2.5 million renovation through local businesses and charitable organizations, the release stated. Sociology professor Gilberto Cardenas, who will serve as the Center’s executive director, said he hopes it will add variety to South Bend’s cultural life. “There’s a cultural corridor already on that street that has a number of cultural institutes, so Notre Dame coming into that area will add to its vitality,” Cardenas said. He said the Center will host cultural and artistic programs for community residents.   “We will have open receptions for art exhibits, we will have tours from schools. … We will have events on the patio outside, lectures from artists, programming from the student communities from different universities,” he said. “We will reach out to non-profit organizations to work with them and get other corporations or entities to South Bend.” The Center will also house a fine art printmaking studio formerly based in Arizona, Cardenas said. “Segura Publishing, a fine art print studio, is going to close down [its] operation and chance the name to Segura Fine Art Print Studio,” Cardenas said. “We’ll purchase [its] equipment and intellectual property, and the new studio won’t be commercial, it will be Notre Dame’s organization.” Cardenas said students will be incorporated into the Center’s programs on several levels. “We’re looking forward to having a variety of students work with us to create a space where they can participate as interns working in the gallery, developing marketing plans and developing community education programs,” he said. Cardenas said established and local artists will be encouraged to frequent the studio as well. “We hope to advance visual art and give opportunities for artists to participate in the Notre Dame community, and for Notre Dame and other students to work together to create the wonderful print studio and exhibitions,” Cardenas said.  “We’re advancing fine art making and giving it a place in the Notre Dame community.” In addition to printmaking, the Center will encourage the development of other art forms, Cardenas said.   “We will also have an art gallery housed there, a visiting artists’ program, a visiting writer’s program and a frame shop that will support the exhibitions that we do,” Cardenas said.  “The art gallery specifically will not just focus on printmaking. It will be a place to exhibit other art as well.” Notre Dame’s engagement in the arts in the larger South Bend community will have an impact even beyond the city’s borders, Cardenas said. “We hope we will serve the region and reach out internationally as well, whether because of our Catholic faith or other areas of study, to artists who want to work in these areas of focus,” he said. “We want to show that the arts have importance to the economy, any state, any municipality ⎯ that they also enhance economic viability as a nation.”last_img read more

SMC plans LGBTQ support events for Ally Week

first_imgIn order to promote a “safe zone” for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community, the Saint Mary’s Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) is sponsoring Ally Week through Friday. Senior and SAGA president Eileen Cullina said Ally Week is possible because of people who stand up as allies and thanks to the members of SAGA who plan and facilitate the events. “There are members of the LGBTQ community on campus,” Cullina said. “This week is important because it sends the message to these students that this is a campus full of allies. It also give students who are allies the opportunity to speak up and stand up for their LGBTQ peers.” Senior Hayley Miller, treasurer of SAGA, said the week has multiple distinct goals.”It reminds all of us [of] the importance of respecting others, it educates students on LGBTQ issues, and it promotes all individuals to be open to diversity by creating a safe zone for others,” she said. Cullina said students can sign a pledge in the dining hall, vowing to support their peers who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. “The pledge in the dining hall is a visual representation of student and faculty allies on campus,” Cullina said. “Nearly 100 people signed the pledge during just one two-hour lunch period. Signing the ally pledge is a very simple way to stand up and say ‘LGBTQ is fine by me.’” A panel of Saint Mary’s students will discuss LGBTQ issues in the Student Center Lounge today at 8 p.m. Cullina said these students will explain their perspectives on LGBTQ issues on campus. Miller, who will speak on the panel, said it is important to understand the meaning of being an ally. She said she hopes students who attend the panel will learn to define “ally” for themselves. “To me, being an ally means creating a non-judgmental, open-minded, hate-free environment where it is safe to discuss issues surrounding sexual orientation or really any issue regarding diversity,” Miller said. “I hope that by the end of the event, each person in the audience will walk away with their own unique meaning of the word ‘ally.’” There will be safe zone training Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Student Center Lounge, followed by a tye dyeing event in the Le Mans Hall basement at 7 p.m. These events aim to reinforce that LGBTQ students are not alone, Cullina said, and that SAGA is active on campus and already looking forward to events next semester. “In the spring, we will have a campus-wide pride week,” Cullina said. “In the meantime, we hope to bring some speakers to campus, as well as [to] host LGBTQ friendly social events “If there is one message I want Saint Mary’s students to take from this week, it is that the majority of this campus is supportive of the LGBTQ community.” Contact Haleigh Ehmsen at [email protected]last_img read more

