Graduate students seek policy change

first_imgGraduate student families are suffering from a lack of adequate health care and need the University to rethink its policies to better encourage community around women who are considering or engaged in family life, graduate theology student Ricky Klee said.Graduate students, their spouses, and many of their young children gathered around the Main Building Monday to demonstrate and petition the University to create for family-friendly policies for the graduate student community.“We are not where we want to be in our support of graduate students,” Graduate School dean Greg Sterling said. “But we are working to get there.” Sterling said the greatest challenge for change is cost. An endowment of $70 million would be required to cover 75 percent of the health care costs for graduate student spouses and children, he said. The Klein’s daughter Brynja is an American citizen and covered by state health care.“I do not want my child to be on social services,” Andrew said. “We want to pay for her care.” “We were a bit naïve when we came here,” Erica Klein said. “We understood that we would have this extra cost, but we were not really prepared.” A 2008 review cited in the petition noted that the stipend levels at Notre Dame were relatively low, and graduate students then recommended that the program more consistently evaluate these levels and their suitability for the needs of these families. The stipend provided for graduate students is not compatible with the health care plan offered by the University, Haley said. The graduate students who signed the petition and participated in the demonstration hope to see more affordable health care for dependents, Wickes said, but other issues related to the graduate family community need to be addressed as well. “For a University that so values Catholic ideology, it is a problem for families, for spouses and for children that we are unable to find health care through the school,” Danielle said.  Notre Dame’s policy does not allow any opportunity for paternal leave. Klee said the maternal leave offered is substandard. The petition states: “Notre Dame should match the leaders among [Association of American Universities] institutions and enhance maternity leave, enact paternity leave and provide a part-time enrollment option with partial benefits and access to health insurance.” Graduate student Andrew Klein, who is originally from Canada, and his wife Erica paid for the offered plan because she is ineligible for any government services offered by the United States. Julia Wickes has given birth to two daughters in the five years she has spent in South Bend while her husband pursues his graduate studies at Notre Dame. Additional concerns addressed in the petition mention the inadequate maternal and paternal leave. “The graduate family housing is removed from campus and separated from the improvements that we see when new buildings go up,” Wickes said. “For me, this is another symbol of how we feel overlooked.” Sterling said his office agrees with the students and their families on the need for increased support, and he is working to make decisions that will create a meaningful and positive impact. Graduate theology student Kevin Haley said that while his plan as a student is reasonable and affordable, his wife Danielle  has gone uninsured because of the shortcomings in the state health care plan that his family has chosen for her and their children in lieu of paying for the University’s option. International students said they feel the strain of the University’s health care option as well.  The petition cites several universities, including Dayton, Princeton and the Catholic University of America, that provide more family-friendly policies for their graduate students.  The petition also suggests Notre Dame build a family gathering space on campus, create more nursing rooms, expand graduate student child care and provide more organized resources for graduate student families. “For us to provide the same health insurance subsidy for spouses and children that we provide for students would be expensive,” Sterling said. “The University has incrementally improved student health care,” Klee said. “But nothing has been done for students’ spouses and children.” “I appreciate the spirit behind the petition and look forward to working with students and student representatives as we build our community,” Sterling said. “Sometimes it feels as if we are totally forgotten,” she said. “We feel that we are not even on the radar of the people making plans.” “The petition has received over 300 signatures,” Klee said. “And we are receiving more support every day.” In response to the petition, Sterling said the graduate school has increased standard stipends for all incoming and continuing students in addition to lowering the cost of insurance for students by 58 percent from 2008-09 to 2010-11. The petition states: “With substantial resources and a commitment as a Catholic university to recognize and support the inherent dignity of all human life Notre Dame must provide a comparable degree of support for student families.” According to Klee, the health care plan offered to students is unaffordable with the stipend provided. last_img read more

