Students, staff react to passing of health care bill


first_imgNotre Dame College Democrats celebrated a long-awaited victory Sunday after spending months making more than 6,000 phone calls to area residents, asking them to express their support to health care reform to Rep. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat.Donnelly voted “yes” on the health care reform legislation, which passed in the House of Representatives Sunday by a 219-212 vote. President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign the bill today. William Evans, an economics professor at Notre Dame with an expertise in health economics, said the legislation marks “extensive change” on a number of fronts.“Any way you slice it, a trillion dollars over 10 years is a chunk of change,” Evans said, referring to the estimated increase in government expenditures.Evans said the bill will result in a “fairly substantial increase in government provision of medical care.”While it won’t provide universal coverage, as some have suggested, Evans said more Americans will have health insurance.“It’s clear that insurance enrollment is going to go up as a result of this … and the number of uninsured is going to go down,” he said.The positives and negatives of reform have been fiercely debated, mostly along partisan lines, but Evans said he sees both good and bad in the legislation. He pointed to aggressive moves to control Medicare costs as a positive change but said those who are concerned about the high cost are “rightfully worried.”But for the College Democrats, the bill’s passage was seen as completely positive.“The College Democrats are celebrating a victory for justice,” said junior Chris Rhodenbaugh, co-president of the College Democrats. “We are proud that the Congress, in particular Joe Donnelly, listened to the voices of the American people and did what is right for the future of our country.”Meanwhile, Notre Dame College Republicans are lamenting the passing of the bill — one that did not garner a single Republican vote in the House.“The economic and medical future of our country has been compromised,” said senior Erika Hagstrom, president of the College Republicans. “We will not be able to go back, and college students like those of us at Notre Dame will be paying for it for the rest of our lives — fiscally and physically.”Rhodenbaugh said the bill’s main strengths are that it will not discriminate based on preexisting conditions while getting more healthy people into the health care system and focusing more on preventing illness, rather than on treating the uninsured once they get sick.“That’s where huge cost savings come in,” he said.Rhodenbaugh also said the bill will benefit college students by allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old.Roughly 28 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are currently uninsured, Evans said.Hagstrom said a primary concern is that the bill will be a detriment to the country’s already weak economy.“The bill will increase costs which is the last thing we should be doing in this economy,” she said.Hagstrom also said she is against the bill’s language regarding abortion, which has been heavily debated as lawmakers, Catholic organizations and pro-life groups disagree whether the bill would allow federal funding for abortion.Donnelly, a pro-life Democrat, was one of a handful of representatives who withheld their support for the bill until a last-minute deal was struck with the president, who agreed to sign an executive order to prohibit federal money from funding abortions.Still, some groups, including pro-life groups, have said the executive order is not a sufficient guarantee that federal money won’t able to fund abortions.“I, along with Republicans, agree that it is immoral and wrong to force taxpayers who may be pro-life to pay for abortions,” Hagstrom said.Rhodenbaugh said he believes the bill as it was passed will not fund abortions.“The Senate bill won’t fund abortion and the House bill won’t fund abortion,” he said. “Abortion will not be paid for in this bill.”Rhodenbaugh said the bill is actually quite pro-life and Catholic.“From a Catholic perspective, [we] should be working to pursue universal health care and treat health care as a right. It’s about the dignity of the whole life from birth all the way until death,” Rhodenbaugh said. “And health care is a huge part of that.”last_img read more

