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Athletic director addresses alma mater policy

| Thursday, February 13, 2014

At Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick addressed the group about the alma mater policy and the Campus Crossroads stadium expansion.

Swarbrick explained the origin of the alma mater policy, by which the football team does not sing the song after home losses.

“The decision actually occurred more than a full year before it manifested itself,” Swarbrick said. “We were fortunate to not have a home loss for quite a while, and we had a bunch of guys who hadn’t been around for the decision who didn’t know what to do.

“The discussion was prompted after an away game. It was really an unhappy experience. … It was everything you’d expect — a lot of unfriendly gestures, a lot of stuff being thrown, a lot of foul language. It seemed totally inconsistent with singing the words of the alma mater. After that, we said to ourselves, ‘What is our rule?’”

Swarbrick said the football team’s “student leaders” were behind the decision two years ago, not the University administration.

“I was proud of the process, proud that students made the decision,” he said. “I was proud to support almost any conclusion they would have reached.”
The policy will continue to be debated in the future, Swarbrick said.

“Just as we posed the question two years ago, we will pose it again in the spring,” he said.

Swarbrick also defended the new Campus Crossroads expansion project after O’Neill Hall senator Kyle McCaffery said students are concerned about the project possibly interfering with events, such as commencement.

“The principle dynamic is the encroachment on parking,” Swarbrick said. “The construction fence will move out into the parking lot. However, parking will be made available during commencement and football games.”

Swarbrick said he was excited about increased space for RecSports’s use and hospitality space.

“For all the great things about this campus, there just aren’t a lot of spaces where you can have functions,” he said. “Whether it’s a small concert or a dance, we’re creating space for these things.”

Other decisions about Notre Dame Stadium, such as whether turf or a video board will be installed, are still undetermined, Swarbrick said.
Student body president Alex Coccia welcomed incoming president and vice president Lauren Vidal and Matt Devine, who will sit in on Senate meetings until their term officially begins April 1.

About Margaret Hynds

Margaret is a senior Political Science major and the former Editor-in-Chief of The Observer. She hails from Washington, D.C., and is a former Phox of Pangborn Hall. Follow Margaret on Twitter @MargaretHynds

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