CSC offers new seminar

first_imgAs part of a new Center for Social Concerns seminar, students will travel to Honduras this spring break to learn about health care options for Honduran people and interact with physicians and public health personnel, senior Michael Daly, a seminar student leader, said. The course, titled Global Health Seminar, is a collaboration of the Center and Saint Mary’s College. The seminar is located near Tegucigalpa at the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) Holy Family Surgery Center, where volunteer surgeons provide free surgeries to poverty-stricken patients. Daly, a senior, said students will gain valuable medical experience in preoperative and postoperative care as well as sterilization of surgical equipment. “Students are able to ‘scrub in’ on surgeries, allowing the students to stand next to the operating table and receive a closer look into the surgical procedures,” he said. Sophomore Tiffany Fan said she excited for the hands-on nature of the seminar. “I am extremely excited to interact with doctors and patients and be able to learn more about the intricacies of global health, all within the context of service,” she said. The surgery center is located on the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Orphanage Ranch, home to hundreds of Honduran orphans. Daly, whose family established the surgery center, said students stay at the ranch and have the opportunity to share meals with the children, tutor and play with them. Six Saint Mary’s nursing students will go to work at the surgery center in partnership with the six Notre Dame students who will attend each year, Daly said. “The nurses are integral in the operation of the surgery center,” he said. Members of the Notre Dame organization Friends of the Orphans (FOTO) have already participated in several trips to the surgery center. Their annual trip has been repurposed into the Global Health Seminar. “I have always envisioned a curriculum to complement the service learning trips to the NPH orphanages in order to provide students with appropriate reflection about the experiences and opportunities to integrate their daily life through academics with service,” Daly said. Senior FOTO member Sam Russ said he is looking forward to his second trip to Honduras. “There are so many compassionate medical professionals that go down to help the poor of Honduras,” he said. “[Their example] has framed the way I see my future career as a doctor.” Students will also participate in the religious tradition of the Honduran people. “It is really cool to see their prayer in community and how excited they are to involve us,” senior Caitlin Nichols said. Prior to departure, students will attend seminar classes to discuss various health issues. Senior Brittany Johnson, a seminar student leader, said the classes emphasize problems transcending national borders. Students will examine the role of international health agencies as well as the role of the Church in global health care, she said. Daly said the seminar is rewarding spiritually and academically. “The seminar brings the course information to life; you are able to put a face on poverty and see the impact one person can have on another through the power of God,” he said. Johnson said she appreciates the unifying experience of the trip. “My favorite part about working at the surgery center is witnessing medicine in its purest form,” she said. “The entire health care team has one mission: to heal the patient. There are no financial or hierarchical goals. There are no egos. It’s beautiful.”last_img read more

Law professor wins Fulbright research grant

first_imgNotre Dame law professor Douglass Cassel, an international human rights law scholar, won a Fulbright Fellowship to do research in the spring semester of 2016 on Mexican courts’ enforcement of Inter-American human rights law.Among his credentials, Cassel served as Legal Advisor to the United Nations Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, was an award-winning commentator on human rights and represented victims of human rights violations in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Venezuela.Cassel’s research in Mexico is for one of the Fulbright Programs for the social sciences, he said. He competed not only against other legal scholars, but also against anyone else involved in the social sciences.“The research is on the enforcement of Inter-American human rights law, and it’s really important in the field of international human rights law,” Cassel said.Cassel said a new doctrine implemented in Mexico not only tells national courts to enforce international human rights, but also tells them how they should do it.“It’s a radical departure. … It’s going to be fascinating how the courts react to it,” Cassel said. “The purpose of my research is [to see] how the doctrine is working in practice.”According to a Notre Dame press release, “The Inter-American Court of Human Rights provides a forum where citizens can sue their own states for violations of the American Convention on Human Rights. Because the Court has limited capacity, it recently developed the innovative but controversial doctrine of ‘control of conventionality’ that, in effect, deputizes the far more numerous national courts to enforce the Convention.”Cassel said in the press release his proposal outlined a 6-month stay in Mexico, “the country where efforts to carry out the new ‘control of conventionality’ doctrine are most advanced,” to focus on the policy and examine how it is being carried out by Mexican judges.“Can it actually work?” Cassel said in the press release. “If so, how? Do national court judges know about it? In practice, do they resist or embrace it? Without training in international human rights law, how can they get its application right? How expansively do they interpret their own jurisdiction, under national law, to become international human rights enforcers?”Cassel teaches regional as well as international human rights law at Notre Dame, and this year, one of his students is writing a thesis on this doctrine.“I will be reading his entire doctoral thesis, which is going to be the most complete and up-to-date scholarly reading on the subject,” Cassel said. “So I’ll have plenty of advanced academic research before I go.”During his time in Mexico, Cassel will stay at the Institute of Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Cassel’s host scholar there is one of the university’s senior researchers as well as a former judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.“It’s the right institute in the right country at the right time to study a novel doctrine that will have potential implications not only for Latin American but also for countries across the world,” Cassel said.Cassel said the application deadline was back in August 2014, and the entire application process went through three stages.“I got a notification in early November that I made the first cut, did a Skype interview with a group of decision-makers in Mexico City, and then I finally got the notice a week or two ago,” Cassel said.There were only four recipients of this particular fellowship, and Cassel said the competition was especially strong this year. He said the competition included a variety of political scientists, sociologists, psychologists and more, so he was thrilled when he received the news he was awarded the fellowship.“It’s very gratifying for any serious academic to be given a grant that enables you to devote an entire semester to research and scholarship,” Cassel said. “I love teaching, but this frees me up for a semester to really dig in on the scene at the leading edge of a new doctrine in international law.”Tags: Doglass Cassel, human rights, Law, Notre Dame Lawlast_img read more

