Dr. Mary Anne Luzar, a 1972 College graduate, was back on the Saint Mary’s campus Tuesday night to speak about the H1N1 pandemic. Luzar works for the National Institute of Health as Chief of the Regulatory Affairs Branch in the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.“We have to look at what we can learn from pandemics, and that’s why I wanted to speak tonight,” Luzar said.Luzar opened her presentation by defining the differences between an epidemic and a pandemic and making sure there was a clear understanding between the two.“An epidemic is a disease that occurs with greater frequency than expected,” Luzar said. “Some examples are the Bird Flu and SARS. A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads all over the world or a major region of the world. These include AIDS, TB, Malaria, Spanish flu, and the ‘black death’ of the 14th century,” Luzar said.Luzar made a point to explain that there have been many pandemics and epidemics in the past, and humans are knowledgeable about these events.“Over the past 300 years there have been 11 influenza pandemics. The Spanish Influenza in 1918 is the most fatal event in world history with 20-50 million deaths,” Luzar said.Luzar said pandemics are sudden disease outbreaks that are unpredictable and can also occur at any time in the year.“That is just something we have to deal with and prepare for,” Luzar said. “But once a pandemic appears it does not just go away. It will continue for years, which is why we need to pay attention to H1N1.”Luzar also said the H1N1 virus is a distant cousin of the 1918 Spanish Influenza but is still an entirely new virus.“Symptoms of H1N1 are similar to the flu but with additional symptoms like diarrhea,” Luzar said. “It spreads through respiratory droplets, coughs and sneezes, touching objects touched by an infectious person, then touching your nose and mouth.”H1N1 has affected many people around the world. Children and young adults are amongst those most affected.“Two hundred-thirty countries had cases of H1N1 and today there have been around 20,000 deaths due to H1N1,” Luzar said.The H1N1 response was considered a success because of rapid worldwide communications, and the vaccine was approved quickly and given to priority groups first, Luzar said.“It is very hard to know if you are successful in these endeavors. I’m proud of what we did. I think we did the right thing. And not doing anything would have been unacceptable,” Luzar said. “This pandemic taught us that we are not immune to them because we are in the 21st century. Virus and disease are always just one step ahead of us. This was a dress rehearsal of what could happen in the future so we need to be prepared.”This event was co-sponsored by College Relations and the Career Crossings Office.
Notre Dame juniors Elizabeth Simpson and Puja Parikh were awarded the prestigious Truman Scholarship, an award given to college juniors with plans to attend graduate school who then work to make a difference through public service, according to Roberta Jordan, assistant director of national fellowships at the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement. “A lot of people don’t know about the Truman Scholars. But it’s the domestic equivalent of the Rhoades,” Parikh said. “There are obviously differences between the two but it is a national scholarship for graduate school.”The application process started in November for Notre Dame students when the Center for Scholarly Engagement contacted eligible applicants. “We begin the process in mid-fall when we reach out to juniors, and we have them turn in an application identical to the Truman scholarship. We have a selection committee which accesses all the students’ applications and decide who will want to nominate,” Jordan said. “This year we had eight applicants, of whom we nominated four. Two of those four were invited to regional interviews with the Truman Scholarship Foundation.” Included in the application were three essays, two letters of recommendation from professors and an interview.“The Truman scholarship is the most extensive scholarship application that I’m aware of, even more so than the Rhoades and the Marshall and the Fulbright applications,” Jordan said. “There are a lot of components to it but they are broken down to really help the student access what they want to do in the future.”Simpson said she used the application process to examine what type of civil service she was passionate about and use that discovery to plan her future goals.“It was unique for me because I started the application when I was studying abroad in Chile. I had a little more time on my hands to just reflect and recognize the issues most important to me and to really discern that I had a passion for rural development particular within the U.S.,” Simpson said.“I’m from Wyoming and the application challenged us to write about any policy that we feel strongly about,” Simpson said. “I recognized that I’ve always had a concern and passion for development and poverty alleviation. I realized I feel called to work with poverty alleviation within the rural United States.”Parikh, on the other hand, said she realized last minute that the scholarship applied to all graduate programs, whether it be medical school, law school or other graduate programs. “I looked at the information about it, and thought this was only for grad school and I want to go to law school,” she said. “Three days before the application was due, Roberta sent me an e-mail asking me if I was going to do it, and I said I wasn’t because I want to go to law school. She said it was for law school too so I went in and talked to her.”In three days, Parikh was able to write the essays, get recommendations and finish the application just in time for the due date.