College students, faculty reflect on importance of civil discourse

January 26, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgIn the weeks leading up to the April 12 “Gun Rights are Women’s Rights” event organized by the Saint Mary’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), differing perspectives on the issue of gun rights emerged in a very visual way: vandalism of the pre-approved advertisements strewn across campus.Whether it be through tearing the posters down, writing vulgar comments on the flyers or reporting discomfort to the College, some students vocalized their objections to the occasion through a variety of methods. The event featured Antonia Okafor, founder and president of EmPOWERed, who spoke to the Saint Mary’s community regarding her views on gun rights. EmPOWERed advocates for concealed carry on college campuses as a method of self-defense for women, according to Okafor’s website.Freshman Cecelia Klimek said she saw advertising for the event on Facebook and throughout campus, and her discomfort led to her reaching out to vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson. Klimek said she had many qualms with the event, the most immediate being its contradiction with her interpretation of Catholic teachings.“My issue was if you’re going to say you’re a pro-life college, then you have to enforce that in every aspect,” she said. “You can’t pick and choose which controversial issues you’re going to allow speakers to come and speak about. They would never allow a pro-choice speaker to come to campus because it’s against Catholic teaching, but they’re going to allow someone who advocates for the AR-15 rifle which literally shreds your organs. It results in a loss of life.”Though Klimek did not see the event as aligning with Catholic traditions, Johnson said the College examines its educational value in the approval process for all speakers. “We are guided by our values as an institution of higher learning and our Catholic tradition to choose speakers that foster the open and civil exchange of ideas,” Johnson said in an email. “This does not mean that the College endorses the speaker or his [or] her content, but rather believes that the sharing of diverse ideas and opinions leads to greater opportunity for discourse and learning.”While Klimek understands the benefit of sharing multiple points of view, she said she still felt the College should have used more discretion in the handling of such a sensitive topic. “I was just very disappointed in how the administration handled it,” Klimek said. “I don’t blame the club because they have their right to speak their truth. That’s totally fine, and that’s why we have clubs on campus.”Justice studies and philosophy professor Andrew Pierce said it is important to acknowledge both the difficulty some feel in expressing their views and the advantages of engaging with a variety of perspectives. “It’s important to be able to hear and react to opinions that you disagree with,” Pierce said. “If someone were to go through their whole college or university education without being confronted with ideas that they disagree with, that would be problematic. They would be missing something important there.”Senior Clare McKinney, YAF’s president, said she advocates for discussion between people of opposing viewpoints, rather than making assumptions. “If you actually talk to people, maybe you would see that there is actual personal experiences that make people think the way they do,” McKinney said. “I just think people are so prone to just stereotyping and generalizing on both sides of the political spectrum. So many people think I’m crazy, but I just wish that they would talk to me. I’ve heard girls openly say things, like in hallways or just in school, and they’ll say I’m a racist. My husband’s Cambodian, and I just wish people would talk to me and see that I’m not some crazy person. I just am really passionate about what I believe in because I think it’s the best way to help our society.”Along with participating in these discussions, McKinney said students should be more willing to listen to the other side. In the case of the “Guns Rights are Women’s Rights” occasion, she said she felt higher attendance would have defused the situation. “I would have wished that more girls did come who didn’t agree, because then they could come, hear what Antonia had to say and they might have learned something new,” McKinney said. “They might have shifted their perspective. Or, they could have been like, ‘Oh my God this is insane, I am more hard-lined in what I believe.’ But I feel like by ripping down the posters and not going, you are not allowing yourself to have that experience and to have that personal growth.”After approaching the administration with her frustrations, Klimek said she and professors with views different from Okafor’s decided to attend the event and ask questions to understand the other side’s point of view.“It was definitely hard to go into, but I was definitely glad I went in the end because I got some perspective and I felt more validated in my own beliefs and in what the College upholds as a Catholic institution, much more so after the presentation than before,” Klimek said.On October 29, 2015, Feminists United organized a display to present information on other services Planned Parenthood provides outside of abortion. McKinney said this event alone provided a year’s worth of controversy between differing points of view, but now she feels that level of controversy is more frequent.  “[The Planned Parenthood display] caused a lot of problems, but that was the one incident for the whole year,” McKinney said. “That was the one tense thing between ideologies, where I feel like now there’s something every month where people are just getting really upset. And they don’t really want to talk about it, they just want to make it not happen.”McKinney said she has been making an effort to reach out and involve different organizations in YAF events by reaching out to those she feels would be interested. However, McKinney said she encountered difficulties throughout these attempts. “No one got back to me — so I feel like I’m trying and I’m trying, and nothing,” she said.Klimek also recognizes this lack of communication and said she hopes to see more discourse in the future. “I hope for future reference that next time a controversial speaker comes to campus — on the Saint Mary’s students’ part — that we engage in more discourse about this, and we all share our opinions,” Klimek said. “If we don’t speak out about this, then one club is allowed to display their agenda all over campus, and the rest of us are silenced by our passiveness.”Although a college setting may allow for the avoidance of practicing civil discourse, knowing how to engage in these types of conversations is a skill students will need after college, Pierce said. “I suppose it’s possible to avoid [civil discourse] in this sort of bubble of a college or university, but it’s really not possible to avoid it in the world,” Pierce said. “You know, after people graduate and go out into the world they are going to have to sort of wrestle with these ideas and hopefully wrestle with them in a productive way that doesn’t just shut out everyone that disagrees, but actually finds a way to negotiate those differences and those disagreements.”Tags: civil discourse, gun rights, young americans for freedomlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s organizations host Fair Trade Holiday Fair

