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Students, rectors discuss safety

Melissa Flanagan | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Campus Life Council (CLC) passed a resolution Monday requesting the addition of safety-related programming to Freshman Orientation.

Student body president emeritus Catherine Soler said the orientation program had a safety component in the past, but it was eliminated.

“One of the issues about off-campus is that not enough information is given to new students when they first come to school anymore,” she said.

Some dorms hold their own off-campus safety discussions at the beginning of the school year, but student body vice president emeritus Andrew Bell said the talks should be standardized.

“We want every freshman to get the exact same talk, exact same presentation and exact same interaction with law enforcement,” he said.

Soler and Bell plan for law enforcement to be a major component of the new program. Soler said if freshmen met and socialized with Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) or members of the South Bend Police Department, they would feel more comfortable approaching them for help during their time at Notre Dame.

Student government’s recent agreement with law enforcement includes a resolution in which student government promises to educate students about off-campus issues, Soler said.

Chief of staff emeritus Nick Ruof said safety is addressed for about seven minutes during the mandatory College HAS (Hookups, Alcohol and Sexual assault) Issues program for freshmen. The members of CLC debated whether the new safety component should remain part of an already existing program or if it should be its own discussion.

Keough Hall Rector Fr. Pete McCormick said the safety discussion should remain part of an existing program. He said one way to accomplish this would be to provide lists of essential information to avoid overwhelming students.

“They are already getting this information on many fronts,” he said. “A seven minute presentation doesn’t need to ramble on, but it could be more bullet points and say, ‘Here’s what you really need to know.'”

Sr. Sue Dunn, vice president of Student Affairs, said information provided for freshmen should be shared with transfer students as well. McCormick recommended the most critical facts be distributed to the entire student body.

Fr. Tom Gaughan, rector of Stanford Hall, said two key off-campus safety details should be emphasized.

“They have to know that it doesn’t matter what they blow, even if it’s .01 — they’re still going to get a ticket,” he said. “Running will always magnify the problem.”