“I think one of the only reasons I was selected was the interview because my application was not the strongest it could be,” she said. “After performing well in the interview and being selected, I went in and got some constructive criticism and had to rewrite three of my essays.”Once the students are nominated, Jordan and other University employees really worked to help fine tune the students’ applications.“We have mock interviews and we work really hard to give them an experience that will replicate what they are about to face at their regional interviews,” Jordan said. “We play devils advocate, and really push them on being able to respond to the questions about their applications.Both Simpson and Parikh said they look forward to their senior years, knowing that the possibilities available in their future have just opened up.“Because of the prestige of this scholarship, I hope that it will open some opportunities they might not have considered as far as graduate programs they are looking at,” Jordan said. “And for them, I’m sure it is nice to know that they already have $30,000 dollars in their pockets to pay for that graduate school.”Parikh said she plans to apply to law school next year and become a public health lawyer. “I knew I wanted to do public health law, and I knew I was a really good public speaker so I focused my whole application on being an application for different aspects of health law reform,” Parikh said. “I was really excited when I found out, and I had visions of top law schools floating through my head because I felt like I really could do it.”Simpson looks forward to the opportunity to study rural development.“I never imagined that leaving the state of Wyoming and coming to [Notre Dame] that I would desire to study rural development. This application was the catalyst to help me do that, and has helped me realize there are resources available to help me do that,” Simpson said.“It is somewhat of a relief to know I have already established a certain amount of funding for graduate school so I can head in that direction,” Simpson said. “I am also excited for the internship that the Truman Foundation will coordinate for the summer after senior year. I want to intern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”Notre Dame has not had a Truman Scholar in nine years, and this is the first time in the history of Notre Dame that two students have received the award in the same year.“We are thrilled to have two scholars in one year. It’s been a long time since we’ve had even one — our last one was in 2001 — so we are especially proud to have had such great success this year,” Jordan said.
Saint Mary’s College launched the English Language School this semester to offer international students additional help learning a new language. The English Language School offers classes to non-native speakers, with a focus on preparing students for higher-level education. The school hopes to attract more international students to Saint Mary’s College, the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) website said. “The benefits [of the English Language School] for our students is that it is greatly supporting the numbers of international students on campus, which provides a diversity that gives us opportunity to interact with cross-cultures,” Director of CWIL Elaine Meyer-Lee said. “Those skills of intercultural competence are very important to functioning in any field today.” Meyer-Lee said a variety of students attend the English Language School. Members of the South Bend community, current international students at the College and students who have applied or will apply to Saint Mary’s are all welcome to attend. Mana Derakhshani, associate director of CWIL, said the School offers four courses in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Erika Pistorius Stamper and Arnie Chuah-Skwarcan teach the English Language School classes for a total of 25 hours each week. Additionally, Derakhshani said modern language laboratories are available for more practice and extra-curricular cultural immersion activities, like field trips to Chicago, are included in the School. Derakhshani said she looks forward to the benefits that will come from diversifying the campus through the English Language School. “It allows our more typical students to interact with women from other parts of the world,” she said. “For the students who are coming, it provides them with good, quality, intensive English language instruction in a congenial setting with opportunities for interaction with American college students.” Meyer-Lee said the English Language School is in line with President Carol Ann Mooney and Derakhshani’s goal of increasing the number of international students attending Saint Mary’s. “Of course, I hope for it to grow exponentially,” said Derakhshani. “It’s good for the college to have these women on campus.”
