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Schmidt, Weber prep for term end

Sarah Mervosh | Tuesday, February 16, 2010

With a month and a half left in office, student body president Grant Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber outlined what they wish to accomplish by the end of their tenure Monday.

The Schmidt-Weber administration will officially conclude April 1 when student body president-elect Catherine Soler and vice president-elect Andrew Bell take over.

Schmidt named off-campus safety, academic issues and improving community as three overarching priorities.

“There won’t be a lot of new projects. We’re just going to make sure we kind of finish off and complete all the things that have been developing throughout the year,” he said.

Schmidt said off-campus safety will always be a priority and he would like to continue working with the University and city to improve safety for students while off campus.
Weber said they want to install a light at the corner of Twyckenham Drive and Vaness Street.

“The idea is a flashing yellow light that students could push when they walk across to guarantee their safety,” she said.

Student government will work with the city, the county and the University to establish plans and obtain funding.

Schmidt said he also plans to launch an off-campus housing Web site, rent.nd.edu, to help improve off-campus safety.

“It’s like an ND Today for off-campus housing and sponsored by the University,” he said. “We want students to know where the safe spots are to go and the legitimate places to live.”

Schmidt and Weber said they will also prioritize improving the community at Notre Dame, including efforts to create a more inclusive atmosphere for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) community.

“A lot of people are concerned with the acceptance of gay and lesbian members of the community and we are continuing the have conversations about that,” he said. “That is something that is definitely on our radar.”

Though acceptance of the LGBTQ community will be an ongoing issue, Schmidt said he hopes to make significant changes before April 1.

“I can say that there will be concrete ways in which we will garner much more student input when it comes to gay and lesbian representation on campus,” he said.

Schmidt also hopes to pass a medical amnesty resolution at Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting. The medical amnesty policy would protect a student who has been drinking from getting in trouble if the student were to help a friend in an emergency, he said.

“A student should not be deterred from helping someone else in an emergency situation,” he said.

Additionally, Schmidt and Weber said they will work to improve the Notre Dame community by working on student relationships with rectors, finishing the Global Water Initiative and giving recommendations for revisions to du Lac.

Schmidt said they will also work on academic issues during the remainder of their tenure and named discussing the cancellation of the Economics and Policy Studies department as a priority.

“There has been thought that the econometrics side should be focused on much more than the policy side,” Schmidt said. “But there are students who have thought that the classes that are offered on the policy side are extremely important in having a well-rounded education.

“We are huge advocates for not dissolving that department.”

Other plans include more student involvement in the selection of the commencement speaker, a continued effort to work with the Transpo bus and taxis to provide safe transportation and recommendations for next year’s pep rallies.

“Overall, I think a lot of our big issues are pushing for a consistent student voice in a lot of the decisions that are made throughout the University,” Schmidt said. “And we hope that student government can continue to be that channel.”

Schmidt said he will also work to make the transition for the incoming administration as smooth as possible.

“Especially now that we have a month and a half, a lot of these projects are not meant to be extremely visible. We just want Catherine and Andrew to be as successful as they can be,” Schmidt said.

“Once you hit election time, that last month and a half are just making sure that things are ready to be addressed by a new group of students,” he said.

Schmidt said he was happy with what he and Weber accomplished during their tenure.

“In regards to our platform, we have been able to accomplish the majority of our initiatives,” he said. “Our hope is that students do think that we’ve done our job this year and that they’re confident in student government.”