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Council finalizes 2010-2011 agenda

Megan Doyle | Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Campus Life Council (CLC) cemented its agenda for the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year Monday, as its members focused on the relationship between Notre Dame students and the local community in light of recent events with law enforcement off-campus.

CLC members said they plan to delve into issues that have arisen after the recent escalation of tensions between Notre Dame students and local law enforcement.

“We are about to launch our beND campaign as a cohesive effort at community relations,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “We want to increase good neighbor relations and to gain respect in the community.”

Ensuring students are treated as mature individuals without promoting underage drinking is critical, she said.

“We need to explore the possibility of some sort of dialogue between students and local law enforcement,” Lyons Hall rector Denise McOsker said.

Council members debated the value of holding conversations immediately, or after tensions following recent arrests relax in the community.

“We better be clear about what we are going to say when we ask South Bend police to come in and speak with us,” Keough Hall rector Fr. Pete McCormick said. “There is a lot of underage drinking, and they are trying to enforce the law.”

CLC members said they need to address the beND campaign from different angles, including the factors that motivate students to go off campus on weekends and education on law enforcement policies.

“One leg of this has to be community relationships,” McCormick said. “The other part has to be internal.”

A renewed emphasis on programming on campus might alleviate some of the pressure students experience to go off campus on weekends, McCormick said.

On-campus events often garner a reputation as boring and stuffy, so attracting attendance for these programs can be a challenge, Student Union Board manager Julia Sutton said.

“Notre Dame students are bright and creative,” Stanford Hall rector Fr. Tom Gaughan said. “We need to challenge them to move beyond the crutch that is alcohol.”

Student perceptions of law enforcement may not line up with reality so education is an important part of this program, faculty senate representative Col. Jon Crist said.

CLC will focus on education for both on and off-campus students as well as on-campus programming and in-dorm relationships, Soler said.

“We understand that there are distinctions between these different issues,” she said. “We can really get a lot done here.”