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.”


From the Archives: Off-campus living over the years

Though the fall semester is not yet halfway over, The Observer’s recent off-campus housing guide notes that “as October arrives, sophomores and juniors (and even first-years) begin to think about their off-campus migration.”

To add some historical perspective to this trendy topic, From the Archives looked back at off-campus living over the years at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. The still-relevant concerns and opinions in these blurbs can aid potential off-campus migrants in their housing decisions, while the stories of off-campus parties contain entertaining insights for anyone who may spend a Saturday night in one of South Bend’s numerous student abodes.

​​Off-campus housing trends and student concerns

Oct. 15, 1990 | Oct. 16, 1990 | Oct. 17, 1990 | Kate Manuel | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

In a three-part series, the Observer examined the state of off-campus housing in the 1990s, highlighting contemporary trends but also revealing student opinions that remain pertinent today.

The 1990-91 school year saw an uptick in students moving off-campus. There were 1,157 undergraduates that declined on-campus housing options and chose to seek out their own off-campus arrangements, up from 1,085 the previous year.

A closer look at the demographic split reveals an interesting story: almost five times as many senior males moved off-campus as senior females. Surprisingly, this was actually representative of a decreasing gap between off-campus men and women.

A three-part series in the 1990s indicated the increasing popularity of off-campus housing. Observer archives, Oct. 15, 1990.

When asked why she chose to move off campus, Cecelia Burger, a senior woman, cited a desire for independence and respite: “I want to be on my own. It does give me a place to physically remove myself from the stress of campus.”

Yet, Burger also noted that there are drawbacks of moving off campus, such as the social life. She mused, “If you really want to be around people all the time, don’t move off campus.” This sentiment was echoed by many. Off-campus students shared that they often felt isolated from on-campus students and events.

The other main consideration for off-campus students was security. Looking to address some of these concerns, Observer news writer Kate Manuel reached out to Notre Dame’s security department.

The department explained that Notre Dame was not “directly responsible” for the security of off-campus students. Notre Dame security believed its role in the lives of off-campus students was only to assist local law enforcement if necessary. Still, Notre Dame security made an effort to advise off-campus students of best practices.

A series of mailings were sent out to off-campus undergraduates reminding them of security practices, such as looking for “hidden areas” where burglars could hide and contacting the police department before they leave for breaks. The latter bit of information was shared because “[Local police departments] will put your house on a list to be checked at least three times in a twenty-four hour period: one time every eight-hour shift at a minimum.”

Today, off-campus students continue to embrace their option to live more independently off campus. However, the aforementioned concerns of social life and security remain important considerations.

Inside the SMC off-campus housing campaign

March 19, 1969 | Ann Conway | Dec. 10, 1969 | Jim Hayes | Jan. 16, 1970 | Observer Staff | March 17, 1970 | Prue Wear | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

Lacking the off-campus option their Notre Dame neighbors had, a student-led campaign to allow off-campus housing was first initiated at Saint Mary’s during the Student Body President race in March 1969. As a commitment to the student body, candidate Susan Turnbull pledged that “off-campus housing be approved and in use by 1970.”

The following year, Turnbull, now Student Body President, met her campaign promise and launched a petition to the Board of Trustees on Dec. 10, 1969, to convince the Board to “re-evaluate their position against off-campus housing.”

The proposal addressed a relevant issue for Saint Mary’s: given an operational deficit of $460,015 in 1969, Saint Mary’s was apparently considering “admitting more students than can be comfortably housed.” 

Allowing off-campus housing, the petition argued, would enable the school to grow its student population and tuition revenue without having to construct more dorms or force some students into crowded conditions.

In a follow-up editorial, proponents further claimed that off-campus housing would “allow for greater opportunity for individual freedom and responsibility.”

Anticipating safety as an obvious concern with off-campus living, advocates pointed out the lack of safety on the Saint Mary’s campus. They claimed that off-campus housing “should be much less suspect than Saint Mary’s where just this past Christmas Campus Security was unable to halt the nightly theft of 30-foot trees and where numerous assaults, attempted and completed, have occurred each year.”

St. Patrick’s Day of 1970 was indeed a lucky one for Saint Mary’s students as the Board of Trustees approved off-campus housing for the first time. Observer archives, Arch 17, 1970.

Although the Board of Trustees offered no statement on the state of campus safety, the Board passed the off-campus housing proposal on March 17, 1970, as an experimental one-year trial. This policy ultimately proved permanent and remains an option for seniors today.

Off-campus parties encounter police crackdown

Sept. 5, 1984 | John Lavelle | Researched by Avery Polking

In the 1980s, several stories of unruly off-campus parties made Observer headlines and resulted in stricter police regulations.

