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Senate appoints Executive Council nominations, passes resolution supporting No Shave November

| Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Notre Dame student senate met Wednesday to decide on the nomination of two new members to the Student Executive Cabinet for the remainder of the 2019-2020 Academic term. Student Body President Elizabeth Boyle, a senior, and Student Body Vice President Patrick McGuire, a junior, were patrons of the nominations.

The nominated candidates were Katherine Wallace for director of academic affairs and Tiffanie Cappello-Lee for press secretary & director of communications. McGuire read the cases to be made for each of the candidates.

“We have selected Katherine to be the director of academic affairs because she is a passionate, committed, experienced and talented student leader who serves with focus and enthusiasm,” McGuire said. “Katherine is a current member of the Academic Affairs Department who brings Executive Cabinet leadership experience as the director of athletics emeritus. Katherine, a member of the Notre Dame fencing team, is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. She has served as a McWell Thrive leader and is a Notre Dame Monogram recipient. Katherine has performed in each of these roles with exceptional skill, diligence and leadership capability.”

As Wallace was not present at the meeting due to a scheduling conflict, the Senate could not ask her any questions directly. McGuire addressed the potential concern about her absence by saying she would be available over email and a deputy director will later be appointed as well.

“[I’ve] also had some good discussions about the fact that it’s important for a director to be at Senate which is a very genuine and important concern,” McGuire said. “Good thing is, even if in the future Catherine is unable to make meetings because of practice, we are also appointing a deputy director of Academic Affairs learners, so, if something like this were to happen again, there would still be representation from the department.”

The Senate quickly moved through Wallace’s nomination and confirmed her. They then moved onto the next candidate, Cappello-Lee.

“[Cappello-Lee] has a deep dedication to service, justice and excellence,” McGuire said. “On campus, Tiffanie [Cappello-Lee] has served as a research assistant in Dr. Michale Ferdig’s malaria genetics and genomics research lab and a co-coordinator for the Global Health Conference. Tiffanie [Cappello-Lee] is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar, a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, and a Sorin Fellow in the Center for Ethics and Culture.”

Beyond campus, Cappello-Lee does pro-bono consulting for Mercy Homes for Boys and Girls, conducted research on the environmental impact of dietary changes in China and water pollution’s impact on health in Hong Kong, and has conducted extensive research in Ottawa and Santiago, Chile, McGuire said.

“She has also interned at the management consulting firm AArete,” he said. “Through these experiences, she has gained and honed her skills of marketing, team building, research, writing, and consulting — all skills that will prove essential to her role as press secretary and director of communications.”

Cappello-Lee was present at the meeting, and Senate only had one question. Sam Cannova, junior class council president, wanted to gauge her decision-making process in a very specific, high-stress environment.

“As I’m sure we all know, Notre Dame lies on the Indiana fault line,” Cannova said. “We have a Radiation Laboratory on campus. Further, one of the typical roles with the press secretary and director of communications is to cover all sorts of news. One of the frequent stories usually takes Elizabeth and a director of comms slash press secretary to the Radiation Laboratory. So, in the event that you were in the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory with Elizabeth [Boyle] and Pat[rick McGuire], and an earthquake occurs, in which the exits are just like blocked, ceiling falls down, and you can’t get out, and there’s a radiation leak, but there are only two hazmat suits. What do you do?”

After the audible laughter in the room had died down, Cappello-Lee answered the question.

“That’s a very important question and very realistic,” Cappello-Lee said. “Ultimately, I would just give it to Elizabeth and Pat[rick], like that’s the type of person I am, and since they are good people, I’d probably want to save them.”

There were no more questions regarding her nomination, and after she exited the room, the Senate confirmed her nomination.

Following the nominations, the Senate heard from director of department of community and engagement director, senior Alex Yom, about promoting this year’s department events, including Converge.

“So far this year, I’m sure you’ve all seen the South Bend adventure guide being posted,” Yom said. “So we’re trying to give more access for students of all years to understand the different restaurants and things to do in South Bend. In terms of civic engagement, we’re proud to have done the Converge kickoff, which had over 200 signups this year matching people from different political views.

Yom said the department also worked with ND Votes on a voter registration competition, registering over 1,200 people across campus. Next semester, the department’s focus is will be on ensuring students have access to volunteering and internships in South Bend.

“So we’ll be putting on the social concerns fair with the Center for Social Concerns …  and then the big idea actually that we’re all really excited about because the debate is going to be held on campus next year,” Yom said. “… We’re really excited to put together sort of like this debate facilitator model, building off of the success of Converge. We’re hoping [to] pair different dorms together and have debate facilitators trained in each dorm pairing, and basically have a sort of debate model up until the actual presidential debate next fall. So the Senate would be a huge help to publicize this in your respective residence halls and trying to recruit people.”

Following the talk from Yom, the Senate voted to move a resolution recognizing and encouraging No Shave November to the floor. Sam Delmer, a sophomore senator from the Dillon community in Baumer Hall, was one of the patrons and presented the bill to the Senate.

“The goal of No Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free,” Delmer said. “Members of the University community may participate by growing a beard, cultivating a mustache, letting those legs go natural … participation is by no means obligatory, but the recognition of the program offers important recognition of our community’s allyship with cancer patients and their families.”

There were not many concerns with the resolution, but some wondered if the bill would be discriminatory against hairless people.

“Delmer said the bill would not be discriminatory because shaving itself is the concern and not shaving because one does not have any hair to shave is acceptable,” he said.

Following these brief concerns, the Senate motioned for the end of debate and passed the resolution.

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