ND continues to challenge HHS ruling

first_imgKeri O’Mara Last Monday, the Supreme Court called the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit its earlier ruling on Notre Dame’s case against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Notre Dame’s court case, which the University initially filed in May 2012, asks for an exemption to the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires that employers provide their employees with access to birth control.University spokesperson Paul Browne said the 7th Circuit Court previously denied Notre Dame’s request for a temporary restraining order regarding the mandate, which Browne said violated the University’s religious tenets by requiring participation “in a regulatory scheme to provide abortion-inducing products, contraceptives and sterilization.”“Notre Dame continues to challenge the federal mandate as an infringement on our fundamental right to the free exercise of our Catholic faith,” Browne said.Associate professor of law and political science Vincent Muñoz said the Supreme Court’s decision is promising, although there is still much to be decided on in court.“The Supreme Court ruling certainly makes it more likely that Notre Dame will receive a more accommodating [decision] than has been previously offered, but how exactly HHS will adjust the law in light of Notre Dame’s recognized legal protections is yet to be determined,” Muñoz said.It is not uncommon for the Supreme Court to allow a lower court to reconsider its previous ruling on a case without approaching the case directly itself, political science professor Rick Garnett said.“This [decision] does not necessarily mean that Notre Dame will prevail, but it is a good sign,” Garnett said. “At the very least, it is a welcome development that the lower court opinion, which contained inappropriate asides and unnecessary rhetoric, is vacated.”Garnett said Notre Dame’s case against HHS bears resemblance to Hobby Lobby’s case in 2014, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby was not required to provide contraception to its employees because of its religious objections. However, there are some differences between the two cases, he said.“Notre Dame’s case is different [from the Hobby Lobby case] in the sense that, first, the University is a non-profit with a clear religious character and, second, the precise actions being compelled by the government are different,” he said. “That said, the basic form of the arguments is the same.  In each case, the claimant is saying that a particular government action imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise and that the burden is unnecessary and therefore unlawful.”Those following the case should remember that Notre Dame is not arguing that the HHS mandate is unconstitutional, but that it violates a particular statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Garnett said.“It is probably not unconstitutional for the federal government to require employers like Notre Dame to provide the coverage in question,” he said. “But, the Act provides increased protection for religious liberty and religious objectors and — in my view — the best arguments lead to the conclusion that the mandate violates the Act.”Law professor Orlando Snead said the Supreme Court likely called on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review its previous decision because the original decision was not in line with the RFRA.“RFRA prohibits the federal government from restricting religious freedom unless it does so for the most compelling reason imaginable and by following the least restrictive means to accomplish this purpose,” Snead said. “Whatever one might think about the government’s purposes in maximizing access to contraceptives and drugs or devices that the FDA labeling suggests might function by causing the death of a newly-conceived embryo, it is clear that there are less restrictive and coercive ways to accomplish this goal than to compel Notre Dame to facilitate such access by modifying the operation of its health plan.“Accordingly, my judgment is that the HHS mandate fails the careful balancing test established by RFRA.”Tags: Circuit Court of Appeals, HHS Mandate, Orlando Snead, Paul Browne, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA, Supreme Court, Vincent Muñozlast_img read more

