Group awards pro-lifer

first_imgThe Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life will award its first Evangelium Vitae Medal to Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), according to a University press release issued earlier this week. “We are looking for an American who has contributed over a long period of time significantly to the pro-life movement, especially at the beginning of life,” said David Solomon, chair of the Fund’s governing committee. “It was the active role he’s played, specifically in political life … that made us choose [Doerflinger].” Doerflinger has been a leader in the pro-life movement for over 30 years, according to the University’s press release. Solomon said Doerflinger works with the USCCB in Washington D.C. on pro-life issues and was especially active in presenting the USCCB’s stance on abortion in the federal government’s recent healthcare debates. The University’s Center for Ethics and Culture established the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life earlier this year. It relies on private donors, not University money, to dedicate itself to pro-life issues, specifically at the beginning of human life, Solomon said. A five-person committee, which includes Solomon, Notre Dame Professors Fr. Wilson Miscamble, Carter Snead and Daniel Philpott and Associate Director of the Center of Ethics and Culture Elizabeth Kirk, controls the fund. The Fund will announce the Evangelium Vitae Medal recipient each year on Respect Life Sunday, Solomon said, and award it on the Feast of the Annunciation, which falls on March 25, 2011. The award includes a $10,000 prize and a specially commissioned medal, according to the press release. This medal is part of a larger initiative by the Fund to Protect Human Life, which will be formally announced within the next six weeks. “We’re starting a big new pro-life initiative in general, and we’re going to call it the Project Guadeloupe,” Solomon said. “It’s a project that will both involve education efforts here at Notre Dame and research efforts.” The initiative will encourage programs such as an annual life seminar on Notre Dame’s campus, a number of courses about life in the Notre Dame curriculum and a two-year master’s degree and service program based on pro-life work, Solomon said.last_img read more

ND students cheer Irish on to victory

first_imgJunior Pat Vinett, who transferred to Notre Dame from Wake Forest, returned to Winston-Salem, N.C. for Saturday’s game hoping for an Irish victory. Vinett said he was cautiously optimistic about Notre Dame’s chances, even more so than many of the Wake Forest fans he spoke to. “I know talking to kids down there, they were expecting to lose by like 40. I thought it was going to be pretty close, that we were going to underestimate the ACC,” Vinett said. “I knew we’d win, but I thought it’d be difficult.” Despite the Demon Deacons’ stadium being less than half the size of Notre Dame’s, Vinett said the level of excitement was impressive. “I ended up in the student section, so I don’t know about general admission, but compared to whenever I’ve been there before, it was really loud,” he said. “They had fireworks going when they scored, it was pretty good considering the size of the stadium. It was packed.” While it was a farther trip from South Bend than Purdue or Michigan, Vinett said the Notre Dame turnout was surprisingly large. “There were a ton of ND people,” he said. “I’m not going to say there were more ND people [than Wake Forest fans], but I’d say it was pretty even cheering.” Despite having a friend on the Wake Forest team, Vinett cheered for the Irish throughout. “I was cheering for ND the whole time,” he said. “My buddy’s one of the wide receivers [for Wake Forest] … I was happy when he was doing well, but I was happy ND won.” Vinett said the highlight of the game was senior receiver Michael Floyd’s third quarter touchdown. “It completely sucked the life out of the Wake student section,” he said. Sophomore Ashley Barraza turned down the long drive in favor of on-campus game watch and said she was expecting the Irish to quickly lock in a victory. “I thought the game was going to be a blowout,” she said. “I thought we were going to go in there and dominate, that they’d put it away in the first half like the Navy and Air Force games.” She said the decidedly less impressive victory was due to a series of minor errors. “I thought the two interceptions were pretty bad, especially the one where they were in Cover 3 [zone defense] and Tommy [Rees] threw it anyway,” she said. “Just a bunch of fundamental mistakes we could have avoided … Wake’s not that great a team so we could recover, but if it were a better team it could have cost us.” Junior Andy Boes was also confident in Notre Dame’s odds at the beginning of the game. “We’re athletically superior to them,” he said. “It was just a matter of how much we would win by.” After struggling in the first half, Boes said the defense coming together later in the game was crucial for the victory. “The defense came up with some plays that were pretty important,” he said. Boes said he was happy with the win, despite the close score. “I would have liked to see a bigger point differential, but a win’s a win,” he said. “I’m hoping next week it’s not as close as it was this weekend, but I’m glad we can continue with some momentum.”last_img read more