On Friday afternoon, award-winning author and sports historian Jim Lefebvre gave a lecture and held a book-signing for the launch of his new book, “Coach for a Nation: The Life and Times of Knute Rockne.” Lefebvre’s talk, titled, “Rockne Remembered: A Retrospective on a Life Well-Lived” was held in the Carey Auditorium of the Library prior to the book-signing. During the lecture, Lefebvre introduced several family members of Rockne players who came for the book launch and two of Rockne’s nieces who were in attendance. Relatives of Notre Dame greats, such as Elmer Layden, Don Miller, Charlie Bachman, Norman Barry, Noble Kizer, John Law and Fred Miller all attended the event. Lefebvre focused on the five timeless themes he saw in Rockne’s life, including fearlessness, being a man on the move, connection, education and having a life well lived. Lefebvre said fearlessness was the foundation of Rockne’s life and career in football. “The fearlessness just plays out throughout his life. He accepted challenges and he went after it,” he said. “I attribute some of it to his ancestry ⎯ to the Viking explorer. There was something about him that said, ‘keep going.’” The second timeless theme of Rockne’s life, being a man on the move, defined Rockne both as a person and as a football coach who revolutionized the game, Lefebvre said. “In a sense, this is a story of transportation,” Lefebvre said. “There are just so many elements of it from [immigrating to America] to riding the street cars in Chicago. “This man on the move also speaks to a larger sense of looking for … something better. He was always looking for ways to improve the game of football to make it more entertaining for fans, and he was largely responsible for a wide-open game that replaced the mass grouping of bodies that had been the sport before that.” Lefebvre said Rockne’s ability to connect to people was perhaps his most defining characteristic. “He had a special gift for connecting to people, seeing the best in people and what we would call today empowering the people around him,” Lefebvre said. “Today we talk about ‘social media,’ but that’s usually looking at a device. He looked people in the face and he made a connection.” The fourth theme Lefebvre attributed to Rockne was his dedication to education and Rockne’s role as a teacher both on and off the football field. “[Rockne was] always a teacher and always looking to build on what was possible with athletics,” Lefebvre said. “I think the stories of these former players and what they went on to do is testament to the kind of job he did with that.” Lefebvre summarized these themes with Rockne’s fifth and final defining characteristic: a life well-lived. was always corresponding, he was always dreaming up ways of playing the game differently, promoting the game differently,” Lefebvre said. Lefebvre said there is no figure today who compares to Rockne and his legacy. “There is nobody in our society that is looked to in the same way that Rockne was. That’s how big his sphere of influence was,” Lefebvre said. “And so when he wrote something in one of his columns or one of his books, it was gospel and it was followed.” Lefebvre said he wrote a biography of Knute Rockne because he wanted to preserve the memory of a legendary man and football coach. “It’s important to tell his story to newer generations who may only know of him through the speech in ‘Rudy.’ There is so much more to his life and his story,” Lefebvre said. “Coach for a Nation: The Life and Times of Knute Rockne” is available at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and online at coachforanation.com Contact Jack Rooney at [email protected]
Allison D’Ambrosia This weekend in the LaFortune Ballroom the Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo) will hold its annual PEMCo Revue, a series of performances from popular musicals surrounding the theme “Breaking Boundaries.”The proceeds from the student-run performance, which costs $5, will benefit The Music Village, a South Bend arts company that provides group music and dance lessons for a variety of ages. Junior Shannon Kirk, one of the show’s two producers, said PEMCo hopes to raise at least $1,500 for the organization.“We’re excited that we’re picking that one, especially this year, because it’s a pretty new organization and it promotes arts and education in schools, which we all benefitted from in high school and younger,” Kirk said. “In the past we’ve given to the Bald and the Beautiful, but we decided this year to give to a charity that was more in the style of what we do.”Kellirae Boann, executive director of The Music Village, said the funds contribute to a $5,000 fundraising goal, which the South Bend Community Center will then match. Proceeds will go toward an upgrade in computer equipment.Sophomore Joel Ostdiek, an actor in the show and an intern at The Music Village who originally suggested the organization as a beneficiary of the show, said The Music Village and PEMCo may continue to work together after the Revue.“We’re looking to have more Notre Dame students volunteer [at The Music Village], and they wanted to meet with students and see what would all be possible, so the details of that are very much in flux because it’s difficult to set that up,” Ostdiek said. “But it was cool that PEMCo is willing to have the funds go to [The Music Village] right away.”According to its Facebook page, the PEMCo Revue will feature songs from a variety of genres and musicals, including “Hairspray” and “RENT.” Kirk said the audition process for the show began before spring break and rehearsals began shortly after break, leaving about three weeks to put the show together.