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Senate discusses Honor Code, committee projects

| Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The student senate, led by Sophomore Class Council president Sam Cannova and Junior Class Council president Laksumi Sivanandan, convened for their weekly meeting Monday to discuss the Student Safety Summit and the University Honor Code, among other topics.

The first item of business was a briefing from sophomore senator Jack Usher of St. Edward’s Hall and sophomore senator Weston Dell of Carroll Hall about the Student Safety Summit, which will take place Oct. 9 in the LaFortune Ballroom.

“We are partnering with NDSP and local police forces around the area, the South Bend Police Force and the Mishawaka Police Force, to bring police figures and safety figures [from] around the area to talk about safety issues on campus,” Dell said. “We are hosting this discussion time for students to ask questions of these higher-up officials, and just try to get some answers, maybe try and make some ground on working towards solutions on these problems.”

Senior and student body president Gates McGavick and senior chief of staff Briana Tucker also facilitated a discussion of changes to the University Honor Code.

“Dean Hugh Page, the Dean of the First Year of Studies, has started the process that began this year to update the Honor Code with the general intention of making it more of a document you can interact with over the course of your four years here,” McGavick said.

The main changes being discussed are standardizing the Honor Code across all classes, instituting a mandatory waiting period of several days before students accused of violating the Honor Code can be disciplined and finding a way to develop a distinction between cheating and collaborating.

“[Page] wants to make sure that kids feel comfortable helping each other but not cheating, finding the line between being there for your fellow classmates and friends, not cheating but not being scared to help someone with their homework for fear of violating the Honor Code,” McGavick said.

Tucker said the administration is hoping to implement these changes as soon as next semester.

Teach for America’s on-campus ambassador, senior Jamie Campbell, presented to the senators about opportunities within the organization. Campbell asked each person at the meeting to think of their favorite teacher before explaining the organization’s purpose.

“What most people say when they think of this teacher is not, ‘Oh, they had a great lesson plan. I really thought that they were so good at explaining this one concept,’” Campbell said. “It’s just normally that they are people that care about you and that value you, and that is the kind of teacher that we believe all kids across America deserve to have.”

Teach for America participants teach in an underprivileged school for two years. Campbell said Teach for America seeks college students with strong leadership skills who want to continue developing these skills in service.

She said the next online application deadline for Teach for America is Oct. 17.

The four senate committees met in their smaller groups to discuss project ideas for their committees.

The Residence Life committee chairman, junior senator Zachary Spitzer of Dunne Hall, said the committee plans to request information on the dorm renovation schedule and investigating the University’s housing waiver policy.

Sophomore senator Megan Metersky of Flaherty Hall, filling in as the chairperson of the Sustainability Committee, said some of the group’s concerns include the community garden that was discarded last year and the fact that Grotto candles cannot be recycled if there is still wax inside of them. Metersky also said the committee wants to learn more about the green roofing on top of the Joyce Center and Duncan Student Center.

The chairwoman of the Student Safety and Wellness Committee, Cavanaugh Hall’s sophomore senator Bailey Baumbick, said the committee hopes to take advantage of events such as the Student Safety Summit.

“Our committee will definitely have a large presence at the Student Safety Summit,” Baumbick said. “We’re going to come prepared with some questions to ask all the police chiefs, and that will hopefully determine where we want to go in terms of our committee.”

Sophomore senator Andrew Seketa of Zahm House, chairperson of the Student Finances committee, said the group aims to research student finances. Seketa said the committee hopes to send out surveys about what resources and topics students want to learn about, as well as provide students with information about Notre Dame’s financial aid.

“We’d like to do some more individual research with the Office of Financial Aid, with respect to transparency with the statistics, average financial aid packages … student employment and average financial aid contribution,” Seketa said. “Once we have some findings there, we can apply some resolutions on how to re-evaluate a few ways to calculate these certain statistics and concepts as a whole.”

Editor‘s note: A previous version of this article misspelled Briana Tucker‘s last name on second reference.

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About Claire Rafford

Claire Rafford is an English major and a Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor from the class of 2021. She is originally from Tempe, Arizona. Her skills include excessive Harry Potter trivia knowledge. That is it.

Contact Claire