PARIS (AP) — Vandals painted pro-Uighur graffiti on France’s Holocaust Memorial ahead of international commemorations of the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews. The Israeli Embassy in France tweeted a photo of the graffiti scrawled on a wall etched with the names of tens of thousands of French victims of the Holocaust. The embassy expressed “horror and anger” at the vandalism “on such a symbolic day.” Paris police said the graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning, as ceremonies were being held or planned around the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The graffiti was not expressly anti-Semitic but apparently sought to call attention to China’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Town of Palm Beach, Florida, is considering its legal options as former President Donald Trump is still living at his Mar-a-Lago club, a possible violation of a 1993 agreement. Town Manager Kirk Blouin said in a brief email Thursday that Palm Beach is examining its options and the matter might be discussed at the town council’s February meeting. Trump and the town agreed nearly 30 years ago when he turned the estate into a club that he would not live there more than seven days consecutively or more than 21 days a year. Trump’s office disputes that there’s an agreement, saying nothing prevents him from living there.
NEW DELHI (AP) — It took just one tweet from Rihanna to anger the Indian government and supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party. The pop star tweeted a link to a news story on the farmer protests that have gripped India. Now, senior officials, Indian celebrities and India’s foreign ministry are urging compatriots to denounce outsiders trying to divide the country. Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting new agriculture laws they say will devastate their earnings. The protests are posing a major challenge for Modi who has billed the laws as necessary to modernize Indian farming. Greta Thunberg and the niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris are among those who tweeted their support, triggering a social media storm back in India.
University Faculty for Life (UFL), a national organization, approved a chapter on Notre Dame’s campus this fall, the University announced last week. Notre Dame faculty and staff can now join the newly-formed group to engage in academic conversation about pro-life issues. Fr. Wilson D. Miscamble will serve as the president of the Notre Dame chapter, and Daniel Philpott, a political science professor, will serve as vice president. Miscamble said the group would give faculty the opportunity to participate in moral issues and affirm the right to life at all stages. The national organization of UFL was founded in 1989 to promote research and dialogue among faculty and staff who “respect the value of human life from its inception to natural death,” according to a University press release. “Our goal is to foster research and put forth a pro-life position to educate the community about life issues,” Miscamble said. Notre Dame will host the national conference for UFL on campus in June 2011, Miscamble said. “For this particular year I see it as a year of getting the chapter firmly established,” Miscamble said. “We will focus on meeting on a regular basis and doing the preparatory work for holding the UFL national conference.” Miscamble said the UFL chapter at Notre Dame would work on spiritual, academic and social levels. Members will support each other through prayer, invite speakers and academic discussion on life questions and host events that bring the members together to talk about issues related to their pro-life stance. “Many of us have been individual members of the national organization for some time,” Miscamble said. “What this marks is an effort for us to collaborate on campus.” The Notre Dame UFL chapter currently includes 25 formal members, Miscamble said. “One of my major objectives for the year is to increase membership,” Miscamble said. “This organization is multidisciplinary so we can bring faculty together from multiple colleges.” Miscamble currently serves as the chaplain for Notre Dame Right to Life, the student pro-life group on campus. He said events between the faculty and student pro-life groups will hopefully bring even more visibility to the pro-life cause at Notre Dame. “I think students will gain encouragement and support for their own efforts when they see that their faculty who might be a little bit older are still deeply committed to this cause,” Miscamble said. “What I see occurring is indeed a close and cooperative relationship between the University Faculty for Life and the Notre Dame Right to Life, the student organization involved in the pro-life cause,” Miscamble said. Political science professor Daniel Philpott joined UFL in July 2010 and will serve as the vice president of the Notre Dame UFL chapter. He said his work with the Human Rights Defense Fund moved him to work for human dignity and the protection of the unborn. “Notre Dame is a university that has a strong commitment to teaching social justice in the classroom,” Philpott said. “And the killing of the unborn is the largest human rights violation in the world today.” The UFL defends the right to life from conception to natural death and particularly works on the issues of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, Philpott said. “As scholars, we share a very strong commitment to reasoning and to cool, careful thought in dialogue,” Philpott said. “This is the spirit in which we are proceeding on an issue that can be polarizing and rancorous in national conversation.” Other faculty members serving in the Notre Dame UFL chapter include Program of Liberal Studies professor Walter Nicgorski as secretary-treasurer. Engineering professor Craig Lent and Elizabeth Kirk, associate director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, will serve as members of the chapter’s executive board. UFL membership also includes non-Catholic institutions and faculty members, but Philpott said Notre Dame, as a Catholic university, naturally fit into the organization. “The UFL itself does not have a religious affiliation,” Philpott said. “But obviously there is a very close resonance with the mission of a Catholic university and protecting the right to life.”