“This is the only kind of production that we can do in that short amount of time, because people come in with the pieces that they want to be in the show,” Kirk said. “Most of the songs are already prepared by auditioners. They audition as solos or duets or trios or small group numbers, so they’re already mostly set; they don’t have to learn it.”Ostdiek said the Revue provides individuals and groups with an opportunity to display their talents evenly.“It’s a lot of variety,” Ostdiek said. “The Revue showcases a lot of different voices, which is cool, because in a normal musical you have your principals and you kind of hear them all night, but in a revue it’s really spread out equally across the cast of who gets to do what, so it’s cool because you get to see everybody’s talent on display.”Tags: PEMCo, PEMCo Revue, The Music Village
Pope Francis recently announced that beginning this year, the Catholic Church will observe Sept. 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. On Tuesday, Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry held an ecumenical prayer service blessing the Unity Garden on the south side of Havican Hall in observance of this event.Megan Zwart, assistant professor of philosophy and co-leader of the Saint Mary’s Unity Garden, said there are dozens of Unity Gardens throughout the area where anyone can come and pick food for free.“Unity Gardens is a non-profit organization in the area that educates and empowers the community to grow their own healthy food,” Zwart said. “The goal is to promote physical, social and economic health through promoting healthy eating, sustainable local food systems and opportunities for those who are disadvantaged.”Jessica Mannen Kimmet, a campus minister at the College, described the prayer service as wonderful opportunity for the Saint Mary’s community to pray together. “[The prayer service] included a reading from scripture, a responsorial psalm, intercessions, a prayer of blessing and some hymns,” she said. “Although it comes from a Catholic resource, this rite is strongly based on scripture.” Kimmet said the Unity Garden was blessed on this day because it is a reminder that all creation is a gift and we have a responsibility to care for it. “In gardening, we partner with the earth in a way that resonates with the call of the creation stories in Genesis,” Kimmet said. “Gardening can be a source of wonder: Even though we put a lot of work into it, the fact that these plants produce food is something utterly beyond our control. … All of creation is an absolute gift from God and never something that we fully own or control.” Zwart said there are many opportunities for Saint Mary’s students to utilize the Unity Garden on campus. “Students are most welcome to pick and eat whatever they would like; they are also welcome to participate in planting in spring and putting the garden ‘to bed’ for the winter once the weather cools,” she said. “In the summer, students can pursue internships with Unity Gardens, which would include work on our garden.” Kimmet said she hopes the prayer service will draw more attention to the Unity Garden and concern for all of creation. “Sometimes events like these can feel superficial; it’s just one moment of attention in the midst of our unfailingly hectic lives,” Kimmet said. “If it’s true attention, though — if we really give our hearts over to this moment of prayer — it has the chance to be transformative.“Small moments of attention help to form us and perhaps this day can, in small ways, inspire us to act out of a greater love towards the gift of creation.” Tags: unity garden
White Field will turn brown Sunday when Keenan Hall hosts the 12th annual Muddy Sunday mud volleyball event to end AnTostal Week.Sophomore Greg Brainard, one of the event commissioners, said Muddy Sunday serves as a fun opportunity to relax with friends before finals week.“It’s always right after the AnTostal Week, so it’s kind of part of AnTostal and it kind of closes out the week,” Brainard said. “It’s an awesome chance to unwind and have some fun with some friends before finals and before the end of the semester as everyone goes into summer, all, of course, while giving back to a good cause, and that’s kind of the main point behind the whole thing.”The event costs $10 per person with all funds benefitting Habitat for Humanity, which Brainard said attracted him and his co-commissioner, sophomore Jack Higham, to organizing the event.“I think a big reason me and Jack wanted to do it was because we saw that it was a good thing for Keenan to put on to give back to Habitat for Humanity,” he said. “I know that a big part of our promotional goal is letting people know that it is for charity and, you know, it is first of all about giving back and it is a fun event, so it’s kind of a two-fold advertisement.”Higham said he and Brainard want to make sure the charity aspect of the event doesn’t get lost among the fun on Sunday.“I think that while everyone’s having fun, they already paid their money so they might forget what the event is for, and that’s what we’re going to still emphasize, with the tent and a sign that says this is for this organization and we’re really happy you guys played and paid,” Higham said. “It’s a win-win. You pay money for a great cause and you also get to have a lot of fun while you’re doing it.”Muddy Sunday is not only fun to participate in, Higham said, but also fun to watch with plenty of games to be played and more structure than in previous years.