Sociology professor Christian Smith recently received honors for his latest works, “What is a Person” and “Souls in Transition,” from top scholarly institutions, including “Choice” magazine and the Lilly Fellows Program. Smith expressed gratitude when presented with his awards and praised the University for its contributions to his research. “You spend years and years working on books, so it’s nice when someone thinks they’re worthwhile. I’m very happy for Notre Dame as well,” Smith said. “The University’s resources have been invaluable to my research.” In addition to teaching sociology courses, Smith serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Director of the Center for Social Research. Smith said he developed an interest in religion and the spiritual lives of youth early in his career. “I was always interested in the field of religion,” he said. “In 2000, I began studying the religious and spiritual lives of teenagers. I find the lives of young people fascinating and a great way to understand culture and society.” “Souls in Transition,” the winner of the 2011 Lilly Fellows Program Book Award, explores spirituality and religion during emerging adulthood, a time Smith defines as between 18 to 23 years of age. “There’s a lot of freedom, opportunity and dangers during this limbo phase between the teenage years and young adulthood,” Smith said. “In the book, I look what happens to the lessons from childhood. Also, growing up in a pluralistic society, I wondered how teenagers would approach spirituality once leaving home and separating from their parents.” While researching for his book, Smith discovered his findings supported previously established claims, while also validating obvious yet surprising explanations concerning the religious lives of young adults. “We have known that going to church declines in this period. There’s not a decline in beliefs necessarily, but more so in public practice,” he said. “It should be obvious then, but the most important factor in shaping the lives of young people is their parents. It’s surprising because we tend to believe parents become less and less important, and this is not the case at all.” Smith has brought his research to the Notre Dame community, hoping that residence staff and campus ministry can help students develop and sustain their spiritual lives during their undergraduate careers. “I have presented my findings to all the rectors, and my main message is if you really want to reach young people with faith, then you have to engage them where they are in their lives,” Smith said. “Notre Dame can’t control what parents have taught, but they can continue to engage students in conversation.” Smith’s other work, “What is a Person,” explores the question of personhood within a comprehensive framework informed by sociological and philosophical principles. “I think social science gets human beings wrong in a lot of ways,” Smith said. “What it means to be a person is something very particular and complicated. If humans are persons, then social science needs to take personhood seriously rather than taking a reductionist view.” Smith said he advocates a pluralist approach, a philosophical system recognizing the possibility of more than one ultimate principle. “We need to develop a better theory of personhood that defends a humanistic view as human beings are special and worthy of dignity,” Smith said. “I think culture is moving away from this view, and it’s a big problem.”
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) recently awarded $375,000 to The University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) to conduct research on the MCC’s water project in Ghana. The MCC is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency founded by Congress in 2004. The MCC designed its program in Ghana with the intention of using water projects to alleviate disease and poverty in the country. Michael Sweikar, managing director of NDIGD, said the blank purchase agreement, reached in June, will enable NDIGD to monitor MCC’s project and to evaluate the initiative’s overall effects. “The contract with them provides assistance in monitoring and evaluation to help measure the impact of one of their water interventions in Ghana,” Sweikar said. NDIGD monitoring and evaluation specialist Lila Khatiwada said the project aims to reduce diseases and widespread health problems, such as diarrhea, in some of the poorest areas of Ghana. “MCC implemented water interventions in 30 districts in Ghana for [the] poorest of the poor,” Khatiwada said. “They provide water points, water holes and water systems to extend to newer communities.” Khatiwada said comparing communities that receive MCC water treatments with those that do not will be NDIGD’s primary method of assessment. “We will be using rigorous study,” he said. “One community receives the [MCC’s] water treatment, and this is called the ‘treatment community.’ Similar communities we call ‘control communities’ did not receive the treatment. We will compare the outcome between the two communities.” Khatiwada said NDIGD collected baseline data for the relevant communities in 2010. It will compare that data to post-treatment statistics that it will collect sometime in 2014. “The hypothesis is that there will be a reduction in disease [in the treatment community],” Khatiwada said. “It could be untrue, partially true, but we are testing that.” Sweikar said the involvement of Notre Dame faculty is an important aspect of the project. Edwin Michael, professor of biological sciences and a member of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, and Joe Kaboski, professor of economics, are working with Khatiwada and NDIGD monitoring and evaluation specialist Juan Carlos Guzman to design the study and complete the research. “The faculty has the chance to analyze the data and future publication,” Sweikar said. “Interdisciplinary strengths in global health add a diverse array of subject area knowledge that is beneficial to the team.” Contact Katie McCarty at [email protected]
Beginning today, Notre Dame’s campus will be the site of an epic battle between humans and vampires.Tuesday marks the first day of the annual Humans vs. Vampires game, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures (CSLC). According to Joachim Castellano, technology and administrative program manager for the CSLC, the game will run through Saturday and ends with an awards ceremony Sunday.“Basically, it’s a game of tag,” Castellano said. “There are two teams, the Humans and the Vampires, and every student who participates will be assigned to one team. [Each team] has to kill each other. There are five missions throughout the games that take place at night, so [students] will see a lot of people running around shooting NERF guns at each other.”According to Castellano, this is the second year the CSLC has sponsored the event. Before the CSLC took over the event, it was sponsored by the Student Activities Office (SAO), he said.Denise Ayo, assistant director for academic programs for the CSLC, said after the center took over the game, they began to incorporate foreign language elements into game play.“For example, [players] receive clues or directions in, for example, German or another foreign language offered at Notre Dame,” Ayo said. “Last year, they had [a mission] where you had to take a big heavy box of dirt across campus. When the humans arrived to figure out their mission, the person there to describe the mission only spoke Korean. So they were sitting there talking in Korean. Also, there are hidden items that will help [members of the team] and give [players] immunity, but the riddles to find [these items] will be in a foreign language.”Originally Humans vs. Zombies was played on Notre Dame’s campus, Ayo said. However, after the CSLC became involved with the game, the center changed the game to Humans vs. Vampires, as Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is one of the most widely translated texts in the world.“You can find ‘Dracula’ in Catalan, German, French — all the languages we teach and have instructors here that speak the language,” she said. “That’s why we made the switch from zombies to vampires.”According to Ayo, the “Dracula” aspect of the game and the foreign language aspect of the game intersect throughout play time and during the awards ceremony.“[The game] culminates in a public reading of Dracula in the various languages, which is really exciting,” Ayo said. “It’s the biggest event where students can really interact with the professors. We have professors reading from the texts, we have peer tutors reading from the text, we have foreign language teaching assistants reading from the texts. It’s a great way to integrate students who don’t come into [the CSLC] normally and they come to get their awards and pizza and talk about the game and then they are exposed to foreign language.”Castellano said the main goal of the CSLC is to get students involved with foreign languages. Though the foreign language requirement varies depending on a student’s college, the CSLC wants to engage all students in the study of languages, and this game is a way for the CSLC to reach out to every student, regardless of their language requirement, or lack thereof.“We want students to be passionate about learning a foreign language, so we try to expose students to learning and practicing a language outside of the classroom,” Castellano said. “For anyone who really takes up a foreign language, there are a lot of opportunities to fall in love with it when you are using it in real life. It becomes less of an academic exercise and more like something that is part of everyday life.”By incorporating elements of foreign language into a fun game, Castellano said he believes the center can reach more students.“This event creates a space to use languages in a game-like environment, and we are basically trying to say to Notre Dame students that learning a language is a lot of fun — it is more than what you do in the classroom, and it can open up your world to different opportunities in your life,” he said. “It might start with a Humans vs. Vampires game, but hopefully it will inspire students to study foreign language more deeply and it may lead them to a future career or future life.”Tags: CSLC, Dracula, German, language, vampires, zombies
