Notre Dame’s past shows University not immune to problems

first_imgNotre Dame was once at the center of the national priest abuse scandals. Fr. James Burtchaell, formerly a professor of theology and provost, on resigned his professorship on Dec. 2, 1991, in the wake of sexual misconduct charges, The Observer reported.“At the request of the University, he agreed in April 1991 to resign from the faculty at the end of his current sabbatical leave in the summer of 1992,” Fr. Carl Ebey, former provincial superior of the Congregation of the Holy Cross said in a statement reported in the Dec. 3, 1991, issue of The New York Times.One of Burtchaell’s alleged victims, John Michael Vore, said the priest was his spiritual advisor, The Observer reported in its Dec. 9, 1991, issue.“I experienced a violation when I was with him — a violation of trust, of the confidence I had in him,” Vore said at the time.Burtchaell’s resignation followed an investigation conducted by the Office of the Provost, under the leadership of then-provost Timothy O’Meara. The investigation was conducted throughout the 1990-91 academic year, after different students alleged Burtchaell abused them, according to the Dec. 3, 1991, issue of The Observer.Burtchaell was on leave from the University for the 1991-92 academic year, when he was a visiting professor at Princeton University. His resignation was effective at the conclusion of that academic year.It is unclear when the University first received reports of Burtchaell’s abuse of students. William Storey, a theology professor at Notre Dame who retired in 1991, said he reported possible sexual misconduct by Burtchaell to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1976, according to the Dec. 13, 1991 issue of the National Catholic Reporter.Burtchaell served as the University’s first provost for seven years beginning in 1970. He was also chair of the Theology Department from 1968 to 1970.He was known for stringent pro-life position and opposition to homosexuality in the Church, but also supported the ordination of women in a 1975 homily, The Observer reported.After his resignation, Burtchaell was barred from public ministry, but remains a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.Burtchaell’s case was the highest profile case of sexual abuse at Notre Dame, but former Notre Dame rector Fr. Robert Huneke was also implicated when a former student wrote a letter to members of the parish at which Huneke served in 1989.Huneke allegedly began abusing the student when he was a parish priest in Long Island in 1969. When the student began attending Notre Dame in the early 1970s, Huneke followed him to the University, and served as an assistant rector of Cavanaugh Hall and rector of Grace Hall, according to the May 4, 2003, issue of The South Bend Tribune.The abuse continued until the student was 20-years-old, according to The Tribune, but the student did not report the abuse until both he and Huneke were no longer present at the University.Huneke was working at a parish in Huntington, N.Y., in 1989 when the student accused him of abuse. The diocese removed Huneke from the parish, and the priest eventually married a former nun, according to The Tribune.The student learned in 2001 that Huneke was working as a guidance counselor at a high school in Atlanta. He informed the school about Huneke’s past, and the former priest was fired, according to The Tribune.The University established a three-member committee in 2003 for students and alumni to contact to report sexual misconduct by clergy, according to The Tribune. The committee consisted of Theology Department chair John Cavadini, then-associate provost and current president of Saint Mary’s College Carol Mooney and then-general counsel Carol Kaesebier.last_img read more