Five players charged with misdemeanors

first_imgThe five Notre Dame football players arrested in Fulton County, Indiana, on Aug. 19 all face Class B misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana, according to a report from ND Insider. The five students — senior Max Redfield, sophomores Dexter Williams, Te’von Coney and Ashton White and freshman Kevin Stepherson — were arrested at approximately 10:07 p.m. Aug. 19 during a traffic stop. Redfield will also face charges for carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor, according to the report. The handgun charges were dropped against Stepherson and Williams, who were both in the backseat of the car and had access to the handgun. The initial hearing for all five students is set for Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., according to the report.The 2007 Ford Focus, driven by White, was pulled over for a speeding violation and an improper taillight when State Trooper Ben Reason allegedly detected the odor of marijuana coming from the car, an Indiana State Police press release said. From there, a narcotics dog indicated the presence of illegal narcotics inside the vehicle, and in the subsequent search, officers allegedly found marijuana and a loaded handgun. Redfield was dismissed from the football team following the incident while the other four students were disciplined internally by the program. Irish head coach Brian Kelly has said that all four will be available to play against Texas on Sunday, unless otherwise disciplined by the University’s Office of Community Standards.Tags: Ashton White, Brian Kelly, Dexter Williams, football, Fulton County, Kevin Stepherson, Max Redfield, Notre Dame football, Tevon Coneylast_img read more

YLAI Fellows start program at Notre Dame

first_imgNotre Dame welcomed 14 fellows Sept. 24 to the South Bend region as part of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program. During their four week-long stay, the fellows will create professional connections with each other and their respective host organizations and between their home countries by working with companies in the Michiana area and building entrepreneurial skills. YLAI is a program for entrepreneurs from the Americas funded by the U.S. Department of State. Notre Dame is just one of 20 other universities and cities given the opportunity to host 14 out of the nationwide group of 244 fellows through a grant from the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD). “They can interact with students, interact with faculty and learn more about American culture as well as their culture and business,” program coordinator for NDIGD Jennifer Krauser said. “The University is being portrayed as wanting to work with the community and develop business relationships with these organizations. The program has created a nice community partner within this area that we reach out to beyond this program.”The program was created on a federal level by the Obama administration as a unique outlet for diplomacy and to provide entrepreneurs from other countries an enriching experience both professionally and personally. The program is in its third year at Notre Dame, and thus far the fellows have engaged with 40 companies and organizations such as Goodwill, United Way, Martin’s, Meals on Wheels, South Bend Police Department and South Bend Civic Theater. Over 3,000 fellows applied to the national program this year through their respective embassies and 244 were chosen to participate.“They can take back what they learned to improve their own livelihoods,” Krauser said. “There’s a lot of talk within the University about educating the whole person and that speaks to the goals that the program has.”Communications specialist for NDIGD Luis Ruuska said he believes that one of major benefits of the program is that the fellows are able to learn from successes and failures of the entrepreneurs they are working for; as a result, the fellows learn how to expand their business models and accomplish their professional goals.“They can see the path that most established businesses have taken to get to that point,” Ruuska said. “That’s something they work on while they’re here. They work on a joint action plan with their host organizations with the idea that it will be established in the YLAI fellows’ organizations back home. Beyond hands-on work in the companies that the fellows are working for, YLAI has cultural enrichment and opportunities for fellows to participate in. At the opening reception for the 2018 YLAI professional fellows on Monday, the fellows had the chance to meet with the mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, and interact with current faculty and students to kick start developing leadership skills. After spending four weeks at Notre Dame, fellows will unite with other fellows across the country in Washington, D.C. for the closing conference and networking event with public, private and nonprofit leaders in addition to government officials. Another crucial goal of the program is to increase collaboration between the fellows and their American counterparts and also with each other. Consequently, engagement with the local region increases and a global exchange of ideas ensues.“For the hosts, it’s an opportunity to get international perspectives and younger perspectives,” Ruuska said. “The YLAI fellows are a younger group, and that’s a huge benefit for the businesses.”YLAI fellow Matías Ballón is completing his fellowship at the DePaul Academy in hopes of incorporating the expertise he learns here into his nonprofit organization Proyecto Alto Perú he has been running for ten years.“I decided to participate in YLAI after my mentor told me that I should start participating in these kinds of awards, mainly because I’ve been working in the social sector for over ten years and it’s always good to be part of an international network and fellowship,” Ballón said. “We just started this week, but it’s been awesome. It’s really interesting to understand how things work here. I’m sure I will arrive [at home] motivated and with fresh ideas specially related to our methodology and how to improve it.”The first three years of the YLAI program at Notre Dame were spent under one grant. The University hopes to apply for another grant to continue hosting the program and the bolster the mutual benefits between the school, town and fellows. Ruuska emphasized that the effects of YLAI and other leadership initiatives NDIGD offers extend beyond just the fellows that come to South Bend back to their home communities and businesses. As a result, fellows have the resources to scale up their businesses and provide additional employment in their community.“These exchange programs have a ripple effect,” Ruuska said. “The amount of people that are going to be affected through these 14 people is exponentially larger. Long term, the goal of this program is that these fellows will become leaders in a grander sense in their countries and will help lead in a political and civic sense. They will rise up and become the next generation of people to lead their countries to prosperity.”The graduation ceremony and closing reception for the 2018 YLAI professional fellows will take place Oct. 17 at 5 p.m. at the Forum in Jenkins Nanovic Halls.Tags: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, NDIGD, U.S. Department of state, YLAIlast_img read more

