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Members establish task forces, set goals

Kaitlynn Reily | Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Concerns ranging from students safety to gambling and alcohol abuse were raised at the first Campus Life Council (CLC) meeting of the year Monday.

To manage and address these pressing issues the CLC created three task forces – Conduct Awareness, Student Concerns and Student Voice and Input – and one ad-hoc committee regarding student safety matters to organize its approach to this year’s student affairs agenda.

Student body president and CLC chair Lizzi Shappell started the meeting with introductions and explained the council’s job and how it operates to new members.

“This body’s purpose is to advise [Vice President for Student Affairs] Father [Mark] Poorman,” Shappell said. “In bringing rectors, administrators, and faculty to the table, I personally believe that it encompasses student life, but from different perspectives.”

Most of the work of the CLC gets done on the task force, Shappell said. Last year, she led the Task Force on Student Voice and Input – a committee which CLC members reinstated this year.

The Task Force on Student Voice and Input looked at student activity within the University and explored the possibility of an online application system for students who want to be involved in committees.

Carroll rector Father Jim Lewis reintroduced a concern mentioned at the final CLC meeting last spring regarding student alcohol abuse, gambling habits and pornography in male residence halls. The other members agreed to address these problems through the Conduct Awareness task force.

Welsh Family rector Candace Carson also restated the concerns she brought up at last year’s final meeting and suggested the creation of a task force dealing with residence hall-related programming activities. She wants to work with the University to facilitate catering events and develop contacts with University-approved vendors for things like dorm T-shirts.

The council considered naming the new committee the Student Goods and Services Task Force, but changed it to Student Concerns to encompass a wider range of issues.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs G. David Moss suggested the creation of a student safety task force in light of the recent assaults committed against Notre Dame students on Notre Dame Avenue and in a Turtle Creek apartment. Shappell ended the meeting with a discussion of these events, which she called “appalling.”

“I want to discuss how we better arm our students with the knowledge of how to keep [themselves] safe off-campus,” Shappell said.

Off-campus senator Mark Healy suggested approaching the problem on two fronts.

He said the CLC can communicate safety advice to students in print or through e-mail and coordinate with Notre Dame Security/Police and the South Bend Police Department to prevent future dangerous situations.

The problem of student safety is just as great on campus as it is off, Carson said. She said the location of her dorm makes her residents even more vulnerable.

“Everyone thinks Welsh Family is a public facility,” Carson said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve escorted people out of my hall.”

The Task Force on Student Safety will remain an ad-hoc committee until members agree about its usefulness.

Dillon rector Father Paul Doyle asked committee members to think about using the task forces to “capture the energy” that pervades the Notre Dame campus this year in light of the promising football season and a second upcoming academic forum.

Faculty Senate representative and professor Kelly Jordan agreed with Doyle. Notre Dame is going to receive a lot of attention this year, he said, and now is a good time to “generate synergy” and look outwardly to address global health issues.

With the rest of the country watching, Notre Dame students should show they are interested in events beyond campus, Alumni senator Danny Smith said.

“We should open ourselves up and really show that we are concerned about what’s going on, not just here, but everywhere else,” Smith said.