January 26, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgEthical purchasing is at the center of a new initiative at Saint Mary’s. Sponsored by the Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE), the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Ambassador team and the department of justice studies, the Fair Trade Holiday Fair takes place this week in the atrium of the Student Center.Rebekah DeLine, director of the OCSE, said the fair is occurring in order to “raise awareness that consumption, which we all participate in as individuals, can be done in ways that are conscientious,” as well as, “to promote some of our local organizations that promote fair trade.”The idea that became the Fair Trade Holiday Fair began at a charity event, DeLine said.“I got to talking with the manager of Ten Thousand Villages, and she said she would love to bring the store to campus,” she said. “I said, ‘I can help make that happen.’”Ten Thousand Villages is a national nonprofit fair trade organization with a location in Mishawaka. DeLine said the event was originally planned to just include Ten Thousand Villages, but it grew into a larger affair with the help of the CRS Ambassador program on campus.“One of the things [CRS] focuses on is ethical consumption,” DeLine said. “We built the fair around both the CRS desire to promote the idea of ethical trade and conscientious consumption and the fact that Ten Thousand Villages was coming.”According to first-year CRS Ambassador Clare Souder, Saint Mary’s is trying to become a certified fair trade campus.“There are multiple steps before we are officially fair trade, but at this point, we’re still on the ground trying to assemble a team and figure out what steps we need to take in order to get to our fair trade campaign resolution,” she said.In addition to vendors, the CRS Ambassador team has a table at the fair with informational resources about the fair trade movement.“A big theme with fair trade is ‘Think global. Buy local,’ which shows how supporting the small local businesses helps the greater good when looking at the environment and the people working,” junior CRS Ambassador Sydney McAllister said in an email.This theme was of great importance in the planning of the event, DeLine said.“The CRS Ambassadors really helped in terms of identifying vendors to bring,” she said. “The Local Cup organized their entire involvement, but a student leader organized the shifts and supplies.”DeLine said four students who serve their federal work-study at the organizations of The Local Cup and Unity Gardens have been instrumental in the fair.“They have been helping staff the tables so we’re not pulling the staff away from those organizations to be here all day,” she said.Other organizations participating in the Fair Trade Holiday Fair in addition to Ten Thousand Villages include Aahaa Chai and J’Monet Customs. With the exception of Ten Thousand Villages, which is a national organization, all of these are local and regional.“By shopping at and supporting these businesses, students and community members gain a sense of awareness and comfort that the goods they are buying have not only been ethically sourced, but the hands and the people that were involved in the process of making these goods have received fair wages and are not forced into making them,” McAllister said.The Fair Trade Holiday Fair opened Tuesday and continues Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.Tags: catholic relief services, ethical consumption, fair trade, Justice Studies, Office of Civic and Social Engagementlast_img read more

