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Senate passes resolutions on study abroad, student mental health, quarantine protocol for vaccinated students

| Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Notre Dame student senate gathered Wednesday night for a presentation from the Off-Campus Council and to discuss resolutions on the study abroad registration process, student mental health amidst the pandemic and a change in quarantine protocol for vaccinated students.

Senate met over Zoom following the Division of Student Affairs’ email Wednesday afternoon tightening campus restrictions. 

Student body vice president Sarah Galbenski said, “I know the announcement today was unfortunate on a lot of levels, especially for student programming.”

But she assured the senate of her confidence that Notre Dame students would continue to succeed in this time. 

After a few short housekeeping announcements, the Off-Campus Council (OCC) presented to the senate. Off-Campus President, senior Connor Delaney, began by explaining the importance of the OCC now more than ever.

“OCC is particularly important in this time … in recent years, there’s been a difference in how on-campus and off-campus students are treated,” he said.  

Delaney presented concerns expressed by off-campus students including feelings that they “were being blamed for COVID numbers” and their disproval of recent senior exclusion policies that bar off-campus students from accessing their former residence halls, playing hall sports and attending hall events like SYRs.

“Those communities we form in the dorms should be continued in a student’s time off-campus,” Delaney said. 

Senior off campus council vice president Rachel Sabnani and senator Blake Johnson each spoke about events OCC has hosted and their future plans for the semester. Sabnani and Johnson emphasized their ongoing weekly meetings with upper-level administration and their efforts to involve off-campus students in the South Bend community and to support local businesses. 

Next, co-directors of student life senior Izzy Edgar and junior Ian Baker presented “A Resolution Recommending Increased Student Resources and Transparency for the University’s Study Abroad Programs.”

Edgar explained that there is an issue with direct exchange study abroad programs because the abroad universities change their class offerings more often than Notre Dame does. This causes a problem for Notre Dame students because they are forced to register for courses they believe may count for requirements and then must submit these course selections to their corresponding academic departments — usually in their second month abroad.

According to Edgar, currently, students do not find out whether or not their courses count for requirements until their third month abroad at the earliest. 

The resolution proposed that the Registrar and Study Abroad Office offer more transparency on what requirements a course abroad must meet in order to count as a requirement including book, homework, and syllabus requirements. The resolution passed unanimously with no debate.

Next, Stanford Hall senator sophomore Patrick Lee, along with the McGlinn Hall senator, presented a resolution for greater emphasis on student mental health which addresses “a troubling lack of concern for student mental health in recent University communications” and in the new Campus Compact. 

The resolution proposed extending LaFortune and Duncan Student Centers until 2 a.m. to allow for safe indoor socialization, a pass/no credit option for classes and increased transparency about mental health recourses on campus.

This resolution passed unanimously as well.

The final proposal was regarding a change in quarantine protocols for students who have been COVID-19 vaccinated. The resolution proposed that, in line with amended CDC COVID-19 guidelines, fully vaccinated students should not be requested to quarantine if they are exposed to a COVID-positive individual. This resolution passed unanimously without debate. 

“Looks like it’s the night of unanimity,” Galbenski said in closing.

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