Tonight marks the beginning of Junior Parents Weekend, a three-day event when sons and daughters of Notre Dame will show their parents how they have spent the past three years. JPW co-chair Marta Stepien said the weekend will give parents of junior students a unique opportunity to share in their children’s college experience. “It’s really a setting for both parents and students to get to know the energy and environment of the school,” Stepien said. The weekend festivities will kick off with an evening Gala, followed by a Saturday of collegiate workshops hosted by each of the four colleges, she said. After a Saturday night mass, students and their parents will gather for a President’s Dinner at the Joyce Center. Stepien said the seating arrangement of the dinner will allow students to bond with their parents while also becoming better acquainted with the families of their friends and classmates. “We set up the seating so that everyone sits with their friends, and all their families are together,” Stepien said. “Not only do you get to spend time with your parents, but also with the people you chose to sit with and their parents.” Stepien said the weekend concludes with a brunch Sunday morning in the Joyce Center. Stepien said she expects this year’s JPW will be extremely successful. The rise in ticket sales for weekend events demonstrated an unexpected rise in student enthusiasm, she said. “In preemptive tickets sales we have surpassed the total people expected from the past 10 years,” Stepien said. “However, we’re still hoping that even more parents and students will show up.” Despite the time-intensive effort required to plan and coordinate JPW, the job was not stressful due to the devotion and hard work of her co-workers, who ultimately made the planning experience a positive one, Stepien said. “I’m really just happy that I get to be a part of it all,” Stepien said. Stepien said parents will not only see what their sons and daughters are studying academically, but also how they relax outside of the confines of the classroom. This makes JPW a very special weekend, she said. “At Notre Dame, there’s such a balance between work and play that students really want to show their parents what they do in the classroom, but also what they do to unwind,” Stepien said.
The Saint Mary’s Office for Social and Civic Engagement (OSCE) has joined with Holy Cross College and Notre Dame to host the Holy Cross Harvest this week. This is the third year the institutions have hosted the festival, Jessica Bulosan, assistant director of OSCE, said. The festival aims to help people in the South Bend Community who lack basic resources, Bulosan said. OSCE will host discussions, place food barrels around the College and encourage students to donate a meal swipe in solidarity with the hungry. “The food drive is the main event in the Holy Cross Harvest,” Bulosan said. “We at Saint Mary’s are donating all of the food and monetary donations we get to the Food Bank [of] Northern Indiana.” Throughout the week, OSCE will sell T-shirts in exchange for food donations. Bulosan said she hopes Harvest will increase awareness of homelessness in the South Bend area. On Friday, students can “donate a meal” to the Holy Cross Harvest. The same day, Milt Lee, executive director of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, will present in the Student Center about hunger in Michiana. “We often think of hunger as a problem elsewhere in the world,” Bulosan said. “There’s so much in our own community that we can help with, and it’s really concrete, really immediate.” Bulosan said donations given at the Faculty Thanksgiving Potluck will also support the Holy Cross Harvest. “We can do something today to help kids who are hungry have food, to help families who are hungry have food,” she said. “That’s something that we want to kind of open students’ eyes to. There’s so much hunger right here that we can help with.” The College’s mission statement declares the institution helps students promote a life of social responsibility, Bulosan said. “The Holy Cross Harvest allows Saint Mary’s women to … start making a difference in the world right now,” she said. The Holy Cross Harvest promotes the vision of the Holy Cross community, Bulosan said. “The Holy Cross brothers and sisters founded our schools with the same vision: to provide eccellent educations so students can make a positive difference in the world,” she said. “The Holy Cross Harvest allows students to reach across school lines to work together for something positive.” Contact Samatha Castaneda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Rice | The Observer On Thursday, student body president emeritus Lauren Vidal, student body vice president emeritus Matthew Devine and student body chief of staff emeritus Shannon Montague will present recommendations to the Board of Trustees for how the University can improve mental health resources for students.Each spring, the outgoing student body administration has the opportunity to present recommendations on an issue they are passionate about to the Board, Vidal said.Vidal said her administration has been working on the mental health issue for quite some time; she, Devine and Montague gave a “preliminary report” to the Board of Trustees on stress and student wellbeing in October.Vidal said the former administration began the report by assessing the resources on campus and how students use them.