College GameDay’ returns to Notre Dame

first_imgAlmost exactly seven years ago to the day, ESPN’s popular pregame show “College GameDay” visited campus to broadcast live before Notre Dame hosted USC in the infamous “Bush Push” game. Today, after the fortunes of the Irish football program have fallen and risen again, the first of the approximately 50 cast and crew of “GameDay” begin arriving on campus from all over the country to prepare for Saturday’s national broadcast. “It’s great. It’s been way, way, way too long since we’ve been there,” ESPN analyst and announcer Kirk Herbstreit said. “It’s nice to see that they have a high-profile game at home to allow us to come in there and just add to the atmosphere hopefully there in South Bend on Saturday,” Tom Engle, producer of “GameDay,” said he and his crew were excited to return to South Bend. “The tradition that Notre Dame has, not only with football but as a University, it’s a special place. Any time we get the opportunity to come back there is great,” Engle said in a phone interview with The Observer. “It’s too bad it’s been as long as it’s been since we’ve been there, but I think it’s a good sign for Notre Dame that we’re coming back. That means obviously they’re doing something well on the field.” Engle said ESPN makes its decision about where to host “GameDay” each week based solely on its opinion of what the biggest game of the week is. While ABC and ESPN (who are both owned by Disney) broadcast many games each week and NBC has exclusive rights to all Notre Dame home games, Engle said that did not matter. “It doesn’t really bother us what network it’s on,” he said. “We’re going to go where we think in our estimation the best game is every week regardless of what network it’s on or anything like that.” John Heisler, senior associate athletic director, said the University welcomed “GameDay” to campus and was excited about the opportunity to host the show. “I think it’s a great compliment to everybody,” Heisler said. “There’s not a football program in the country that wouldn’t like to have ‘GameDay’ come on any given weekend.” Engle said while the Saturday morning broadcast is the centerpiece of the show’s visit, “GameDay” will start to have a visible campus presence as early as Thursday. “There will be a lot of action around there on Thursday setting up the set and our ‘College GameDay’ footprint … which seems like it’s getting bigger and bigger each year,” he said. “We have obviously our set, and then flanking our set is two Jumbotrons for all the crowd to be able to watch and hear the show as it goes on. So it’ll be quite a presence once we get everything set up Thursday afternoon.” Although “GameDay” visited Notre Dame’s contest at Michigan last year, Engle said those fans who last saw the show live in 2005 will notice differences. “It’s a whole new demographic of students we’re reaching out to … our footprint’s gotten much bigger since then,” he said. “We do our best to keep the fans that do show up involved by playing music, by playing the show on the two Jumbotrons … and just interaction with the fans out there.” Notre Dame hosted the first-ever campus broadcast of “College GameDay” in 1993 before the then-No. 2 Irish defeated then-No. 1 Florida State. Heisler said the show has become much bigger than what it used to be. “We look back on when it first came here back in 1993, it was nowhere near the stature of what it is now,” he said. “In fact, they were up here indoors in the concourse of the Joyce Center, there were certainly some people that came and watched it, [but] there was nowhere near the interest in having a huge audience that there is now.” Engle said there might be surprises for fans in attendance, but he was sure fans would enjoy the experience. “We have some things in the works,” he said. “Nothing that I can really tell you now, because I’m not sure yet … But I think they’ll enjoy it, I’ll say that. The people that show up will have a couple wrinkles that will make it worth their while for coming.” Engle said Notre Dame’s Thanksgiving weekend contest at USC could also see the show visit, especially if both teams continue to win. “There’s obviously a ton of games that need to be played by a lot of teams before then,” he said. “But it’s a definite possibility.” ESPN will begin broadcasting parts of various shows at 9 a.m. Friday and broadcast “College Football Live” from its on-campus set Friday afternoon. The set will be located on Library Quad. “On Friday, we start doing T.V. at 9 a.m.,” he said. “There will be guys and girls out there on and off all day … Until about 4 p.m. there will be some sort of action on the set. People are more than welcome to hang out on Friday if they want to.” The “GameDay” festivities will start early Saturday morning, as filming will begin at 8 a.m. The show will go live at 9 a.m. on ESPNU and then will be live on ESPN from 10 a.m. to noon. In a now-famous “GameDay” tradition, ESPN analyst Lee Corso will predict the winner of the Notre Dame-Stanford contest shortly before the show’s end by donning a mascot uniform of the team he picks to win. “Who knows what he’s going to do?” Engle said. “It’ll be a spectacle about 11:55 when he makes his pick. I don’t know where he’s going yet, but we’ll see.” Engle encouraged students to show up early to the set, especially if they wanted to see themselves on national television. “If you get there early, obviously you’ll get up close and get a chance to be on TV. We’ve had people camp out before,” he said. “We’ve seen all kinds of things over the years. It’s kind of first-come first serve as far as your chance to get in the front row and possibly see yourself on ‘GameDay. … the earlier that you come, the better.” Herbstreit said he was excited to broadcast from campus, especially after he learned students would be finishing midterms this week. “Oh my gosh,” he said. “They [the students] will be out of their minds. That’ll be fun.” “College GameDay” will begin broadcasting live at 9 a.m. on ESPNU and continue its broadcast from 10 a.m. to noon on ESPN. The set will be on Library Quad. Contact Allan Joseph at [email protected]last_img read more

