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Senate nixes elections for SUB representatives, solidifies election reimbursement

The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday night to pass resolutions to eliminate Student Union Board (SUB) representatives as elected positions, adjust funding rules for diverse student clubs and clarify the usage of funds for campaign reimbursements. 

Senate approves change in SUB representative elections 

SUB executive director Rachel Dorfner presented SO 2223-21, an order to amend laws in the constitution stating that SUB dorm representatives must be elected by a hall-wide election and may not exceed one representative per residence hall.

Under the new order, an internal application process will replace the elections and allow for potentially more than one representative to serve each dorm community.

Dorfner said the resolution was conceived since SUB has struggled to retain dorm representatives for the full election term. Based on a survey of SUB representatives with a 45% response rate, Dorfner said many elected representatives cited “wanting a hall government position” as the reason they ran for the position. 

In addition, Dorfner said many did not realize the commitments inside of SUB that come with the role, such as joining committees. 

“We see a lot of people wanting to get involved in their own [hall] government and did not realize that that also constitutes a large involvement in SUB,” Dorfner said. “In fact, one person actually said ‘I don’t like the required participation in SUB.’”

Dorfner hopes with the internal application, SUB will attract students interested to do all the work required for the role.

Judicial Council president Madison Nemeth supported the amendment and noted that the ultimate goal of the resolution is to have engaged representatives. 

“We’ve consistently been re-electing somewhere around since the first week on campus because we had people who ran last year and then didn’t respond to our committee requests,” Nemeth said. “From an election perspective, ideally, it would be one of each dorm, but for some dorms, there’s absolutely nobody who wants to do it.”

The number of SUB dorm representatives is not expected to significantly increase or decrease because of this order, Dorfner said. 

After brief debate, the resolution overwhelmingly passed.

Clause on cultural club funding repealed, election funding clarified 

Under the Constitution, ethnic student organizations are eligible for funding from the Club Coordination Council (CCC) given that their programming promotes “greater cultural awareness and understanding within the Notre Dame community.” Resolution SO 2223-18 repeals this clause with the argument that no other category of clubs must adhere to these guidelines to receive funding. 

CCC president Connor Patrick presented the order. With no debate or questioning, the resolution unanimously passed.

The third resolution debated that night clarified how election candidates are reimbursed for campaign expenses. SO 2223-19 is meant to remove confusion that might prevent Judicial Council from constitutionally reimbursing candidates for election campaign funds, executive controller Kevin Wang said. 

No clubs or organizations may use allocated or unallocated funding from the Financial Management Board to support a candidate for an office. With the order, an exception is written that Judicial Council may use funds to exclusively reimburse such candidates without violating the clause. 

Candidates for first-year class council, any class officer position, hall senator, hall president and vice president, Student Union Board (SUB) representatives and off-campus candidates are all guaranteed reimbursements under the Constitution. Spending limits vary depending on the position a candidate is seeking.

The resolution unanimously passed.

A fourth resolution to amend a constitutional clause on regulations and resignations did not pass a motion to move to general orders and was tabled for next week.

To close the meeting, student body vice president Sofie Stitt reminded senators that campaigning for student body president and vice president begins Tuesday.

Perspective tickets are currently petitioning for the roles and must obtain roughly 700 verified and valid signatures to get their names on the ballot. The elections will take place Feb. 8.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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Student senate reconvenes, votes to increase diversity in UCC staff

The University of Notre Dame has a robust ROTC program for undergraduates in all areas of the military. The student senate passed a resolution Wednesday evening to start the process of giving ROTC students priority class registration times.
Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame.

This Wednesday, the Notre Dame Student Senate passed resolutions to increase LGBTQ+ and minority representation among the staff at University Counseling Center (UCC) as well as give Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) students earlier registration times for selecting classes.

Resolution 2223-13, introduced by four senators as well as several executive cabinet directors, urges the UCC to make efforts to hire more LGBTQ+ and minority counselors.

The resolution came after recent surveys revealed that LGBTQ+ and minority students at the University feel less comfortable both reaching out to the UCC as well as sharing aspects of their identity with counselors. 

Briana Chappell, director of gender relations – LGBTQ+ advocacy, expanded upon this point, stating, “47.7% of students of color and 35.5% of LGBTQ questions declare that they have been hesitant to reach out to the UCC for support as a result of their identity.”

While students can specify if they would prefer either a male or female counselor or a counselor of color, Chappell said the wait to meet with a specific counselor can be very long.

Chappell also noted that the UCC is facing a shortage of counselors generally and that any and all efforts to increase the number of counselors ought to be taken.