“We found that we have all if not more resources than what universities across the nation have, so in that respect we are doing a good job,” she said. “I think what we need to do differently is the promotion of our resources and how to bring students in by reducing the stigma.“So we approached that for a year. We thought, how can we really change this on campus?”In the final report this Thursday, the group will recommend the following:“Strategic consolidation of all University health resources for easier access, recognition and usage through the centralized web portal: IRISHEALTH”“Streamlining of the reporting system for individuals (faculty, staff, peers of fellow students) who are concerned about the wellbeing of a student”“Incorporation of a consolidated web portal of health resources in the curriculum of the Moreau First Year Experience course”“Reevaluation of the physical space in St. Liam’s Hall to redefine the hall as a ‘house of health.”These recommendations came from the group’s observations and findings about the current state of campus, Vidal said.The purpose of the IRISHHEALTH portal, Vidal said, would be to combine the existing information and resources that are currently available on the University Counseling Center (UCC) website, the University Health Services (UHS) website and the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being website as well as making it easier to navigate for students.“We’re going for rebranding and consolidation,” Vidal said.The second recommendation revolves around the Campus Assessment, Response and Education (CARE) program that, among other things, is a resource for people on campus concerned about a student’s wellbeing and also to assist students applying for readmission to the University. Vidal said many on campus were unsure of how these resources worked.The Moreau First Year Experience course will replace the current Physical Education and Contemporary Topics curriculum. The group has proposed that part of this curriculum detail the resources available for mental health and wellness and how to find and use them.Finally, the group has recommended that the space in St. Liam’s be reevaluated, particularly regarding waiting rooms. Vidal said the group suggested that the waiting rooms for the UCC and UHS be consolidated into one, in order to help students feel more comfortable. Vidal said she had received the most positive feedback on this point out of all the recommendations.The report also detailed a number of findings. One of the notable points concerned populations on campus especially vulnerable to “excessive stress levels and the associated mental health consequences,” the report reads.“We identified two; the first is first-year students … The second is international Asian students; we have found a lot of research to support that,” Vidal said.According to the data presented in the report, only 3.7 percent of students enrolled in the First Year of Studies visited the UCC in the 2013-2014 academic year, compared with 22 percent of Arts and Letters students, 9.9 percent of Architecture students, 11.5 percent of Business students, 16 percent of Engineering students and 18 percent of Science students.Additionally, they found based on UCC data and national averages that the University has higher percentages of students with psychotropic medication, alcohol abuse, ADHD and eating disorders compared to other mid-size universities.Official findings of the report include the following:“Misconceptions about postgraduate opportunities lead to unrealistic views on ‘necessary’ academic and extracurricular involvement, which contribute significantly to student stress.”“Students primarily connect with resources online and look to the Internet first when searching for information.”“The University does offer a number of counseling and support resources, but there is a lack of awareness of these resources among students.”“The stigma surrounding mental health may prevent students from getting the help they need.”“There are reporting structures in place, but faculty members still remain generally unaware of how to recognize students who may be struggling emotional and how to get them the help they need.”Tags: Board of Trustees, CLC, McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, Mental health, UCC, Vidal + Devine