“The event itself is just so much fun to participate [in], and it’s fun to watch, too,” he said. “We extended the time a little bit, the length of the event itself, and also, it’ll look more like an event. … In previous years, there was just a guy at a table, you’d go register and you’d go play volleyball, which is fine, but it was our event, we wanted to do it our way and make sure everyone could see that it is a Keenan Hall event and it’s for a good cause.”Brainard said he and Higham came up with new ideas to improve the atmosphere of the event.“Something new that Jack put in this year is that when you register your team you actually sign up with a song choice,” Brainard said. “So we’ll have music playing as everyone’s coming in and you kind of just have it be a fun atmosphere and maybe you’ll get to hear the song you requested while you’re playing, ideally. Just little things like that, just making it a fun atmosphere and a fun event, you know, is really what we tried to bring to it this year.”Brainard suggested Muddy Sunday could be used to promote dorm community by RAs organizing and signing up a section team to participate.“Muddy Sunday is a great opportunity to have a section event,” he said. “In that way we’re kind of envisioning it as really fostering Notre Dame community, and even within that, dorm community too. This is all just a chance for friends to come together, and I think it’s a great chance for an RA to bring their section out and as a bonding event for the section. … Why not bring your section out here and give back?”Tags: Antostal, Keenan Hall, Muddy Sunday
Tags: babysitting, child care, Child Care Service, Notre Dame graduate students, Right to Life, Right to Life Club Courtesy of Sarah Drumm Junior and member of Right to Life Grace Enright, right, is one of the students involved with the new childcare service that Right to Life launched to benefit parenting graduate students, in which trained members of the Notre Dame community offer babysitting services once a week.This option aims to alleviate the burden of parents who are pursuing graduate studies, the Right to Life Club’s babysitting commissioner and sophomore Lorenzo Beer said.“Raising a child is hard enough,” Lorenzo Beer said. “Raising a child while being a graduate student requires superpowers.”This babysitting service is currently in its third week of operation, Beer said. He said he played an integral role in the development of this project, as he believes in its mission.“I personally have been working constantly over the last year with administration and the University to meet the standards and requirements to get this program approved,” he said.Students must undergo a background check and attend a child care training session before volunteering, Beer said, which informs participants of the logistics of the program, reviews safety concerns and provides childcare instructions. Over 80 students have expressed interest in volunteering, and around 30 have been trained to do so, he said.“Last week, the service provided daycare for about 11 children, coming from five different families,” he said. “We can’t wait to see this number grow in the near future as we reach out to graduate students on campus to let them know of our service.” The Right to Life Club created the Child Care Service to support those who choose life, not only for the unborn, but also for the suffering, Beer said.“The Right to Life’s mission is to promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death through prayer, service and education,” he said. “The Child Care Service is a direct, concrete action of the Right to Life Club to showcase the love the pro-life movement has for those who choose life.”The pro-life movement is often criticized for having “tunnel vision” on the abortion debate by disregarding the support that women need post-birth, Beer said. The Right to Life Club wants to refute these criticisms and show the universality of what it means to be pro-life, from conception until natural death, he said.“[The] club realizes and understands the difficulty of choosing life, but we know it is the greatest gift of humanity,” he said. “For that reason, we want to serve those who choose life, and what better way to do so than helping those right here on campus in our community.”Right to Life president Sarah Drumm said this service align’s with the club’s fundamental mission.“We strive to recognize, promote, and celebrate the dignity of all human life, especially the most vulnerable,” she said. “Parenting students are in a particularly difficult situation – it’s a hard job. I can’t imagine raising a child on top of all of the academic and extracurricular work I have to do as a student.”Drumm said she hopes parenting graduate students take advantage of this service.“We recognize that our once-a-week child care service isn’t going to dramatically improve the lives of parenting students,” she said. “However, we do hope that the little we do somehow can make their workload a little lighter and their jobs as parents a little easier, at least for a few hours a week.” Notre Dame’s Right to Life Club now sponsors a free daycare service for the University’s parenting graduate students. Once a week, graduate students with children are able to take a break from parenting and use this valuable time to study, work, run errands or purely have some time to themselves. Meanwhile, trained students from their own community will care for their children — and it’s completely free.