SOAR promotes spirituality through music

first_imgInspired by the Notre Dame spiritual group Four:7, a new spiritual group at Saint Mary’s has emerged called Sing Out and Rejoice (SOAR). Senior group coordinator Sofia Piecuch described SOAR as a praise and worship and fellowship group where students can come together to sing and praise the Lord, hear from a speaker and share about their faith in small groups to learn from one another. “We are channeling Four:7’s spirit in SOAR,” Piecuch said.Piecuch had been attending Four:7 at Notre Dame since her freshman year. “We were all really sad that they ended [the spiritual group] last year,” Piecuch said. “But it was no longer serving the needs of people at Notre Dame.” Piecuch said in the spring semester, the majority of the group’s attendees had been College students, so she hoped to bring a similar group to Saint Mary’s campus.“I was really passionate about starting this because I go to Notre Dame for a lot for faith-related activities,” Piecuch said. “I am excited to create an environment like that for Belles.”SOAR’s first meeting was Jan. 19 and, “had a great turnout,” Piecuch said.At the meeting, speaker Jennifer Miller, who has a Master of Divinity from Notre Dame, spoke about her journey in discovering the plans God has for his people. Group music coordinator first year Katherine Smith, summarized Miller’s talk. “She told us that as a college student, she was always a worrier — worrying about the plans she had for herself,” Smith said. “But God told her that through everything that happens, all will be well.”After breaking out in small groups to discuss Miller’s talk, Smith said she thought students were happy to have come. “People were so excited to be there and were willing to share,” Smith said. “It’s a good way to improve faith life.”Freshman group officer Haley Coghlan said she supports the mission of the group. “I hope it’s something that grows so that people feel comfortable in their faith,” Coghlan said. “ … It was refreshing. It gets you to step away from academics and focus on your faith.”Group officer freshman Emily Scott said she thinks the group is an essential for Saint Mary’s students to step back from the business of their lives.“I feel like I get lost in my everyday schedule,” Scott said. “So I don’t get to think about my faith deeply. It was nice to set aside a specific time to go and pray. … It’s so different than events I’ve organized in the past.”SOAR’s next meeting will be held this upcoming Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in the Holy Cross Hall Chapel at Saint Mary’s.Tags: four:7, SOARlast_img read more