“Additional staffing would not only increase diversity in the UCC staff but would also benefit all students on campus regardless of minority status,” she said.

One senator made a similar point, emphasizing, “we don’t have enough counselors to supply the needs of people that need health resources on campus, and hiring more diverse counselors helps everyone.”

The resolution passed overwhelmingly.

During this first meeting of the spring 2023 semester, the senate also passed resolution 2223-11, which requires the office of the Provost to work with the office of the Registrar in order to help ROTC students get earlier class registration times.

Keough Hall senator Derrick Williams, a co-author of the resolution, spoke in favor of the change. He argued out that ROTC students, like student-athletes (who do have early registration times), have complex schedules — making registering for classes much more difficult for them than it is for the ordinary student.

“With great complexity in their schedules and increased course load, ROTC students find it difficult and frustrating to obtain the classes they need while still maintaining a reasonable schedule,” he explained.

Williams added that the students often “deal with many of the same situations and challenges faced by Notre Dame student athletes. ROTC students must balance early morning drills, university travel and afternoon workouts to fulfill their ROTC responsibilities.”

Williams argued that having a scheduling system that is favorable for ROTC students will help the University to both maintain and recruit ROTC students.

“If the University is to continue to attract and recruit these valuable members of the Notre Dame student community, the University must address the difficulty and frustration these students have when registering for classes,” he said.

A current ROTC student and senator also spoke out in favor of the resolution, explaining, his difficulty with fitting long lab classes into his schedule.

“If you ask any ROTC students on Tuesday and Thursday past two, a lot of engineering students have labs right then and they can’t go to those labs,” he added, “I think this is really valuable to recruit more ROTC students. I think it’s healthy for the university, and I just want to push this as far as we can get it.” 

This resolution also passed overwhelmingly.

Campaign rules were the subject of two additional resolutions passed on Wednesday evening. First, resolution 2223-16 clarified the rules for campaign reimbursements.

Under the current University Constitution, only candidates for student body president and vice president are guaranteed reimbursements for money that they spend campaigning. While it is true that in the past two election cycles, candidates in all student government elections were reimbursed by the Judicial Council, the council was under no obligation to do so.

Now candidates for first-year class council, any class officer position, hall senator, hall president and vice president, Student Union Board (SUB) representatives and off-campus candidates are all guaranteed reimbursements under the University Constitution.

Finally, resolution 2223-17 amended the University Constitution to make clear that campaigning for student government offices is not allowed in the first-floor lobby of the LaFortune Student Center (LaFun). This comes after Student Government announced plans to relocate to the renovated Sorin Room on the first floor of LaFun. 

Next meeting, the senate will discuss a resolution to amend the constitution in order to give diverse student groups more freedom in planning events.

Contact Liam at lkelly8@nd.edu.

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Senate votes not to impeach Carroll Hall senator

On Wednesday, the Notre Dame student senate discussed a bill of impeachment put forward against Carroll Hall senator Hunter Brooke.

A majority of senators voted not to move to an impeachment trial after the Student Union Ethics Commission (SUEC) issued a bill of impeachment after Brooke contacted first-years in FUEL (First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership) about a “senatorial aid” position.

Student body vice president Sofie Stitt addressed requests to close the meeting, which would have required all guests or individuals not on the senate roll call to leave. Judicial Council president Madison Nemeth said discussions of disciplinary actions should be closed but are not required to be.

“We’re not required to close the meeting,” she said. “It takes a two-thirds vote to close the meeting. However, the standard code of parliamentary procedure, which the constitution does require you to follow, says that for disciplinary actions, meetings should be closed.” 

Brooke chose to waive his right to close the meeting.

“I know that meetings are closed for that reason: to protect the reputation of the defendant,” he said. “And I’m really appreciative, as the defendant for that. But I don’t see any need to do that, and I’m happy to waive that right and keep the meeting open.”

Because no motion was made to close the meeting, the meeting continued and Stitt read a letter from the SUEC. 

“Any member of the student union may report issues to the Student Union Ethics Commission,” she read. “The Student Union Ethics Commission, or the SUEC, shall then convene to review the allegation and provide a recommendation regarding further action. If a bill of impeachment is the recommendation of the SUEC, it will be brought before the senate at the next meeting.” 

“A bill of impeachment,” she continued, “shall cite specific allegations of misconduct. Misconduct — this is from the constitution — shall include disturbance of peace and content or negligent performance. Disregard is already in the student union violation of constitutional bylaws.”

If a majority of senators vote to move toward an impeachment hearing, the alleged individual can present evidences and witnesses in his defense. The senators would then need a two-thirds vote to remove the individual from his position. Stitt clarified that the senators would merely be voting if the proceedings warrant a move toward a hearing. 