Student assault victim shares experience

first_imgThe Justice Education Department at Saint Mary’s began its “Week Against Violence” on Tuesday night in the Student Center with the discussion “Beyond the Violence,” led by Saint Mary’s junior Jessica Richmond, who discussed her personal account of violence.“Authenticity requires vulnerability, courage and integrity,” Richmond said, adding that she lives by these words.Richmond shared her story of physical and sexual assault to offer perspective and advice to her peers as fellow victims and friends of victims.Allison D’Ambrosia “People see vulnerability as being weak,” she said “But I build my life around viewing vulnerability as a strength ⎯ being open to having conversations like these, airing my dirty laundry, as I like to say.”Although Richmond openly shared her personal encounter with violence, she said she was once much more reluctant to speak about the horrific experience.“There are very few people in my life that knew what happened and to the great detail of what happened,” she said.Richmond, who shared her story with her father this past weekend, said her parents’ reactions to the events were why she did not want to tell them in the first place. Richmond said that upon hearing of her attack, her mother misdirected her frustration toward her daughter. She said her mother’s strong reaction made her more cautious about delving into details.“I almost felt as if there was resentment towards me for not telling her sooner,” Richmond said. “My mom immediately jumped to ‘What did he do to you?’ and being a victim, I recommend you never do that to someone because that instantly put me on the defensive. I didn’t want to tell her.”Richmond said many people, including her mother, have asked her why she did not report her attack.“I’m not trying to play into being young because I think there are many younger women that are stronger than I was [who are also] assaulted, but I was so scared,” she said. “I was so alone. I had no idea [of] the resources out there. I had no idea what to do. I was scared of him.”This fear lies in the systemic sexism of the United States’ judicial system, Richmond said.“Men have a power and an authority in society, and there’s a lot that goes into that,” Richmond said. “But he scared me to death. Even after knowing he no longer worked with me, he didn’t live near me, he terrified me.”Richmond said her decision to keep the attack private was an act of self-preservation.“It was the thought of going to the police and saying I wanted to press charges when there was no evidence and when no one knew about what had happened,” Richmond said. “I didn’t want to air my dirty laundry for the whole world to have him get a slap on the wrist.“I didn’t want to have to tell my story a thousand times only to be told ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do.’”Richmond said she also feared it would become a “he said, she said” situation, or she would be condemned for not explicitly saying “no.”“Life went on,” she said. “I didn’t report it. That is the one thing I come back to most often. Maybe I should have. Maybe if I called him to justice, it could have gone in my favor. I find myself still sort of switching a little bit, but I don’t regret not reporting.”Richmond said her decision not to report might not be the best choice for all other victims of violence. Each person should make an individual choice.“Do I think [other victims] should?” Richmond said. “Yes, because there’s a great chance [they] can get something out of it, but I think for my health I couldn’t. This is not ‘Law and Order.’ Due process doesn’t happen in 45 minutes.”Richmond said she attributes much of her growth since the attack to her boyfriend of three-and-a-half years.“He’s my support system,” she said. “It’s kind of strange because he’s a man, he’s six-foot-seven and almost three hundred pounds. He is my version of empowerment.”Richmond said her boyfriend and his sensitivity played key roles in her ability to heal.“I found that when we first started dating I had all sorts of triggers,” she said. “ A certain smell would throw me into a hysterical crying fit, a certain way of being touched, a certain playful comment. Sometimes it wasn’t the words that were being said; it was just the tone it was said in.“I can’t have my neck touched. That is like my one thing that will put me in a fetal position crying.”As a victim of violence, Richmond said it is amazing to have someone there to say, “Okay, that’s completely fine. I respect you for that.”“Once I got to that point, I became offended when people used tamer words because it’s oppressive,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of using the terms. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘She was raped.’”Richmond said that in spite of having a solid and healthy relationship with her boyfriend now, if she could go back in time she would tell her high school self that she did not need a man.“We’re women at such an amazing school with such an empowering philosophy that we can do anything,” she said. “I don’t want someone to stand in front of me.“That’s what’s great about [my] relationship now. [My boyfriend] stands behind me pushing me forward.”Adrienne Lyles-Chockley, head of the Justice Education Department, ended the discussion by offering Richmond affirmations on behalf of the audience.“This is such a gift and a refreshingly honest dialogue, so I want to affirm this and affirm you,” Lyles-Chockley said.The Justice Education professor said she also supported Richmond’s decision to not go to the police.“I’d also just like to affirm your choice not to report,” Lyles-Chockley said. “I appreciate that part of giving the person that was raped or assaulted control [means] granting them control of what happens next. So we support women by listening and helping according to their individual needs. Friends often don’t understand, and it’s just not that simple.”As a continuation of the “Week against Violence,” Saint Mary’s will host a panel presentation on community responses to violence against women, titled “Justice and the Victims: Beyond Law and Order,” on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Vander Vennet Theater. Tags: Justice Education Department, sexual assault, Week Against Violencelast_img read more

