President Jenkins addresses Notre Dame faculty
Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, September 16, 2014
University President Fr. John Jenkins offered information on several University initiatives including the fundraising campaign and campus construction in a speech delivered to the Notre Dame faculty Tuesday afternoon in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
His remarks also addressed addressed the ongoing investigations into possible honor code violations involving several football players.
“People do not give large portions of their wealth for the sake of mediocre results,” he said. “Critical for our recent success is the confidence that you, our faculty, inspire in potential benefactors. … I see the remarkable success of the early phase of the campaign as an endorsement of the quality of your work and the depth of your commitment.”
In the speech, Jenkins explained the status of the University’s investigation into possible violations of the honor code involving both student athletes and students who are not varsity athletes.
He said the athletic department’s compliance office became aware of “a potentially problematic situation involving a current student athlete as well as a student who served for a brief time as a paid student employee of the athletic department, although that position had no role in academic tutoring or advising of student athletes.”
“I want to underscore that the current investigation has not revealed any misconduct or knowledge of impropriety by regular, full-time staff,” he said. “However, given the student’s brief status as a paid employee, there was the possibility of what the NCAA considers an ‘excess benefit’ given to the student athlete by a representative of the institution.”
Jenkins said the decision to release the names of the student-athletes involved came as a result of the names leaking through social media before the University made an announcement.
“In order to deter unfounded speculation about individuals not involved, we made an exception to our policy of not releasing the names of students involved in such a process and confirmed the identities of implicated students who had already been named in the public forum,” he said.
Jenkins also mentioned a recent survey of faculty that indicated while Notre Dame faculty on the whole are more satisfied than faculty at a comparison group of schools, “women … are on the whole less satisfied than men, those at associate rank for an extended period are less satisfied than others and faculty in general are less satisfied with the climate for women and minorities.”
“I want to thank you for your commitment to all our students, particularly those in minority groups,” Jenkins said. “We will continue to work to foster an environment of mutual respect and welcome for all.”
He also detailed goals for the new Keough School of Global Affairs – the first new school at Notre Dame in nearly a century. He said history professor Scott Appleby became the dean of the new school this summer after 14 years as the John M. Regan Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace studies. The new school will open in August 2017.
“The school will offer a Master of Global Affairs degree and we will also consider creating a supplementary undergraduate major with thematic tracks in areas such as peacebuilding and development,” Jenkins said.
He updated the faculty on the Campus Crossroads project and said work will begin in November on the west side of the stadium for the student services center and on the east side for the anthropology and psychology departments’ building and a digital media center. He said they hope to begin construction on the stadium’s south side in fall 2015 for a third building that will hold the music department and the sacred music program.
Jenkins announced the ceremonial groundbreaking and blessing of the construction site for McCourtney Family Hall, which will contain laboratory space for science and engineering research, will occur “in a few weeks.” Construction will begin soon on Jenkins and Nanovic Halls, the previously announced interconnected facilities housing the social sciences and the new Keough School, he said.
In 2016, the University will begin work on the new Walsh Architecture Hall. Two new dorms located east of Knott Hall will open in fall 2016, and construction will begin next spring. A “very significant renovation” will take place on the first and second floors of the Hesburgh Library as well, he said.
“We are tremendously excited about the facilities these projects will provide … A great university is much more than bricks and mortar, of course. It is what goes on in the buildings — not the buildings themselves — that are the real marks of progress,” Jenkins said. “Nevertheless, to be able to provide you, our faculty, with facilities for your important research, scholarship and creative endeavors … are great blessings for us as we continue our work in service to the mission of Notre Dame.”