Notre Dame women react to new Pangborn transfer policies

January 26, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgGuarded by concrete lions, filled with the Manorites of Morrissey and crammed between Fisher Hall and the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium, Pangborn Hall seems to some to offer little in the way of attraction. But as Pangborn prepares to house the community for the new women’s residence hall being built on East Quad — scheduled to open in the fall of 2020 — the Office of Residential Life is trying to sweeten the deal.The Office of Residential Life announced Monday that students who elect to transfer halls into Pangborn will receive special housing benefits, among them guaranteed singles, extra community spaces and select singles as doubles. The policy has generated buzz in female dorm communities as students ponder the future of their residence life.Sophomore Elisabeth Lasecki said she was not in favor of making the move due to her commitment to her own dorm: Farley. “I’ve created a good sense of community in my own hall and I wouldn’t want to give that up, especially being off campus for my freshman year,” Lasecki said. “So I would just love to continue building up the community I’ve already built rather than all of a sudden changing it up.”Echoing Lasecki’s words, senior Brookelyn Bacchus said it would be difficult to be a founder for an entire new dorm.“I think it’s really hard to create a new community in a situation like that, but I also think it’s a great opportunity to expand a network of people and meet new people,” Bracchus said.Director of Residential Life Breyan Tornifolio said in an interview with The Observer on Feb. 7, there will be plenty of hall spirit for the women making the move to Pangborn, as they will have the chance to build a community from the ground up.“There will be welcome weekend, there will be hall council — it will function as a hall,” Tornifolio said. “So, women who might be looking for a fresh start, who want to take some leadership roles, this is their opportunity.”The idea of being a trailblazer for Pangborn didn’t seem to impress sophomore Allysa Dunnigan much either. Dunnigan said Pangborn would be a “terrible living situation for a year.”Although not personally excited by the idea, Dunnigan said she thought it was a great opportunity for other Notre Dame women.  “It’s a cool opportunity if you want to do leadership and be an RA because the chances are higher,” Dunnigan said. Sophomore Marielle Corbett agreed that moving to Pangborn could be rewarding.  “Pangborn is a good dorm and it seems like a good deal,” Corbett. “Especially with the $500 waiver for the fees — that makes a big difference and so I would definitely consider it if I didn’t already love Lewis.” Other women explained although the plan interested them initially, the overall transition would be inconvenient. “If I could get a single I would consider it, but I’m a science major and my main thing would be if I could get closer to Jordan [Hall of Science],” sophomore Caroline Langley said. “Pangborn is not any closer than where I already live so I wouldn’t consider [moving], probably not.“Or perhaps it’s simply a stubbornness to give up the dorm life so many Notre Dame women cherish.  Lasecki said she feels moving out of the dorm she was placed in would be in opposition to how she understands Notre Dame dorm culture.“I understand the purpose of it, it seems to be transitional … but it seems to be antithetical to this Notre Dame structure which is your freshman year you’re placed into a community,” she said. “Then all of a sudden, to just uproot that seems kind of against what the Notre Dame dorm is meant to be.”Tags: new women’s hall, Office of Residential Life, Pangborn Halllast_img read more