“What you guys are deciding today,” she said, “is [if] what you’ve seen merits a hearing that will happen not next week, but when we get back.” 

The senators had an opportunity to question Nemeth regarding the procedure of the recommendation. They asked how the complaint came, how Judicial Council gathered evidence to recommend the bill of impeachment, how advisory members in the committee were chosen and what disciplinary actions should follow. 

The senators then moved toward a debate, which required Brooke to leave the room. Because Montgomery Auditorium had been reserved for a later event, the senate only had a few minutes to debate. 

Senator James Baird yielded his time to former Judicial Council president David Haungs, who recommended not to proceed with a hearing.

“The report as such has two strains. First, that the supposed violation [is] based on the idea that ‘senatorial aid’ is not a position mentioned in the documents of the Student Union or the Senate. The second is that the supposed violations are based on the fact that Hunter contacted students who already have another position,” he explained. “These two strains of arguments should be laughed out of the room, [and] you should get back to business that matters.” 

At 6:38 p.m., because time was running out, the senate moved to the Resource Center on the third floor of LaFortune Student Center to continue their debate. However, the senators only had until 7 p.m. to debate the matter. 

The senate discussed options to yield the matter until next semester. However, a majority of the senators voted to proceed the debate and extend time until 7:10 p.m. 

Keough Hall Senator Derick Williams yielded his time to former senator Benjamin Erhardt, who was a senator the last time an impeachment inquiry was presented.

“You’re voting to go on a hearing, but you’re also voting to impeach him,” he said. “I think that should only happen when there’s a very, very clear instance, knowing intent to violate some sort of constitutional provision, or many provisions violated if there wasn’t an intent there. I don’t see that in this case.” 

“One of the really big focuses of us as a FUEL is to not overwhelm the FUELers, to be very intentional with how we present Student Union to them,” Joey Kositzke, co-director of FUEL, said. “Having information spread like that really undermines the work that we do.”

“If you’re letting one person go around every other body of power, where are we putting senate in the rankings of power?” Keenan Hall senator Connor McCloskey said. “Just please consider the ethics of what we’re doing, even if we just motion to make this into a hearing and then we don’t impeach.” 

Stitt put on the floor a motion to vote on the bill of impeachment. After the motion passed, the senators voted on to the bill of impeachment, to either move forward with a hearing or drop the matter. 

A majority of the senators voted not to proceed with a hearing, and the senate motioned to recess until next semester.

Contact Sam Godinez at sgodinez@nd.edu.

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Payne-Miller, Jarmon administration accomplishes community-building programs, policy making

Holy Cross College student body president Dion Payne-Miller and vice president Oscar Jarmon focused their efforts in the first semester on making student government more responsive to students and instituting policy to bring the community together.

Payne-Miller emphasized that one of his biggest priorities was making student government more efficient and responsive to the students. 

“A lot of what I’ve done this semester has been very structure based, in terms of the structure of [student government association (SGA)], how things run and how proposals are processed,” Payne-Miller said, adding that proposals introduced by senators are now processed faster than before.

The programming board has also become more effective this semester, Payne-Miller argued.

“Our programming board, so our social concerns and entertainment committees, they’ve done a wonderful job at putting together community events on campus,” he said.

Jarmon highlighted the Fall Fest week as one of student government’s biggest accomplishments. Fall Fest consisted of a week of daily events in the beginning of October, including the Holy Cross hoedown dance and an open mic night. 

“Monday to Friday, we had events and all those events had a really good turnout,” Jarmon said.

Both Payne-Miller and Jarmon noticed that the student body has been much more engaged this semester.

“Our students this year are very vocal,” Payne-Miller affirmed. “And that goes from our senate leaders, all the way to just the general campus community.”

Jarmon added that students have been eager to share their thoughts.

“During our SGA office hours people come in and talk about ideas,” he said. “They’ve been a really good help to us and the SGA.”

Agreeing with Jarmon, Payne-Miller emphasized how important the involvement is to the campus.

“We’re a small campus. And so having those relationships, I think are really important to us,” Payne-Miller stated.

The second semester is slated to be a busy one at Holy Cross, the student body President and Vice-President noted.

“The next semester is the busiest semester because we have spring formal and then our new president inauguration,” Jarmon said.

Payne-Miller introduced a number of policy ideas this semester that he hopes to get through next semester. One important issue for student government is the printing system at Holy Cross.

“We have a certain amount of money that we get to use on printing for each semester,” Payne-Miller said. “What we’re advocating for is to get whatever money that’s left on the account to get that to roll over to the next semester.” 

