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Friday, Feb. 23, 2024
The Observer

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The Observer

ND vs USC - A call to arms

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Dear Students, I am a 1994 graduate of Notre Dame and will be attending the ND v. Southern Cal game on October 17. I will be bringing three residents of South Carolina who are respectively graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson and Univ. of South Carolina. Two have never seen a Notre Dame game in South Bend, one has and loved it. I am writing you to make a request. You have now experienced several historic games but not a game that is historic before the first kickoff. My senior year Charlie Ward and the ESPN-dubbed "NFL team" that was FSU came to South Bend ranked number 1 and supposedly "unbeatable by such a slow and less talented ND team." It was the first time that College Game Day had traveled to be on any campus for a game. We beat them, the team and the fans, with heart, desire and noise. As you gear up for the game understand that the tone you set now will be the atmosphere that will permeate the stadium at kickoff. Talk to those attending the game that are not students and get them just as pumped as you are and ready to yell themselves hoarse. Tell them about how special this team is this year. It is moments like this that make ND what it is to so many graduates. It is opportunities like this game that make great ND teams. This game is your chance at history. But before a team can be great, its fans have to be great. The fans must believe that their participation in the game is the difference between winning and losing, from the moment the opposing teams gets off the bus; especially if they are acting like bone heads and rocking the bus as it pulls in. My request is simple: sell out, leave nothing in reserve, start making noise to disrupt the opposing offense on Friday and don't stop until you are comatose sometime late Saturday night. Make this game one for the ages by making the House that Rockne Built reverberate with the ghosts of legends past. It is the fans that cheer loud enough to wake up the echoes while the players march to victory. Make it so that alumni like me walk away from the game saying "Wow." Make my buddies walk away from the game in awe of the University of Notre Dame. Go Irish! Beat the Trojans!! Chris Kelly alumnus class of 1994 Oct. 4  


The Observer

What about living wages?

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The economic crisis is not an uncommon theme of conversation today. Whether it be at family reunions, in class, in the dining hall, anywhere really, we hear of how many people are unemployed, how much we should be worried about our futures, etc, etc, etc. Yet, there is yet another question, another theme that is lacking from most conversations regarding the current economic crisis - does a living wage still apply? Does the Church stop demanding employers pay a living wage in times of economic crisis? Or more generally, is injustice and social sin acceptable in times of crisis? Pope John XXIII said the following: "We consider it our duty to reaffirm that the remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful. It must be determined in accordance with justice and equity; which means that workers must be paid a wage which allows them to live a truly human life" (Mater et Magistra, par. 71). It is our duty, as a Catholic university, as one attempting to continue creating a culture of life through dialogue and practice, that we respect the right to life of the worker too, not only the unborn and the elderly, for if we believe in the seamless garment of life, then that means we must be seamless. We pose the question then, what does this mean for Notre Dame? What does Church teaching tell us about the wages we pay our workers? Can we still use the convenient excuse of "economic hardship?" Are our workers paid a living wage? Do we respect the life at all stages? I think it is a question we must ask the administration: Why do we still not pay a living wage? Why are we not living in accordance with Catholic teaching in this area? Is life not important at all stages? Alicia Quiros senior off campus Oct. 4  


The Observer

Bring on the noise

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This weekend, we had probably the biggest home game of our season thus far, and I was both very impressed and disappointed by the student section. As far as top 10's from ESPN and rivals.com columnists go, Notre Dame Stadium is not one of the top 10 toughest stadiums for opposing teams. But with a program as renowned as the Fighting Irish it definitely should be. On Saturday, I noticed that during the first half the student section seemed relatively quiet compared to how I remembered it last year. The freshman section seemed to drown out the other classes. At some points, I could even hear myself cheering because not that many around me were joining in. However, toward the end of the game, the student section was booming, exclaiming the cheers and rooting on the team with full force. Our support of the defense during the final plays helped us to win the game. It may be easy to criticize the football team for their mistakes, but we should remember our role in cheering the team on, because we also have a significant effect on the outcome. On October 17, we have to remain loud through the whole game and shake up the Trojans, giving the Irish a true home field advantage. GO IRISH! BEAT TROJANS! Brian Conway sophomore St. Edward's Hall Oct. 4  