Students consider midterm elections

first_imgJunior Drew Webster said he feels like he’ll pay more attention to politics and voting when he is older. “I know there are elections, but being away at school, I don’t really pay attention to Chicago politics,” junior Drew Webster said. Midterm elections begin tomorrow. Some students said they are politically aware, but they have gotten caught up in school and being away from home. While most said they know there is an upcoming election, some noted they haven’t really thought about the issues. “I’m registered and voted before, but it didn’t even cross my mind [this year],” sophomore Ella Bergmann said. Some students said they have found that being away from their home states doesn’t just remove them from the issues; it makes the process of voting more difficult. Registering to vote with an absentee ballot is different in each state, but most of the deadlines fall in mid-October, according to longdistancevoter.org. “I didn’t vote because I didn’t get all my paperwork done. I wasn’t registered before this,” freshman Rayven Moore said. Early voting is also an option for some students attending school outside their home states. However, not every state offers this and many states require the votes to be cast in specific locations. “I voted early, but there was some drama,” freshman Amy Klopfenstein said. “They didn’t get my registration, so I filled out an emergency registration form so I could vote.” The students who voted were not just looking at the issues; they said also considered candidates and political parties into their decisions. “I wrote in my votes for senate and governor, because I didn’t like either candidate,” Klopfenstein said. “I also voted for a few issues that are important to me.” Other students that voted have kept up on what is going on in their state politics regarding certain issues and are looking forward to see the outcome on Election Day. ” I voted absentee for California,” junior Ryan Geraghty said. “I’m interested to see what happens with [Proposition 19, the ballot proposition for legalizing some marijuana use].” Some students said that while being educated on the issues and candidates is important, the campaign ads candidates run are annoying. While many were home over break, they said seemed to be bombarded with political ads at every turn. “I’ll just be happy to see the campaign ads stop,” Geraghty said. “California’s been called out on the amount of money spent on and the content of the ads. It made me want to vote for a third party just to spite [Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry] Brown and [Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg] Whitman.”last_img read more

John to appear in court after guilty plea

first_imgA former Notre Dame student will appear in court March 18 after he allegedly molested a 12-year-old South Bend girl he met on MySpace. Ackley F. John, who was a senior at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty in November to two counts of child molestation, both class B felonies. According to court documents, he was arrested April 4 after he allegedly engaged in a sex act with the girl after meeting her online. University spokesman Dennis Brown said John’s enrollment at Notre Dame ceased April 6, two days after he was arrested by local law enforcement. Court documents from the St. Joseph County Courthouse reported that at approximately 3:30 a.m. April 4, the girl’s parents called Mishawaka Police to report their daughter as a runaway. A Mishawaka officer responded to the call and asked about the girl at a 7-11 convenience store near her home. The store’s clerk said a young girl had been in the store about 30 to 40 minutes earlier and asked to use the phone to call her father. The clerk allowed the girl to use the phone, and she then left the store shortly after and got into a gray car parked near the building. The officer called the phone number given to him by the clerk and reached an answering machine stating, “This is AJ, and leave me a message.” The officer left a message, and a man returned his call approximately 40 minutes later. The man denied knowing the girl. He said his name was Ackley John and he was a student at Notre Dame. At approximately 5 a.m., the Mishawaka officer received a call stating Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) located the girl on campus. The Mishawaka officer and an officer from NDSP contacted the girl’s parents and questioned John. When questioned by police, John said he met the girl on MySpace, where she was listed under a different name. He said her MySpace profile stated she was 15 years old, but she told him she was 14 years old. John told police he communicated with the girl online for several months, and they spent time together on three occasions. John said she performed oral sex on him on two occasions, including April 4 in a Grape Road parking lot. John said he planned to drive the girl home that morning but saw her father’s car and drove to Notre Dame. When they got to campus, they started arguing, and John told her to go talk to an NDSP officer in the area, according to court documents. The girl was questioned by police and confirmed she met John on MySpace. She admitted she called John to pick her up around 2:30 a.m. from the convenience store. She told police she performed oral sex on John that night, and she confirmed that they were driving to her house when they saw her father’s car and drove to Notre Dame instead. The Observer will not name the girl because she is a minor and the victim of a crime. Court documents show John, 22, was arrested on campus April 4 and taken to the St. Joseph County Jail. He posted a $3,000 bond two days later and was released April 6. According to Indiana state law, any sexual intercourse or deviant sexual conduct with a child under 14 years old is considered child molestation. The charges against John, both class B felonies, are punished with a prison sentence between six and 20 years, with an advisory sentence of 10 years. Brown said the University does everything possible to help law enforcement. “When the University is made aware of off-campus incidents involving possible violations of the law, we provide any assistance requested by local law enforcement agencies and are confident that these agencies will ensure that justice is done under the law,” he said.last_img read more