Former diplomats to speak at Notre Dame

first_imgFormer Secretaries of State John Kerry and Condoleezza Rice will speak in a forum at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center as part of an event hosted by Notre Dame’s International Security Center, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, Common Ground Committee and BridgeND on March 19, the University announced in a press release Tuesday. The forum is titled “Finding Common Ground on America’s Role in the World” and will be moderated by Howard LaFranchi, a diplomacy correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.“We look forward to a fascinating and productive conversation between Secretaries Rice and Kerry, two experienced leaders in American foreign policy,” Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center, said. “The Rooney Center and our partners are delighted to bring this unique and exciting dialogue to Notre Dame to educate and inform the campus community, as well as contribute to pressing national policy debates.”Rice is a Notre Dame alumna and member of the Republican party, while Kerry is a Democrat. The two will discuss differences in political discourse between the two parties. A Pew Research study said though 72 percent of the public agree that protecting the United States from terrorism should be an important priority for the country, views on specific foreign policy goals differ between Democrats and Republicans. For example, 70 percent of Republicans believe that military superiority should be a priority for the United States, while only 34 percent of Democrats would agree.In addition, about 39 percent of Democrats support helping refugees who are fleeing violent home countries, but only 11 percent of Republicans support these actions. The partisan divide on the importance of reducing undocumented immigration is even larger — with 68 percent of Republicans supporting it as a priority, as compared to 20 percent of Democrats.“Secretaries Kerry and Rice are both exemplars of BridgeND’s mission, and we are thrilled to help bring these two distinguished speakers to Notre Dame’s campus to demonstrate the possibilities of constructive discourse,” Christian McGrew, former president of BridgeND and current executive board member of BridgeUSA, said. The event will take place from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on March 19 in Debartolo Performing Arts Center. All tickets for the event have been sold.Tags: American Politics, BridgeND, Common Ground Committee, Condoleezza Rice, Diplomacy, John Kerry, notre dame international security center, Politics, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracylast_img read more