The Observer

Wanted

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Dear Feminist Vigilante Group, I have captured the wicked, wicked man known as Colin Sullivan. Thanks to your innovative signs placed around O'Shag that read Wanted: Colin Sullivan for the Crime of Sexism (thank God I read past the Wanted part because I first thought the ad was a Craig's List posting for companionship), I was able to track him down and bring him and his evil ways to justice. As of now he is locked in the makeshift jail cell that I created in my room, spewing obscenities about how women cannot drive, how their brains are only a third the size of ours and how they owe us a rib from the Garden of Eden Days. Fear not, for his obscenities will be swiftly crushed by the well-manicured and slightly effeminate hand of the law. It's thanks to your ad that I'm glad there are people on this campus who take themselves so seriously, people who make sure that no such despicable joke goes unpunished. I'm thankful for people like the Feminist Vigilantes who ensure that we watch our every move and make sure that every comment we utter is socially acceptable. Furthermore, they are the ones who force us to look deep within our souls with such questions as "Why do we laugh at the fact that some think it is worse to be a woman?" (I don't think I'm going to get much sleep until I answer that question). Feminist Vigilantes, you have shown us just how truly wicked men are because, in all honesty, a woman would never even think about cracking a joke about the opposite sex. They are above such actions. So, as a fellow brother in arms, I salute you. Please continue your diligence in making sure that every comment in the Question of the Day is taken seriously. Sexism is not a joke … unless it's really funny. P.S. Do you want Colin dead or alive? How much will I be compensated for each? Mike Rooney junior O'Neill Oct. 5  

The Observer

Will health care reform be another clunker?

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This summer, the U.S. economy remained mired in a recession as Americans waited in vain for Congress's $787 billion "stimulus" package to take effect. Faced with the increasingly evident failure of its massively wasteful spending program, the federal government devised a characteristically nonsensical solution: yet another massively wasteful spending program. This time, Congress decided to meddle in the automobile industry with the now-infamous "Cash for Clunkers" program. The government offered car-buyers a $3,500 to $4,500 rebate in exchange for their used vehicles, which car dealers were required to destroy. The Clunkers program was initially lavished with praise by pundits and the news media - after all, car sales got a boost, consumers got cheap cars and the environment was bound to benefit somehow, even if it wasn't entirely clear how demolishing thousands of functioning cars qualified as "sustainable." What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, plenty. With consumers satiated by this summer's government handouts, car sales declined precipitously last month. Figures released last week show that government-owned General Motors sold a whopping 45 percent fewer cars last month than in September 2008, while the recently bailed-out Chrysler suffered a 42 percent loss. In the words of G.M. executive Mark LaNeve, "It was a real post-clunker hangover." The cause of this precipitous collapse is no mystery. When federal legislators, rather than markets, set prices, inefficiency is the inevitable result. The short-lived frenzy of the Clunker rebates exhausted demand and robbed dealers of months of potential sales. It would be wonderful, of course, if the federal government could arbitrarily lower the prices of goods with no negative repercussions, but that's scarcely possible in the reality in which we live. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman would say, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Perhaps the most regrettable part of the Cash for Clunkers debacle is that we're all paying for it. Three billion hard-earned tax dollars were redistributed to those lucky enough to be in the market for a new car in July and August of this summer, while car dealerships were treated to a momentary burst in sales in return for a decline in demand that could last for months. In the end, only two of the top 10 car models purchased under the program were made by an American manufacturer. Worse yet, dealers were forced to scrap the nearly 700,000 perfectly good vehicles traded in through the program. The sheer perversity of this senseless destruction is difficult to comprehend - why would a "stimulus" program mandate the disassembly of hundreds of thousands of functioning automobiles, many of which could have been resold on the used car market? The highly-touted environmental benefits of replacing "clunkers" with new vehicles, meanwhile, have been shown by multiple analyses to be virtually nonexistent. In the end, Cash for Clunkers proved to be little more than a boon for a handful of lucky car-buyers and an opportunity for legislators to claim to be "doing something" while haplessly chipping away at the U.S. economy. Members of Congress, of course, never consciously aim to harm the very citizens who elected them, but years of misbegotten legislation have proven the inevitability of unintended consequences. Programs that look good in the press rarely deliver the predicted benefits. Instead, Washington's efforts to manipulate the U.S. economy consistently create economic uncertainty and waste taxpayers' hard-earned money on ill-considered endeavors. As the health care reform debate heats up in Congress in the coming days, legislators and constituents will be faced with a crucial question: Can we trust the federal government to extend its reach to a fundamentally important facet of Americans' lives and to intervene in the U.S. economy on an unprecedented scale? If past events are any indicator, the answer is no. Congress' attempts to intervene in a limited sector of the economy with the Cash for Clunkers program failed, brining about a variety of unintended negative consequences. Its broader effort to stimulate the economy has done little more than to provide an excuse for hundreds of billions of dollars of wasteful spending. Grand nation-building projects overseas, meanwhile, have been even less successful. The lesson here is clear: No matter how pure its intentions, government is seldom efficient, effective or nearly as wise as it thinks itself to be. Cash for Clunkers was a harmful (but thankfully temporary) setback for our economy. Any action Congress takes to reform healthcare will likely be permanent. Congress has proven that it can't run the automobile industry, and there's no reason to believe it will do any better with the medical industry. America can't afford a healthcare clunker. Ben Linskey is a junior majoring in political science and philosophy. He can be contacted at blinskey@nd.edu The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer

The trial of Colin Sullivan

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In regards to those out for Colin Sullivan's blood, I would just like to go on the record, as a woman, saying that not only am I not offended by his clearly joking remark, but I find it ridiculous that people are using this as yet another soapbox for their amusement. First of all, there are women on the Observer staff and they obviously knew his off hand comment was a joke so they published it. He found being a woman comparable to bad weather? Come on, ladies, he clearly wasn't serious and if you are going to begin censoring statements like that, you need a new hobby. For those of you that made the "WANTED" posters, don't you have exams to study for? Personally, I would find it slightly creepy if Colin had proclaimed he wanted nothing more than to be a woman. Ladies, I am perfectly happy to be a woman so no, Colin's comment does not offend me. I don't want to be a man either. I'll pose for my mug shot later. Hayley Coffing sophomore Pasquerilla East Oct. 5  


The Observer

Clause needs updating

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After attending the community meeting for freshmen students sponsored by the Core Council for GLBQ students at Notre Dame, I left feeling refreshed that there exists such a movement to welcome and accept gay students at Notre Dame. Last year the Princeton Review ranked Notre Dame as the fifth most homophobic university in the country, and hopefully with the efforts of the Core Council, we can rid ourselves of this distinction. But one glaring inconsistency made me question the sincerity of the University's efforts - the non-discrimination clause. "The University of Notre Dame does not discriminate on the basis of race/ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, or age in the administration of any of its employment, educational programs, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletics, recreational, and other school- administered programs." Nowhere in its non-discrimination clause does the University express this professed acceptance of homosexual students. How can gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning students feel at home at Notre Dame if there is no promise of protection from discrimination? By the current clause, it is perfectly acceptable from a policy standpoint to deny athletic participation, scholarship money and even admission to the school based on someone's sexual orientation. As long as the clause exists in the present state, no matter how much we claim to be accepting of differences in sexual orientation, there is no guarantee that gay students would even be admitted if they were open about their sexuality on their applications. If I am to believe that Notre Dame is the welcoming place I have chosen as my home for four years, I have to believe that this type of discrimination doesn't occur, so why not change the clause and definitively say so? Melanie Fritz freshman Pangborn Oct. 4  


The Observer

Blessing in Disguise?

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The Second City has finished fourth. All signs pointed to a winning bid for America's heartland city. After millions of dollars spent on what seemed to be a successful campaign and visits from an all-star cast including a last minute plea from the president himself, Chicago still could not bring home the win. Friday's vote by the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen eliminated Chicago in the first round, leaving the city, IOC members and many Americans shocked and stunned at the disappointing fourth place finish, with Rio de Janeiro ultimately winning the bid. But maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Is America, namely Chicago, really ready to play host for the world? While some said bringing the games back to United States would help boost confidence and morale, jumpstart the economy, and show the world a new, stronger America, hosting the Olympics could very well have done the opposite. Estimated to have cost $4.8 billion, many Chicago residents feared the implications of turning their city, already struggling to stay afloat in this economic recession, into the 2016 Olympic games site. In a poll taken in August for the Chicago Tribune, 45 percent of Chicagoans were opposed to bringing the games to their city altogether, with an alarming 84 percent against the bid, fearing the costs would fall heavily on the taxpayers to fund the games. While Mayor Daley touted the games as central to an economic boom for the city, there were no guarantees that the Olympics would have been profitable for Chicago. Were Chicagoans really willing to take that risk? It seems the glitz and glamour of hosting the three-week international event overshadowed substantial concerns about what the games could do to the Windy City. With an unreliable, worn-down commuter system and traffic-logged highways, transportation would have been Chicago's primary problem, something the IOC called to the city's attention prior to the final vote. Everyday life would come to a startling halt for the metropolitan area's 9.6 million residents. Hosting the games also meant a series of new building projects and improvements for the city's lakefront and civic centers. While this comes standard for most cities holding the Olympic games, Chicago's history of delayed civic construction projects and the city's already insolvent economy would have magnified the difficulties of this task. Finally, an important yet conveniently overlooked feature of bringing the games to Chicago was the inevitable displacement of local residents in predominantly poor and working class neighborhoods of the South Side in order to make room for Olympic venues and the Olympic Village. A history of the Olympic games reveals a pattern of displacement among cities' poorer inhabitants, and Chicago would not have been any different. So instead of grumbling over an unfair vote, be thankful for fourth place and move on. Celebrate with Brazil as they begin the difficult task of welcoming the world to their nation, more broadly their continent, for the first time in the Olympic history.


