University drops science-business major

The science-business major, an interdisciplinary program that included aspects of the curricula from both the Mendoza College of Business and the College of Science, will no longer be available to those who have not already declared the major beginning in fall 2023.

Interdisciplinary majors are intended to allow students to gain from studying in more than one of Notre Dame’s six colleges. The science-business major had been offered by the University for around 40 years, allowing students to delve into the world of business while also preparing them for a career in healthcare. 

The major intended to qualify the student to enter an MBA program, as well as healthcare professional education such as medical school, dental school, public health or health care administration. The curriculum of the major was varied, allowing students to get the full experience of an interdisciplinary study.

“The major serves a group of students who seek careers in STEM-aligned fields like consulting, the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries and healthcare administration. It also serves some preprofessional students who want to gain valuable expertise in the business of running their own practices once they finish medical or dental school,” said Dan Gezelter, associate dean for undergraduate studies, in an email.  “Our science-business graduates have also gone on to law school, graduate school, the nonprofit sector, directly into careers in industry and have even built their own businesses.”

John Nash, a junior in the science-business major, said that the program served his interests in both areas.

“I really liked the major, I think it’s a really good combination of two things that I really care about,” Nash said. “And I wanted to have an experience with both because I feel it’s always good to have a multidisciplinary course load.”

In its place, the College of Business will offer a minor of five courses on the foundation of business, open to students in the College of Science. The minor will provide students a foundational education in business while allowing them to still pursue a career in healthcare.

“The science-business major provides an excellent education on the foundations of business, but restructuring as a primary science major plus the new minor will make this education more broadly available to students with a primary interest in one of the main scientific disciplines,” Gezelter said in an email.  

Nash said he doesn’t believe the minor will foster the same sense of community as the major. 

“There isn’t a course for science-business kids. You take science classes and you take business classes, so I understand where they’re coming from,” Nash said. “I don’t necessarily think it would be too different, but it is nice to kind of meet other kids in the science-business program and know that we all kind of have similar interests. So I definitely think that kind of community would go away.”

Geltzer said that the change will resolve the administrative challenges of a cross-college program.

“Relying on two different colleges to provide the required classes for a major is always a challenge,” Gezelter said in an email. “The College of Business wants to oversee their own academic programs and their own classes and wants to offer a distinct credential for Notre Dame students.”

Gezelter said that the program’s interdisciplinary hiring potential would not end with the major.

“The science-business name helped recruiters find students who had a broad interdisciplinary training in science as well as a firm foundation in business,” Gezelter said in an email. “That recruiting edge may be missing for future classes, but the top-notch training in the sciences and in business will remain for students who combine one of the new minors with a primary major in science.”

Nash said he has been able to advance his career through his science-business major.

“I’m actually interning at DaVita healthcare next summer, which is a healthcare consulting firm that works in kidney care,” Nash said. “And they said that my major, science-business, really stood out to them because it’s not something a lot of other universities offer and they thought it was super unique and really played into what their company is all about.”

The science-business major as students once knew it is unlikely to return to Notre Dame, but Gezelter said there is hope for a new major with similar tenets.

“Once we have approval to sunset the major, it is not likely to come back,” Gezelter said in an email. “The science dean’s office is currently looking at options for a new interdisciplinary science major that will share many of the strengths of the Science-Business major.”


Staff, law student comment on law school admissions change

On Aug. 31, Notre Dame Law School announced that they will be terminating their early decision program. This means that all prospective students will now have the ability to apply to the non-binding regular decision application. One’s interest in attending the law school will now no longer be shown through the time they apply, but interest demonstrated in “Why Notre Dame Law School?” statement. 

Dillon Yang, president of Notre Dame Law School Student Bar Association, discussed how low-income students were at a disadvantage applying early decision, compared to those who could afford admissions counseling. 

“A bunch of studies show that if you apply early decision, there is an increase or boost in the LSAT score,” he said. “When you look at many different factors like that, the ones who are able to afford prep classes and the ones who are able to afford admissions counseling are the ones who have these sorts of resources to be able to put together a package of early decision.”

According to director of law school admissions Marisa Simon, the administration’s decision was made to alleviate applicant stress.

“Our main objective was to create less stress for applicants,” Simon said in an email. 

Simon also noted the law school regularly reevaluates the admissions process for applicants and that the need for this change was observed in the last application cycle.

“We constantly consider changes to the admissions process which could improve the experience for applicants, and the reasons for this change became more apparent over the last application cycle,” she said.