Wildcats await decision on unionization

first_imgIn March, the Chicago regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Northwestern scholarship football players are employees of the university and therefore have the right to form a union.In April, Northwestern University appealed the decision to the full NLRB in Washington, D.C.This weekend, the Northwestern football team, still awaiting a final decision from the NLRB, comes to Notre Dame with its unionization future unclear. Ed Edmonds, associate dean of the Notre Dame Law School, said either way the Board rules, the Northwestern case could be pivotal for the future of collegiate athletics.Susan Zhu | The Observer “I would like to think that this [case] would begin to change the conversation at the NCAA away from the idea that [athletics] should be equated to a hobby or a very modest expenditure of time,” Edmonds, who specializes in sports labor law, said. “I think we need to have a much more realistic conversation about how you try to balance intercollegiate athletics and its demands with the educational process.“I mean, we’re basically the only country in the world that has sports so intertwined with the educational process at the highest levels. And I think what the case has helped advance is a conversation that is badly needed.”Following the Chicago Regional Board’s decision in March, members of Northwestern’s football team voted on whether or not they wanted the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) to represent them. Edmonds said the results of the vote will remain embargoed until the full NLRB’s ruling and will only be counted if the Board rules in CAPA’s favor.Edmonds said the Board’s review period for the Northwestern case is typical, and he expects a decision by the end of the year. In the meantime, he said the case is an opportunity to consider how universities and the NCAA treat athletics and student athletes.“The most significant thing about the case, to me, was the fact that the regional board ruled in favor of the players,” Edmonds said. “It actually causes everybody to look very carefully at the definition of a student athlete.”In its list of core values, the NCAA prioritizes “the collegiate model of athletics in which students participate as an avocation, balancing their academic, social and athletics experiences.” Edmonds said this definition is problematic when student-athletes are pushed for significantly more time and effort than non-athletes.“In the brief that Northwestern filed, [they] said, ‘Well, participating in college football is no different than 400 and some-odd other student activities that we have at the university,’” Edmonds said.“They’re trying to say if you participate in the chess club or something along those lines that that’s the same as participation in intercollegiate football. I think those kinds of assertions, that seem laughable to me, make the arguments in this case sometimes really problematic.“The incredible amount of money that conferences get, the incredible amount of money the NCAA basketball tournament generates — that places it in a far different category than anything else that Northwestern students participate in.”The Northwestern NLRB case itself revolves around the definition of employment and whether or not scholarship athletes fit that definition. Notre Dame associate professor of law Barbra Fick, who specializes in labor law, said the definition of employee typically depends on pay and control.In the Northwestern case, Edmonds said NLRB Chicago regional director Peter Sung Ohr ruled the football scholarships were economic benefits and coaches exercised some control over the players, thus making them employees. The University, though, objected to Ohr’s interpretation of scholarships as income.“What Northwestern tried to present in this case … is [scholarship athletes] don’t pay any income tax on their scholarship benefits so that should be an indication that they’re not employees,” Edmonds said. “Ohr discounted that.”In recent years, Edmonds said the idea of scholarships as income has grown more viable due to increasing tuition costs. According to the Northwestern University Office of Undergraduate Admission, the annual cost of attendance is $65,554, which totals to roughly $262,216 over four years.“One of the things that has changed a lot over the years is as tuition has risen, the value of [athletic] scholarships becomes, to a lot of people, fairly important,” he said. “So even tough [student athletes] aren’t given a paycheck, they are given a pretty significant economic benefit. And I think in this day and age when a lot of people take on a lot of debt to go to elite private universities, that’s begun to change the way some people look at the issue of whether or not college athletes are exploited.”The Chicago Regional Board did distinguish between scholarship and walk-on athletes, determining walk-ons are not employees. On its website, CAPA said it could possibly represent walk-on and “nonrevenue” athletes in the future, but “it would depend on the applicable labor laws and details surrounding their athletic arrangement.”Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, who graduated in 2014 and led the unionization effort last year, leads CAPA, along with former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma and former University of Massachusetts Amherst basketball player Luke Bonner.On its website, CAPA lists its goals, which include “guaranteed coverage for sports-related medical expenses for current and former players, minimizing the risk of sports-related traumatic brain injury [and] improving graduation rates.”Edmonds said if the full NLRB rules in favor of the players, CAPA could bargain over these issues on behalf of scholarship football players at Northwestern and 16 other private universities with Division-I football, including Notre Dame, if they voted for representation. The union could not represent athletes at public universities because the National Labor Relations Act does not grant public employees collective bargaining rights, Edmonds said.“If the full board rules in favor of the players, it raises the question of whether any of the other private universities that play Division-I football would be approached by CAPA,” Edmonds said. “And I think CAPA would try to approach all of the schools.”He said athletes would react differently from campus to campus to the prospect of unionization, but if the NLRB rules in favor of CAPA and the Northwestern players voted to unionize, Notre Dame scholarship athletes could consider joining CAPA, too.Edmonds said the full NLRB’s decision is “a real toss-up” at the moment, but the Northwestern case is part of a larger conversation about the role of athletics at major universities.“The big thing about this … is that maybe we can now begin to talk about student athletes — if you want to call them that — in a different way because they generate such an incredible amount of revenue for their university,” Edmonds said. “If you want to maintain this idea of a student athlete, then you really ought to switch it and say it’s an athlete student, because they’re a full-time athlete and a part-time student.”Regardless of the outcome of the NLRB’s decision, Edmonds said the Northwestern case, along with several lawsuits that “strike even more directly at the core of the way the NCAA conducts business” will shape the future of college sports.“I’m hard-pressed to imagine that the situation is going to be exactly the same in a decade than it is now,” Edmonds said. “To me, it’s part of a broader discussion about the role of intercollegiate athletics in the university that’s being pushed by a host of things, and this is just one aspect of a lot of things that are aimed at whether the NCAA’s model is really a workable one anymore.”Tags: CAPA, college football, Ed Edmonds, NCAA, NLRB, Northwestern University, Peter Sung Ohr, Unionizationlast_img read more