The Observer

Some defensive suggestions

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The bye-week presents a conundrum for weathered alums whose lives have deteriorated to work and Notre Dame football. (Don't laugh, undergrads. You are staring at your fate.) Is the bye-week a blessing or a curse? "What the hell am I going to do next weekend?" Or, "The boys really need a break - both emotionally and physically." That said, the bye-week needs to be used to great advantage if we want to "return to relevance." (Skip "return to glory." It's self-aggrandizing and it's not realistic. More than anything, Notre Dame simply needs get back in the college football picture. Hm. Good idea for next year's The Shirt - "Return to Relevance.") I'd start at the start: defensive fundamentals. Huge kudos to the defense for tremendous heart and toughness time after time. However, many of the predicaments we've escaped resulted from absolutely terrible fundamentals. Chris Polk is not Jim Brown - never will be. However, our arm tackling made him look like the pro-football Hall of Famer. The Washington receiving corp continually caught balls because our cornerbacks miss-timed jumps or simply fell down during cross over steps at high speed. Again, the team has shown incredible desire and heart. Their gumption can't be questioned. That said, Tenuta and Brown owe it to the guys to spend a lot of time on tackling drills and coverage skills this coming week. I'm sure the defense will cringe when they read this. However, nothing eliminates arm tackles on Saturday more than tackling drills on Wednesday. Sorry guys, but I know that after a long look in the mirror, every one of you would agree. Jeff Barber alumnus class of 1982 Oct. 4  


The Observer

Cartoon offensive

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In regards to the Oct. 1 SMC Cartoon by Guappone and Krafcik ("Schad and Freude"): Maybe someone forgot that an attack (via cartoon) on some women is an attack on all women (including girls at Notre Dame and Holy Cross). You are essentially making fun of an institution and its girls that believe in the empowerment of women. How noble of you to pick such a thing to tear down. You would never joke about African Americans in such a way. Why women? And are your artists so narrow minded as to assume that all Saint Mary's girls are the same? Are they so unwise as to label all Saint Mary's girls the same because of the actions of a few? I'm sure many Notre Dame students would not like it if they were all assumed to be pathetic brats simply because that has been my experience with a few. Katie Durkin sophomore McCandless Hall Oct. 2  


The Observer

Stuck in the past

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Reading the recent debates over women in the priesthood, one is disappointed to see how many at this University are simply stuck in the past. They seem boxed inside a narrow, ossified way of thinking that we had all hoped was about to give way to a fresh breath of reason and openness. They appeal to the ideals of a time they really don't know - a time they certainly were not around to see. From their nostalgic tone, one would think this one epoch of Church history had been the definitive instantiation of Catholicism, an epoch from which progress and advance were unnecessary, if not harmful. I'm speaking, of course, about the 1970s. An intolerance toward two millennia of teaching and tradition; a blind obedience paid to the tenets of the feminist movement; an almost servile drive to keep up with the rest of the world in its indiscriminate concept of "equality" … one would have hoped that we had left these behind along with mullets and bell bottoms. How is it that so many good-hearted young people have been sheltered within the teachings proceeding from that one decade? Just because those hundreds of other decades are different doesn't mean they're bad. Now of course, for some it isn't easy to let go of the past. But at the same time, this is an institution of research and learning, and at some point we need to make way for the future. I don't mean to rant. It's just disheartening to see well-intentioned colleagues shy away from the overwhelming justification of the male priesthood simply in order to follow the rigid banner of decades past. People. It's 2009. Will Erickson senior Morrissey Manor Sept. 28  


