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Senate provides updates on planning for spring semester, winter break

| Friday, October 16, 2020

The student senate gathered Thursday evening to provide updates on planning for the spring semester and winter break and to swear in a new senator.

Chief of staff, senior Aaron Benavides announced the Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening convened Wednesday evening. The group met with University President Fr. John Jenkins to discuss his appearance at the White House for the announcement of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Benavides said the discussion focused on rebuilding trust with Jenkins following his release from isolation after his diagnosis of COVID-19. 

“We will be continuing conversations with him as we work to rebuild trust and get on the right path again with the administration,” Benavides said. 

The Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening also met with vice president of the Graduate School Dr. Laura Carlson, vice president and associate provost for undergraduate affairs Fr. Hugh Page and provost Marie Lynn Miranda to discuss the possibility of amending the spring semester to provide a break for students and faculty and to receive updates regarding programming for winter break.

Ryan Peters | The Observer

Chief of staff, senior Aaron Benavides addresses the student senate Thursday. The meeting touched on updates regarding spring semester and the 10 week winter break.

The advisory group sent out a survey Tuesday evening to gain student feedback about how to incorporate an academic reprieve into the spring schedule. Benavides said the group received over 800 responses to the survey in fewer than 24 hours.

“We’re so happy to see people filling that out, and we are so grateful to get students’ perspectives on how difficult this semester has been,” he said.

The survey feedback was sent to Miranda, who is hoping to finalize her plans for the schedule for next semester by the end of the month, according to Benavides.

Benavides added that Page said the courses and programming that will be offered during the winter session are expected to be finalized and sent out by the end of the month.

Following Benavides’ announcement, Rachel Ingal, senior student body president, announced that the Campus Life Council (CLC) held its first meeting Thursday morning. Ingal, who serves as chair of the CLC, said the council had a productive dialogue about student behavior and the need for an academic break in the spring.

“We talked about weekend behavior and heard from the rector as to what they saw going on on campus and in the residence halls and … just how they think their residents are feeling. And [the rector was] taught from a student perspective as to kind of why we’re backsliding a little bit in terms of our behavior,” Ingal said.

Ingal said the meeting served as a unique opportunity to provide updates from the student perspective directly to Student Affairs about the stress students are experiencing from a semester with no breaks. 

After the executive announcements, Dan Law took an oath of office to be instated as Dillion Hall senator. Law was sworn in following the resignation of senior Michael Dugan. (Editor’s Note: Dugan is a former News Writer and Systems Administrator at The Observer.) Dugan resigned following controversy surrounding a Letter to the Editor he and other Dillon officials submitted in September.

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