New landlord enters off-campus housing market


first_imgWhen sophomore Meghan Donoghue decided to live off campus her senior year, she worked with Kramer Properties, a local retail company. A few weeks after signing her lease, however, she found out via e-mail that a different company would be managing her house.“We signed for our house with Kramer, paid the first and last month’s rent and the security deposit and about two weeks later received an e-mail that Kramer was no longer our landlord,” Donoghue said. “I know a lot of people who had signed with Kramer were really confused or upset when they heard about the switch.”Campus Apartments, a national retail management company, recently took over a portion of Kramer Properties.Mark Kramer, owner of Kramer Properties, said he sold 56 homes and Notre Dame Apartments in February 2008 to Gross and Cohen Real Estate Investors.Gross and Cohen decided to have Campus Apartments, a national chain managing off-campus housing at schools across the U.S., manage the homes and apartments for them, president Michael Cohen said.This is the first time the company has worked with Campus Apartments, but  “they have great, national quality,” Cohen said.For students who have not yet signed a lease, the management change could work to their advantage.Rent for the homes now managed under Campus Apartments is lower than when they were managed under Kramer. Cohen said the lowering of the rent was a joint decision between Gross and Cohen investors and Campus Apartments.“There were not many units rented when [Campus Apartments] took over,” Cohen said. “They had to be aggressive.”Junior Mike Delach, who originally signed with Kramer Properties, said he was indifferent to the management change.“I knew that my lease was going to be honored. They just said it was going to be the same kind of ownership. They didn’t make it seem like anything was going to change,” Delach said.Delach said he hopes that he will still be able to have “the college experience” and would be disappointed if Campus Apartments was stricter than Kramer Properties. The only complaint Delach has so far, he said, is the lack of communication between Campus Apartments and students.“I’m feeling pretty under-informed from Campus Apartments,” he said. “[I’d like] more information. Security information would be good.”Donoghue said she has not yet been contacted by Campus Apartments. “Though we have not attempted to contact Campus Apartments, it seems strange to me that they haven’t reached out to us at all,” she said. Kramer said he sold the properties to reduce the number of homes he owned and help improve business.“We like to make it have more of a personal touch,” Kramer said. “It was getting quite large. We want to be on a personal level with students.”Kramer said he still has 75 student homes, as well as the Lafayette Square townhomes and other properties.“Business is still booming,” Kramer said. “We’re still around and we intend to be in business for a long time.”last_img read more

Student captures ‘united faces of Emily’


first_imgPhotos courtesy of Kay Xu Junior Kay Xu is on a mission to track down each of the 98 Emilys on Notre Dame’s campus and take a photograph of each woman.Shooting her subjects smiling, talking, scowling and laughing, Xu said she is trying to capture what makes the Emilys of Notre Dame similar and what makes them unique.“I think it’s really interesting; it’s really kind of weird,” she said. “Many times, in photography, people want to see weird things.”Xu said her project — which she calls the “United Faces of Emily” — began as an assignment for a photography class.The original directive, she said, was to photograph three people who were related in some way.After discovering two other people on campus had the same full name as her former roommate, junior Emily Morgan, Xu said she decided their shared name would be the focus of her project.  She said the motivation behind this decision was her belief that when two people have the same name, there exists a special connection between them.“Sometimes you hear someone has the same name as yours, and you feel like she’s your sister or she’s your family, though you don’t know her,” Xu said.When she was unable to contact one of the three Emily Morgans, she expanded her attention to include all of the Emilys on campus.Xu said through meeting and taking pictures of Notre Dame’s Emilys, she hopes to explore the impact of a person’s name on her identity.“What does a name mean?” she asked. “If your name is Emily, what does it mean to you? What does it make different? When you are meeting other Emilys, what kind of feelings do you have?”Practically speaking, Xu said she hopes to photograph at least half of the almost 100 Emilys on campus during Wednesday afternoon photo sessions in Riley Hall of Art and Design.“It’s kind of awkward,” she said. “I really haven’t done something like staying in a room with strangers for two hours, one hour, even 20 minutes. That’s hard for me. But I just get more and more comfortable with the talking and shooting process.”Morgan said Xu infuses the project with energy and creativity.“She gets really excited when shooting, and talks and talks and talks with the Emilys. I’ve gone to multiple shoots to just sit and talk too,” Morgan said. “There’s a lot of laughter.“It’s a bold step for someone in her position to take. She isn’t even a design major but still took this photography class solely based on interest,” she said.Xu hopes to display the portraits she has captured of the individual Emilys for the campus community along with a final composite photograph fused together from the individual shots in an exhibit at the end of the semester, she said.“Photography — there’s something technical about it, how you make photos really pretty,” Xu said. “But the other side is the humanities, philosophy — the social side. Through these, I don’t want to just take photos of people. I want to make those photos mean something to them and to me and probably to the rest of the world.”Tags: Emily Morgan, Emily photo project, Emily photos, junior photo project, Kay Xu, photo project, Riley Hall of Art and Design, United Faces of Emilylast_img read more