The Observer

Notre Dame off-campus crime

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With local crime on the rise in South Bend, I am surprised and concerned with the lack of University effort to protect their students, especially seniors, by making a more concerted effort to keep them on campus. The reason why upwards of 80 percent of the senior class want to move out of the dorms is no secret to anyone. Single-sex dorms and the parietal system are a part of the core mission of the University, which most students begrudge but accept. This does not change the fact that the majority of the student body feels they have outgrown the strict dorm rules by the time they are 21 and look forward to moving off campus. But must our safety be the price to pay to have our brothers spend the night on football weekends or a bottle of vodka legally in our possession? Saint Mary's College has fought this issue with their students by building Opus - a seniors only, fully furnished apartment building located right on campus. There are no RAs or rules enforced by the college, so it essentially has the perks of living off campus combined with the security of living on-campus. I encourage Notre Dame to follow suit. Notre Dame students do not move off campus to marvel at the beauty of the South Bend community, they do it because they feel entitled to live a more independent lifestyle without the University rules. There is currently no option for Notre Dame students who want to live this independent lifestyle to also live on campus. I do believe that Notre Dame strongly cares about the safety of their off-campus students and is very concerned about the rise in violence just a few blocks outside the gates. I only wish the University would take action and try to keep their seniors within the security of the Notre Dame campus. Instead of pursuing plans to build another new dorm, please consider the option of building a seniors-only residence like Saint Mary's. Emily Chappell senior off campus Oct. 1


The Observer

Prank away pessimism

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It's that time of year. The weather is dreary, and the football team is starting to underperform like a Charlie Weis team once again. Not to mention that South Dining Hall has decided not to restock fresh food until after Fall Break. To fight back against the disappointments of Mother Nature, the Fat Plague and corn-dog buffets, consider pulling these pranks to make the Golden Dome shine a little brighter. Wing-It Rudy: Sneak into the football team's procession to the Stadium by dressing up in a suit and tie, hiding just inside Fitzpatrick and blending in undetected as the group walks past. Aim for Sam Young's vicinity - he might just hold you all the way to the locker room. NBC Revenge: On a large poster board, paint an acronymic advertisement for NBC on one side. For example, a poster reading, "ND / Believes in / Community," accompanied by a headshot of Joel McHale might entice the network to give some extra time to its new show during a football game. Once the camera focuses on your ad, flip it over to reveal your true message. Something along the lines of "NBC / Beats / Children" would do. Second Coming: Gather a bunch of plastic crates like those used to ship Coca-Cola products, and place them in the bottom of the reflecting pool, forming a line from one side to the other. Dress up in a robe and sash on a home football Saturday and walk across the crates to render tourists speechless by creating the impression that you are walking on water. If nonbelievers doubt thy divinity, remind them of one of your other talents - drain the reflecting pool overnight and refill it with a couple hundred boxes of Franzia by the morning. Nut Block: Buy a stuffed squirrel from Ebay, and then freeze the squirrel in a block of ice. Under a snow drift, place the ice block of squirrel in a high traffic area like South Quad or the entrance to DeBartolo. For added effect, throw in some nuts and manipulate the stuffed squirrel into a pose to make it appear as if he was chasing, or perhaps juggling, the nuts when he met his fate. Seismic Stonehenge: Construct a paper mache replica of a slab of stone. Attach a fish line and place your creation on top of Stonehenge. Wait for tourists to approach and yank on the line, causing panic by triggering the deadly-looking stone slab to the ground. The Observer bears no responsibility for any unlawful or disgraceful actions inspired by this column.  


The Observer

Printed mysogyny

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Sometimes my world feels too comfortable, so I open the ol' Observer to find anger fuel. On September 30 I boiled a heckuva stew over the resultant bonfire, poetically speaking, with leftovers to last until graduation. Responding to the question of the day, "What could possibly be worse than this weather?" one male sophomore responds, "Being a woman." I intend provocation: would anyone get printed for such pithy insights as "being in a concentration camp" or "being black?" How about "having special needs?" These sentiments do not deserve publication because freedom of speech does not protect publicly heckling "F- you" at every second person who walks past. But Mr. Monolith did not mean to be taken so seriously! Relax. His statement is more akin to "Muck Fichigan" than Nazi treatises on purifying the race. Speaking of purity - a parallel Viewpoint column entitled "Trust the Church" by Dale Parker (Sept. 30) argued against the ordination of women based on a study showing that children of mass-attending fathers are 22 times more likely to become Mass-attending adults than children of Mass-attending mothers. The logic is simple. Clearly, who women are and what women do as women is of less consequence - whether laughably or pitiably - than the world of men. If a father affects his children, how much more might a liturgical father? And of course measurable results prove orthodox doctrinal formulation, if getting nailed on a cross is any indication, or the difficulty men especially seem to find in keeping their fingers out of little children's underwear. On the other hand, if the erudite Mr. Brooks Smith of Sept. 24 is any indication, female clergy may in fact simultaneously enlarge mass attendance and certain male bodily organs. Why not ordain women so that single dads will take their children to Church? This is absurd. I realize that it's simpler to think within a private box, to maintain comic privileges for misogyny, to confirm authority by infinitely contingent "results." Of course, this monologue comfort constitutes the ideological equivalent of masturbation; hooray. I'm glad The Observer has the space to catch and distribute the ejaculate. Peter Hochstedler senior off campus Oct. 1  


