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Students choose between events, time off from class

Katie Perry | Monday, September 26, 2005

While thousands of students packed the Joyce Center and other campus venues for Thursday and Friday’s inaugural events, thousands more made other use of their time and opted to seize the rare four-day weekend.

At 4:30 p.m. Friday – while Father John Jenkins and much of the Notre Dame community was amid the inaugural convocation – juniors Greg Naylor, Rico Farmer and John Grogan were on the lawn outside St. Edward’s Hall throwing bean bags.

The four students were obviously not at the convocation. Instead, they were in the midst of a thrilling game of corn hole – a bean bag toss game they described as a unique form of “male bonding.”

When asked why they chose not to attend the convocation, they seemed puzzled.

Naylor said he didn’t go to any of the inaugural events because it wasn’t mandatory for students to attend.

“If I went I’d probably regret it,” he said. “I’d think, Man I wish I was at my dorm just hanging out.”

Farmer echoed this apathy and said what matters most at college is time spent with friends, not sitting in a “hot room” – what he called the Joyce Center – for hours. Farmer said he didn’t think it was important that he be there for the official inauguration ceremony.

“I know we have a new president,” he said. “I don’t have to see him at the inauguration.”

Naylor agreed that the convocation was not significant enough for him to attend.

“I don’t see what’s going to be so earthshaking [about Jenkins’ inaugural speech],” he said.

Freshman James Dubray made a point to attend Thursday’s academic forum.

“I thought the forum was good,” he said. “Some speakers were better than others, though. I think the comments [Honduran Archbishop Father Oscar Cardinal Rodriguez] made about homosexuals were completely ridiculous, though.”

Dubray said the forum was the only inaugural event he attended.

“I wasn’t interested in the [convocation at the Joyce Center] so I didn’t go,” he said. “I didn’t have any choice in who’s president and I don’t think it affects me much as a student.”

Students who did attend Friday’s convocation said they felt it was because the found it to be a poignant event for members of the University.

“I just think it was historically significant,” freshman Courtney Haven said. “I think it was important to be there as a student.”

Haven said while she herself thought the event warranted her attendance, she could also identify with other students who chose not to go to the convocation or other inaugural events.

“I think it’s understandable [that students chose not to attend inaugural events] because I almost didn’t go myself,” she said. “I think it was a good time to rest.”

With the cancellation of afternoon classes on both Thursday and Friday, many students – like junior Aaron Adjemian – treated the inauguration as a four-day weekend.

“[The inauguration] just wasn’t important enough to attend,” Adjemian said. “It was just nice to have two days off [from classes.] It was nice to have that vacation time.”

But not attending inaugural events wasn’t all fun and games for other students. Freshman Paula Alfonso said she didn’t go to any events Thursday or Friday solely due to academic reasons.

“I have a big paper due Monday so I was doing homework during that time,” she said. “It was more important to me than the inauguration events.”

Alfonso said her absence from the events was “not a big deal at all,” but did say she probably would have attended had she not had so much homework.

“I regret not going to the academic forum,” she said. “but I just had too much work.”

Grogan indicated his priorities were elsewhere.

“We’re much more interested in [Irish tight end] John Carlson than John Jenkins,” he said.