Notre Dame sophomore to have crossword published in The New York Times

January 26, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgKelli Smith | The Observer Notre Dame sophomore Jack Mowat solves crossword puzzles that he constructed, one of which will appear in Friday’s edition of the New York Times.So when Mowat received an email this June informing him his own crossword puzzle would be published in this Friday’s edition of one of America’s largest newspapers, Mowat couldn’t control his excitement.“All of a sudden I saw that and I was like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god,’” Mowat said. “So I showed my whole family and then took a screenshot and texted all my friends. I was like, ‘This is it.’”Mowat said the New York Times informed him three months ago about the decision, but he was only just recently told about the exact date it’ll be printed.“It was crazy,” he said. “It was crazy.”True to his childhood, Mowat brought his love of crosswords to Notre Dame his freshman year, solving every day’s New York Times puzzle with his roommate and hanging them, completed, on their wall.“My friends all knew that I was a fanatic,” he said. He transitioned from avid solver to “constructor” one year ago, he remembered, after stumbling upon a New York Times article meant to teach others the basics behind it. “I dove in and I made my first puzzle [and sent it in],” he said. “… It takes about four months for [the New York Times] to let you know by email. But … a couple weeks after my first one they were like, ‘this is no good’ and it did get rejected.”Mowat’s first published piece happened a few months later, after he found a mentorship program that paired him with veteran constructor Jeff Chen. They collaborated on a puzzle that was eventually picked up by the Wall Street Journal.But Mowat was set on one mission.“When I picked [the New York Times article] up last year, I kind of set the goal for myself,” Mowat said. “I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to get a puzzle in the New York Times. I’m going to do this. This is going to be fun, I love doing this.’ But I didn’t think I’d be sitting here a year later like, ‘OK, I’m in the Wall Street Journal and here’s my [New York] Times debut.’ It’s just — it’s been absolutely wild.”Despite the initial struggles Mowat faced — he sent the New York Times multiple crosswords over the last year, all of which were rejected — he said the final puzzle, which he created solo, only took him “about two weeks.”“Some of it is luck, especially with themeless puzzles,” he said. “And that’s one of the things that Jeff Chen had told me … a lot of this was learning how to have that gut feeling and be like ‘this is not going to work.’”The process of creating a puzzle is “very iterative,” he said.“You sit down and there’s three to four parts, depending on whether you’re building a themeless puzzle or themed puzzle,” Mowat said. “… [Then] you’re like, OK, here’s my idea. OK, here’s an entry. Here’s a couple more entries. Am I satisfied with these — what’s my strongest, what’s my weakest entry? You know, going over that, again and again, then moving on to the grid.”The creative part is trying to give people an “aha moment” through the cleverness of his word choice and clues, he noted, which is what he finds hardest.“It’s kind of like digging for gold — this giant expanse of all the different possibilities and words that could fit into that specific grid,” Mowat said.A civil engineering major, building crosswords has translated into Mowat’s academic life as well, with a variety of skills crossing over between his two passions.“[With crossword constructing] I have this final product, and I feel good about it,” Mowat said. “… It’s like civil engineering for me. You start building, design the building, that whole process happens. The building gets built. There it is. I’m proud of this thing. That’s what lives in me, that’s what I like doing.”Mowat said the acceptance rate for getting a crossword published in the New York Times is around 7%, with the publication receiving about “125 submissions a day.” “I’m a little nervous [about Friday], yeah,” he said. “I want people to enjoy — I want people to do the puzzle and finish the Friday puzzle. Because a lot of people really love themeless puzzles … I want them to do it, and as they’re doing it, finish and go, ‘That was a good puzzle.’ Because I do that.”Beyond Friday, however, he said he’ll “definitely” continue constructing crosswords — all with the dream of becoming like one of his favorite constructors, with more than 50 puzzles published in the New York Times.“I don’t think I have the gift that some of them have, but I have the will,” Mowat said. “I have the love of it. So hopefully I’ll be able to keep this as a hobby, have a number of puzzles published and just kind of be part of that.”Tags: crossword, jack mowat, New York Times Jack Mowat loves crossword puzzles.A Notre Dame sophomore from Omaha, Nebraska, Mowat grew up bent over puzzle after puzzle with his grandmother. They started with word searches, but once Mowat was old enough to advance to crosswords, the duo discovered a new passion.last_img read more

NY Governor Says China Is Donating 1,000 Ventilators To The State

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgPhoto: CDCALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that New York will receive 1,140 ventilators from China and Oregon.The Chinese government has facilitated a donation of 1,000 ventilators that are expected to arrive at JFK Airport.“This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us. Also, the state of Oregon contacted us and is going to send 140 ventilators,” Cuomo said during a press conference. “Which is I can tell you just astonishing and unexpected. And I want to thank Gov. Brown, I want to thank all of the people in the state of Oregon for their thoughtfulness.”Meanwhile, New York State has a total 113,704 Covid-19 cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday. The state recorded a new high of positive cases Friday with 10,841. There are 15,905 people in the hospital and 4,126 in ICU, Cuomo said.As of today, 3,565 people have died due to Covid-19. 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 read more

One New Case Of COVID-19 Reported In Chautauqua County Saturday

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN ImageJAMESTOWN – One new case of COVID-19 was reported Saturday in Chautauqua County.Officials say the case total is now 30, with three active.“52 cases under quarantine/isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored,” said officials. “Not all of those being monitored are confirmed to have COVID-19 but have either shown symptoms, are awaiting results, or have risk factors.”So far, 24 people have recovered from the virus, with 707 tests results coming back negative. Three deaths have been reported as a result of COVID infection in Chautauqua County.In Cattaraugus County, no new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday.Officials say 35 people there are confirmed to have the virus, 24 have recovered and two have died.last_img read more