The Observer

Security on and off campus

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Last weekend, two Holy Cross students were kidnapped four blocks from campus. The University responded with its obligatory "Student safety is a top priority" statement but offered no plan of action. Last week's kidnapping was not the first assault on the student community. In three years, there have been three shootings and an equal number of kidnappings. Students are assaulted and mugged; off-campus homes are vandalized on a regular basis. South Bend police continually warn students they are a target anytime they set foot off campus. South Bend Police spokesman Capt. Phil Trent said off-campus crime toward students has remained steady in the past several years, but these crimes are still too prevalent. The University can't - and shouldn't - be responsible for policing the surrounding community. They have neither the resources nor the jurisdiction. But the dichotomy that exists between on and off campus needs to be addressed. Currently, the administration's only plan of action is to use the crime statistics as a means of discouraging students from moving off campus. Encouraging this separation from our surrounding environment only compounds the problem. Town-gown relations are already strained, and the University's hypocritical stance on community interactions isn't helping the problem. The administration encourages students to become more involved outside of the metaphorical Notre Dame bubble while simultaneously discouraging students from moving off campus. Most universities nationwide expect students to flee the dorms as soon as possible, with many providing university-owned housing and neighborhoods. Notre Dame, contrarily, focuses any off-campus expansion on preventing student housing developments and promoting faculty benefits. The University's Gentrification Project on Notre Dame Ave. provides housing for professors near campus, promoting a safe environment for their employees. But when it comes to extending the same courtesy to students, the administration and its $5 billion endowment fall short on funds. Many of the 1,500 students that chose to move off campus this year are forced to settle for cheap homes in shady neighborhoods. While on-campus student safety may be a priority for the administration, off-campus students do not receive the same consideration. Notre Dame has the ability to influence the surrounding community and establishing a secure student neighborhood would be the first step in combating the growing crimes against students. Students, too, must accept their role in off-campus safety. Acting drunk in public will not attract any positive attention. Common sense and precaution should be used at all times. South Bend isn't Mayfield and this isn't 1960. Know the dangers you face when you go out and plan accordingly. Until the University and local law enforcement work to reduce the student assaults, students are responsible for their own well-being.  


The Observer

To kneel or not to kneel

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Presiding at Notre Dame Masses around campus these days has become a study in group dynamics, and sometimes group gymnastics. I am referring to the differing approaches to kneeling, standing, bowing and other liturgical postures and gestures at Mass. My words here do not seek to contribute to the debate surrounding "Who's right and who's wrong?" but rather, in reflection of last Sunday's Gospel, to offer a word of caution to both "sides." (It is a bit painful to mention "sides" when talking about a group who is celebrating the Eucharist together.) In last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus' apostles come running to Jesus, distressed that they just witnessed someone driving out demons in Jesus' name, though this person was not "one of us" - i.e., part of their group of disciples. If Jesus ever had a moment when it would have been important for him to "control his message," it would surely have been now - at the very beginning of his ministry, as this nascent "Christian movement" was just beginning to take shape. Yet Jesus, not for the first time, exhibits a striking restraint from control here. The right word might be "liberality" in its technical sense but has become impossible to use in a politics-neutral discussion. However, perhaps it might be said that Jesus' "liberality" in this situation is used precisely to "conserve" a guideline about how his message and mission can spread most authentically. And what is that guideline? It is important to note that Jesus does not lapse into any kind of relativism on this, or any other, occasion. His message is clearly not, "Let him do whatever he wants to; as long as he's helping people, it really doesn't matter." Rather, he is quite explicit about what authorizes this renegade demon-driver: "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me." Jesus displays his rather surprising comfort with the un-named exorcist precisely because he was casting out demons "in my name." A living, authentic relationship with the person of Jesus - and the authenticity of this person's faith seems to be confirmed by his power over evil - is the authorizing credential for discipleship. As a presider at Mass, the disparate postures of the congregation at various times in the liturgy are unavoidably noticeable. Arguments proliferate about the importance of the reverence of kneeling, the union of standing, how far one ought to bow before receiving the Eucharist, whether one should genuflect before receiving the Eucharist. The "General Instruction of the Roman Missile" (GIRM) has plenty to say here, from preferring postures that "contribute to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty" to fostering practices that "serve the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice." The GIRM includes rules about both the preferred postures at different parts of the Mass, including kneeling during the Communion Rite. However, it also leaves room for variation in certain situations, including, it would seem, appropriate postures for chapels without kneelers. So, as with the disciples in last Sunday's Gospel, we encounter an instance of some ambiguity. Still, the words of Christ in Sunday's Gospel and the teachings of the GIRM - Scripture and Tradition - converge quite conspicuously in guiding the attitude we are to extend to one another as we live out our Christian lives as authentically as we can, particularly at the Eucharist, which forms us as the People of God: "In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own... They should endeavor to make this clear by their deep religious sense and their charity towards brothers and sisters who participate with them in the same celebration. Thus, they are to shun any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other." I must admit, the differing postures and gestures, as noticeably disparate as they sometimes are, are not what attune my attention the most when celebrating Mass. Rather, it is - sadly - the looks I often see - from one kneeling to one standing, or from one standing to one kneeling. At their most benign, they are looks of curiosity. More frequently, they are looks of confusion and sudden self-consciousness. On some occasions, they are looks of contempt and judgment. None of these seem particularly desirable during a time of worship, especially of communal worship, and especially at the Eucharist. Last Sunday's Gospel was not about postures we ought or ought not to assume at Mass. But the Gospel does seem to assert - rather provocatively - that an authentic relationship to Jesus Christ - an authenticity confirmed both by word and by the quality and power of a disciple's Christian witness ("one who performs a mighty deed in my name") - is the primary guiding principle of discipleship, not membership to a particular clique of disciples. While the Gospel doesn't solve our practical problem of what postures and gestures we should or should not perform, it does make very clear an admonition not to cast judgment on others who are living out an authentic Christian faith, and indeed, to enter into "Communion" with them. This week's Faith Point is written by Fr. Lou DelFra, CSC. Fr. Lou is the director of the Bible Studies and the ACE Chaplain. He can be reached at delfra.2@nd.edu. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer

Losing sight of giving roots

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Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, spoke Sunday Sept. 27th in Prague to the faculties there about the proper use of academic freedom in the pursuit of truth. Many would consider this statement to be trivially true, and as such pay only trivial lip-service to it. But as Catholics and as Christians more generally, the truth is not merely a provisional point at which our intellectual affairs are aimed, some pragmatic goal, but it is transcendent and divine: Our Lord did tell us that He is "the way, the truth, and the life." And so, our work at the university, our pursuit of Truth, must be informed by a truly holistic and universal view, one in which moral and religious perspectives are not only relevant but essential to our enterprise. But often academic freedom is invoked not as a proper means to pursue truth, but in order to divorce the intellectual and the moral. In light of this, our Holy Father asks a serious of tough questions: "Is it not the case that frequently, across the globe, the exercise of reason and academic research are - subtly and not so subtly - constrained to bow to the pressures of ideological interest groups and the lure of short-term utilitarian or pragmatic goals? What will happen if our culture builds itself only on fashionable arguments, with little reference to a genuine historical intellectual tradition, or on the viewpoints that are most vociferously promoted and most heavily funded? What will happen if in its anxiety to preserve a radical secularism, it detaches itself from its life-giving roots?" And his sobering answer: "Our societies will not become more reasonable or tolerant or adaptable but rather more brittle and less inclusive, and they will increasingly struggle to recognize what is true, noble and good." Perhaps we would do well to ponder these words, and ask ourselves: has the pursuit of truth at Notre Dame and our university's proper autonomy been thwarted and subverted? In the work of the university, is more attention paid to what is fashionable, popular or well-funded? Has Notre Dame detached itself from its life-giving roots? And, perhaps most importantly, does Notre Dame struggle to recognize what is true, noble and good? Jonathan Buttaci alumnus Class of 2009 Sept. 28