Saint Mary’s student government tickets face off in debate

first_imgFor the first time ever, candidates running for president and vice president at Saint Mary’s College had a chance to debate each other, instead of simply making speeches before a crowd. Saint Mary’s interim president Nancy Nekvasil acted as moderator for the four candidates. The current president and vice president for the Saint Mary’s student body — seniors Madeleine Corcoran and Kathy Ogden — were also present for the debate.Ann Curtis and Lina Domenella | The Observer The candidates — junior ticket Emma Schmidt (president) and Andrea Ruiz-Montoya (vice president) and junior ticket Terra Nelson (president) and Olivia Allen (vice president) — were given two minute-rounds to give introductions, make closing remarks and answer questions from the crowd.Five questions were submitted by graduate and undergraduate students at Saint Mary’s College. The questions included challenges on student diversity, the Catholic faith and the future goals of the College. Both tickets said they have plans to implement more diverse programs and create a space for diverse students to feel more comfortable. “We plan to implement a preview day for students of all minorities,” Nelson said. “If you’re passionate and excited, you have a place at Saint Mary’s and we want you here.” Emphasizing the need for minority students to feel more at ease in choosing Saint Mary’s, Schmidt and Ruiz-Montoya said dialogue is important to make the College a better place for minority students.Schmidt said “we believe communication and collaboration is key in making students feel at home.” A question was posed about how the candidates will strengthen the Catholic identity of the College.In response, Nelson said they want to focus on the growth of Campus Ministry and to dive back into tradition. Nelson and Allen also said they wish to put a focus on non-Catholic backgrounds, so that students of other faiths might feel more comfortable and at home at Saint Mary’s. Nelson said approaching students when they first arrive on campus is vital to bringing them into the Catholic tradition. “A lot of freshmen who come to college may enter with a strong faith, but they tend to turn away from it with the everyday busyness of college life,” she said. “It’s not really something that is talked about, but I want to focus on it for the years to come.”Schmidt and Ruiz-Montoya said they agreed with their opponents and raised another point about the Saint Mary’s identity. “We want to help students view Saint Mary’s as a place to grow as a woman in faith,” Schmidt said. Looking toward the future of Saint Mary’s, Nelson and Allen said they want to reconstruct freshman orientation with a new focus on sexual assault, while Schmidt and Ruiz-Montoya said they want to put a new focus on campus security and mental health resources. In order to make students feel safer on and off campus, Schmidt and Ruiz-Montoya said they are campaigning for two new policies. “We want to set up a mental health emergency line so that we can have on-call representatives to help students through crisis,” Ruiz-Montoya said. “We also want to have Blinkie run on Sundays, because there are many students who go to Mass on Sundays at the Basilica and it can be hard to go over there, especially during the winter months.”Although the candidates did agree on many points, in some cases they emphasized their different views on the Saint Mary’s experience. Nelson and Allen have worked within student government at Saint Mary’s, including with the current student body president and vice president, and Nelson said their experience with the College’s governing bodies is analogous to that of a wedding caterer.“If you want someone to cater your wedding, you want someone who has catered before,” she said. “And metaphorically, we have catered that wedding by previously being on student government.” Though Schmidt and Ruiz-Montoya have not worked on student government before, Schmidt said this allows them to understand the needs of “normal” students.“We give the perspective of a normal student, having not been on SGA before,” she said. ”I believe that is our strength.”Several students were eager to share their perspectives on the debate following the event.Saint Mary’s freshman Colleen Dunn said it was interesting to hear both sides.“I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I’ve never seen a smaller debate like this,” Dunn said. “I am happy with what I did see, and I liked that both platforms focused on inclusivity.”At the end of the night, both campaigns left the students with their words of wisdom.Schmidt said she knows even in the event of a win, change will likely come slowly.“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “We understand that it will take time to have real change here at Saint Mary’s.” Nelson and Allen said they were glad to have the chance to improve the place they love so much.“We care about this college and we want to improve it,” Nelson said. “We have been a team from the beginning, and we are humbled to represent our favorite place and second home,” Allen added. Tags: 2019 election, 2019 student government, saint mary’s, Student government, Student government electionslast_img read more