One article from September 1984 detailed the “large, out of control parties” of up to 600-700 people which police deemed intolerable. This specific instance involved seven on-the-scene arrests and two more the following morning. 

Officers insisted this was ordinary enforcement with no extra pressure specifically on off-campus parties, despite a new alcohol policy at Notre Dame which seemed connected to the increase in arrests. However, it appears that actions may draw clearer conclusions than words.

The next year, the Observer covered a direct warning of this increased pressure by the police. It involved noise-measuring devices to determine a party’s level of public disturbance. Over 65 decibels at night and 72 decibels during the day warranted tickets for individuals involved. 

South Bend police officers seemed more benign in their communications than students may have liked to admit, giving recommendations on ways to abate trouble on the weekends. Some advice included calling substations to inform them of party details beforehand, but no insight was gathered on students’ receptiveness to these comments.

A proliferation of “large, out-of-control” parties at off-campus apartments like Campus View (pictured above) in the 1980s led to increased police activity and arrests. Observer archives, Sept. 5, 1984.

Another off-campus incident in the 1980s that drew particular attention was when two resident assistants were fired for supplying alcohol to underage students. From the RAs’ perspectives, though, their punishment was too severe.

For context, the RAs were at a party where they started selling empty cups to other, often underage, students who would then fill them with alcohol. One of the students relieved of their RA position defended themselves, saying they didn’t think that what they were doing was illegal. Another defense was the fact that neither of them was actually drinking that night, with one claiming, “all I had was a glass of milk.”

Despite their objections, though, these two students were fired from their duties as resident assistants, their relationship with the University seeming more like that of employees rather than students in this situation. 

Today’s off-campus parties seem devoid of similarly dramatic scenarios, so these stories provide a glimpse into an apparently turbulent time. But a more salient insight can also be gleaned from these situations: be wary of ill-advised actions from people who drink milk at parties.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Cade Czarnecki at

Thomas Dobbs at

Avery Polking at


Flaherty Hall hosts first color run to benefit breast cancer research

Runners on South Quad on Saturday morning will turn pink for a cause at Flaherty Hall’s color run, the Flaherty Fights 5K.

“Flaherty Fights 5K is our revamped signature event supporting breast cancer awareness and research,” junior and Flaherty Hall vice president Karina Solman said. “In the past, we have done Flaherty Fights, a tabling bake sale event in [LaFortune Student Center], but this year, we decided to amp it up to a color run 5K with pink powder and pink-themed snacks and t-shirts at the finish line.”

This will be the first year Flaherty has held a 5K run. Solman said the hall executives wanted a new signature event that was “more fun, interactive and campus-and-community-facing,” while still retaining the enjoyment the bake sale event brought attendees in years past.

All proceeds from the 5K will be donated to the breast cancer research program at Saint John’s Cancer Institute, which is based out of Santa Monica, California.

The Flaherty Fights 5K will take place Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. by the South Quad flagpole. (Courtesy of Gracie Wetli)

Solman said hall executives settled on Saint John’s after Flaherty donor and namesake Mary Hesburgh Flaherty visited the dorm last spring and talked to its residents about her life and charity work.

“This event means a lot to all of us in Flaherty because Mary Flaherty is a breast cancer survivor,” Solman said. “When she came and spoke to us last year, we were all moved by her story.”

Solman added that when she, Flaherty Hall president Gracie Wetli and co-vice president Ceci Driano assumed their roles in hall government last spring, they wanted to make their dorm’s signature event “extra special.”

After deciding the event would be a 5K, “we reached out to Mary Flaherty about where she would like the proceeds to go, and she suggested St. John’s … she has been chair of the board of their foundation in the past and is still very much involved with them,” Solman said. “They have a world-renowned breast cancer research program and also work in promoting awareness for women, so she told us that they would be honored to be the recipients of our fundraising efforts.”

The 3.1-mile run will begin at the South Quad flag pole at 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants can register the morning of the run beginning at 8:15 a.m. or online in advance using Student Shop ND. Registration is $15 per participant.

Hall president Wetli encouraged anyone interested to participate, even those who do not consider themselves runners.

“Since this is a color run 5K, it is meant to be very lighthearted and fun,” she said. “Walkers are more than welcome to participate in the 5K, and you will be supporting a great cause in the process. There will also be a free shirt for participants while supplies last.”

Wetli added that both 5K participants and others should come to the bake sale at the start and finish line, which will have donuts and bagels.

“We are very proud of the effort put forth by many members of the Flaherty Hall community to make this event happen. Our signature events commissioners, Celeste Hirschi, Jane Stallman and Adi Yabut, have been extremely helpful in planning this event,” Welti said. “I would also like to give a special thanks to our hall staff … for supporting us in planning this event. We have gotten to work with parking service, RecSports and various vendors throughout the process.”

Contact Claire Reid at