While the polarizing rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election is seen as unique to certain American candidates, Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, said this rhetoric is not limited to America but rather mirrors a growing international rhetoric of extremist views. Baker spoke on the similarities between current American and European views in a lecture Monday night titled “2016 Presidential Election: A Global Perspective.” Sarah Olson | The Observer Gerard Baker speaks in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business on Monday night. Baker, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, spoke on the rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election.The lecture, which was held through the Eugene Clark Distinguished Lecture Series and the Mendoza College of Business, was held in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium.Baker said he has covered more than six presidential elections in his career and noted this year’s is different.“I cannot recall a more extraordinary election then the one we are having now,” he said. “However, it’s not just happening here — we are seeing extraordinary events elsewhere in the world, and they have remarkable things in common.”Parties espousing extreme views are gaining popularity in established Western democracies, primarily because of economic dissatisfaction, Baker said. In recent elections in Germany, the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland, which was created only three years ago, secured 25 percent of the vote in some states, Baker said.Baker said the Wall Street Journal’s polls have demonstrated American dissatisfaction with the direction of the country.“Other than during the first three months of President Obama’s administration, for the last 10 years, Americans have continually reported that they feel the country is on the wrong track,” Baker said. “People feel more strongly now than they did four or eight years ago, but these numbers suggest dissatisfaction with the economy is higher now than it was during the recession, or in 2012 when Obama was re-elected.”The stagnation of middle class income has contributed to the sense of dissatisfaction, Baker said.“The U.S. has been the most successful economic machine in the history the world. It has been particularly successful in growing the middle class,” Baker said. “What we’ve seen in the last 25 years is that the progress has actually stopped.”While the United States is unique in when dealing with middle-class income stagnation, Baker said, economic dissatisfaction is also seen in Europe’s high unemployment rate.“In the last 25 years we have seen trade agreements, we have seen [an] opening up and increase of the global economy, we saw the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the emergence of China as a major player at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s,” he said. “This unleashed huge amounts of resources into the world economy, that had not been available before. A combination of free trade agreements and the emergence of these economies into the global system created an extraordinary amount of supply that drove down the price of labor. You saw this situation where people in high-wage countries were significantly impaired by the arrival of the low-cost countries on the global scale.”This opening of the global economy combined with technological advancements has created job insecurity for millions of low-wage workers in the United States and Europe, Baker said.“Advances of technology and waves of innovation have been a feature of the capitalist system that encourages investment and innovation. What it is doing is creating an enormous sense of insecurity for many workers — robots replacing workers and computers replacing workers,” he said.Economic dissatisfaction has created “an overwhelming desire” to recover national identity, Baker said.“Combined with the sense of political correctness that you see in Washington and Brussels, there is pervasive political correctness that has alienated numerous people around the world,” he said.Baker said whichever candidate wins in the presidential election will have a hard time passing international trade agreements, even if the agreement is beneficial for the global economy. He said both Democrats and Republicans will not push for global trade initiatives and instead opt to support more protectionist measures, as many believe the opening of the global economy has contributed to the stagnation of the middle class.“I don’t want to give the impression that we are retreating into the 1920s, 1930s [economy] because people are too dependent on each other, globally,” he said. “But I do think we are headed into a period where we can see a much greater assertion of national rights.”Tags: 2016 Election, Wall Street Journal