To Tim Brown, the Heisman Trophy and the Hall of Fame induction are just means to the end of speaking to men and women about what it means to be an authentic person whose life is in line with God’s plan for them.Brown, a former Notre Dame football player and NFL receiver, gave the keynote lecture of “StaND Against Hate Week” titled “The Making of a Man” on Tuesday evening in DeBartolo Hall. He spoke about his own life and the lessons it taught him about manhood, faith and parenting.Wei Lin | The Observer “I want nothing more than for men to understand what God wants for them,” he said. “That’s why I wrote my book, and that’s why we talk about the things we talk about.”Brown said he used to undertake his morning routine without turning the lights on because he could not face himself in the mirror. Now, because of a series of epiphanies that occurred over the events of his life, he can hold his head high.“There is no way that you can be your authentic self, in my opinion, without God being involved in your life,” Brown said. “We may be educated, but I know a lot of educated people without God in their lives who are out there making some stupid decisions.”Brown said role models play an integral role in the formation of young people and can influence how they interact with other people for the rest of their lives.“I can tell just as clear as day after speaking with young men for two or three minutes who has good role models in their lives,” Brown said.“As men, we have to understand that our kids are watching,” he said. “My son will tell you now that he was watching me when he was eight years old. He was waiting for me to say something I wasn’t supposed to say or do, something that would set a bad example, and I never did.”Brown said part of the reason he takes speaking opportunities is he wants as many people as possible to hold him accountable for his actions.“Sometimes we don’t want people in our lives telling us what to do because we think we have it all, and we think we know it all,” he said. “But you have to have people on this earth that you can lock into. You have to surround yourself with good people who will hold you accountable.”Brown said he would not have achieved all he has if it were not for former Notre Dame football head coach Lou Holtz and his belief in Brown both as an athlete and as a man.“It wasn’t like he was patting me on the back the whole time and telling me I was okay,” Brown said. “There was a lot of criticism, but with criticism comes correction.”Brown said parents should stand up for their kids when being attacked or scrutinized unfairly, but they should also be willing to let them take responsibility when they make mistakes.“When I see these fathers take up for their kids when their kids are obviously wrong, I can tell that’s going to be a problem,” he said. “We’ve seen it in college sports, and we’ve seen it in professional sports.”Brown said young people have the world at their fingertips, but the current state of the world makes it difficult to avoid temptation and make the correct decision.“If you don’t go to church, go to church. Mom and dad can’t come to college with you or go to the NFL with you,” he said. “At some point, you’re going to need a conscience in your head telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing.“The only type of conscience that can provide that is a godly conscience, but if you’ve never heard it, and you don’t know anything about it, then it won’t be there for you when you need it.” Tags: StaND Against Hate Week, Tim Brown
A rape was reported to a University administrator Tuesday, according to Wednesday’s Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) crime log. The alleged rape occurred August 5 in an “on-campus residence,” according to the entry.A case of alleged domestic battery was also included in Wednesday’s crime log, which was reported to NDSP on July 29.As of Wednesday afternoon, students had not received an email crime alert from NDSP.Tags: Clery Act, domestic battery, NDSP, NDSP crime log, rape, sexual assault