Trying to get more spices in the dining hall is also a priority for the Student Government Association. One of the biggest possible policy proposals for next semester is the changing over parietal hours at Holy Cross College.

“We’re trying to get parietals moved back on weekends,” Payne-Miller stated, pointing out, “At Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, it’s 2 a.m. and at Holy Cross, it’s 1 a.m. […] Students want to be able to spend more time with friends and develop relationships.” 

Payne-Miller noted that the only reason that parietals are at a different time at Holy Cross is because of a policy instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic that is still in place.

Concluding his remarks, Payne-Miller re-emphasized the role that he wants the community to play in his policy making. 

“I want the government to be a student government-led organization,” Payne-Miller said.

Review: Payne-Miller and Jarmon’s emphasis on student involvement in student government is an inspired idea and should promote a stronger community as well as more popular student events. However, the student government should focus on putting together more events and passing more tangible policy as opposed to only a focus on structural reforms. The planned docket for next semester promises to accomplish this goal.

Contact Liam Kelly at lkelly8@nd.edu.

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Senate installs new director of diversity and inclusion, amends bylaws

The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday night to nominate a new co-director of Diversity and Inclusion, discuss procedures for the upcoming elections and amend senate laws regarding proxies.

Vice president Sofie Stitt opened the meeting with executive announcements. Stitt introduced the director of sustainability, Nick Albrinck, who updated the senate on the sustainability department’s progress.

The sustainability department successfully reintroduced the Sustainability Cup this year, which awarded points to the dorms for attending sustainability-related events. Pasquerilla East won the cup “by a lot,” Albrinck said.

“Most of our initiatives are ongoing for the rest of the year, so we’ve made a lot of good progress on material waste, on energy use and on dining sustainability,” Albrinck added.

Albrinck clarified the University’s current recycling program. He said that there is recycling in every dorm, but only recycling put into the blue toters will be collected. Anything else labeled as recycling collection (except for flattened cardboard collection in dorms) will be thrown away. His department is working with administration to correctly label the waste bins. 

After Albrinck updated the senate, Madison Nemeth, the president of Judicial Council, presented campaign rules for the upcoming Student Union elections.

To those interested in running for an enumerated position in the Student Union, campaigning and petitioning can only occur publicly in a specified time period. The Judicial Council is set to publicize the timeline for campaigning within the next two months.

The senate then listened to the nomination of Eliza Smith for co-director of Diversity and Inclusion – Race and Ethnicity, as submitted by student body president Patrick Lee and vice president Sofie Stitt.

Eliza Smith is a senior from Atlanta, Georgia, living in Johnson Family Hall. In addition to working with the department of Diversity and Inclusion, Smith is a member of the Department of Gender Relations – LGBTQ+ Advocacy, a Senior Fellow of Johnson Family Hall and a Building Bridges Peer Mentor.

Smith said that her goals for the department include focusing on the upcoming Walk the Walk Week and reaching out to multicultural clubs.

“We really want to empower the multicultural clubs on campus and find ways to fund their opportunities …We’re really excited to work with groups that haven’t necessarily had the spotlight in a while, like the Native American Student Alliance and the LatinX club,” Smith said.

Before the senate voted, Stitt voiced her support for Smith.

“Eliza is an absolute force. From the first time I talked to her, her energy was contagious . . . The presence she carries is really strong and we are incredibly excited,” Stitt said.

The senate voted unanimously to install Smith as co-director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Stitt then introduced order SO2223-15, which would amend the senate bylaws such that non-Senator voting members can nominate another member of their organization to attend senate on their behalf. For example, under this order, if the junior class council president had a class during senate meetings, they could nominate their vice president to attend and vote for the junior class council.

Because the senate bylaws do not allow for a long-term proxy, non-Senator voting members with scheduling conflicts could not participate fully in senate. With the unanimous passage of this order, that difficulty was eliminated. 

Senators also updated their peers on resolutions currently in the works. Eliza Smith described her work on a resolution which would increase LGBTQ+, racial, and ethnic minority representation in the university counseling center counselors. Smith’s department conducted a survey to fully understand how more diverse counselors would impact students.

Kate Brandin, the senator from Walsh Hall, said that though this resolution focuses on increasing visibility for LGBTQ+ and minority students, the increased number of counselors would benefit all Notre Dame students.

Finally, Lauren Taylor, the senator from McGlinn Hall, updated the senate on her resolution focusing on self-scheduling at the UHS. 

“​​UHS has now implemented a pilot program, which allows students to self schedule physical appointments though the portal,” Taylor said. Self-scheduling can be accessed on the student health portal.

