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Council discusses recent arrests

John Cameron | Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Campus Life Council (CLC) continued to discuss the prevention of alcohol-related problems both on and off campus at its Monday meeting.

Student government president Catherine Soler began the meeting with a recap of the University’s meeting with South Bend Police Capt. Jeff Rynearson Thursday.

“We basically laid the foundation for a continuing relationship,” Soler said. “We spoke about how right now, we don’t have a productive relationship.”

Soler said the meeting was helpful and plans to have ongoing correspondence with Rynearson.

“It was a great conversation, we got a lot of questions answered. We plan on meeting him again,” Soler said. “We’re hoping to get a meeting with the [Indiana State] Excise Police as well.”

Soler summarized Rynearson’s explanation of the shift in recent years from warnings and citations to arrests.

“The captain told us in the past few years, they’ve gotten much more assistance from the excise police,” Soler said. “Years ago it could have been a knock on your door, ‘Please turn down the music,’ because they didn’t have the manpower.”

Student body vice president Andrew Bell said the recent police activity was associated with this extra assistance from the excise police.

“There was nothing said about a change in student behavior or a change in policy,” Bell said. “It focused mostly on the expanded number of those enforcing it.”

Soler said the police consider it a risk to allow students to leave parties after they’ve been drinking, which results in officers becoming more inclined to arrest rather than simply issue a citation.

“There’s been lawsuits with the city so now releasing a student with a citation creates a liability. Taking them to jail can be seen as part of the process of keeping them safe,” Soler said. “I know as students we usually don’t think of that as keeping us safe.”

To deal with some of the issues facing Notre Dame students more effectively and to improve on-campus and off-campus life, CLC will divide into task forces. Each task force will deal with one aspect of student life.  

The tentative divisions are On-Campus Programming, Discipline at Notre Dame, Residential Life at Notre Dame and Culture Shift, which will deal with the changing nature of issues such as alcohol, gender and social pressure at Notre Dame.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Soler opened the floor to discuss student-alumni relations and possible improvements in preparation for a presentation to the Alumni Association on Thursday.

CLC members discussed a desire for greater connections between dorm residents and alumni. Denise McOsker, rector of Lyons Hall, cited a positive response when Lyons residents reached out to hall alumnae in regard to the Mara Fox Fun Run. Corry Colonna, rector of Zahm Hall, said Zahm hosted a football weekend event with a pre-game lunch and post-game Mass for alumni and residents.

“It’s about bringing people in and letting them see what’s going on in their halls,” Colonna said.

While CLC previously decided against altering its bylaws to include an alumni representative, multiple members agreed the council could do more to improve alumni relations.

“We need to find a way to tap into the potential of the Alumni Association,” said Fr. Pete McCormick, rector of Keough Hall. “I think there’s a lot of good will but sometimes I don’t think they know how to express it.”

Last on the agenda was this Friday’s pep rally at Irish Green. Student government is hoping to institute a new tradition of a 5:45 p.m. student walkover from the South Quad flagpole, which will be led by the Notre Dame Fire Department, Notre Dame Security Police and the leprechaun.

There will also be a dorm spirit contest judged by members of student government.

“Whichever dorm comes out in the most spirited fashion … gets Brian Kelly to come speak to their dorm,” said Mike Oliver, Hall President Council Co-chair and one of the judges.

“We’ve been looking at creating a new format for student pep rallies,” Soler said. “We really want to encourage everyone to come and participate in the pep rally walkover.”