With 61 days to the election, students share reactions to historic DNC and RNC conventions

first_imgThis year’s political party conventions made history. Largely pre-recorded and viewed remotely from across the country, the Democratic and Republican National conventions (DNC and RNC, respectively) concluded their consecutive weeks with former Vice President Joe Biden accepting the Democratic nomination for president and incumbent President Donald Trump accepting the Republican nomination.Notre Dame students shared their impressions of the conventions as the election nears over a series of email correspondences.Zachary Holland, junior co-president of the College Democrats Club, said he was impressed with the DNC given the circumstances. “I watched three of the four nights, and I thought that the Democratic Party’s uplifting message of progress and hope was one desperately needed in this terrible year,” Holland said. Holland found Biden’s speech to be his best ever and was also impressed with former President Barack Obama’s speech, among others. “My own favorite was the speech of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who made it quite clear what is at stake in this election, and how Joe Biden will move us forward rather than just maintaining the status quo,” Holland said.He was disappointed, however, that the DNC didn’t embrace the progressive movement emerging from the largely younger members of the Democratic party. Holland watched parts of the RNC, of which he was critical. “When they weren’t openly defying the law, like hosting the president’s acceptance speech at the White House, the Republican Party was sowing a message of division and fear at the RNC, often with claims not backed up by fact,” he said.In regard to the final outcome of the election, Holland said he was skeptical. “Democrats will have to fight every day for the next nine weeks to win this election,” he said.Sophomore, president of the College Republicans Club Adam Morys said after watching parts of the RNC, he was left with an overall positive impression of the RNC. “They gave a strong defense of the American way of life — patriotism, respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech and American exceptionalism,” Morys said. Morys was impressed with a number of speakers, most of all Ann Dorn, the widow of late retired St. Louis Police Captain David Dorn. “[She] delivered an incredibly moving address that will wake up Americans all across this country. Her speech was my favorite,” Morys said. Additionally, Morys was in favor of Sen. Tom Cotton’s praise of President Trump’s foreign policy actions but said he was unsupportive of the criminal justice reform policies proposed by different RNC speakers.President Trump’s speech also impressed Morys, especially “his attacks on Biden’s policy platform, strong condemnation of violence in American cities and unapologetic defense of America’s history and greatness.”Overall, Morys said he thought the RNC improved the Republican Party’s chances in the election. “If the Republican Party consistently defends the rule of law, they will perform well in November,” he said.Former ND football coach Lou Holtz was a speaker at the RNC as well.International economics and political science major junior Kyle Dorshorst watched both conventions and followed them on the news and Twitter. “I thought it was really important to see both sides, although I am definitely planning on voting for Joe Biden,” he said.A Milwaukee native, Dorshorst said he was disappointed the DNC could not convene fully. “However, I think that the DNC took great advantage of the digital format by showing both the diversity of the country and the unity of so many different people behind Joe Biden,” he said. “They also did a much better job of addressing people’s concerns about the coronavirus than the RNC, in my opinion, and made a strong case for why Biden should be the next president.”Gregory Miller, junior co-president of BridgeND, a club that fosters political dialogue between students of opposing views, followed both conventions and concluded the election has become “a referendum on Trump,” he said.“Indeed, the RNC decided not to release a party platform this year; instead, they announced unconditional, ‘enthusiastic support’ of Donald Trump,” Miller said. “Meanwhile, the DNC was an attack on Trump and a propping up of Biden’s moral character but still failed to actively provide and center a policy platform that Democrats support. In this process of partisanship, policy was lost. And when policy loses, the American people lose.”The Observer posed a poll to its Twitter followers Monday, asking whether they watched the DNC, the RNC, both or neither. Of the 190 votes by Tuesday evening, 24% said they followed the DNC, 17% the RNC, 20% both and 39% neither.The general election is Nov. 3., 61 days away. Another on-campus group, ND Votes, seeks to increase voter registration and education at ND. The group has published a voter guide for students which can be accessed at their website. Tags: 2020 presidential election, DNC, RNClast_img read more