CLC formalizes prayer services after sexual assault reports
Emma Borne | Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Notre Dame Campus Life Council (CLC) passed a resolution Monday that will formalize the implementation of prayer services conducted after sexual assault campus alerts.
According to the chair of CLC, student body president Alex Coccia, the council has been working on the resolution for the entirety of the 2013-2014 school year.
After two email alerts were sent out during the first weekend of school in the fall, students talked about whether these assaults were a norm, Coccia said. CLC immediately initiated discussions about how it could actively support the student body in this struggle against sexual violence.
Coccia said Noel Terranova, rector of Keenan Hall, had the initial idea for the prayer services.
“Noel Terranova suggested that we have some sort of group that always goes to the grotto following a report,” Coccia said. “It seemed like a very good and feasible idea.”
Coccia said the first official prayer service was held after the third alert.
“We received an email alert during the Michigan State [football] game,” Coccia said. “That night [student body vice president] Nancy [Joyce] and I … put everything together for a prayer service, and, essentially in that moment, [we made] a commitment that we would hold a prayer service following an email alert within 48 hours after every one.”
Terranova said Taskforce 1 on Sexual Violence Prevention, the CLC taskforce of which he is a part, helped to drive the process of formalizing the prayer services in a resolution. He said the process was a long one.
“We were catching up to something that already existed in a very real and practical sense,” Terranova said. “Since what already existed was functioning so well, we wanted to make sure that the resolution that recognized it was correspondingly well-prepared and situated to endure once we put it out there.”
The long process came to a close yesterday, as the resolution passed unanimously.
Coccia said the prayer services show the student body that the University is in support of all victims of sexual assault.
“What this resolution does is it really shows the amount of institutional support for these prayer services,” Coccia said. “What’s great about Campus Life Council is that it is a formal body of rectors, faculty, staff and students.”
Coccia said the support of the resolution by the vice president of student affairs, Erin Hoffmann-Harding, was important and influential as well. At the CLC meeting, Coccia read aloud a letter, which Hoffman-Harding wrote to Coccia and Joyce.
In the letter, Hoffman-Harding wrote, “I write to share my support for an initiative [CLC1314-01] of your administration. … The safety and well-being of our students is our first priority at Notre Dame. … We must respond as a community to provide support to those impacted.”
Terranova said he sees a hopeful future for the prayer services.
“I hope to see it continue and I hope it continues to be student-led,” Terranova said. “[I hope] to see it make a difference in the culture on campus. I already see it doing that.”