After closing announcements, the meeting was adjourned.

Contact Katie Muchnick at kmuchnic@nd.edu

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Senate considers amending petition process

This Wednesday, the Notre Dame student senate passed resolutions focused on amending the University constitution to address student petitions and improve the student government election process.

The senate first discussed a resolution put forth by the Committee on the Constitution to table a vote on SO 2233-10b, which would amend Article XIV of the University constitution. The amendment would force the senate to consider a petition if a simple majority of the student population supports it, assuming at least 20% of the student body participates in the vote, as opposed to the current two-thirds majority needed to force the senate to consider a resolution now.

Student Union parliamentarian Jared Schlachet argued that more time was necessary to hold a vote on the amendment. 

“We found that that entire article was just poorly written and things aren’t defined in ways that they should be, like the way that we use the term ‘initiatives.’ It’s just not a proper way to use the term as it is used in the constitution. So basically, the recommendation is essentially to look at that whole section and basically clarify it,” Schlachet said.

The senate voted overwhelmingly to table the resolution for now.

The senate then moved on to SO 2223-13, introduced by Judicial Council president Madison Nemeth, which proposed amending Article XV of the constitution to change the date of distribution of petitions as well as elections for student body president and vice President. 

Currently, the constitution states that petitions for presidential and vice presidential elections should be submitted on the first Tuesday of classes in the spring semester and elections should take place by March 3 of that year. The amendment proposes moving the date for petitions to the first Wednesday of classes after spring break. 

“The petitions are out without the Judicial Council ever officially giving [the candidates] the election rules,” Nemeth said. “It’s better if we hold the information session and they can ask us the questions.”

Nemeth also said senate elections are held on March 8 and logistically it would be easier if presidential elections were held on the same date. The resolution also passed.

In the coming weeks, resolutions will be discussed to increase LGBTQ+, racial and ethnic minority representation in the University Counseling Center and to recognize Workers’ Appreciation Week.

Contact Liam Kelly at lkelly8@nd.edu.

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Panelists discuss outcomes of 2022 midterm elections

On Wednesday evening, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study hosted a panel discussing the implications of the 2022 midterm elections results on democracy, abortion and the 2024 presidential election.

The panel was moderated by political science professor David Campbell and included Notre Dame alum and New York Times opinion columnist Carlos Lozada, Notre Dame political science professor Christina Wolbrecht and associate Notre Dame political science professor Ricardo Ramirez.

While the results of Tuesday’s elections are still being determined and control of the House and Senate has not yet been decided, the general consensus of the panelists was that Republicans had underperformed in a year that was supposed to bring about a “red wave” of Republican victories. 

“Going into this election, inflation is high, the President’s approval rating was low, [there were] lots of reasons to think that this was going to be just a major win for Republicans,” Campbell said. “While we’re waiting for the final results […] this was no red wave, Democrats held out in many parts of the country.”

The panelists floated a number of theories as to the possible reason for this somewhat surprising outcome.

“If the Republicans hadn’t put up such unorthodox, unappetizing candidates, in contested elections, perhaps you’d be seeing an easier takeover of the House and with Republican control of the Senate,” Lazada stated. 

Wolbrecht argued that elections where one party wins a massive majority may be becoming a thing of the past.

“We are in this period of incredibly strong mass partisanship, where people’s party ID matches up with their class idea, their ethnic or racial identity matches up with their rural versus urban identity, it matches up with all their religious identity,” Wolbrecht said. “So, people don’t move much.”

Backlash to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court this summer in the Dobbs v. Jackson case was also discussed as a possible explanation for Republican underperformance.

“Now that the standing Supreme Court decision does not protect the right to access abortions, it may be that, that was enough to sort of mobilize pro-choice voters to vote differently,” Wolbrecht said.

Lozada argued that Dobbs may have spurred an increase in Democratic fundraising.

“Whether or not it animated individual voters, it animated fundraising, it animated other elements of the political machinery that can help turn out votes,” he said.

Ramirez argued that young, particularly latino voters, are more pro-choice and may have helped Democrats.

Wolbrecht did admit, however, that it is unclear what the effect of Dobbs v. Jackson was.

“The truth is a lot of the information that we would want to have to sort of decide, was abortion pushing Democrats over in certain places, we just simply don’t have right now,” Wolbrecht cautioned.

According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, in final message to voters, many Democrats emphasized the importance of protecting democracy in this election, with President Biden claiming that “democracy is on the ballot.” When asked how democracy did this election, the panelists were cautiously optimistic.