This weekend, monologues that present a wide range of lived experiences, issues and raw emotions will be brought to stage with one promise to their authors: anonymity.These monologues, written by members of the Notre Dame community, will be performed onstage at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center as part of the student production “Show Some Skin.” According to its website, the show “strives to be a catalyst for the campus community’s discovery and appreciation of Notre Dame’s true diversity.” “It could be your roommate’s story. It could be the person you sit next to in class,” Natasha Reifenberg, senior and executive producer, said. “The anonymity aspect is what allows for empathy in ways that other avenues don’t because it could be anyone. It could be someone extremely close to you that has never shared this with you.”This year’s “Show Some Skin” production is called “Try Us,” titled so as to invite writers to “share the parts of themselves that they feared nobody would understand,” according to the event’s Facebook page. Reifenberg said demand has grown exponentially since her freshman year, when there were between 30 and 40 writing submissions. This year, she said, there were 100 submissions and a record number of 75 students who auditioned to perform the monologues on stage. Tickets sold out within hours, and Friday’s performance sold out in 30 minutes.“We go beyond the sanitized diversity and inclusion platform that Notre Dame provides institutionally,” Reifenberg said. “Reading through the monologues this year made me cry, and it made me reflect on how people give so much to us knowing that they’re never going to get any recognition for writing this incredible piece of writing. And it’s because they believe in the show’s mission, and we wouldn’t have a show without people trusting us.”Reifenberg first heard of the student-led production as a prospective student in high school touring Notre Dame. It was the same weekend “Show Some Skin” was showing, and she spoke to student leaders who raved about the production, she said.“I voiced some concerns about coming to Notre Dame as a student who was not conservative or Catholic, and they all said ‘Show Some Skin’ was this incredible platform to give voice to marginalized issues,” Reifenberg said.Before she knew it, Reifenberg was auditioning as a freshman with no prior theatre experience. “It was definitely intimidating, but you have so much adrenaline running through you,” she said. “I also believe that storytelling is what has the power to change hearts and minds. Not arguments.”Senior Liam Kenney, an actor for this year’s show, said he loved the show from watching it the previous year and was convinced to audition after recalling how much he enjoyed his speech and debate club in high school.“People aren’t performing characters in this show,” he said. “In a sense, they’re embodying real people instead of a typical theatre show.”Kenney said he is performing a monologue about a gay man struggling with Catholicism and his sexuality, and that it took lots of practice, reading lines carefully and speaking to people who had similar experiences to be able to deliver it genuinely. He said he thinks anyone can benefit from seeing the show, especially those who may not be as exposed to the themes it presents.“From my perspective as a straight white male, I am the most common Notre Dame student, and in my circles I don’t get to see those experiences,” Kenney said. “It opened my eyes that this is such a domestic issue. This happens at Notre Dame and people at Notre Dame have experienced a wide variety of injustice or uncomfortable situations.”Kenney said the reason the actors become nervous before they perform their monologues is because they want to ensure they do justice to the original writer. He said he worries about forgetting a line that the author may have thought vital to the piece and feels a greater sense of responsibility due to the personal gravity of the content.“Every person’s concern was, ‘How do I give 100 percent of myself to this piece, how do I fully express the sentiment that this person is trying to convey?’” he said.The show has expanded its impact beyond its three days on stage, Reifenberg said. She said the cast has done 75 class visits where they have performed monologues, done thematic performances on sexual assault, incorporated monologues from incarcerated people and done resource panels. They are also partnering with Indiana University South Bend students to put on a community show at the South Bend Civic Theatre on April 7. “My faith has been restored in this campus because of the reaction to the show,” Reifenberg said. “I’ve poured so many hours into this and I’ve been able to see so many people grow and transform, and I’ve seen myself grow and transform.”Reifenberg said it is impossible to fully buy into the community aspect of Notre Dame without giving voice to the marginalized parts of the community, and that’s exactly what “Show Some Skin” strives to do. “We have so few spaces to talk about these issues that have been weaponized politically in human terms and what is at stake for the people who are suffering the most from our inability to go beyond the surface,” she said. “It’s a way to take a magnifying glass to campus to make visible things that you never saw before.”Tags: campus issues, Diversity, sexual assault, sexuality, show some skin, Try Us