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the widow of a former Notre Dame football player’s lawsuit against both the University and the NCAA could proceed, an Associated Press (AP) article said. Yvette Schmitz is alleging that her husband, Steve, was adversely affected by concussions sustained during his football career at Notre Dame from 1974-1978. Steve Schmitz died in 2015.“Steve and Yvette Schmitz filed a lawsuit in 2014 alleging the institutions showed ‘reckless disregard’ for player safety and failed to protect them from concussions,” the article said.The slip opinion issued by the Ohio Supreme Court states Steve Schmitz was diagnosed with degenerative brain disease in 2012, which he claimed was related to numerous concussions before he died.“By 2014, at age 58, [Schmitz] had been additionally diagnosed with severe memory loss, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, all of which he claimed were caused, aggravated, and/or magnified by the repetitive head impacts he sustained while playing football for Notre Dame,” the slip opinion said.Both the University and the NCAA argued too much time has passed for the lawsuit to proceed, but the Ohio Supreme Court said it didn’t have enough facts to confirm that conclusion.“The Supreme Court said Wednesday it couldn’t say the couple missed the two-year statute of limitations without more facts, and returned the case to the trial court,” the AP article said.Tags: concussions, lawsuit, NCAA, Ohio Supreme Court, Steve Schmitz
Courtesy of John McGuinness Members of the “Redheads of Notre Dame” GroupMe gather outside Legends for photo before the Michigan game Sept. 1.This requirement is a source of controversy within the group, as it isn’t always easy to determine if someone’s hair is red — people have been removed from the group after it was determined that they were simply strawberry blonde, senior John McGuinness, an early member of the group, said. Senior Moira Griffith, a member since fall 2017, said strawberry blonde is not purely red. She also classifies a ginger as someone with “highlighter bright” hair, but said that a classic redhead’s hair is darker. Group member and senior Emily Dufner disagreed, arguing that a ginger’s hair is “orangey.” For junior Evan Slattery, freckles define a ginger.Griffith said her red hair is an important part of her identity.“Over time [being a redhead] has become more of my identity than I think it was when I was younger,” Griffith said. “It’s a fun way to stand out. People notice your hair right away. It’s like an electric shock on your head … It makes me feel a little more unique in the mass.”Red hair is uncommon worldwide. Genetically, the trait is recessive and comes from a mutation in the MC1R gene. Despite red hair’s rarity, the redheads of Notre Dame agree there is an unusually high number of red heads on campus.“There are definitely more [redheads] here than there would be at other places … with all the Irish blood,” McGuinness said.However, not all redheads are of exclusively Irish descent, Griffith said. Both Griffith and Slattery said they are at least half Italian.Though McGuinness said he doesn’t feel a special connection with other redheads stemming from hair color, some members of the group, such as senior Chad Quick, do report feeling fellowship with other redheads on campus when they spot them walking around.“You just kind of wave and smile in solidarity,” Quick said.Quick, like many group members, comes from a family of redheads. His dad, mom, sister and dog all have red hair.The GroupMe is used mostly for meet-ups at large events, as members attempt to take exclusively redhead photos. Ultimately, the group hopes to have a social gathering exclusively for redheads. During football season, group members said, the group is used extensively to locate sunscreen.Slattery, who said he has been nicknamed ”Big Red” since childhood, was one of the members to plea for sunscreen during the Sept. 1 football game against the University of Michigan. He said he takes great pride in his red hair.“Last year I grew out my hair to my shoulders and it was who I was. I was that kid with long, red, curly hair,” Slattery said.Griffith said she enjoys her sense of camaraderie with other redheads.“It’s like a secret society,” she said, “I’ve had old men on campus before stop me and go, ‘you just look like Ireland.’“Griffith hopes to organize a campus 5k consisting solely of redheads. She said the race could raise funds to fight skin cancer.“There’s so much solidarity in our proneness to skin cancer,” Griffith said.For his part, Quick said his mother told him his red hair was a reason not to commit crimes with the following advice: “You’re a redhead so you’ll never get away with anything.”Tags: genetics, red hair, Redheads of Notre Dame At first glance, Ed Sheeran, Lucille Ball, Ms. Frizzle and at least 108 Notre Dame students might appear to have little in common. However, all of these people share a rare genetic trait: They are among the less-than 2 percent of the world’s population with red hair.Last year, Teagan Dillon, who graduated from the University in the spring of 2018, created the “Redheads of Notre Dame” GroupMe as a way for redheads on campus to communicate and coordinate events surrounding their red hair. The group currently has 108 members, but is open to new applicants. The only requirement for admission is the group must reach a consensus on whether or not applicants have red hair.
