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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer


Senate votes to remove Zahm House from NDH wall

Editor’s Note: This story was updated Friday to reflect student body president Daniel Jung’s email saying he would not sign the resolution calling for updates to the North Dining Hall wall.

On Wednesday evening, the Notre Dame student senate approved a resolution to remove Zahm House from the list of dorms on the wall of North Dining Hall and add Johnson Family Hall, the Undergraduate Community at Fischer and the name of the new men’s residence hall, whose name has not yet been announced. The resolution, SS 2324-11, written by Dillon Hall senator Samuel Godinez and sponsored by 12 senators, passed by a vote of 16 for and 15 against.

Godinez said he and student body vice president Aidan Rezner met with Karen Kennedy, the associate vice president for residential life, and Dan Rohmiller, director of residential life for housing operations, to discuss the issue before introducing the bill. The current wall has not been updated since 2018.

While many students expressed support for adding the new dorms, others expressed opposition to removing Zahm from the wall. These senators argued that while the dorm was discontinued, students still live in Zahm as a transition dorm and current students may have lived there as freshmen.

The resolution articulates “the signage of a former residence hall should not be removed until the last undergraduate class who once resided in the residence hall graduates.”

Rezner argued this provision was meant to assuage the concerns of former Zahm residents.

“We didn't want to take their name off the NDH wall when that community still exists,” he said. “But we also recognize that there does need to be a time when those names come off.”

Godinez also stressed that the Zahm name should be removed even though students still live in the residence hall as a transition dorm.

“Unfortunately, Zahm is gone,” he said. “And if the community is gone, it doesn't really make much sense to keep it up there. It’s not because of the building, it’s a result of the community.”

Senators pointed out that former Zahm residents who are architecture students, whose degrees take five years, would still be on campus and would not be represented.

Some proposed the idea of amending the bill to change the removal of the Zahm name. Godinez expressed his opposition to any amendments and urged senators to pass the bill in its current form. 

“We have to weigh the pros and cons here,” he said. “Are we really going to shut down legislation that really would benefit a lot more people than do more damage?”

Before an amendment could be considered, a motion was made to move from debate into voting procedures, which was then passed. At this point, sophomore class president Max Feist asked whether amendments could still be voted on, to which Rezner explained they could not. 

Feist then proposed suspending parliamentary procedure to allow amendments to be considered — a move which requires 75% support. The motion received 72% support, resulting in the bill being voted on and passed.

In a Friday morning email to the senate however, student body president Daniel Jung announced he had decided not to sign the resolution.

Jung said his reason for not signing was “not due to the content of the resolution itself.” Rather, he believed there was “both a desire and a need to talk about this resolution in greater detail” in the Senate.

Godinez said he had no comment on the resolution not being signed.

The resolution will be returned to general orders during the next Senate meeting on March 20. 

Following this vote, the senate considered two constitutional amendments at one time — SO 2324-18a and SO 2324-18c — which amended language for clarity and specified that individuals prohibited from making endorsements during campaigning periods are also prohibited from making endorsements during petitioning periods, respectively. Both passed unanimously without debate.

Another amendment — SO 2324-19 — was passed extending the deadline for elected officials to receive green dot training by four weeks. A final two constitutional amendments — SO 2324-23 and SO 2324-24 — were then considered and passed which eliminated references to inactive institutions and removed redundant language.

The senate then voted on the winner of the Frank O’Malley undergraduate teaching award which is given annually to a faculty member “who has had an outstanding impact on undergraduate education at the University and shown exceptional service to the students of the Notre Dame community.”

43 faculty members were nominated through a google form sent to the undergraduate student body. The vote went to a runoff between theology professor Fr. Kevin Grove and biology professor Rebecca Wingert. Grove ultimately prevailed by a margin of 21 to 14.

Considered next were the student and faculty winners of the Nancy J. Walsh Irish Clover Award, given to one student and one faculty member “for exemplary service to the student body.”

19 students were nominated, also via a google form, with the runoff coming down to seniors Dominick Blanco and Paul Stoller. Blanco won 26 to 10. 

Amongst the 11 faculty nominated, a list that included football coach Marcus Freeman, Devon Sanchez-Ossorio, Student Activities Office (SAO) assistant director for events and services and the Judicial Council advisor of eight years, won the award without a runoff.

The senate then voted on the nominee for the Michael J Palumbo Award which is "given annually to a member of the undergraduate student body for outstanding service and dedication to the Notre Dame Student Union.” Senior class president Luisa (Lulu) Romero had her nomination unanimously passed.

The final order of business was to consider junior Emily McDougall’s nomination for executive director of the Student Union Board. McDougall currently serves as director of programming for the board. Her nomination was unanimously approved.

Correction: A previous version of this story said Anthony Polotto won the Nancy J. Walsh Irish Clover Award, when it was actually Devon Sanchez-Ossorio. The story has been updated to reflect that.