The student worker participation committee (SWPC) hosted a town hall discussion on the “China Policy” Wednesday night in Geddes Hall. Rosie LoVoi | The Observer The student worker participation committee (SWPC) hosted a town hall Wednesday night in Geddes Hall to discuss the ‘China policy’ and the ‘Freedom of Association’ policy.Since 2001, the “Freedom of Association” policy has identified 11 countries, including China, as being ineligible for the production of University merchandise. The Worker Participation Committee (WPC) wrote a “Review of the Freedom of Association Policy,” in May 2015, which provided recommendations for assessing factories in China and other countries regarding worker participation. One of the recommendations was to form a student subcommittee to the WPC, the SWPC. “There was a call to bring students more intentionally to the table and so we followed up that recommendation by submitting a letter to Dr. Affleck-Graves in December 2015,” Matt Caponigro, secretary of the SWPC, said. “There were eight students who were particularly passionate about the issue, all kind of knew each other and we got together and offered to Dr. Affleck-Graves that we would volunteer ourselves to be on the committee, at least long enough to get a committee formed.”Caponigro said that in order to best represent the student body, students from a variety of fields and organizations — both undergraduate and graduate — sit on the committee. “We wanted to represent all of the student issues or all of the student groups we thought would be interested in this topic,” he said. “So we found people from the business school, we found people who were interested in coming at it from more of a human rights perspective. We were looking for people who were really going to be looking at this from a labor perspective. We also recognized that, despite identifying all of these student clubs around campus, we might still be missing some people, so we created a couple of seats we’re calling ‘open academic positions.’” Three representatives from the SWPC also sit on the WPC, which is otherwise comprised of faculty and staff.“Ideally what we’re going to do at the end of the day is, as students, pool our resources, pool our experiences from all of these different perspectives into an informed perspective that our three reps will bring to inform the Worker Participation Committee in their meetings as equal partners at the table,” Caponigro said. “The other sort of mission is to bring so much more diversity and experience and background and thought to the process. It’s one thing to have fifteen well-experienced administrators and faculty at the table, but you double in size when you bring in these students.”While the town hall discussion was focused on addressing factories in China and other countries the University works with, Caponigro said he and the other representatives from the WPC and SWPC in attendance would not be naming any of these countries. “One of the things we’re going to be careful about tonight is that to honor our working relationship with the licensees, we will not list any of the licensees by name,” he said. “We will not mention any brand names; we will not mention the names of any of the factories that we’re talking about tonight. That’s something we’ve agreed to do, sort of in good faith with our licensee partners.” “The question is whether or not to allow manufacturing in China,” Caponigro said. “That’s a simple way of saying it; really, it’s many questions: how important are our international labor laws and statutes to inform the way that countries approach the rights and freedoms of their workers? How important is Catholic Social Teaching to informing the way we think about workers? How important is human development and the ability to do good by some people who haven’t had a lot of good done by them, even if it’s at the cost of some of the more principled ways of approaching the effort?”Hannah O’Brien, one of the SWPC’s representatives for the WPC, was part of a group that went to Guatemala and El Salvador to assess factories the University was already utilizing. “This pilot program focuses on China, but we did assessments in other countries as well: Guatemala, El Salvador, India and Bangladesh, where we’d already been manufacturing,” she said. “We were making these standards for China but we wanted to make sure these other places were also meeting these standards we’re trying to enforce. In some cases, they weren’t. In fact, in some of these factories, the conditions were worse than they were in the factories in China.” According to O’Brien, the factories were being assessed on freedom of association and worker participation. “Freedom of association and worker participation are not the same thing,” she said. “Freedom of association, in the broad sense, is ‘is it legal in this country for unions to be formed in any sector.’ Worker participation is not very different, but different in that unionization doesn’t have to be legal, but the goal is to see to what extent can we get the workers involved with the management and have a say in how things are run without necessarily forming a union.”The difference between the two, O’Brien said, was clear in some of the factories they assessed in Guatemala and El Salvador. “Unionization is legal in these countries, but it’s frowned upon,” she said. “Whereas worker participation, on the other hand, was in a lot of factories that we saw; they already had a strong system or they were making strides toward that.” Dan Graff, director of the Higgins Labor Program said that while China technically has one union, it doesn’t function the way American unions do.