Disability Resource Office supports Saint Mary’s students

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the second day in a series on disability at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s stories examine the services available to students at the University and the College.Saint Mary’s created the Disabilities Resource Office (DRO) in 2004 to provide students with access to accommodations granted under the Americans with Disabilities Act, director Iris Giamo said. Prior to the creation of the office, associate dean Susan Vanek worked with students to ensure they received the accommodations they needed.Giamo said there are three prongs of disability that the office serves including “learning, chronic medical and psychiatric disabilities.”Eric Richelsen | The Observer Students with disease vary from serious asthma, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and immunological diseases, she said. Learning disabilities include dyslexia, dyscalculia, executive function and attention disorders. Psychiatric disabilities include anxiety disorders, bipolar, Asperger’s and others.Students must register with the DRO to receive accommodations, which are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, Giamo said.Students eligible for educational accommodations might receive extended time and reduced-distraction room, note-takers and print materials in alternate formats — electronic and audio.Giamo said the DRO provides students access for what they need under the law and any grade they earn is a result of hard work.“We consider the established history, self-report and third party documentation and evaluations,” she said. “Saint Mary’s is a small campus, and it spreads responsibility for compliance with disability protections to each member in our community.”Giamo said her office teaches students to be independent and learn to advocate for themselves.“The office empowers students,” she said. “Disabled students may need extra time to show mastery of a subject, and it’s essential that they have access to curriculum.”Giamo said Saint Mary’s has attracted several students with physical disabilities over the years, but this fall the College will welcome the first student in a wheelchair in at least 12 years.The DRO works closely with Residence Life and Facilities staff to provide the physical access needed and updates in adherence to legal architectural guidelines are made when necessary, Giamo said.Giamo said ADA has increased the number of students that can attend college.“Eight percent of the student population at Saint Mary’s identifies as having a disability,” she said. “Only 75 percent of that eight percent use their accommodation.”According to Giamo, the reason only 75 percent of students may use their accommodations is because many students learn to compensate or may not need it for a certain classes.Many practitioners in the field think the number is close to 10 percent nationally, Giamo said.Equal access for people with disabilities is part of civil rights and for this reason professors are required to include information about the DRO on their syllabi, Giamo said.“This has definitely raised the profile of the office and allowed students to address what they might need,” she said. “We have an exceptional faculty here and not only for students with disabilities”Giamo said it is crucial for students to share their concerns about accessibility and accommodations with the College and the DRO.“It is only when people write or talk about it that we can deal with these issues.”Other resources for students with disabilities include Office for Student Success to assist students with their academic careers.Giamo said the Office promotes academic skills and healthy study habits for students with and without disabilities. There are also volunteer tutors in each department as well as tutors in the Writing Center to help students succeed.She said there is a heightened awareness especially with the emerging field of disability studies and theory.“There’s a saying in the field that ‘anyone at any time can become disabled,’” Giamo said.Tags: ADA, Disabilities Resource Office, disability, DRO, saint mary’slast_img read more