Cushwa Center to award Hesburgh Research Travel Grants


first_imgThe Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism announced its new Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Research Travel Grants program, a three-year initiative to help support research projects that consider archival information pertaining to University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, according to a University press release.According to the Center’s website, the grants will help cover travel and lodging costs for researchers traveling to the Notre Dame Archives to access information about the life and legacy of Hesburgh. This opportunity is open to researchers of any academic discipline. Applicants must clearly demonstrate how their projects will relate to Hesburgh.The Cushwa Center offers a number of annual research grants, designed assist scholars who wish to use Notre Dame’s archival collection in Catholic Americana.Hesburgh served as president of the University for 35 years from 1952 through 1987 and died last February at the age of 97. Over the course of his life, Hesburgh was an influential figure in higher education, Catholicism, the civil rights movement and international affairs. During his time as president of the University, he doubled enrollment and allowed women to attend Notre Dame.“Hesburgh’s unique perspective and prodigious contributions stand to inform and enrich a broad range of narratives in American social, religious and political history, as well as ongoing discussions in public policy, philosophy of education, peace studies and theology,” according to the Center’s application page.The Notre Dame Archives, housed in Hesburgh Library, contains primary source documents about the work and life of Hesburgh. According to the website, Hesburgh often sent his papers to the Archives once they were no longer needed for his ongoing work. After his time as University president, he sent the files representing his years in office in addition to many documents from his outside activities.“The Cushwa Center has a longstanding tradition of providing financial support to scholars who are conducting research into the Catholic history of the United States,” Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Center, said in the press release. “Through the creation of the Hesburgh Research Travel Grants, we are looking forward to making new connections with scholars of education, peace studies, political science, policy studies, theology and other fields.“Thanks to this new funding opportunity, Father Ted continues to act as a catalyst and a connector, drawing people from different disciplines and perspectives together to advance our understanding of the world.”The deadline to apply for the first rounds of grants is April 1. Applicants must submit a description of their project and how it pertains to Hesburgh, as well as a proposed budget of estimated travel, lodging and research costs. Grants will be awarded twice yearly, each April 1 and Oct. 1, through 2018.Tags: Father Hesburgh, ND archives, research grants, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Research Travel Grantslast_img read more

Morris Inn restaurants close temporarily due to burst pipe


first_imgThe two restaurants in the Morris Inn at Notre Dame — Rohr’s and Sorin’s — will be closed Tuesday night due to a burst pipe in Rohr’s, according to an email from University spokesperson Dennis Brown. Early Tuesday afternoon, the Notre Dame Fire Department responded to an alarm at the Morris Inn after a frozen pipe broke, releasing water in a stairwell between the kitchen and Rohr’s bar and grill, according to the email. Both restaurants are expected to open Wednesday and there was no extensive or lasting damage to either restaurant or the hotel. Tags: Morris Inn, Notre Dame Fire De, pipe burst, Rohr’s, Sorin’slast_img