The Observer

Real world rundown

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As far as season openers go, there's Major League Baseball's opening day, NFL's Kickoff Weekend, and the season premiere of the latest Real World/Road Rules Challenge. That's the pecking order. Now, you may have missed last night's debut of "The Ruins" on MTV. That's why I'm here. Here's a play-by-play recap of what went down. 10:00 p.m. - The episode kicks off with some dramatic shots of Thailand, as well as highlights from the upcoming season. Notable newcomers to this season are Chet and Sarah from Real World: Brooklyn, also known as the least interesting Real World season ever. 10:10 - If you picked 10 minutes for how long it took Tonya to get drunk and naked, congratulations, you win. 10:14 - One sentence from Kenny just contained three f-bombs and two "bro"s. And you wonder why I watch this show. 10:29 - Wes claims that he's going to "tackle his teammates" to throw challenges if his teammates don't agree with him. Dishonest play on The Challenge? Can we get a Congressional Committee on this? 10:46 - The first challenge involves climbing a rope over your teammates. I don't know. It didn't make a whole lot of sense. All I know is Wes tried to throw the challenge for his team but couldn't even do that right. Darrell says he wants to send Wes home so he doesn't continue to throw challenges. Good strategy, Darrell. 10:53 - We were so close to our first fight of the season, involving, you guessed it, Wes and Darrell. 10:56 - In the least surprising development of the season, Wes chooses to go into The Ruins against Chet, the skinny rookie Mormon guy. This has to be one of the biggest mismatches in Challenge history. 11:01 - It's so cute watching Chet try to be competitive and, well, manly. An actual quote: "I'm going to go in there and destroy Wes. From now on, I'm gonna be known as the bow-tie killa." 11:15 - Wes barely squeaks out the Ruins showdown over Chet, who kept it respectably close. It looked for a while like Chet might play the role of Appalachian State, but it wasn't to be, which is too bad, because every Challenge needs a skinny little Mormon. 11:25 - Another close Ruins for the women, with Tonya coming out on top. I'm glad Tonya will stay to provide her own style of drunken, naked debauchery. In all, it was definitely an intriguing first episode. Obviously the biggest subplot is Wes trying to submarine his own team. It'll definitely be interesting to see how that plays out over the rest of the season. I'd like to thank James, Colin and Casey for giving me someone else to watch this with and not feel like a complete loser. One of the scenes from next week shows Shauvon saying, "I think I popped my implant." This is going to be a good season.


The Observer

Fiction

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It's that time of year. The weather is dreary, and the football team is starting to underperform like a Charlie Weis team once again. Not to mention that South Dining Hall has decided not to restock fresh food until after Fall Break. To fight back against the disappointments of Mother Nature, the Fat Plague and corn-dog buffets, consider pulling these pranks to make the Golden Dome shine a little brighter. Wing-It Rudy: Sneak into the football team's procession to the Stadium by dressing up in a suit and tie, hiding just inside Fitzpatrick and blending in undetected as the group walks past. Aim for Sam Young's vicinity - he might just hold you all the way to the locker room. NBC Revenge: On a large poster board, paint an acronymic advertisement for NBC on one side. For example, a poster reading, "ND / Believes in / Community," accompanied by a headshot of Joel McHale might entice the network to give some extra time to its new show during a football game. Once the camera focuses on your ad, flip it over to reveal your true message. Something along the lines of "NBC / Beats / Children" would do. Second Coming: Gather a bunch of plastic crates like those used to ship Coca-Cola products, and place them in the bottom of the reflecting pool, forming a line from one side to the other. Dress up in a robe and sash on a home football Saturday and walk across the crates to render tourists speechless by creating the impression that you are walking on water. If nonbelievers doubt thy divinity, remind them of one of your other talents - drain the reflecting pool overnight and refill it with a couple hundred boxes of Franzia by the morning. Nut Block: Buy a stuffed squirrel from Ebay, and then freeze the squirrel in a block of ice. Under a snow drift, place the ice block of squirrel in a high traffic area like South Quad or the entrance to DeBartolo. For added effect, throw in some nuts and manipulate the stuffed squirrel into a pose to make it appear as if he was chasing, or perhaps juggling, the nuts when he met his fate. Seismic Stonehenge: Construct a paper mache replica of a slab of stone. Attach a fish line and place your creation on top of Stonehenge. Wait for tourists to approach and yank on the line, causing panic by triggering the deadly-looking stone slab to the ground. The Observer bears no responsibility for any unlawful or disgraceful actions inspired by this column.


The Observer

No band? I'm sorry

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In response to Jim Blase ("No band, no excuses", Sept. 28), I would like to ask, were you in band when you attended Notre Dame Law School? My guess is no. If you knew how the band worked, you would know that we are told what games we are playing at, and when. We, as band members, cannot just "volunteer" to attend a game that the whole band is not being sent to, it just does not work that way. If I were to walk into the Purdue stadium holding my clarinet saying, "I'm going to volunteer to play the Notre Dame school songs," they would look at me like I was crazy. I know the band appreciates people wanting us to be at games, but you have to know how the system works before you get upset about it. Purdue was my first game as a "normal" Notre Dame student, no uniform, no instrument, and I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Don't get me wrong, I love playing in the band at football games more than anything, but the opportunity to wear an Notre Dame jersey, beads, face paint, and other Notre Dame accessories is something I've been waiting for, so don't take that away from me because your voice wasn't loud enough to sing the Victory March and Alma Mater over the Purdue fans like mine and the rest of my band friends who attended the game. Thanks, and Go Irish, beat Huskies! Jessica Young Senior Lewis hall Sept. 29