Former President Jimmy Carter, television host David Letterman visit University for opening ceremony of Work Project — Aug. 26, 2018Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former late-night television host David Letterman visited Notre Dame to commence their annual home building endeavor, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The project — which runs through Habitat for Humanity — gathers a group of workers of spend a week building houses in a different geographical region of the U.S. each year. In 2018, the former White House couple, along with volunteers and future homeowners, helped to build a total of 22 new homes in Mishawaka. During the ceremony, Rosalynn said the Carters held a long-term friendship with former University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh. “When Jimmy was president, there were refugees in Thailand coming from Cambodia, I think,” Rosalynn said. “I went to see them, and when I got home I had a phone call from Fr. Ted saying, ‘Let’s raise money and help those refugees.’ And of course, I was thrilled. And we raised a lot of money and became very close friends with Fr. Ted.”US Poet Laureate visits Saint Mary’s — Sept. 5, 2018United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith visited the College in September to speak at the annual Christian Culture Lecture. Smith spoke on the connection between poetry and spirituality, seeing both poetry and Christianity as a way to navigate the world. In the lecture, she said she recognized both creative pursuit and faith require submission to something greater than oneself and living outside the confines of logic. Smith read from her Pulitzer Prize winning book of poetry, “Life on Mars,” along with some excerpts from her other works. She said poetry is one of the most powerful ways she connects with spirituality and her faith. “Poetry, like the language of belief, puts us in touch, if we let it, with our eternal selves,” Smith said. “Spiritual belief has given us a vocabulary for wonder, for the miraculous and indescribable. In so doing, it has argued compellingly for the necessity of metaphor as a means of making familiar and intimate what we otherwise could not comprehend.”Jan Cervelli resigns as president of Saint Mary’s, files civil suit against College — Oct. 5, 2018Board of Trustees chair Mary Burke announced then-Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli’s resignation in a letter to the College community Oct. 5. Burke said Cervelli resigned for personal reasons and former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs Nancy Nekvasil would assume the position of interim president. On March 12, 2019, Cervelli filed a civil suit against the College alleging Saint Mary’s failed to honor her employment agreement and breached a settlement agreement that stated she could continue working at Saint Mary’s as a tenured professor. In the suit, Cervelli claimed she was forced out by members of the Board of Trustees, including Burke. On March 22, the College filed a counterclaim to the suit that stated Saint Mary’s was not in breach of contract and acting within its rights as an institution. The legal proceedings and the search for a permanent replacement for Cervelli are ongoing. University announces it will revoke McCarrick’s honorary degree, forms task forces to address Church crisisIn response to the sex abuse scandal, University President Fr. John Jenkins created two campus task forces — the Campus Engagement Task Force and the Research and Scholarship Task Force — on Nov. 1, 2018. The Campus Engagement Task Force, led by director for the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights and associate professor of law Jennifer Mason McAward and Fr. Gerry Olinger, University vice president for Mission Engagement and Church Affairs, hosted a series of listening sessions about the abuse crisis in November, in which students, faculty, staff and Notre Dame community members were invited to share their thoughts about the crisis. In a March 4 press release, Jenkins announced further University plans to address the crisis: making Church reform the focus of the 2019-2020 Notre Dame Forum, offering up to $1 million in research grants to “to fund research projects that address issues emerging from the crisis” and adding sexual abuse prevention and education to ministry formation programs. Jenkins announced Notre Dame would revoke a 2008 honorary degree of laws awarded to former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on Feb. 16. The decision was made after a Vatican canonical trial found McCarrick had broken his vows as a priest and sexually abused minors and adults. A report the Archdiocese of New York received brought forth allegations of sexual abuse against McCarrick more than six months earlier in June of 2018, and an archdiocesan review board found the allegations to be “credible and substantiated” following an investigation. Still, the University held off on rescinding until the Vatican announced its verdict. The University received national attention for holding off on revoking the degree. In a November letter to The Observer, a Notre Dame law student criticized Jenkins for comments he made regarding the nature of McCarrick’s abuse in an interview with Crux Magazine. Jenkins personally responded to the student’s criticism in an Observer letter to the editor later that month. The decision follows a precedent set by the University on April 26, 2018, when Notre Dame waited to revoke comedian Bill Cosby’s 1990 honorary degree until his conviction.Saint Mary’s hosts 175th anniversary celebrations2019 marked the 175th anniversary of Saint Mary’s founding. Anniversary celebrations began in January of 2019 and will extend throughout the rest of the year. Festivities kicked off Jan. 20 with service