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Group discusses goals for year

Kathleen McDonnell | Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Safety concerns, community relations and diversity issues dominated discussion at Tuesday’s Council of Representatives (COR) meeting

To begin the group’s first meeting of the academic year, student body president Lizzi Shappell asked representatives what topics they’d like to pursue in the coming months.

“I’d like to use this first meeting as a body [to hear] initial ideas that you have come up with for COR to tackle this year,” Shappell said. “I lay out safety issues and community relations as two topics to address.”

Shappell plans to have the South Bend Police Department (SBPD) visit COR again to address a growing number of student safety concerns.

Off-campus president Spencer Feren said SBPD would like to initiate a self-defense course at Notre Dame. Officers would address situations like that of the female student allegedly assaulted in her Turtle Creek apartment last week.

To promote better community relations, Shappell brought up the community summit that was part of her election platform. The goal, she said, is to bring community leaders and local colleges and universities together for discussion.

“I’d like to focus on students becoming good neighbors in the community,” Shappell said.

The summit would include not only Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross but also other South Bend institutions like Indiana University- South Bend.

Sophomore class president Lulu Meraz brought up race relations as a crucial issue for COR to address.

“Racism and indifferent comments – that was a really big issue for me last year,” Meraz said. “I’ve heard it both in joke settings and in normal, serious conversation.”

The body focused its attentions on working with the dorms to create an atmosphere in which all students feel welcome. The multicultural committee is currently training a multicultural commissioner from each dorm, Pangborn senator Sheena Plamoottil said. If COR brainstorms initiatives, the committee can pass the information directly into the dorms through the commissioners, she said.

COR members also discussed the possibility of further integrating diversity exercises into resident assistant training so that these dorm leaders can foster a sense of openness among their residents.

Meraz said the multicultural committee could institute mandatory diversity meetings, at least for freshmen, like the Pillars group already does.

In other COR news:

u COR confirmed Tara Johnson as the academic delegate for the College of Science.

u Patrick Murren was approved as academic delegate for the College of Engineering.

u Gina Dolan was approved as the Judicial Council vice president of peer advocacy.