Saint Mary’s honors 2017 Outstanding Senior


first_imgDuring her time at Saint Mary’s, Alex Winegar said she strove to put others before herself, even through simple actions such as holding the door open for others. Winegar, the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Senior Award — which honors a student who exemplifies the Saint Mary’s spirit and values — now awaits the many doors that will open for her as a graduate of the College.Editor’s Note: Winegar is a former Associate Saint Mary’s Editor of The Observer.Winegar said students can foster a compassionate, uplifting community through showcasing positivity and optimism in daily tasks.“My mom always has this saying, ‘Be the bright side in someone’s day,’” Winegar said. “I just hope I could’ve done that for at least a few people.”Winegar’s classmates empowered her to consistently work toward her ambitions and use her talents for good, she said“It’s really humbling to accept this award because our class is full of amazing people,” she said. “Our whole school is. I did not expect it to be me at all.”After earning her degree in communicative sciences and disorders from Saint Mary’s, Winegar will pursue a doctorate degree in audiology at Central Michigan University. She said the invaluable lessons she learned and connections she made while enrolled at the College will benefit her for the rest of her life.“I want to make sure that I’m grateful for everything I have in my life,” Winegar said. “Take it one day at a time.”Winegar said she hopes current students embrace their limited time at the College and recognize the premiere education an all-women’s institution affords them.“Realize the importance of being at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “You’re never going to have that again, so take advantage of all four years.”Saint Mary’s emphasis on a challenging curriculum and lifelong friendships enables the College to fortify its students’ minds and hearts, Winegar said.“Over the years, I found myself comparing my college to my friends’ state schools or co-ed schools,” she said. “Ours is truly special and unique, and I think we need to value that a lot more than we do sometimes.”Winegar said Saint Mary’s enforces values of service and selfless love, which enabled her to explore her passions. Her four-year commitment to Dance Marathon — an annual fundraiser in which participants dance for 12 hours to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children — taught her the powerful influence Saint Mary’s students can have on the world, she said.“I love Dance Marathon because it’s like we’re part of something bigger than our school,” Winegar said. “This is where you go to school, and you’re dedicating your life for four years to studying here. It’s like, ‘Why not be involved and learn more about what our campus can really do?’”Saint Mary’s prepares graduates to take on future endeavors with confidence and critical thinking skills, Winegar said. She said she hopes her legacy reflects her everlasting commitment to enhancing the College through simple, random acts of kindness and dedication to service organizations.“I just want to be known as someone who really cared about the school,” Winegar said.Tags: Commencement 2017, communicative sciences and disorders, Dance Marathon, outstanding seniorlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s students complete national writing challenge


first_imgSaint Mary’s students Mary Brophy and Dalanie Beach, a senior and a sophomore respectively, took part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November. As the month draws to a close, the two students said that the month had been a positive experience.“It was good,” Brophy said. “It was extremely busy because I had to put three separate pieces together to get my final total instead of just writing one like I normally do.”Beach said her NaNoWriMo was similarly successful.“My month went really well,” Beach said. “I actually managed to stay ahead, which I think is mostly due to what I chose to write about.”Both Brophy and Beach said for them the most challenging part of the month was finding the time to write.“I have three classes a day, I was in the play [Once a Belle], work and other extracurricular things so just finding time,” Beach said. “Often, I was racing the clock to midnight, trying to get my word count in.”Brophy agreed that her busy schedule made the month more difficult.“I think it was finding time to work on my novel because normally I don’t worry too much about finding time but because I was taking so many credits this semester I actually I had to search for time to write which was frustrating,” Brophy said.  The opportunity to revise an earlier draft of her work was a highlight of the experience, Brophy said.“I think it would be finishing the first section of my [senior composition] and revising it to the point where I liked it … normally you are just writing out anything you can, just getting words on the pages,“ Brophy said. “But actually having the opportunity to … completely rewrite the thing I was working to the point where it’s actually good was an unusual surprise.”Beach said focusing on the plot of her story, as opposed to the characters, was an interesting part of writing this year.“Normally … I’ll think of a character I want to write about, which is what I did last year, and the plot just came as I was going,” Beach said. “This time I started with the plot and the characters came as I was going. It was cool to see that reversal happen.”This year, Brophy said she learned to accept the point of NaNoWriMo is the act of writing and not necessarily completing a project.“In years past I haven’t taken as many credits or wasn’t even in college yet, so I had time,” she said. “[This year has been] a good reminder that I don’t have to win every year; I definitely push myself to hit that 50,000 word count but I was really close to not getting there so I think I learned it’s okay to not finish NaNoWriMo, as long as I am doing some writing.”Tags: characters, National Novel Writing Month, novels, Plot, writinglast_img read more

