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Members talk about cancelled service trip

Maddie Hanna | Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Members of the Campus Life Council discussed a cancelled summer service trip to Ethiopia at their Monday meeting. Student body president Adam Istvan said he would seek further examination of the cancellation before considering any action.According to Student International Business Council member Michael Rossmann, the University’s General Counsel cancelled the trip to Ethiopia within hours of their scheduled departure. However, Rossmann said that SIBC didn’t need approval from General Counsel.”Very worthwhile experiences may be put in jeopardy,” Rossmann said. “We’re Catholic, and bishops have said that we have a call to solidarity with Africa. These issues are really important.”Rossmann said the only reasoning for the cancellation given to him was the State Department’s cautionary warning about travel to East Africa. Despite the warning, Rosmann felt his group was still well-prepared.”We had researched the situation for months, taken the proper steps,” Rossmann said. “What we did was completely correct.”Others involved with the trip said they hoped the University would reconsider its decision and allow the trip in the future. “I really don’t want to make this [trip] the issue,” SIBC advisor Susan Soisson said. “The issue is that Notre Dame students need to have access to the poverty-stricken in the world.”Students scheduled to participate in the trip expressed frustration with the decision. “If you can put yourself in my shoes, boarding a plane and giving a lady your ticket, and she asks you to call this number, how would you feel?,” said Dan Zenker, one of the students in the group.Jimmy Flaherty, president of the Student Union Board, said the University might have considered liability issues in making the decision.While the CLC agreed that school policy regarding approval for trips deserves clarification, Istvan expressed fear of acting too quickly.CLC decided to further research the issue and potentially meet with members of the General Council before moving forward.”I feel that more discussion in this group would be necessary,” Istvan said. “We’ve only heard one side of the story.”