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CLC brainstorms culture of students and alcohol

John Cameron | Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Campus Life Council (CLC) members shared updates on how the various recently established task forces have been progressing in their efforts to improve the Notre Dame student experience at Monday’s meeting.
These task forces, new for this year, are dedicated to culture shift, discipline and residential life at Notre Dame, respectively.
Student government president Catherine Soler began the dialogue with a status report on the culture shift task force.
“We discussed a lot of the data from the improveND survey,” Soler said. “One idea that we had … is to have some sort of frosh-o, beginning of the year … mandatory presentation about alcohol.”
Sr. Carrine Etheridge, rector of Farley Hall, suggested modifying existing programming, such as the “College HAS Issues” orientation presentation and Students Preventing Acquaintance Rape (SPAR), rather than starting from scratch. 
“Maybe there’s not a need to reinvent the wheel, we can work with them [the Office of Drug and Alcohol Education] on what we already have,” Etheridge said.
Corry Colonna, Zahm Hall’s rector, said it may be more effective to deal with the topic of alcohol apart from sexual assault, hookups and other issues.
“Those are both great … but I think alcohol should maybe be pulled out separately,” he said. “The quality of the programming and the way they’re marketing it to get people there will make a difference.”
Knott Hall senator Alex Kasparie began the dialogue about discipline at Notre Dame, saying that most of the work done thus far involved clarifying existing rules rather than discussing modification.
Fr. Tom Gaughan, rector of Stanford Hall, said the two issues they looked into recently were how long the University holds onto disciplinary records and why rectors are not given discretion with off-campus first offenses.
The University holds onto records for seven years following graduation, “based on a federal guideline mandate,” Gaughan said. 
Regarding rector discretion in infractions off-campus, Gaughan said it is an issue of inconsistent enforcement and conflicting interests for rectors.
“There was concern amongst students about discrepancies in how different rectors would handle it,” he said. “The primary role of the rector is pastoral, not law enforcement … so there could be some potential conflicts there.”
Chief of staff Nick Ruof introduced the topic of residential life. Ruof said the task force is concentrating on maintaining the level of events on campus during the winter months. 
“We’re going to try to put together a working plan for next semester, because there’s typically less programming in the winter,” he said.
Soler followed the task force updates with a discussion of an upcoming presentation to the University’s board of trustees, which CLC will give in joint efforts with the Office of Public Affairs.
“We’ll be part of a larger conversation about what’s going on, what happened earlier this semester and going forward,” Soler said.
Commenting on a decrease in off-campus socializing, Soler said students being scared to go off campus is not a feasible long-term fix for police incidents. 
“We feel right now there’s a fear of going off campus,” she said. “And we don’t know if that’s a sustainable solution.”