Panel discusses sustainability in cities

first_imgSouth Bend and the University of Notre Dame must work with individuals to become more sustainable, members of the Sustainable Cities Panel determined. Students for Environmental Action hosted the event Thursday. Officer for Students for Environmental Action Regina McCormack said citizens hold the key to improving sustainability. “We often talk about what cities can do to be more green, but today we want to extend the conversation to what individuals can do,” she said. Director of the Office of Sustainability Heather Christophersen said sustainability is an integral part of Notre Dame’s mission. “It is important to our Catholic faith,” she said. Christophersen said the Church has made changes to be more sustainable, starting from the top. She said Vatican City is the first carbon-neutral country in the world, with the Vatican Museum adding solar panels to its roof. Notre Dame has adopted the Church’s view about the importance of sustainability, she said. “The negative impacts of climate change often falls most heavily on the poor and as Catholics, it is our duty to care for the poor,” Christophersen said. Christophersen said sustainability has an effect on the reputation of a university. The University hopes to decrease its carbon footprint and its waste output, in addition to teaching students about green living, she said. “[Notre Dame] hopes to educate us to change our behaviors on campus in the hope that we will take those behaviors and practice them at home also,” Christophersen said. Christophersen said the University has encouraged sustainability on campus, with a new community garden, more courses regarding sustainability and special events such as the dorm energy competition and Energy Week. Municipal Energy Director Jon Burke said South Bend has begun to encourage sustainability. The city just started an office of energy in September, he said. “We’re in the embryonic stage,” Burke said. Burke said South Bend’s solution to become more sustainable starts with each citizen of the city. “Programs to increase sustainability aren’t going to be enough,” he said. “The solution is really going to come when individuals decide they are going to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.” Burke said students must always play an important role in improving sustainability. “I plead to you to get involved with sustainability because it’s going to affect you a lot more than it will affect me,” he said. “For centuries students have been the driving force for social change.” Architecture professor Lucien Steil said constructing economically friendly structures is important. He said buildings are the greatest source of carbon emissions. “We have to become citizens of the planet again,” Steil said. Industrial design professor Ann-Marie Conrado said products we use daily can be detrimental to the environment. She said the University is recycling-friendly. “On this campus, the only thing that isn’t recyclable is food waste,” Conrado said. Conrado said current recycling bins do not cater to this, as the area for recyclable waste is significantly smaller than the area for trash. She said improving the small things goes a long way in working towards sustainability. “Through design we can actually educate and change behavior,” Conrado said.last_img read more

