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Senate bestows emeritus status on former leaders

| Thursday, April 14, 2016

On Wednesday night, senate passed resolutions bestowing emeritus status on Bryan Ricketts, former student body president, Nidia Ruelas, former student body vice president, and Dan Sehlhorst and Sibonay Shewit, former chiefs of staff.

The titles of emeritus status are “in recognition and appreciation of [their] dedication and contribution to the University of Notre Dame,” according to the resolutions.

“Bryan has fostered awareness to issues surrounding sexual assault by building a network of committed students through the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign and GreeNDot violence prevention program in addition to advocating for stronger support in the Title IX process … it is clear Bryan has fostered strong, personal relationships with all on campus, serving as a champion for underrepresented students,” sophomore Stephanie Mastorakos, director of internal affairs, said.

“Nidia’s lasting impact on and service to the University will be defined not only by the many important resolutions that have been passed during her chairmanship, but also by the legacy of her good character, professionalism, accountability and commitment to the service of students and the mission of the University,” Mastorakos said.

Preceding the approvals, Ricketts presented to senate on the formerly pending joint liberal arts college venture between Zhejiang University and the University, and informed the senators about the former senate’s resolution to the administration asking for more student involvement in this discussion. Ricketts’ presentation gave an overview of the original proposals for the joint college. He updated senate on the discontinuation of the original proposal, news which was released to faculty this past Monday.

According to the original white paper proposal, authored by J. Nicholas Entrikin, vice president and associate provost for internationalization, and Dr. Jonathan Noble, assistant provost for Asia, the Notre Dame-ZJU joint liberal arts college would have opened the 2017-2018 academic year. The joint college would have offered about ten majors in the fields of science, social science, the humanities, and the arts. In addition, this college would be headed by an appointed dean, who would have to be a Chinese national, by law.

The white paper “raise[d] a number of issues for the Notre Dame community to consider carefully,” including: Western thought and Christianity in China, academic freedom, academic integrity and curriculum.

In the letter released to faculty confirming the end of this venture, Entrikin wrote, “After many hopeful and positive conversations on both curricular and administrative matters related to the joint college, we were more easily able to discriminate and to delineate some of the key challenges as well as advantages in bringing together two very different approaches to higher education … In the end, however, some areas remained challenging for both universities, and we decided that broader cooperation would be a more effective means for achieving our common interests.”

The relationship is going to continue with Zhejiang University, Ricketts said, but he is unsure of whether or not Zhejiang will pursue a joint liberal college with another partner university.

Following Rickett’s presentation, Senate elected three Senators to serve on Campus Life Committee representatives, in addition to the off-campus senator, Kevin Coleman, who automatically serves in the role. The electees were senior class council president Katelyn Wray, Welsh Family senator sophomore Rebecca Georgiades and Keough Hall senator sophomore Patrick McGavick.

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