Special Olympics bronze medalist Kevin Callaghan shares story, confronts labels

first_imgKevin Callaghan, a bronze medalist in the 5,000-meter race at the 2011 Special Olympics, spoke at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday evening regarding his experiences as an athlete. The event, sponsored by Multicultural Services, served as part of the College’s Disability Awareness Week.Saint Mary’s junior Maryselva Albarran Hernandez commented on the significance of the event, saying although there have been many projects promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, there were very few events surrounding disabilities.“We noticed that there were a lot of projects and events happening that were focused on diversity and inclusion in religion, race, ethnicity and LQBTQ issues, but there was nothing for increasing awareness on disabilities,” she said. “This is a big concern because we do have students with disabilities on our campus and it’s important for them to feel included.” Tags: 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Disability Awareness Week, Kevin Callaghan, Special Olympics Natalie Weber | The Observer Special Olympian and bronze medalist Kevin Callaghan presents at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday in Vander Vennet Theatre. The event was a part of Saint Mary’s inaugural Diversity Awareness Week.Albarran Hernandez said Callaghan is committed to speaking up and helping others who suffer from intellectual disabilities, similar to those he and his brother face.“He wants to be a role model for those who may not have a voice and wants to be their voice,” she said. “He wants to be able to provide the tools for people to voice their concerns and he wants to motivate others to speak up and I love that about him.”Callaghan was diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability, which he said is nothing more than a label. He said that a disability doesn’t always mean disabled. Every person is gifted in their own way, he said, and trying to live life to its fullest with the talents that they have.“I do things like anyone else, just at a slower pace,” he said. “I can drive a car; I live in my own apartment; I am self-sufficient. It wasn’t easy though, I had to work a lot harder to achieve my goals.”Callaghan said he always enjoyed running and competing. Sports have helped him in many ways, he said, by allowing him to make connections, find his passion and make new friends. One of the biggest highlights of running was the opportunity to compete against other athletes who were just like him.“When I was 10 years old, my parents offered me to be a medical guinea pig and the doctors injected my legs with Botox,” he said. “It worked. The medicine caused my muscles to relax and I was able to walk normally. That may sound like a little thing, but when you have special needs, it’s really important to be as normal as you can be. I decided to try out for my high school’s cross-country team, and I had a great coach who didn’t care about what I couldn’t do — he only cared about what I could do. By the time I was a senior, I was the fastest guy on the team and was voted MVP by the end of the season.”Seven years ago, Callaghan, who wore his Olympic medal around his neck, competed in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.“I ran on the same track as Usain Bolt, competed against some of the best Special Olympic athletes in the world and won a bronze medal,” he said.Kevin’s father Jim Callaghan said although it was difficult coming to terms with two of his kids suffering from intellectual disabilities, his greatest goal has always been to make sure his kids were happy. Both of Kevin’s parents became actively involved in the Special Olympics as coaches.“There was an adult special Olympics group, but they didn’t have a kids division,” Jim said. “So, we called the state and said we wanna start a Logan Center kids team. The first year it was only Kevin, the next year it was like, eight kids, and now the program has been running for 20 something years.”Jim said his son is a role model for a number of people and is referred to as ‘the mayor’ by some of his friends because he knows everyone in his town.“It’s not just about me but there are so many stories of people with disabilities,” Kevin said. “I love people and I also have many friends with autism, so I always try to think about how things would affect me if I was in another person’s shoes. If it was up to me, I wish there was a universal healthcare for everybody in the world.”last_img read more