Local Candidate Expresses Concern Over “Separate Chautauqua County” Agenda

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgWNY News Now Stock Graphic.JAMESTOWN – A local candidate for the New York State Assembly is voicing her concern about the proposed reopening strategy announced by various officials calling for New York State to move away from the “economic zones” decision-making process for reopening.Christina Cardinale (D) is running against Republican Incumbent NY-50 Assemblyman Andy Goodell this fall. Cardinale released the following statement on her official Facebook page following Tuesday’s press conference with Goodell, Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator George Borrello and other officials:“The “separate Chautauqua County” agenda is still in full effect, as evidenced by this afternoon’s press conference at Crown Street Roasting Company in downtown Jamestown. Our county has a population of about 126,900. Currently, our county has reported 1451 (negative) and 44 (positive) COVID-19 test results. That’s 1.17% of the population. We need a sample size bigger than 1.17% to make educated decisions.”“Our representatives continue to proudly announce our “low infection rate”. They need to remember these low numbers correlate with the low amount of testing. I’m not against reopening. I’m against reopening without being conscientious. I’m against a pandemic strategy that involves a “let the chips fall where they may” mentality.” “Our elected officials are so quick to demand special treatment for Chautauqua County. How can they demand significant treatment for a county without significant metrics?” 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),Yes, let’s stay locked down until the Fuhrer tells us it is okay. He is so smart. Let’s make him our president cause he has done such a wonderful job. Just follow the democrats. Now excuse me while I puke.,Ms.Cardinale hasn’t a leg to stand on. As per NYS Dept.of Health latest statics 5/12: 85% of COVID-19 deaths in NYS occur in people over 60 yo..89.6% have COMORBIDITY… (COPD, Coronary heart disease, Stroke, Dementia, etc.)..According to NYSDOH: there have been 4 ( four) deaths in total attributed to COVID-19 in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua. These numbers are a total from March 1st until May 12..That’s 10 (ten) weeks!! Granted, people who have risk factors should stay home and wear a mask when in public..This is a good practice for these people to protect themselves from the seasonal FLU!last_img read more

Robert Askins’ Hand to God Starts Previews

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgOffbeat comedy Hand to God begins performances off-Broadway February 19. Penned by Robert Askins, the new MCC Theater mounting will be directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Opening night is set for March 10 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Hand To God Along with Steven Boyer as Jason and his alter-ego sock puppet Tyrone, Hand to God will star Tony nominee Marc Kudisch as Pastor Greg, Sarah Stiles as Jessica, Geneva Carr as Margery and Michael Oberholtzer as Timmy. View Comments Related Shows In Hand to God, the good children of Cypress, Texas, are taught to obey the Bible in order to evade Satan’s hand. But when students at the Christian Puppet Ministry put those teachings into practice, one devout young man’s puppet takes on a shocking personality that no one could have expected. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 30, 2014last_img read more

Exclusive Video! See Michael Shannon in Eric Bogosian’s ‘Godhead’

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgTo celebrate the publication of Eric Bogosian’s 100 Monologues, a slew of actors are performing excerpts on camera. The ever-growing roster includes Sam Rockwell, Jennifer Tilly, Tate Donovan, Stephen Lang, Jessica Hecht, Dylan Baker, Yul Vasquez, Richard Kind and David Zayas. Their work can be viewed on Bogosian’s new website 100monologues.com. The book, which comes out in May, collects all of Bogosian’s monologues, originally performed as part of his six off-Broadway solo shows (Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll; Pounding Nails in the Floor with my Forehead; Wake Up and Smell the Coffee; Drinking in America; Funhouse; Men Inside) and selections from his play Talk Radio. To give you a taste of Bogosian’s project, the award-winning writer/actor offered Broadway.com an exclusive look at Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon playing a heroin addict in “Godhead.” Check it out below. Michael Shannon Star Filescenter_img View Commentslast_img read more

Holler If Ya Hear Me Brings Major Renovations to Palace Theatre

January 18, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgSay goodbye to the Palace Theatre as you know it! According to the Wall Street Journal, the upcoming Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me will bring major changes to the theater in the form of a $200,000 renovation. The restructuring will create a much more intimate atmosphere for the audience of the musical inspired by the lyrics of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur, which is set to begin preview performances on May 29. The ground-level orchestra seats have been changed into stadium-style seating, often found in movie theaters, reducing the theater’s capacity from 1,740 to 1,120. The renovations will also extend the stage out past the proscenium arch, covering the orchestra pit. The production will have to return the theater to its original state when it shutters. Written by Todd Kreidler, the non-biographical story of Holler If Ya Hear Me focuses on two childhood friends living in a poverty-stricken Midwestern industrial city, struggling to realize their dreams. The production will feature songs from throughout the late rap icon’s career, including “California Love,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Me Against the World” and, of course, the title song. The previously announced cast includes Tony winner Tonya Pinkins, Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, Tony nominee John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone and Dyllon Burnside. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on July 20, 2014center_img Director Kenny Leon hopes that these changes will drive home the idea that audiences “will feel that we know these young people, and they’re no different from whoever our children are.” Scenic designer Edward Pierce added, “everybody in those first few rows can basically high-five the actors. They’re just that close.” Holler If Ya Hear Me View Commentslast_img read more