“The Chinese unions are attached to the communist party,” he said. “They’re attached to the state and there’s no ability to make any independent, legal entities outside of that framework.”Caponigro said that while the Chinese unions exist, they don’t have high worker participation. “Unions in the United States are voted to be in existence by the voters in a particular factory or from a particular employer, whereas unions in China, which are institutionalized with the business,” he said. “It’s mandatory for there to be a chapter but the question is whether or not workers are participating in the union.” Several of the participants asked the WPC and SWPC members in attendance why China, in particular, was garnering so much attention and effort from the University.“There seems to be a push for better relations with China and this is a part of that,” O’Brien said. “We already buy so many products from China, but we refuse to manufacture there. Why don’t we reevaluate that policy and see if we can get workers involved and manufacture and improve the lives of workers and do that in a way that’s actually impactful rather than just saying ‘oh, well on moral grounds, we’re not going to do this at all.’ But, effectively, we’re still not doing anything because we buy all those other products from them. It’s kind of a double standard in my opinion.”Mike Lowe, director of licensing, said the University was, above all, trying to make a difference and the “Freedom of Association” policy, in regards to China, was not accomplishing that. “Ideally, when Notre Dame initiated the policy in 2001, I think the inherent hope was that other universities would see this as a policy that they would adopt and, over the years, not a single other university has adopted the policy,” he said. “We have this policy that’s very strong and very moral but it didn’t make a difference. So the question is, if we engage with our licensees in production in factories they’re currently working in, are we better able, by being engaged in China to develop different levels of workers’ rights than if we just walk away from them.”Tags: China, Student Worker Participation Committee, Worker Participation Committee
Sophomores Charlotte Edmonds, Maria Leontaras and Mary Steurer and junior Natalie Weber will help oversee The Observer’s Editorial Board next year, incoming Editor-in-Chief Kelli Smith announced Sunday.Edmonds will take on the Managing Editor position, while Leontaras, Steurer and Weber will all serve as Assistant Managing Editors. All four women will officially begin their new roles March 18.Edmonds, a sophomore living in Pasquerilla West Hall, is finishing her term as Associate Sports Editor. Originally from Oklahoma City, Edmonds is majoring in history with a minor in business economics. Edmonds began her time with The Observer in the News department but has since moved to Sports, covering a variety of different teams over the past year, including Notre Dame fencing, football and women’s basketball.“I’m looking forward to continuing to develop The Observer and ensuring it’s serving and informing the tri-campus community,” Edmonds said. “Working alongside our staff members and Editorial Board is such an honor, and I think we’re fully equipped to navigate the year ahead.”Weber is a junior who previously served as News Editor, and is currently studying abroad in Puebla, Mexico. Weber has written about the University’s response to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis, the experience of low-income students on campus and the presence of bats in various dorms. A Colorado native, Weber is majoring in English, with minors in journalism, ethics and democracy and computing and digital technologies. On campus, Weber lives in Cavanaugh Hall.“I’m excited and honored to be a part of this team,” Weber said. “The Observer has played a significant role in my college experience, and I look forward to our plans for the coming year.” Leontaras, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, is pursuing a student-designed major in interactive journalism with minors in Italian and mathematics. From Crown Point, Indiana, she is completing her term as Associate Saint Mary’s Editor. Leontaras has covered various events on the College’s campus, including former College President Jan Cervelli’s resignation and lectures from acclaimed visiting authors.“The Observer is a great platform to bring the tri-campus community together, and it’s an honor to be able to work alongside such qualified and passionate student journalists,” Leontaras said. “I am looking forward to contributing to the paper’s legacy.”Steurer is a sophomore computer science engineering major minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Steurer currently serves as News Editor, and during her time at The Observer has written about topics such as the Waddick’s renovation, the Columbus murals and, most recently, the student government elections. Originally from St. Louis, Steurer currently lives in Howard Hall.“I’ve loved working for The Observer since I first joined my freshman year,” she said. “This paper means so much to me and I can’t wait to start this new adventure.”Tags: Observer editorial board, Observer editors, The Observer