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Student senate passes resolution to suspend election, discusses campus well-being

| Thursday, January 30, 2020

Student senate voted Wednesday to reschedule student body elections to grieve the loss of senior Annrose Jerry, who was found dead on campus Friday after going missing Jan. 21.

Student body vice president and junior Patrick McGuire opened the session by leading the senate in prayer and a moment of silence for Jerry.

“We pray in a special way for Annrose Jerry, a beloved member of our community, who we lost last week,” McGuire said. “We thank you for the gift of her life.”

McGuire then welcomed Margaret Morgan, director of the new Center for Student Support and Care, to present information on the department to the senate body.

The Center for Student Support and Care was launched in January by the Division of Student Affairs. It encompasses the Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services Office and the Outreach and Support Center. The center’s goal is to offer individual academic, social and well-being care to the Notre Dame community, Morgan said.

“When you aren’t sure what to do and you don’t know what you need, come to Care and Wellness and we’ll help,” she said.

At the center, students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to stop by, share their concerns with staff and receive guided assistance. Morgan said the center is prepared to assist students with issues regarding mental health, accessibility services and financial problems, among others.

Visitors can also call the center anonymously. A care consultant will assist them by offering tools geared toward their specific needs, Morgan said.

She said the center hopes to help students who have not found the support they need elsewhere.

“We are looking for pockets of student groups that could use a little more extra attention that maybe other offices aren’t taking care of,” she said.

The Center for Student Support and Care will also offer “life coaching” services for students who, for example, do not wish to consult with the University Counseling Center or University Health Services, but want mentorship through a certain time of struggle or adjustment in their lives.

“It’s not counseling. It’s not therapy,” Morgan said. “… It’s successful case management.”

Following Morgan’s presentation, McGuire opened the floor to senators to relay concerns on behalf of the student body. Safety issues were a priority concern.

Megan O’Gorman, sophomore and senator of Pasquerilla East, informed the senate several members of her dorm were worried about workmen in dorms.

“We’re kind of having an issue with having workmen and delivery men in the floors before the parietals in the morning, and it’s making some people uncomfortable,” O’Gorman said.

Six senators representing female dorms affirmed members of their community have expressed similar sentiments.

McGuire said he would bring their concerns to Residential Life. Inquiries into the blue light safety systems around the tri-campus community and proper lighting around St. Mary’s Lake and Notre Dame Avenue were also made.

In wake of Jerry’s death, senators voted to suspend the clause of the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body, which sets the dates for student body president and vice president primary and run-off elections. The suspension gave the Judicial Council the power to revise the dates for both elections this cycle.

“At the moment, we are postponing everything for one week,” said Halena Hadi, junior and president of the Judicial Council.

The session ended with senators suggesting Feb. 11 as the primary election date and Feb. 13 for the run-off election to the Judicial Council, who will later make the final decision.

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About Isabella Volmert

Isabella "Issy" Volmert is a senior majoring in English and minoring in theology and journalism, ethics and democracy at the University of Notre Dame. She currently serves The Observer as assistant managing editor. Follow her @ivolmertnews for niche JED Twitter content.

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