Belles For Africa raises funds through Miss A Meal program

first_imgWhen senior Anna McClowry’s went abroad, she said she was inspired to create the Belles For Africa club at Saint Mary’s. Last summer, McClowry and seven other Saint Mary’s students traveled to Kyarusozi, Uganda, to teach and work in a clinic sponsored by the sisters of the Holy Cross.“When we came back to campus this year, we became the leaders for the Belles for Africa club,” McClowry said in an email. “Our group raises awareness about the Sisters’ mission in Kyarusozi, Uganda. Our main goal is to raise funds for the health clinic and primary school there. Additionally we want to increase social awareness and foster a sense of community between Saint Mary’s and Kyarusozi.”Belles For Africa has organized various fundraising events to increase the awareness for Kyarusozi.“Our group organizes fundraising events so that we can raise money to support the sisters mission and work they do at the school and clinic,” McClowry said. “Earlier this year, we sold some beautifully handmade Ugandan materials, headbands, bracelets, coin purses, etc., to raise money, and we hope to sell some more later this semester.”Last week, the group raised funds and awareness through the Miss A Meal program. McClowry said the group’s goal was to get 250 meal swipes to be donated from students.“The Miss a Meal initiative program partners with Sodexo,” McClowry said. “It allows students to donate a swipe from their meal plan and then the money from that swipe gets donated to Moreau Primary and Nursery School and Kyembogo Health clinic in Uganda. … Most people do not end up using all of their swipes anyways, so it is comforting to know that your money is not being wasted, rather it is going to a good cause.”Senior Megan Shea was one of the eight students to visit Uganda.“My experience in Uganda this summer changed my perspective drastically,” Shea said in an email. “I was introduced to a whole new way of life during my seven weeks spent living with the Holy Cross Sisters in Kyarusozi, Uganda. I was definitely able to see how much I take for granted on a daily basis. Many of the students in my classes had very little, but were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met.”Shea said she hopes to encourage Saint Mary’s students to work with Belles For Africa to help students in Africa afford their schooling.“The students there are so eager to learn and happy to be in school,” Shea said. “Education was something they did not take for granted, but paying for school fees is a problem for many children. It is hard to see some students not receive an education that they deserve, so the work that Belles For Africa does here tries to ensure that students can receive an education that is as amazing as they are.”McClowry said the Belles For Africa’s work is important not only for the Ugandan community but also for the mission.“Although fundraising is not always easy, it is worth the process because I know it means a lot to the sisters and Ugandan community,” McClowry said. “Despite our cause being halfway around the world, I find it so beautiful to witness others supporting our group’s mission and wanting to get involved.”Tags: Belles for Africa, Miss a Meal, Ugandalast_img read more

New tax bill requires University to pay taxes on investment earnings

first_imgUnder the new federal tax bill, Notre Dame will be required to pay taxes on investment earnings, according to a South Bend Tribune article published Dec. 20.The article said the new bill, which requires certain private colleges to pay a 1.4 percent annual tax on investment earnings, “could cost the University up to $9 million per year.”This stipulation, the article said, applies to private colleges that enroll more than 500 students with at least $500,000 in endowment per student. According to the article, an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education concluded that the provision would apply to about 27 institutions.University spokesperson Paul Browne said in the article that the measure would most likely cost the University $6 million to $9 million per year.According to the article, “Notre Dame would be the only university in Indiana to face a tax on its investment earnings under the federal bill.”Tags: Chronicle of Higher Education, federal tax bill, investment earnings, Paul Brownelast_img read more

2018 Student Government Insider

first_imgRead below for all of the mid-year marks for the 2018 student government administrations of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s: Dominique DeMoe | The Observer McGavick, Gayheart reflect on first half of administration’s termCorcoran, Ogden reflect on accomplishments thus far while looking toward next semesterStudent government looks to improve campus safety at Notre DameCorcoran-Ogden administration addresses accomplishments, setbacks of healthy living platformStudent senate approves resolutions, discusses issuesSaint Mary’s expands Blinkie shuttle service to operate on SundaysStudent Union Board looks to diversify events, increase brandingHall Presidents Council encourages collaboration between dorms, hall improvementNotre Dame 2018 class council reviews2018 Saint Mary’s class council reviewsReviews of 2018 Notre Dame student government departmentsSaint Mary’s 2018 student government association committee reviewsTags: 2018 Student Government Insider, blinkie, Class Councils, Corcoran-Ogden, Hall President Council, McGavick-Gayheart, Notre Dame Student Government, Notre Dame Student Senate, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association, Student Union Boardlast_img read more

Snowed In? Here Are 10 Awesome Broadway & Theater Movies to Binge-Watch on Netflix Tonight