events, an opening Mass and dinner to commemorate the Feast of Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The events aim to remind students of Saint Mary’s core values of learning, community, faith and spirituality and justice established by the Sisters of the Holy Cross 175 years ago.Jenkins announces Columbus murals will be covered — Jan. 20, 2019In a Jan. 20 email to the student body, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced Notre Dame’s decision to cover the Luigi Gregori’s Christopher Columbus murals in the Main Building. The murals had long been the subject of controversy on campus for what some view as historically inaccurate depictions of Native Americans. Still, the University’s decision to cover the murals was met with national backlash from those who believe the murals to be of high artistic value and integral to Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. The decision sparked student activism on both sides of the controversy that would last for weeks. On Feb. 14, Jenkins announced the members of a committee which would advise the University on how to display the murals “in the appropriate context, as well as on related issues,” according to a Notre Dame press release.Tri-campus community closes due to extreme weatherThe tri-campus community canceled class the week of Jan. 28 in one of the most severe cold fronts to hit the Midwest in years — the “Polar Vortex.” Amid temperatures that neared -20 degrees, Notre Dame closed from 6 p.m. Jan. 29 to 1 p.m. Jan. 31. Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross closed Jan. 29 through Jan 31. During the closure, Holy Cross experienced a power outage from approximately 6:25 a.m. to noon Wednesday. During this time, on students were evacuated to North Dining Hall at Notre Dame. After the University reopened, there were also several pipe leaks across campus — in Duncan Student Center, the Main Building and Fitzpatrick and Cushing Halls of Engineering — caused by the extreme temperatures.University announces new men’s dorm will be named Baumer Hall — March 6, 2019The University announced in a March 6, 2019 press release Notre Dame’s newest residence hall will be named Baumer Hall in honor of John and Mollie Baumer, graduates of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, respectively, who donated the $20 million which made the new men’s residence hall possible. Baumer will first serve as the temporary home for the residents of Dillon Hall, which will be undergoing extensive renovations throughout the 2019-2020 school year, prior to beginning its own community in the fall of 2020. Located just south of West Quad, next to Ryan Hall, Baumer is set to become Notre Dames 31st residence hall and will be joined by a new women’s residence hall currently under construction on east of Dunne Hall set to open in 2020.Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry speak at Notre Dame — March 19, 2019 Former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry visited Notre Dame on March 19, 2019. Rice — the 64th secretary of state who served under President George W. Bush and graduated from Notre Dame in 1975 — and Kerry, the 66th secretary under President Barack Obama, were brought to campus by the Common Ground Committee, a non-profit that invites leaders to discuss national issues in public settings. The two diplomats discussed and debated public policy issues such as climate change, North Korea and voter suppression, among other topics. Kerry said the only way to change politicians’ tendency toward “the hard policy of orthodoxy thinking” was through voting for more moderate representation, and Rice ended the panel by calling the audience to “own your democracy.”Office of Residential Life announces residential life updates, incentives for seniors to stay on campus — April 11, 2019The Offices of Student Affairs and Residential Life released a list of changes to Notre Dame’s residential policy an email to the student body April 11, 2019. In an April Observer article, vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding called the changes a “bookend” to the University’s six-semester policy rolled out in fall of 2017. In the email, Hoffmann Harding and associate vice president for residential life Heather Rakoczy Russell announced plans to provide stipends for seniors who stay on campus, new meal plans, free laundry for on-campus residents, the elimination of the $500 occupancy fee for singles and improvements for kitchen facilities in residence halls. A final update will bar off-campus residents from certain on-campus activities, including attending dorm dances and participating in interhall sports. The decision was met with dissent of many in the Notre Dame community — on April 12, over 1,000 students gathered to protest the policy outside of the Main Building. Hoffmann Harding met with student senate April 30 to discuss the policy updates further.Mayor Pete announces official bid for presidency — April 14, 2019South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg announced his decision to run for president of the United States in an April 14, 2019 rally at the Studebaker building in downtown South Bend. Buttigieg, who has been mayor of South Bend since 2012, launched his exploratory committee Jan. 23. In his official announcement speech, Buttigieg said his presidency would focus on promoting ”freedom, security and democracy.” In this speech, he focused on several contested issues, including climate change activism and electoral college reform. If elected, Buttigieg would become the youngest president to hold office, as well as America’s first openly gay president.University announces leprechauns for 2018-2019 school year — April 16, 2019On April 16, 2019, Notre Dame announced the students chosen to represent the University as the official leprechaun mascots for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Notre Dame cheerleading program called the lineup the “most diverse roster” ever, as junior Samuel Jackson and sophomore Lynnette Wukie will be the second and third African Americans to hold the role, with Wukie becoming the University’s first female leprechaun. Sophomore Conal Fagan, returning for his second year as a leprechaun, is also the University’s first native Irishman to hold the position.Tags: Commencement 2019, year in review