Boutique benefits local women

first_imgSaint Mary’s students were asked to raid their closets over Easter Break for clothing, shoes and accessories in an effort to raise donations for the first ever “Just Shop” Boutique clothing drive this past Friday in the Saint Mary’s Student Center.Donations were dropped off in labeled containers located at various sites around campus including the Student Center, Spes Unica Hall, Moreau Hall, Madeleva Hall and even the residence halls, Adrienne Lyles Chockley, interim coordinator of the SMC Justice Education program, said.  In conjunction with the Justice Education department, junior Meredith Mersits created the boutique after being moved by the stories and issues facing incarcerated women, Mersits said.“The end of last semester, I started thinking about different issues that I was passionate about, and one of them happened to be the incarceration of women, thrift store shopping, and then how women who are incarcerated can get justice just because they go through so many problems after incarceration such as sexual assault,” Mersits said.  By incorporating the Saint Mary’s and South Bend community, Mersits said she hoped to bring a little light to the lives of women currently or previously incarcerated.“By putting those ideas together, I kind of figured out I wanted to bring light to the lives of incarcerated women, [and the] idea evolved into this boutique,” Mersits said.Open to both the South Bend and Saint Mary’s community, the “Just Shop Boutique” had the layout of a thrift store with a classier appeal, Mersits said.“I’ve seen all sorts of things.  It’s old students clothing, clothing from parents, I’ve seen children’s clothing, [just all] across the board.  We’re just calling it a boutique, though, [instead of a thrift shop],” Mersits said.Mersits said she began the project on her own with the gracious help of the Saint Mary’s community.“We had a lot of people support it. Everywhere on campus I’ve gone to, they [were] so helpful,” Mersits said. “Everyone was open to the idea, but it was definitely difficult to plan everything, because when you plan an event you don’t think about the fine details like getting together the donation boxes, because that was definitely tedious and time-consuming.  But by Friday night when I finally put the boxes out, I could finally see the work [coming together].” Lyles Chockley’s help really pushed the project forward with publicity within both communities, Mersits said. “Dr. Lyles Chockley has a lot of connections.  We also [talked] to people from the YWCA.  Through networking and [other associations], we’ve really been trying to bring in the South Bend community,” Mersits said.Lyles Chockley’s big project last semester, the Symposium on Female Incarceration, had a strong influence on Mersits’s inspiration for the “Just Shop” boutique, Mersits said.“Going to that really sparked my interest in wanting to do something for those women, giving them more of a resource and a chance and not just, ‘Here’s charity,’” Mersits said.“When I decided my major, social work, I feel like [it] helped me to see the bigger picture of things, because the biggest thing you can give is your time,” Mersits said. “Definitely what the justice education department has been organizing is a revival.  You can talk all you want, but it doesn’t really mean anything if you can’t walk the walk.”“This year has definitely been great working with all the people in the Justice Education department. Everyone is also really supportive of everyone’s ideas.  There’s so many people who are passionate about it.  The whole group is dedicated to bringing justice to the world,” Mersits said.Tags: Just Shop Boutique, SMClast_img read more

University announces 3.7 percent tuition increase

first_imgThe University announced undergraduate tuition and fees will increase 3.7 percent for the 2016-17 academic year to $49,685 in a press release Friday.“Average room and board rates of $14,358 will bring total student charges to $64,043,” the release stated. “The percentage increase matches that of last year and is the lowest at Notre Dame in more than a half century.”The increase in 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 was 3.8 percent.“The charges were set by the Board of Trustees at its Jan. 29 meeting,” the release stated.According to the 2015-2016 Bulletin of Information, the basic fee for an on-campus student for the academic year ranges from $30,881.50 to $31,137.50 per semester. The tuition and fees for the full-time off-campus student is $23,964.50 per semester for the 2015–2016 academic year.Tags: Board of Trustees, Tuition, tuition increaselast_img read more

