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Leaders consider responses to tragedy

Sonia Rao | Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In light of the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy Monday, student body president Liz Brown asked members of the Council of Representatives (COR) for input Tuesday on how the Notre Dame student body could show its support to the campus located in Blacksburg, Va.

“Immediately after this happened, [student body vice president] Maris [Braun] and I started talking about what we should send as a student body,” Brown said, noting that both she and Braun had already received e-mails from concerned students with suggestions.

“One of the ideas that has been tossed around is some kind of letter that we would write and solicit signatures from the student body from a variety of points on campus,” Brown said. “We just want to get as many signatures of support as possible to send in one package. We could also have blank cards at those sites that people could write messages on.”

Braun said she looked on Virginia Tech’s Web site and saw the school was observing National Maroon and Gold Day.

“I think that it would be a really cool thing if we could get Notre Dame students to observe this day sometime next week or something … maybe notify them through advertisement in The Observer, sending an e-mail out or whatever,” she said.

In addition to these ideas, members suggested that the student body observe a moment of silence sometime next week, either at a designated location or just during first minute of class at a certain time.

In other COR news:

u Brown asked COR members for input on the faculty-student contemporary debate series that is in the works for next year.

“It’s tentatively looking like we’re going to do about five or six of these debates,” she said. “It’s going to be a faculty and student team debating another faculty-student team about contemporary issues.”

As of now, there are no concrete plans for selecting which students and faculty members will participate, but Brown said she has already received e-mails from interested students and will likely field applications.

The group debated the choice of topics for the debates, and Braun said the goal would be to “steer away from polarizing, highly-charged political issues.”

“The idea of immigration is a good one because there’s not a right or wrong answer,” she said.

Members suggested other topics that would diversify the debate content beyond political science, including evolution and movie critiques.

u Junior Danny Smith was approved to be next year’s vice president of elections.

“I am confident in his ideas and direction for the upcoming election season,” Judicial Council president Ashley Weiss said. “I think he is the most qualified candidate for the position.”

Smith said one of his goals for next year’s elections is to increase voter turnout. He suggested that voting booths be placed in high-traffic areas for greater exposure.