Senate discusses sexual assault, recognition of Native American history

first_imgNotre Dame student senators focused on social justice issues during their meeting Monday evening, addressing the University’s policies regarding the treatment of sexual assault survivors and Native Americans.Over the past several weeks, the student senate discussed the Trump administration’s changes to Title IX, the federal civil rights law that regulates how colleges handle sexual assault allegations. Many student leaders have expressed concerns that Notre Dame will be less responsive to victims’ needs in the wake of these new changes.Student Title IX services manager Amber Monroe spoke to the senate about the University’s sexual assault resolution process and addressed concerns about new Title IX revisions.“A lot of these [changes] are not mandates. … We’re going to be given a lot of time to figure out what [the changes] look like for Notre Dame,” Monroe said. “What I can say is we will always be Notre Dame in the sense of caring for our students.”The proposed changes to Title IX allow colleges to resolve sexual assault allegations through mediation, a process in which victims and perpetrators discuss the allegations face-to-face. Monroe clarified that Notre Dame does not plan on using this kind of face-to-face mediation for sexual assault cases.But the University does offer other “alternative resolution” processes for sexual assault cases on a voluntary basis, she said. Victims can agree to engage in these processes, which are supposed to be forms of restorative justice — a way to help victims and perpetrators heal together. “I think that we forget sometimes that these are people,” Monroe said. “Emotions, behaviors and choices affect how these processes can metastasize and what they can look like for each individual.”Monroe explained that the University developed these alternative resolution strategies in response to student feedback. Many students noted in the 2016 Campus Climate Survey that they felt their options for resolving incidents of assault were too limited. Notably, these alternative resolution processes — unlike traditional administrative resolution processes — are non-disciplinary, meaning perpetrators cannot face disciplinary action after an alternative resolution is completed.Junior and Welsh Family Hall senator Lindsay McCray said a non-disciplinary resolution could endanger students.“There have been studies that indicate that the majority of sexual assaults are committed by repeat offenders,” she said. “So, in allowing [an] alternative resolution to occur in sexual assault cases, even if it’s not mediation, how does that protect the student body at all from rapists?”Monroe said the University considers each case individually and does not allow alternative resolutions for perpetrators who could pose serious threats to other students.After concluding the discussion of Title IX, senators shifted the conversation to Native American history and culture.Senators approved a resolution calling the University administration to recognize that Notre Dame’s campus sits on land that once belonged to the Potawatomi people. The resolution encouraged a statement acknowledging this history be featured at Welcome Weekend, graduation and the Walk the Walk Week luncheon.Additionally, the senate approved a resolution calling for a Native Studies minor in the College of Arts and Letters, drawing on the example of many other universities.“This … shows the people who are Native descendants that we respect you, we affirm you,” said Marcus Winchester-Jones, sophomore and president of the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame. “It … makes it so it’s a more welcoming community for everybody.”Tags: Native American Student Association of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Student Senate, Title IX, Title IX policylast_img read more

Jamestown Plastics Pivots Production In Response To COVID-19 Crisis

first_imgImage by the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency.BROCTON — A northern Chautauqua County based manufacture has adjusted its production in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.Jamestown Plastics’ owner Jay Baker, says his team has begun work designing face shields for the health care and emergency response industries.Rather than simply copy the style of face shields that have been around for decades, Baker says his company will be constructing an original design.“Innovation is hardwired into how we approach life here, and none of it would be possible without our ‘Jamestown Plastics Family’ of incredible employees who know going above and beyond is in all of our job descriptions,” said Baker. The TrueHero™ Extreme Coverage Face Shields, produced by the company, will first be deployed to a medical office in Mayville.Constructed of Clearon™, a medical grade, PETG plastic, the face shields offer exceptional visual clarity, explained Baker.Additionally, the reinforced shield features a proprietary flanged edge that, unlike flat shields, maximizes protection from the periphery. Multi-Port Exhaust channels release heat and moisture, yet preclude the entry of germs.The shield offers full-range view ability, is extremely lightweight, and easily grasped from behind to satisfy handling protocol. It attaches with an infinitely adjustable hook-and-loop strap for all-day comfort, and a foam forehead pad enhances comfort. The shield can be customized by simply trimming the material with scissors.Locally, the Chautauqua County and the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency have led the charge in communicating the need for additional PPE production countywide, encouraging manufacturers to retool, where able, to produce supplies needed for COVID-19 pandemic response.The team created a logistics plan to fulfill the 14,000 face shields needed locally, followed by order coordination for the additional 59 statewide emergency operations centers. 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

