The Observer elects Editor-in-Chief for 2023-24 term

The Observer General Board elected Assistant Managing Editor Maggie Eastland as Editor-in-Chief for the 2023-24 term Saturday.

“Maggie embodies what The Observer is all about. In the past year, she’s led initiatives across the paper that encourage readership, strengthen our content and support staff members,” current Editor-in-Chief Alysa Guffey said. “I have immense trust and faith in Maggie to step up and lead the newsroom with humility and grace.”

Maggie Eastland, a current junior, is majoring in finance with a minor in the Gallivan program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. / Maggie Eastland | The Observer

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eastland currently lives in Pasquerilla West Hall. She is a junior pursuing a major in finance with a minor in the Gallivan program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy.

“I am grateful and honored by the opportunity to lead this newspaper,” Eastland said. “But at the end of the day, it’s not about the nameplate. It’s about writing, editing and telling stories that matter. I look forward to upholding that legacy.”

Eastland began writing for The Observer during her freshman year, filling the position of New Writer Editor that spring. She then served a term as Associate News Editor before becoming an Assistant Managing Editor in March 2022.

Eastland will begin her term as Editor-in-Chief on March 5.


Notre Dame appoints Jeffrey Rhoads as vice president for research

In a Tuesday news release, the University announced that mechanical engineering researcher Jeffrey “Jeff” Rhoads has been appointed vice president for research at the university.

Rhoads, who will take over the role effective July 1, currently serves at Purdue University as a professor of mechanical engineering and the executive director of the Purdue Institute for National Security. According to the release, Rhoads has “attracted more than $75 million in sponsored research funding across his various academic roles.”

Rhoads will succeed Robert Bernhard in the role, who has served as vice president for research since 2007. In his new position, Rhoads will be responsible for overseeing Notre Dame’s research infrastructure “of more than 30 core facilities” and supporting programs for all academic disciplines within the university.

Notre Dame provost John McGreevy, who recommended Rhoads for the role, said in the release that Rhoads is a “visionary and a problem-solver” who “has successfully led research programs in academia and the public sector, developing crucial partnerships along the way, and he is perfectly suited to guide this next phase of the University’s research enterprise.”

In the release, University president Fr. John Jenkins also expressed admiration for the new vice president.

“The research of our faculty has been a point of emphasis and an area of remarkable growth at Notre Dame, and we are delighted to welcome Jeff Rhoads to help lead us in the next stage,” Jenkins said. “Jeff is an accomplished researcher and administrator and well-suited to continue the exciting trajectory of Notre Dame research.”

According to the news release, Notre Dame “is one of the fastest-growing research institutions in the nation,” having been granted $244 million in research award funding in the 2022 fiscal year.

Rhoads expressed excitement to continue Notre Dame’s growth in the vice president position.

“The growth of Notre Dame’s research portfolio, both in scale and, more importantly, global impact, over the past decade has been tremendous,” he said in the release. “I am truly excited, and frankly humbled, by the opportunity to work with this strong internal team, as well as our government, corporate, academic and nonprofit partners, to build upon this firm foundation.”

Rhoads is an extremely accomplished scholar and carries five highly esteemed awards, including Purdue’s highest honor for undergraduate teaching, the Charles B. Murphy. He holds an undergraduate degree, masters degree and a doctorate — all from Michigan State University. Rhoads will also receive a professorship in the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University.

In the release, it was noted that Rhoads will lead a team of more than 30 core facilities along with providing support for other academic endeavors at the University. His role as vice president of research, he said in the release, will hope to dream big.

“We will think big, not shy away from global challenges, and work together, across the entire breadth of the University, to make a tangible and positive difference in society,” Rhoads said.


Breen-Phillips Hall rector takes temporary leave of absence

In an email to Breen-Phillips Hall (BP) residents, director of residential life for rector recruitment, hiring and retention Breyan Tornifolio informed students that dorm rector Angie Hollar is taking a temporary leave from her role.

“We expect her back by mid-April and will miss her while she is gone,” Tornifolio wrote in the email.

Hollar’s leave of absence follows two hall staff departures within the last two months, after the rectors of Walsh and Badin Hall stepped down late in the fall 2022 semester.

Tornifolio also announced that Judy Hutchinson, director of student engagement for Notre Dame International (NDI), will step in as interim rector for BP.