Student government tickets debate initiatives

first_imgAs Wednesday’s election for student body president and vice president rapidly approaches, the candidates were given their first and only chance to debate their platforms against one another Monday night. In the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library, student body presidential candidate — and current student body vice president — Becca Blais and her running mate, Sibonay Shewit, faced off against the opposing ticket of presidential candidate Rohit Fonseca and his running mate, Daniela Narimatsu, to begin the final push for votes before the election. The candidates began the debate by discussing why they chose to run for office.“When we decided to run for student government, we had one thing in mind — you guys, the students, our classmates, our friends, the people who mean the most to us and the Notre Dame family,” Fonseca said. “We have very different life experiences that we bring to the table, but you will find us united in our passion for Notre Dame.”Blais said one of the key issues that motivated her to run was reforming sexual assault procedures, prompted by an experience at a sexual assault prevention meeting.Both tickets had plans to tackle sexual assault. Fonseca and Narimatsu advocated for presenting anonymous testimonies to the student body via displays in the dining halls, an initiative that Fonseca had spearheaded in regards to mental health during his tenure as director of health and wellness for student government. “You kind of understand that these people you walk by everyday … might be dealing with sexual assault, might be dealing with domestic abuse, might be dealing with serious life issues that we pretend don’t exist here in our perfectionist culture here at Notre Dame,” Fonseca said.One of the key policies Blais and Shewit said they hoped to enact in regards to sexual assault is the use of the sexual assault recording software Callisto. The software aims to “provides survivors with a confidential and secure way to create a time-stamped record of an assault, learn about reporting options and support resources, or report electronically to campus authorities. It [als] gives survivors the option to report their assault only if someone else names the same assailant,” according to the software’s website.“SpeakupND is a great reporting software for harassment; Callisto is an online software for sexual assault,” she said. “The unique thing about Callisto is that you can put in all of your information when it happens.”Blais said the current system did not go far enough and more steps needed to be taken to prevent sexual assault.“[Sexual assault victims] are your classmates, those are your dormmates — those are your friends,” she said. However, Fonseca argued that the technology already used by the University ought to be kept in place.“We want to push what we already have,” he said. “We don’t need any new technology for online reporting of sexual assault. We already have speakup.nd.edu and we’re going to make that known.”The candidates also discussed issues relating to inclusion and diversity on Notre Dame’s campus. Narimatsu said one way to help students that feel left out, especially non-Catholics, become a part of the community is through service.“It is really hard for [non-religious] first years trying to navigate within the culture of Notre Dame and [be included]; we think service is going to be a part of that,” she said.Fonseca added that another one of their campaign’s initiatives — a campus-wide prayer service — was also aimed at bringing students together. The prayer would be held on Monday mornings to “start the week off right,” he said.Shewit said in order to bring students together, greater dialogue about diversity and inclusion was necessary. “We want students to know that it’s okay to celebrate their differences and talk about them and to ask questions about other students and their own celebrations and uniqueness,” she said. “We want to foster a place where these conversations can happen.”The candidates then transitioned to issues relating to greater student health. Blais and Shewit said they wanted to provide free STD and STI testing and rape kit testing to St. Liam’s. The duo also wants to bring in the JED Foundation — an organization that evaluates schools’ mental health programs in order to improve the programs — to help streamline the University Health Services’ care.Fonseca said improving student health was important but that some of Blais and Shewit’s proposals weren’t feasible. “We know that there are some things that we need to be realistic about,” Fonseca said. “We have talked directly to a director in St. Liam’s who says that it is impossible — not that it’s her opinion or she thinks that it’s impossible — it is impossible to get free STD and STI testing within a year.”Blais said being told something is impossible isn’t the end.“Sometimes when you hear that something is impossible, try anyway,” she said. “We were once told that a peer support group was impossible, yet we launched the first-ever sexual assault survivors support group last fall.”Tags: blais-shewit, Election, fonseca-narimatsu, Student governmentlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s community members to tour local African-American historical sites

first_imgSaint Mary’s students and faculty will travel through time by visiting African-American historical landmarks throughout the South Bend community Saturday. Director of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) Rebekah DeLine said she created the event for the first time this year. She was aware that the South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center offered an online, self-guided tour of African-American historical sites in the South Bend Community, so she contacted members of the organization to transition the tour to a guided one. DeLine said the attendees will be transported to the different sites on a bus and will be provided lunch. “The tour has been available on the Civil Rights [Heritage Center’s] website for many years, but this is the first time that we are offering it in real life with the interim director of the Civil Rights Heritage Center,” DeLine said.She said she recognizes that African-American history is only one part of South Bend’s history and the tour could feature many different subjects, but she values the timeliness of this particular issue.  “This moment in time is important to be thinking about history — especially the not always good history — in the local community,” DeLine said. “We also have a not always flattering, somewhat shameful history here in South Bend, and until we are willing to own that and to really look at the injustices that have occurred and even continue to occur and say that we want to do something different or better, I don’t think things will change.” DeLine said she is happy that there is an increasingly diverse group of people who registered. “There are a couple of faculty members who have registered. Then there are students, and I just realized that some community members have registered as well,” she said. “I think that will be nice because it will be more complex in the information that is shared and the conversations that are had.” Sophomore Tori Weston said she thinks the event will serve as an opportunity to connect, converse and build community. “It will hopefully open up a dialogue about cultural differences and how this community has been impacted by the work of African Americans,” she said. “More open communication brings communities closer together. It allows us to understand each other and to open our minds to the experiences of others.”Weston said she also hopes that the event will connect students to the South Bend community and with people and histories outside of their normal sociocultural groups.“Most students never have experiences outside of their in-group or communities they grew up in, and this is an opportunity for students to expand their horizons and learn about a group they may not know much about, and especially may not know about in the context of South Bend,” Weston said. DeLine said she wishes for students to be inspired by the history of South Bend to create a world that values inclusion and justice. “I hope they feel challenged to be part of creating a world that is more welcoming and more committed to equity and not just equality for all people in the world and people here in our community,” DeLine said. Tags: African American community, Civil Rights Heritage Center, Office of Civic and Social Engagement, Rebekah DeLine, tourlast_img read more