Wolbrecht pointed out that there was a marked decrease in claims of election frauds.

“Players who lost are all conceding their elections,” she stated. “They’re not saying that this one was also stolen. They’re not saying others were stolen.”

Lozada urged the panelists to be cautious, however.

“It seemed a little premature to declare victory for democracy,” Lozada said. “It’s not clear to me that what happened today necessarily proves that or undoes the kind of illiberal term that we’ve seen in some parts of the American political system over the past few years.”

Despite the fact that this year’s election results have not even been finalized yet, discussion turned to the 2024 Presidential election and how Tuesday night’s results might impact potential 2024 candidates.

First discussed was the effect of the race on former President Donald Trump.

“A lot of the Trump backed candidates lost,” Lozada pointed out, citing Republican losses in Pennsylvania, Michigan as well as possibly Arizona and Georgia.

“The easy outcome is this is bad for Trump,” he added. Trump is widely expected to announce his candidacy for president in the coming weeks, which is unusually early for a presidential candidate.

The biggest winner for Republicans this election was Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida who won his reelection bid by almost 20% percentage points after originally being elected in 2018 by a meager 0.4% of votes, according to Politico. Many have pointed to DeSantis as a potential rival to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president.

Ramirez argued that the midterm elections positioned DeSantis well for a 2024 run.

“The fact that you had this mini wave in Florida, that puts DeSantis as the winner,” he argued adding, “Relatively poor performance of the Republicans outside of Florida is so much better for Ron DeSantis because it’s like, ‘look, I was unique.’”

When it comes to Democrats in 2024, the panelists pointed out, the implications of this year’s election are not as readily apparent. Lozada argued that this year’s solid showing for Democrats could cause Biden to seek the nomination again, saying, “[maybe] Democrats doing better than expected in this midterm actually, makes the party hang on to Joe Biden longer than they should have, and then to run for reelection.” 

Wolbrecht, on the other hand, argued that the results could cause more Democrats to throw their hat in the ring.

“One interpretation of the 2022 election is that it is a good time to be a Democrat. And so that the nomination in 2024 is all the more valuable, right, because the tide is coming our way,” Wolbrecht said.

In the coming days, or even hours, the results of the election will be finalized, and the fate of the House and the Senate will become clear. No matter the outcome, the country is sure to continue fervently discussing these issues as 2024 quickly approaches.

Contact Liam Kelly at lkelly8@nd.edu.

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Bishop Robert Barron to speak on campus, CCC presents on club funding

During Wednesday evening’s student senate meeting, the director of faith initiatives announced Catholic bishop Robert Barron is coming to speak on campus, and the Club Coordination Council (CCC) president said the clubs it funds could benefit from a greater share of Student Union funding.

‘Second most-followed Catholic priest’ to speak at Notre Dame

Bishop Robert Barron — author, speaker and founder of Word on Fire Catholic ministries — accepted an invitation to speak on campus, according to a presentation by director of faith initiatives Ben Nash.

Nash called Bishop Barron “the second most-followed Catholic priest in the world, second to only to the Pope.”

“It’s a big deal,” he said. 

Student body president Patrick Lee said the date and location of the event are not yet finalized.

In his report on progress so far in the term, Nash reported that he has completed an initiative to provide Hallow, a Catholic prayer and meditation app, free to all students. Notre Dame students can now access the app’s premium subscription for free with their student email. Nash also reported additional accomplishments: a 9/11 mass presided over by Fr. Monk Malloy, a suicide healing and memorial prayer service and a mass for survivors of sexual assault. Other efforts in progress include a religious vocations fair in the spring, opportunities to learn about Catholic mass, an upcoming interfaith council and an improved theology curriculum that is more accessible to first-generation and low-income students.

CCC presentation draws attention to funding differences

Each year, the Club Coordination Council (CCC) receives around $400,000, about 40% of the budget for both clubs and Student Union organizations. Meanwhile, club budgets project total costs of more than $1.9 million, according to a report conducted by an independent senate committee to study funding allocations over the past five years. 

“Because they’re asking for so much, and we have so little, we have a very thorough process as to how we allocate,” Connor Patrick, CCC president, said during the meeting.

The CCC oversees and distributes funds to more than 350 campus clubs, including academic, athletic, performing arts, social service, cultural and special interest groups. The roughly $400,000 in CCC funding provided to clubs is pooled from a $95 student activity fee, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of The Shirt and interest on the Student Union Endowment. Currently, 40% of that total is earmarked for clubs and 59% of the money goes to Student Union organizations, student government administrative groups like Hall President’s Council, executive board and Judicial Council. The final 1% contributes to special interest clubs that don’t fall under either umbrella, such as the Knights of Columbus and PrismND.