A simple hashtag, #MeToo, was the spark that helped light a contemporary social movement, and on Monday members of the Notre Dame community came together in Geddes Hall to discuss the legal and political implications of the #MeToo moment.The lecture and discussion was part of the NDVotes lecture series “Pizza, Pop & Politics.” Jennifer Mason McAward, associate professor of law and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Geoff Layman, professor of political science and interim director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, led the discussion. Runjie Pan | The Observer Law professor Jennifer Mason McAward speaks at a Pizza, Pop and Politics lecture centered on the #MeToo Movement Tuesday. McAward lectured along with political science professor Geoff Layman.“The ultimate goal is workplace equality and an end to sexual harassment,” McAward said. “The New York Times can’t write an expose about every Harvey Weinstein that’s out there; the question is where do we go from here and how do we capitalize on the moment.”McAward said culture, the political system and the legal system all require conscious change in order to cultivate an environment of workplace equality.“How do we make the conduct not just unacceptable but unthinkable?” she said.McAward said our legal system can be used as a powerful tool to incentivize changes. She said it can help encourage better conduct and deter future harassment. “One of the key pillars of the ‘Time’s Up’ project is a fund for legal representation for sexual harassment victims,” McAward said. “People understand that the law is a crucial part of the conversation.”McAward referenced Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a legal mechanism for accountability in sexual harassment cases. She said it states that “no employer shall discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in employment job training and recruitment.” She said during the first year Title VII was on the books, a full third of the cases brought to court were in regard to sex discrimination.“Today about 8,000 sexual harassment claims are filed each year in the [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission],” she said. “But that number certainly doesn’t capture the scope of the problem. I just read a study that estimates that about 70 percent of people who experience workplace discrimination don’t report it.”Layman discussed the implications of #MeToo movement for the two political parties.“I think the first thing that we should recognize is that #MeToo is not occurring in a political vacuum; it’s occurring in a political moment when there is a lot of activism by citizens, particularly by women, that is fueled in part by the frustration over Hillary Clinton, the first major nominee who was a woman, and by [President] Donald Trump’s win and perhaps by the lack of consequences for the charges of sexual misconduct by Trump himself,” he said.Layman said though he thinks the broad cultural shift the movement has caused is more important than its political implications, it is still important to consider its potential effects on politics. He said Trump has spurred a political awakening in women that has charged their higher levels of political engagement and activism.“We saw women’s voting and turnout patterns were particularly important in the recent statewide elections in Virginia, the gubernatorial elections which the Democrat won and certainly in Alabama where really there was a very impressive turnout of African American women which was a big reason for Roy Moore’s defeat and Doug Jones’s win,” he said.Layman said surveys have shown that women are more likely than men to say they have been more engaged in politics after the 2016 election. This trend is especially prevalent in women with postgraduate degrees. He said a record number of women are also running for office, with 79 women considering running for governor in 2018 and four times as many Democratic women running for House of Representative seats compared to Republican women.“I think it’s important to put this #MeToo movement for its partisan implications in context,” Layman said. “It’s part of this broader movement where women seem to have reacted to the Trump presidency by becoming more interested, more engaged and more active especially on the left side of politics, the liberal side of politics.”Though the Democratic Party has more strongly identified with the #MeToo movement, Layman said this does not necessarily mean the movement is completely positive for the party and that it could be a double-edged sword.“This is sort of another issue that appeals to a specific constituency and maybe is not as important to others,” he said. “The white working class would not seem to be as concerned about sexual harassment, about #MeToo, [and] is more concerned about economic conditions. … Another potential con is it’s more identity politics … trying to piece together a coalition by appealing to small minority groups based on their narrow issues and what it needs to do is again be the party for all Americans.”Layman said the #MeToo movement has spurred a counter–mobilization among men. This is especially true of conservative men who see Trump as their leader and following his lead in claiming that allegations of sexual assault ignore due process for the accused. He said though it is hard to outline the #MeToo movement’s partisan implications, it is still important to put them in context.“It could be really good, it could be neutral, it could possibly be even bad,” he said. “The more attention there is to sexual misconduct and the more famous and powerful men that are brought down because of their sexual misconduct that just seems to put more attention onto President Trump’s problems with charges of sexual harassment and misconduct.”Tags: #MeToo, Pizza Pop and Politics, Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, women