New York Demands More Federal Funds To Bolster State Budget

first_imgJanuary 8, 2020 – Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivers his 2020 State of the State Address in Albany. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)ALBANY — New York lawmakers on Thursday delayed immediate decisions on how to find $10 billion in potential spending cuts in an elastic state budget aimed at keeping state government running amid a crisis brought on by a virus outbreak that has hammered New York City and upended the economy.Seated in their offices or far apart from one another in the largely vacant chambers, lawmakers took final votes on budget bills. The exact size of the budget for the next year was unclear, but lawmakers are attempting to slash as much as $10 billion from the $178 billion originally proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.The extent of spending cuts will depend on whether New York receives enough federal funding or if the economy recovers enough to make up for a potential $10 to $15 billion loss in state revenue.“We can all agree that the budget we are passing is not the budget that any of us hoped to pass at the beginning of the session,” Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “It’s not even the budget we expected to pass a month ago. Our state’s financial situation has been thrust into true economic crisis.” Lawmakers have agreed that the ongoing epidemic necessitates expanding the governor’s role over state spending and response efforts. The governor’s budget office would have to notify lawmakers about 1% revenue shortfalls or overspending, and the administration could cut spending if lawmakers don’t come up with their own plan in ten days.The budget deal is also set to include at least $8 billion in short-term borrowing to help the state handle a tax deadline delayed to July 15. The state can also access a $3 billion line of credit.Cuomo, a Democrat, and Stewart-Cousins called for urgent, additional federal funding to help New York respond to the outbreak.New York state government is set to receive at least $5 billion in federal aid for the cost of responding to the virus, on top of over $1 billion in emergency education funding. But Cuomo has said the amount is not enough to offset possible revenue loss and response costs that have already exceeded $1 billion.Schools are receiving nearly the same amount of funding as last year — about $28 million. Cuomo had proposed $800 million in extra school aid in January. New York will lose out on extra federal education aid if funding falls further.The budget also allows Cuomo’s administration to reduce healthcare spending this year or next.Cuomo had complained New York would lose out on billions of dollars in emergency Medicaid funds because Congress prohibited states from restricting Medicaid until the outbreak is declared over. A state task force was tasked this year to propose trimming $2.5 billion in Medicaid spending.The budget allows Cuomo’s administration to delay some Medicaid proposals amid the crisis — including another 0.5% in across-the-board Medicaid payment cuts, a cap on managed long-term care enrollment and restrictions on Medicaid-funded personal care aide programs.A coalition of several health consumer groups said cuts during or after the pandemic will devastate struggling hospitals shouldering the brunt of the outbreak.Several left-leaning advocacy groups including VOCAL-NY slammed lawmakers for failing to consider higher taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to help provide more revenue for schools.Republicans criticized Democrats for including a host of new laws in the budget that have received little public scrutiny in recent weeks: from the legalization of paid surrogacy, to a ban on Styrofoam containers, a sweeping new paid sick leave law, an expansion of prevailing wage mandates, a ban on flavored vaping, a new small-donor public financing system, and an increased ballot threshold making it harder for third parties to qualify for the ballot.New York will also legalize e-bikes and e-scooters, add E Pluribus Unum to the state’s coat of arms, seize weapons from certain individuals linked to possible domestic abuse, establish a new “domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate” felony, and ban high-risk sexual offenders from rising the MTA.New York is also tweaking a law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers’ licenses that drew rebuke from President Trump’s administration, which had halted the import and export of used vehicles in New York and cut residents from “trusted traveler” programs. New York can now share certain state motor vehicle records that federal officials say is needed to import and export vehicles and vet New Yorkers applying to trusted traveler programs. The law aims to ensure that data can’t be used for immigration enforcement.Another budget measure backed by Cuomo would also tweak a new state law that started in January to end cash bail for 90% of crimes, allowing thousands of New Yorkers facing charges for mostly non-violent crimes to avoid being held in jail while awaiting trial.Republicans and many law enforcement officials around the state initially raised concerns that the law was emptying jails and endangering the public, while supporters said cash bail unjustly oppresses poor and minority communities.Cuomo’s proposed tweak includes making more crimes eligible for bail starting in 90 days — including felony sex trafficking, money laundering, strangulation, certain hate crimes, criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, grand larceny, escape and failing to register as a sex offender.Cuomo said Thursday that his administration has looked at the roll-out of the new law: “I think we made the right change now.” 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