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) Alberto G. / CC BY 2.0 ALBNAY – New York State’s Regents exams that were slated for June have now been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.The state’s Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa announced the news Monday in a statement.“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a tremendous burden on many New Yorkers and our schools and children are no exception,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “The regulations passed by the Board today will allow schools, students and professionals much-needed flexibility while they adapt to this rapidly evolving situation.”A series of amendments address numerous issues resulting from the interruptions districts, institutions of higher education and licensed professionals are experiencing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, officals said. We have listed the changes below: ProfessionsAmendments to the Commissioner’s regulations will allow the Department to excuse the continuous experience requirements for speech language pathology, audiology, and occupational therapy where such continuous experience cannot be completed due to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor.Further, the Department will accept passing examination scores from Public Accounting applicants that are outside the required 18-month examination window where such examinations could not be completed within 18 months due to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor.Additionally, the Department will be authorized to modify professional educational program requirements for licensure, to the extent authorized by law, and grant an exemption for in person supervision experience requirements for licensed clinical social work, licensed master social work, mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, creative arts therapy, and psychoanalysis where such requirements and/or in person supervision cannot be completed due to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor.School and District AccountabilityThe federal government has provided New York State with a one-year waiver from provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) pertaining to State assessments and school and district accountability determinations due to the unique circumstances that have arisen as a result of the COVOID-19 crisis. Therefore, the Department amends the Commissioner’s regulations to specify that the Commissioner will not conduct a review of school and district performance using 2019-20 school year data. The accountability status of public schools and districts for the 2020-21 school year will remain the same as for the 2019-20 school year; and 2018-19 school year results shall be used in any instance where 2019-20 school year results would have been used as part of the process of making 2021-22 school year accountability determinations.Additionally, the proposed amendment provides that the Commissioner may, upon a finding of good cause, modify timelines for the 2019-20 through 2021-22 school years [any required timelines] pertaining to notifications, plans, reports, or implementation of activities required of schools and districts because of their accountability status during those school years.Special EducationThe Commissioner’s regulations are amended to ensure that State approved private schools, State operated schools, Special Act School Districts, State supported schools and preschools will not be penalized because they are unable to provide instruction or operate for 180 days where such schools are closed pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor. The amendments also permit impartial hearing officers to conduct special education due process hearings by video conference during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, the amendments allow hearing officers to extend cases up to 60 days rather than 30 days while schools are closed pursuant to the terms of the Executive Order(s) issued by the Governor.In regard to requirements that preschool providers make-up missed services within 30 days of the missed session, the amendment allows providers to not include days that the school is closed pursuant to the terms of the Executive Order(s) issued by the Governor. Additionally, the regulations extend the time period to arrange for special education programs and services to be provided where a school is closed pursuant to an Executive Order issued by the Governor.Bilingual EducationThe Commissioner’s regulations are amended to not include any day(s) where a school is closed pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor to count toward the following timelines:English language learner identification process timeline;parental notification and information timeline; andthe English as a New Language/Bilingual Education placement timeline.The amendments will also provide an exemption to students from the unit of study requirements where a student is unable to meet such requirements due to schools being closed pursuant to an Executive Order and otherwise achieves the learning outcomes.Additionally, the amendments provide that for the 2019-2020 school year, there will be no English language learner annual assessment due to such assessment being suspended