The CCC provides funding based on spring allocations, winter reallocations, contingency appeals, collaboration appeals and loans. The process and requirements to receive funding are stringent because of the tight budget. Funding arrives with line-item budget, dues and fundraising requirement strings attached. While Student Union organizations typically receive funding that meets 80.65% of their projected expenses, clubs that apply to the CCC for funding only reach around 18% funding for their unadjusted projected expenses.

“As you can see this is wildly different, so we’ve been forced as the CCC to create our own system… to adapt to this reality,” Patrick said.

As clubs submit their budgets, CCC officials audit and mark down the line items to adjust the budgets. Then, they meet between 50% and 60% of club funding needs. The difference is made up by club fees and fundraising.

According to research conducted by the independent senate committee, the maximum funding given to any club amounted to $25,000. That club raised over $12,000 through fundraising. On the other hand, the maximum funding given to a Student Union organization was $260,000. Unlike clubs, most Student Union organizations do not have to collect dues or fundraise.

“These are not equal-paying fields,” Patrick said. “That’s all I’m trying to say is that it is not equal in any way. In terms of standards, they are wildly different.”

He hopes the presentation will foster further conversation, especially while the report’s results remain fresh. 

“This is about us coming together and solving this very apparent issue,” he said. “We’re team players. We just want to help solve this issue and create a fair Notre Dame.”

The report also shows that Notre Dame’s $400,000 budget for club funding pales in comparison to most peer institutions that provide more than $1 million for clubs. Club funding numbers were not adjusted based on number of clubs or size of student body in the report. Vanderbilt University, with more than 12,000 students, allots $1.9 million for club funding. To serve a student population of more than 8,000, Notre Dame allots less than $400,000. As another point of comparison, Boston College assigns $500,000 to clubs, not including athletic clubs.

“We have a desire to cover more costs. We want to do more for clubs, but we just need help with that. We can’t do it right now,” Patrick said. “In an ideal world, we get a bigger piece of the pie. What I’m saying here tonight and what the senate report says is that there are different standards.”

Patrick also showed a pie chart of Yale University’s funding split between student government administration organizations and student clubs. Notre Dame gives proportionally less money to student clubs than Yale and many of its peers.

“The goal is just get people thinking — what could Notre Dame look like if we had one million dollars to give to clubs?” Patrick said.

Additional business: Senate bylaws amended, DineTogether ND, proposal for UCC counselor diversity

The senate then passed SO 2223-12, an order to amend senate bylaws to ensure informed debate and effective agendas after it was postponed last week. The order codifies the tradition of placing business on the agenda a full week before debate unless there is unanimous approval to consider a resolution on an urgent basis.

Student body vice president Sofie Stitt noted that DineTogether ND will launch Sunday. Organized by director of health and well-being Sisy Chen, the program is intended to create a designated space for solo diners to eat with fellow students. North Dining Hall’s designated space is the round tables past the grill, and South Dining Hall’s designated tables are those nearest the fireplace. Finally, Stitt introduced a resolution to increase LGBTQ+, racial and ethnic minority diversity among counselors at the University Counseling Center (UCC).

Contact Maggie Eastland at meastlan@nd.edu.

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University groups hold student engagement opportunities on Election Day

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, the midterm elections will be held for all 435 seats of the House of Representatives, 35 out of 100 U.S. Senate seats and thousands of local elections in each state. With many students voting for the first time, the midterm elections are an indication of where the nation will head towards. 

However, many students try to avoid political conversations — and those who don’t prefer to engage in political conversations with those from their political preference.

As NDVotes co-chair Grace Scartz wrote via email, “We have seen that ND students often shy away from conversations seen as political, or will only engage with people they know believe the same things as they do.” 

Additionally, Scartz said she believes students feel as though they cannot make a significant impact in the political world and are discouraged from engaging in politics altogether.

“Lots of students also feel that they cannot have an impact on politics and feel disaffected by the acrimonious political environment all around us,” Scartz said. 

Many clubs around campus will host events for students on Nov. 8 regarding the outcome of the midterm elections and to increase political engagement on students. 

NDVotes, in alliance with the Student Latino Association as part of the ‘Nuestro Voto” (our vote) campaign, will host a Pizza, Pop, and Politics in 1050 Nanovic Institute from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will host professor Ricardo Ramirez, director of the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, to discuss civic engagement from Latino voters in these midterms. 

The College Democrats will host a meeting in the Montgomery Auditorium at LaFortune at 7 p.m. to discuss any concerns regarding the midterm debate last week. The meeting will be an open forum among club members to discuss any concerns they had over last week’s debate, co-president Anne Guzman said.