“Judy will move into BP on Sunday, Jan. 22 and will live in the BP rector apartment,” Tornifolio said in the email. 

Additionally, Tornifolio gave a biography of Hutchinson to allow residents to learn more about their new rector, including that Hutchinson has previously served as a rector for a total of 10 years —both on campus and abroad.

In her current role with NDI, Hutchinson’s responsibilities include coordinating study abroad programs, supporting NDI’s Gateway network and overseeing pastoral and formative care for study abroad students.

Concluding her email, Tornifolio encouraged BP residents to remain optimistic and confident during the hall’s transition period and wished them well in their spring semester.

“I know that change can be hard, but I’m confident we have a good plan to get us through this period of time,” Tornifolio wrote. “Many blessings on you as you move back into BP and know of my prayers for the upcoming semester.”


Walker Hayes to perform live at Notre Dame in April

Walker Hayes, a popular country music star, will come to Notre Dame during IDEA Week in April, ExperienceND announced in an email Thursday.

Hayes will perform at the Purcell Pavilion in the Joyce Center on Saturday, April 15. He will be joined by special guests Ingrid Andress and BRELAND. His performance will kick off IDEA Week, a Notre Dame-hosted “innovation festival” open to the public, according to its website.

Tickets to the concert will be available on presale to the Notre Dame community prior to general admission. The presale will run from Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. to Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. with a limit of two tickets per person. The general sale will start Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. and will be held on Ticketmaster’s website.

The email said more information, including a link to purchase tickets, will be released soon.


University offers bivalent booster clinic

Notre Dame will host a vaccination clinic for the COVID-19 bivalent booster, which is required for students to enroll in the 2023-2024 academic year.

The clinic will be held on campus in the Stepan Center on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, as announced in emails to the student body on Dec. 7 and Jan. 12. Students must register in advance through University Health Services (UHS).

If students receive the Pfizer-BioNTech booster at the clinic, documentation will be automatically uploaded. Students who elect to get the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster off-campus must upload their documentation to their UHS student portal.

As of Sept. 1, the bivalent booster is the only booster offered nationwide. Any student who received a booster dose after Sept. 1 is in compliance with the requirement, as long as documentation is uploaded. The deadline to receive the booster dose is March 1. 

The University announced the student booster requirement in an email from UHS director Edward Junkins on Nov. 14. All students, including undergraduate, graduate, professional and those participating in virtual research or learning, are included in the requirement.

The bivalent booster marks an additional vaccine required for students to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID for the 2023-2024 academic year, in addition to two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine was also required this year for the third time since 2020.

If students do not fulfill the bivalent booster requirement or receive an exemption, a hold will be placed on their accounts to prevent registration for classes for the 2023 fall semester. Those who have already received an COVID vaccine exemption need not apply again.


University president mourns passing of Pope Benedict XVI

University President Fr. John Jenkins mourned the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in a press release Saturday. Pope Benedict died Saturday in Vatican City at the age of 95.

“Notre Dame joins the Church and the world in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict,” Jenkins said. “At once a luminous scholar and a devoted laborer in the vineyard of the Lord, Pope Benedict gave witness to the complementarity of faith and reason for a world which so often misunderstands both.”

According to the release, Jenkins was familiar with Pope Benedict, having met him briefly in 2006 and attending an address by the Pope in 2008. 

“There was an expression of gratitude and appreciation for everyone in the room involved in Catholic education,” Jenkins said of the 2008 address. “He spoke of education as being central to the life of the Church and, of course, that is what Notre Dame is all about. It was a great affirmation of our central mission.”

According to the release, Notre Dame’s relationship with Pope Benedict XVI began in the 1960s, when then-University President, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, offered a faculty position to the future Pope, then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

“I was searching around the world for an up-and-coming theologian,” Hesburgh said in an interview with the South Bend Tribune shortly after Benedict was elected Pope. 

According to Hesburgh, however, the German theologian declined the position because he did not think his English was adequate.

To commemorate the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict, Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart tolled its bells for 15 minutes Saturday morning. In addition, a photo of the Pope Emeritus and a condolences book are in place in the Basilica. 

Jenkins expressed gratitude for Pope Benedict’s life in the news release and prayed for him.

“I pray in thanksgiving for Pope Benedict’s life and I hope that he will intercede for us from Heaven,” he said.