as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.Curriculum and InstructionThe Department amends the Commissioner’s regulations to provide an exemption to students from the unit of study requirements where a student is unable to meet such requirements due to schools being closed pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor and where such student otherwise achieves the learning outcomes of such portion of unity of study completed.Charter SchoolsThis amendment will permit the Commissioner to excuse delays of up to 30 days in required reporting and payment by charter schools to public schools for the length of time a school closure is ordered by an Executive Order of the Governor.The Commissioner’s regulations were further amended to require charter schools to provide notice on their website of the date, time and place of lotteries for the random selection process for charter school student applicants if such lottery is provided during a school closure ordered pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor. Additionally, amendments to the regulations will permit these lotteries to be held remotely, provided that the public has the opportunity to view or listen and such lottery is recorded and later transcribed.Home InstructionThe Department will amend the Commissioner’s regulations to provide that an alternative form of evaluation for students receiving home instruction, in lieu of an annual assessment, will be permitted for all grades in the 2019-20 school year due to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor.Higher EducationThe Department amends the Commissioner’s regulations to:permit the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training to be conducted entirely online during the time period of the State of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to an Executive Order for the COVID-19 crisis;create an edTPA safety net for candidates in registered educator preparation programs whose student teaching or similar clinical experience in spring 2020 was impacted by COVID-19;extend the Statement of Continued Eligibility (SOCE) application deadline for special education teachers who teach a special class in grades 7-12 from June 30, 2020 to June 30, 2021; andextend the time period by which full-time, acceptable teaching experience must be completed for the SOCE or limited extension from June 30, 2020 to June 30, 2021.State AidThe amendments permit public school districts, public schools and charter schools to operate for less than 180 days without a reduction in State Aid if a school is closed pursuant to the terms of Executive Order(s) of the Governor. This amendment also permits missed instructional hours for any day that a school is closed pursuant to the terms of an Executive Order of the Governor to count toward the minimum annual instructional hour requirements.Early LearningThe regulations are amended to permit prekindergarten programs to operate for less than the 180-day requirement for a full-year program and the 90-day requirement for districts who started a half-year program using their Expanded Prekindergarten Grant, where such programs were scheduled to operate, but the school where the program operates is closed pursuant to the terms of an Executive Order of the Governor. Additionally, regulations will permit Department staff who are unable to conduct their annual visit of nonpublic nursery schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic to do so as soon as practicable when they reopen.310 Appeals to the CommissionerThis amendment will permit service of pleadings and supporting papers for appeals to the Commissioner by alternative means during the time period of any movement restrictions or school closures directed by the Governor.Part 83 and Part 87 AppealsRegulations are amended to excuse the filing timeframes where required submissions are late due to a State of emergency declared by the Governor relating to:appeals to the Commissioner of a hearing officer’s determination of good moral character;due process procedures for prospective employees’ clearance for employment; andappeals of the Department’s determination to deny prospective school.Additionally, the definition of “prospective school employee” is amended to include any individual who will reasonably be expected to provide services which involve online communication or interaction directly to students under the age of 21 during the period of a school closure ordered pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor.Office of State ReviewThe amendment to Commissioner’s regulation allows the State Review Officer to authorize certain filings through electronic means during the State of emergency declared by the Governor.
Image via the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr page.WASHINGTON – While visiting the White House Wednesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed “supercharging” New York State’s reopening.The Governor says his meeting with President Donald Trump avoided politics, focusing on reviving stalled infrastructure projects in the New York City area.Cuomo says the reason he did not include any upstate projects during the discussion was because he did not want to seem “to aggressive” while speaking with federal leaders.“I didn’t want to give him too long a list, I didn’t want to seem to aggressive, I didn’t want to seem like for the other people in the room that they could dismiss me like a quintessential New Yorker, ‘look how much he is asking for, he is asking for too much,’” explained Cuomo. The Governor continues to call for a “smart” reopening statewide. Currently, all regions but New York City meet requirements to begin phase one reopening.Western New York could enter phase two reopening next week. 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)