first_imgGoing outside is for losers. It’s the coldest night in 10 years, and if you try to leave the house, you just might step in an icy puddle that goes up to your knees. Doesn’t that sound horrible? Instead, we propose you stay inside, cuddle up under a snuggly blanket (maybe this one) and watch movies with! Here’s what’s on tonight’s playlist. Fame High When we were kids, we always dreamed of running away and joining a performing arts school (OK, we still kinda do). Live vicariously through the real lives of the toe-tapping teens from Fame High, a.k.a. the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. A five-six-seven-eight! Company: A Musical Comedy Even if you’re spending the night alone with a bottle of wine (…fine, a box of wine), Raul Esparza is always here to keep you Company. Celebrate Bobby bubi’s 35th birthday all over again with the 2010 revival of the Stephen Sondheim masterpiece. Camp OK, so this is technically a summer movie, but if you haven’t seen baby Anna Kendrick, Sasha Allen and Robin de Jesus wail their hearts out at Stagedoor Manor—uh, we mean Camp Ovation—you’ve really never lived. You just haven’t. Also, there’s a Sondheim cameo, soooo… West Side Story There are a ton of classic movie musicals on Netflix, but West Side Story is the only one we can watch 200 billion times and never get sick of. Plus, we know you know all the lines. “How many bullets are left, Chino? Enough for you? Or you? ALL OF YOU!” You’ll totally freak out your dog. C.O.G. OK, so this isn’t exactly theater related, but we thought you guys should know that the 2013 flick C.O.G., starring Spring Awakening stud Jonathan Groff, is now streaming on Netflix. You’re welcome! The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo (soon to make his Broadway debut in Les Miserables) will heat up your freezing living room in no time in the passionate and sensual 25th anniversary production of Phantom at Royal Albert Hall. We dare you to watch the final lair scene without bawling.center_img View Comments Shrek the Musical Celebrate the Broadway return of the great Sutton Foster (who will star in Violet beginning March 28) with the lighthearted live broadcast of Broadway’s Shrek. The 2010 Tony-winning tuner also stars Christopher Sieber, Daniel Breaker and Brian d’Arcy James as the grumpy green ogre. Into the Woods Wait, did someone say Sondheim? Brush up on your fairy tales before the release of the new Into the Woods film with this 1991 classic (we still have a dusty VHS of this in a closet somewhere), starring Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien and more stars of the original Broadway production. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog In less than three months, Neil Patrick Harris will get glittery (like, really glittery) in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. Until then, watch all three installments of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, starring NPH as an adorable wannabe supervillain with a giant crush. First Position Take a break from Broadway and check out First Position, an inspiring doc about teens competing at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most famous ballet competitions in the world. It’s really fun to eat a giant ice cream sundae while watching this, then not offer any of the ballerinas any.last_img read more

Barbara Barrie, Phyllis Somerville & More Round Out the Cast of Transport Group’s I Remember Mama

first_imgThe cast is set for Transport Group’s off-Broadway revival of John Van Druten’s I Remember Mama. Joining previously announced stage vet Barbara Andres will be Oscar and Tony nominee Barbara Barrie, Alice Cannon, Lynn Cohen, Rita Gardner, Heather MacRae, Marni Nixon, Letty Serra, Dale Soules and Phyllis Somerville. Directed by Jack Cummings, I Remember Mama will begin previews on March 16 at the Gym at Judson. Opening night is set for March 30. Based on Kathryn Forbes’ novel Mama’s Bank Account, I Remember Mama centers on a Norwegian immigrant family, settling into 1910s San Francisco and held together by its indomitable Mama. The new reinterpretation of the play explores how even the smallest and seemingly insignificant experiences of family life can silently accumulate to take our breath away. The 10 veteran actresses will play 23 different roles in the show. View Commentscenter_img The original production of I Remember Mama opened at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre in October 1944, starring Mady Christians, Oscar Homolka, Joan Tetzel and Marlon Brando, in his Broadway debut. After its successful run, the play was adapted for film, into a TV series, and to the stage again as a 1979 Broadway musical with a book by Thomas Meehan, lyrics by Martin Charnin and Raymond Jessel and music by Richard Rodgers in his final original Broadway production.last_img read more

Today’s Natalie Morales Gets Kinky

first_img Kinky Boots Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on April 7, 2019 View Comments Andy Kelsocenter_img Related Shows The Today Show co-host Natalie Morales caught a matinee performance of the hit musical Kinky Boots on April 23 and went backstage at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre to catch up with stars Billy Porter, Andy Kelso, Jeanna de Waal and Cortney Wolfson. Morales even tried a pair of kinky boots on for size. Perhaps they’re not quite the right footwear for the morning sofa over at 30 Rock, although we’re sure that Kathie Lee and Hoda would approve! Billy Porterlast_img read more