Legends to reopen in January

Legends, the restaurant located just south of Notre Dame Stadium, will reopen Jan. 17, the first day of the spring semester, according to a University Enterprises and Events (UEE) press release.

Legends closed during the pandemic, offering only some takeout options, and has only been open for the Legends Tailgate of Champions, a home football game event.

“We are thrilled to reopen Legends. With its fantastic location right outside of Notre Dame Stadium, Legends is the perfect spot for guests coming to campus every day, or just visiting for a quick trip,” vice president of UEE Anne Griffith said in the release.

The restaurant will feature a new menu and a “refreshed” tavern, according to the release. It will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays.

“Guests can expect a new menu and refreshed tavern with a wide variety of shareables, burgers, salads and sandwiches,” the press release said. “The refreshed space continues to celebrate the history, legend and lore of Notre Dame.”


Jenkins disavows professors’ Chicago Tribune op-ed

In a Tuesday letter to the Chicago Tribune, University President Fr. John Jenkins said an op-ed published in the same newspaper earlier this week by professors Tamara Kay and Susan Ostermann did not reflect Notre Dame’s views.

The op-ed, titled “Lies about abortion have dictated health policy,” was published in Monday’s edition of the Tribune by the two Keough School professors.

“During the last 50 years, lies and intentional misinformation have dictated abortion health policy in the U.S.,” Kay and Ostermann wrote. “Abortion has been demonized and characterized by utter falsities; it has gone under the radar for far too long.”

In his letter, Jenkins said the professors “are, of course, free to express their opinions on our campus or in any public forum.”

Because the professors identified themselves as Notre Dame faculty members, Jenkins made clear he was writing to distance the University from the op-ed.

“I write to state unequivocally that their essay does not reflect the views and values of the University of Notre Dame in its tone, arguments or assertions,” Jenkins wrote.

When The Observer reached for comment on why Jenkins chose to respond to the op-ed, University spokesperson Dennis Brown wrote that “Father Jenkins’s letter stands on its own merits.”


Mid-Year Reviews

By Bella Laufenberg
By Liam Price
By Liam Kelly

Belles ride monster third quarter in conference win

The Saint Mary’s basketball team evened their conference record at 1-1 on Saturday, blasting Adrian 88-70. The Belles showcased their depth, with four substitutes playing at least 12 minutes and combining for 31 points. Junior guard Elle Deardorff led all scorers with 19 points, sparked by 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Sophomore forward Julia Schutz added 16 points and made all three of her three-point attempts. She also collected nine rebounds. Deardorff and Schutz combined for eight of Saint Mary’s 11 triples, sparking the offense.

The Belles trailed at the halftime horn in this one, with a sluggish first quarter getting them off on the wrong foot. Adrian led 40-36 after two quarters of play. However, a monster third quarter did much of the damage for Saint Mary’s. They outscored the Bulldogs 33-12 in the period, opening up a dominant advantage that wasn’t threatened in the final frame.

Up 8-7 early, Saint Mary’s allowed a 10-0 run from Adrian to fall into an early deficit. A late triple from Lauren Gumma pulled the Belles within 19-13 after ten minutes. Saint Mary’s clawed back and took a brief lead, but Adrian pulled back ahead.

Down four at halftime, the Belles used a quick three-point barrage to overtake the vistors. Deardorff made a pair of threes in 31 seconds, and Schutz added a third as Saint Mary’s opened with a 9-0 run. The duo combined to score the first 15 Saint Mary’s points of the quarter. Then, after Adrian got back to within 48-45, the Belles ripped off a 6-0 spurt to flirt with expanding their lead into the double digits. The advantage stayed in around 9-12 points for a while, but Saint Mary’s closed the period on a tear to seize control. Up 61-51, they ended on a 8-1 run to take a commanding 69-52 advantage into the final quarter.

In the fourth, the lead stayed safe throughout, as Adrian never mounted a significant comeback. The Belles pushed out the lead to as much as 23 points and cruised to the finish line. They improved to 1-1 in MIAA play and 4-4 overall. The Belles play a pair of games this weekend. First, they’ll take on local rival Holy Cross on Tuesday night in a non-conference battle. Then, on Thursday, the Belles will travel to Calvin (5-2, 0-2 MIAA) for another conference game. Tipoff on Tuesday is at 6 p.m.