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COR, BOG combine for meeting

Katie Kohler | Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nearly two months ago, Notre Dame Student Body President Lizzi Shappell and her Saint Mary’s counterpart Susan McIlduff scheduled a meeting to engage their student governments in discussion of important issues facing both schools. The meeting will be the first of its kind in over four years.

Tonight at 5:30 in the Student Government Offices at Saint Mary’s, both presidents will formally meet for the third time this year, this time alongside the Saint Mary’s Board of Governance (BOG) and the Notre Dame Council of Representatives (COR).

“The meeting was our own idea and we are really using it as a networking session,” Shappell said. “There is no set agenda.”

Agenda aside, a Feb. 13 column by Observer columnist Jonathan Klingler attacked the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s relationship, claiming that Saint Mary’s is taking more than it is giving back. Shappell and McIlduff, however, say they scheduled the meeting long before the editorial was printed and plan to keep the focus of the meeting on familiarizing their groups with the student governments of their counterparts.

“This meeting has been on the book for a while and this just happened to be the best time that worked with everyone’s schedules,” McIlduff said.

Both Shappell and McIlduff recognized, however, that the Viewpoint issue cannot be completely avoided.

“Our three schools are so integrated that it is important to establish good relations with each other,” Shappell said. “I am sure the Viewpoint issue will come up and we are willing to have conversations about it, but it is not our primary focus.”

McIlduff shared similar sentiments about Klinger’s column and the reaction it caused within the student body.

“We don’t want to go back [to that issue]. We are just going to focus on issues affecting both schools and the community,” she said.

For the past two years, a member of BOG has held the position of tri-campus commissioner, attending weekly COR meetings at Notre Dame and also working with Holy Cross. This year, Alanna Cheifari holds that position.

“Alanna has been coming a lot more regularly than other tri-campus commissioners and her efforts have helped,” Shappell said.

Conversely, a member of COR has represented Notre Dame on BOG in past years. This year, however, no one holds that position.

“It is not constitutionally mandated by Notre Dame that someone has to sit on our board. This year, Lizzi [Shappell] chose not to appoint someone,” McIlduff said.

Both presidents have invited all board members to attend, and there have been a few unavoidable conflicts.

“The meeting is mandatory for BOG members, but we did our best to accommodate as many COR members too so there would be better representation,” McIlduff said.

Shappell said she was also interested in getting a high turnout of COR members.

“We are hoping to get as many COR members as their schedules allow to attend,” Shappell said.

The groups will also be discussing up-and-coming issues such as the Community Summit at Notre Dame.

“We just hope this meeting will give our boards the opportunity to get to know how other student government structures work so we can better understand the other systems,” Shappell said.

Shappell and McIlduff said they hope this is the first of many meetings between the two groups.

“I would recommend meeting once a semester – once at Notre Dame and once at Saint Mary’s,” McIlduff said. “I think that would be really important in beginning to address issues we both share.”

Tonight’s meeting is open to all members of each student body.