Students explore poverty in urban areas over winter break

first_imgPhoto courtesy Members of an Urban Plunge team in Pittsburgh pose after packing boxes of food for distribution. Urban Plunge teams spent part of their winter breaks immersed in struggling urban communities across the country.Adam Gustine, assistant director of seminars at the CSC, said he expects Urban Plunge to help students understand what it takes to “build a community where everyone flourishes, particularly those who are marginalized.”The plunges are framed through the lens of Catholic social teaching, with an emphasis on a preferential option for the poor and the vulnerable. “We want to explore the overlap between the pursuit of the common good and the human dignity for each person, and how those two things play together,” Gustine said.During the four classes prior to the immersion, Gustine said the students learn about the nature of the cities and neighborhoods they will be visiting in order to try to understand the different approaches people take to combat the issues facing the sites. “We look at symptomatic issues versus root causes of these social issues,” Gustine said. “We do that so when you go on the immersion we have a frame of reference to what we’re looking at.”In just a few days, sophomore Amelia Love, who helped lead an Urban Plunge site in The Ville in St. Louis this year, said the goal was not to solve any problems but to simply trying to understand them.“It’s a great way to build solidarity in St. Louis with community members I would not have otherwise met,” Love said.After participating in an immersion both this year and last year, Love said she found it heartbreaking how overworked and understaffed the employees at the homeless center are, but she knows their work is greatly appreciated.“Change is possible, but it’s hard. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for not helping people,” Love said.Sophomore Caroline Myers participated in Urban Plunge for the first time this winter break, and stayed with a Notre Dame alumni couple in neighborhood in Denver called Sun Valley, which Myers said is the poorest zip code in all of Colorado. She said they worked with a few different nonprofits during the immersion to learn more about the homeless population in Sun Valley. One of the organizations operated with a simple mission of going into the streets in the neighborhood and having discussions with the homeless people without an agenda. Myers, who is from Denver, said she was particularly struck by a man she met named Kevin, who during their prayer broke down crying. “He talked about his struggle with alcohol … he wasn’t asking for money or a new life, but he was just wishing for God to decide what was going to happen to him,” Myers said.Although Myers lives fairly close to Sun Valley and had visited many restaurants in the area, she said she had no idea so many of the houses were for the homeless. “Being from a part of Denver where I can easily turn a blind eye to their struggles, it made me upset with myself because I’ve had the privilege of not having to realize that there was homeless housing down the street from my favorite doughnut shop,” Myers said.Tags: Center for Social Concerns, poverty, Urban Plunge While many students celebrated the holidays and spent time relaxing over winter break, some also spent a few days examining the causes and challenges of poverty in cities across America. Urban Plunge, the Center for Social Concern’s one-credit experiential learning seminar, allowed 146 students at 25 different sites to learn about organizations fighting poverty in cities close to their own hometowns. These immersions ranged from two to four days and many are affiliated with Notre Dame alumni clubs. last_img read more

New York State Police K9 Named In Honor Of Fallen Trooper

first_imgImage by New York State Police.OLEAN – New York State Police have introduced its newest K9 member in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties.K9 Nicki is named in honor of Trooper Nicholas Clark, who was killed in the line of duty on July 2, 2018.Police say Nicki will be Trooper Dean Nolte’s third narcotic canine partner. 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)last_img