Simon said that she does not anticipate that this change will bring significant changes to the number of applications received, but also acknowledged she expects applicants were relieved to hear the elimination of early decision. 

“In notifying prospective students of this change, we have sensed their relief in not having to make that difficult decision prior to applying,” she said in an email.

Yang seemed to be more apprehensive about the fact, saying there could be a chance that this hurts the application process for students that have their heart set on Notre Dame law. Still, he maintains that if a student is a good applicant, the admission board will be able to see that with or without early decision. 

“I think that it might [hurt an applicants chances], but I think that also if you’re a good applicant, I think our admissions board would definitely see that. If you are within the statistics of being the type of candidate that the school is looking for, I don’t think it should deter too much,” Yang said. 

He goes on to explain that he has not heard much talk of this move throughout the law students, maintaining that this may be that the move has been relatively recent. However, he stated he saw alumni positively respond on LinkedIn. 

“I’ve seen some alumni posts about this on LinkedIn and how proud they are of their school and how proud they are of the University for taking this step,” he said. 

Yang noted his pride in the law school’s commitment to diversity. 

“I’m definitely proud of the school for taking this big step and committing themselves to a more diverse law school.”

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Students react to the reversal of Roe v. Wade

On June 24, 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the precedent set in Roe v. Wade.

In the original Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court established that women have the right to privacy with their doctor, and therefore states could not interfere with a woman’s choice to get an abortion.

Dobbs v. Jackson ruled that the right to privacy is not explicit within the Constitution, meaning it will now be up to the states to decide if abortions are allowed.

The decision has already had profound impacts across the country, but on a Catholic campus with a number of progressive students, the controversy is even more pronounced.

Campus groups against abortion have signaled their approval of overturning Roe.

One club that has actively spoken about its positive opinion on the decision is Notre Dame Right To Life. Their formal statement on Dobbs can be read on their website. 

Merlot Fogarty, president of Right To Life, said she feels the Supreme Court has now made the right decision.

“I definitely think that Roe was wrongly decided at the very beginning. If you do read the Dobbs decision, the right to privacy really isn’t mentioned,” Fogarty said. 

She said the reversal was important as an admission of mistakes made by past courts. 

“I think this decision definitely opened people up to the awareness that there can be wrongly-decided cases, and there can be mistakes made by the Supreme Court,” Fogarty said. 

Fogarty was in Indianapolis when a new abortion bill for the state of Indiana was debated. It will soon become Indiana law that women cannot get abortions with few exceptions, such as rape, incest, health of the mother and fatal fetal abnormalities, according to reporting by the Indianapolis Star.

Fogarty said she was glad Indiana called a special session to pass this bill. She only wishes the bill were stricter. 

For instance, Fogarty said she feels that rape is “not the fault of the baby” and that abortion punishes the fetus for its father’s crime.

“We’re able to work on getting rid of these exceptions and valuing life, regardless of the circumstances of the conception,” Fogarty said. 

But there is also a side to the debate unhappy with the decision. Irish 4 Reproductive Health, a leading group in support of reproductive health access, declined The Observer’s request to speak in an interview.

“Given the work that we do as an organization and the contentious nature of the political landscape on these issues right now, we would rather not have our positions beyond that up for interpretation,” the group said in an email.

Katie Werner, communications director of College Democrats and vice president of Jewish Club, spoke for the opposing side. She said she is not representing the clubs she is a member of in this interview. 

[Editor’s note: Werner is a former news writer for The Observer.]

Having lived in the southern United States for the past six years, Werner said the Dobbs decision will lead to a harsh reality for her and her friends back home. 

“I’m very concerned, because I think that the nearest abortion clinic, like even Planned Parenthood for cheaper healthcare, is like six to eight hours away,” she said.

Beyond concerns for her female friends, Werner said the decision in the Dobbs case has religious implications. She is involved in her Jewish faith and said she follows certain expectations that her religious texts place on her that do not follow the Dobbs decision. 

“The reformed Jewish sect is pro-choice,” Werner said.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no mention of privacy in the Constitution, Werner worries it will affect LBGTQ+ rights, contraceptive rights and more.

“It’s super dangerous because they’re gonna start taking so many progressive rights,” she said. 

Werner said she and many of her friends share the same view on the situation but are unsure how to move forward because the campus atmosphere are making it hard for people with her views to take a stand. 

“I’m kind of at a loss, and there’s a lot of silence, which is awful. It’s only coming from pro-choicers, obviously, so it’s just so unfair,” Werner said.

The new Indiana abortion bill will take effect on Sept. 15.

Emma Duffy

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