“[O]ur club has taken actions to keep our community on campus safe,” Guzman said. “We created a full plan of action to make sure that what was said during this debate doesn’t go unaddressed because of how harmful it is to the campus community at large.” 

The College Republicans will host an Election Night Watch Party in 155 DeBartolo Hall at 7 p.m. The watch party is set to serve Chipotle catering and drinks to its guests, as they watch the results of the midterm elections.

“Tomorrow will mark the beginning of a new day for America,” president PJ Butler wrote in an email. “For two years, the Democratic party has done everything that they can to bleed this country dry. But the bleeding will finally stop when red prevails.”

Students whose permanent address is in St. Joseph County can vote in-person tomorrow. Voting locations can be found on the St. Joseph County website.

Contact Sam at sgodinez@nd.edu.

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Sen. Tim Scott speaks in fireside chat, discusses memoir and state of politics

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) struck notes of optimism and unity in a fireside chat on Friday morning, discussing his book “America, A Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity.” 

Scott, a potential 2024 presidential candidate who has beefed up his political operation in recent months, released the memoir in August. At an event hosted by the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government, he joined political science professor Vincent Phillip Munoz onstage at the Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library to discuss various parts of the book, as well as the current state of the country, politics, race and the Republican Party.

With various quips and references to Bible verses scattered throughout his answers to Munoz and audience members, Scott focused on the themes of his new book.

Scott, one of 11 Black members of Congress to have ever served, and the first African American to serve in both the House and Senate, visited Notre Dame for the first time this weekend. 

“I was looking for Rudy,” Scott joked, “but I didn’t see him.”

Scott touched on the story of a Chick-Fil-A operator whose mentorship changed his life, as well as the impact his grandparents and single mother had in raising him. He recalled helping his grandfather, whom he disagreed with politically, to vote for Barack Obama.

Scott said the ability of the country to move from the prejudice his grandfather had experienced to electing an African American president represented the ability of the United States to advance. 

He described his personal experience confronting race and racism, including “being pulled over for DWB — driving while Black — more than twenty times.” In 2016, he delivered a viral speech to the Senate about those experiences, which included being asked to provide identification and being physically barred from entering the Capitol as a sitting congressman despite wearing the House or Senate pin on his lapel.

Scott said that blame over issues of race and policing lie on both sides of the political spectrum.

“If you think the country is irreparably broken and racist to the core, you look for it, darn near celebrate it. The other side seems to suggest that if you see any racism at all, you’re just thinking about 1865, and you’re stuck in the past. I think if you’re going to have an honest conversation about race in America, I think you have to share both sides of the ledger. You honestly have to understand that life is harder for some people based on the color of their skin than it is for other people,” Scott said. “That doesn’t mean we haven’t made incredible progress at the same time.”

Scott’s proposed legislation around police reform in the summer of 2020 was blocked by Senate Democrats.

The topic of Donald Trump came up, and Scott recounted saying the former president had “lost his moral authority” in the wake of the 2017 Charlottesville Unite The Right rally.

He said the condemnation led to a conversation with Trump, one that ultimately allowed for Scott to shepherd his “Opportunity Zones” proposal into law. The initiative directed the governors of each state to designate economically-distressed communities that were ripe for investment and tie them to a federal tax incentive to drive private investment. It has brought “almost 80 billion dollars into the poorest communities in this country,” Scott said.

“I thank God almighty that … President Trump was deferential enough to listen and then act as opposed to trying to defend his comments. We didn’t come to the conclusion where we were on the same side of racial history — I don’t want to pretend like we did. We didn’t need to, though,” Scott said. 

Scott says the conversation led to a positive working relationship.

“From that moment forward, there was a new level of respect, and we worked on funding for historically Black colleges and universities that we took to the highest level ever. We worked on sickle cell anemia funding. We brought the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanics and Asians to the lowest level in the history of this country. We did that together,” he said of his relationship with Trump. “We did all that together as a result of the conflict in Charlottesville, so thank God for a president who listened in that moment.”

Scott also looked forward during the event.

He unsuccessfully predicted a Clemson win over Notre Dame, 31-23. He also spoke to Republican chances in the midterm elections, warning that the “road to socialism” runs through division in the GOP.

“On Tuesday, I think we’ll be happy that we coalesced around our candidates no matter what side of the Republican Party you may or may not be in. I think we’re far more unified about winning and restoring sanity to the country than we’ve ever been,” he said.

You can contact Isa Sheikh at isheikh@nd.edu