Senators support student groups, work to pass resolutions


first_imgStudent government vice president Sibonay Shewit revised the committee structure in student senate this year, a slight departure from issue-specific committees formed last year.“We have one that does student outreach, one that does faculty and administrative issues and one that works on the constitution,” Shewit said. “I thought that by doing this they’d be more in touch with what’s going on around campus and carry more of a responsibility to cover everything that students are talking about.”The constitution committee has proposed several amendments that have passed, which aim to create consistency throughout the constitution and be more explicit about quorum and the role of proxy members, Shewit said.“I want to see next semester be more of the senators bringing topics of their own and resolutions of their own, and it started really well with our constitution changes,” she said. “I feel that they’re starting to feel a little bit more comfortable bringing things to senate.”Unexpected events have required the senators to change focus quickly, Shewit said, but having simultaneous projects have not affected the underlying goals of senate.“I definitely didn’t expect a lot of the sudden things that we’ve responded to, like the housing policy and our work with [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] students,” Shewit said. “Both things took up a significant amount of their time, and [we] didn’t see it coming, but they really did respond to those quickly and really did a good job of engaging with their groups.”Next semester, Shewit said, she hopes for the senators to finish their work with the housing policy and support for DACA students, then turn their attention towards other issues, such as a campaign to encourage reusable coffee tumbler use and an effort to create business classes for students outside of the Mendoza College of Business.“I think it’s been a really good start to the year,” Shewit said. “They’ve made a pretty big impact on a lot of issues that our executive time has really put our back behind.”Shewit conducted a mid-season review of senate to discern the current sentiment among senators and how to improve next semester. She said the survey asked senators to rate their experience on the committees and offer recommendations they have going forward.“The responses were really positive. I just wanted to make sure that they felt engaged in senate,” Shewit said. “One pretty unique thing is how close they’ve all gotten, and they have wanted more opportunities outside of these meetings to hang out as a group. They really have become a unified body.”This semester, senators have heard from a variety of speakers including representatives from Campus Dining, The Shirt Project committee and Title IX.“A lot of times when we invite these speakers, they’re super excited to talk to the senators,” Shewit said. “They know how many voices [the senators] represent and how much of what they say is going to be spread onward.”Shewit said she believes in the importance of empowering the senators and in showing them how much influence they have on campus.“Senate — from when I started in student government — has changed so much, and I think it’s moving in such a good direction,” Shewit said. “I think that they do a lot of really great work, and they’re a really representative body and have brought a lot of voices into one room.” While the senators meet frequently outside of their weekly meetings to work on their committees, continue to discuss issues and push for change, they were set behind somewhat by dealing with unexpected issues by taking more symbolic than concrete actions. Shewit and the rest of the senators now hope to turn their attention to more concrete issues next semester.Grade: B+Tags: 2017 Student Government Insider, Notre Dame Student Senate, Senatelast_img read more

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to run for president


first_imgSouth Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a member of the Democratic party, announced in a video Wednesday morning that he is forming an exploratory committee as he considers running for president in the 2020 election. Buttigieg was first elected mayor of South Bend in 2011 and won re-election in 2015. In December, he stated he would not seek a third term.“I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now,” Buttigieg said in the video. “We’re the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11 and we’re the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents unless we do something different. We can’t just polish off a system so broken. It is a season for boldness and a focus on the future.”The announcement follows Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris’ decision to run for office Monday. Buttigieg, a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and former Rhodes Scholar, is the ninth Democrat to enter the race so far.During his time as South Bend’s mayor, Buttigieg has visited Notre Dame’s campus on multiple occasions, including to address the College Democrats and speak to classes about his work. Additionally, Buttigieg and the city of South Bend partnered with the University and the city of Elkhart to begin IDEA Week, an annual week-long event that, according to the event’s press release, “celebrates innovation, entrepreneurs and the incubation of new ideas.”If he wins the presidential race, Buttigieg would be the youngest elected president at the age of 38. He would also become the country’s first openly gay president.Buttigieg’s bid for the presidency follows a failed run in 2017 for Democratic National Committee chairman. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that he plans to make visits to Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming weeks in preparation for the first primary caucuses in February of 2020.Tags: City of South Bend, Election 2020, Mayor Pete, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Politics, Presidential Election 2020last_img read more

NPR’s Nina Totenberg discusses career, feminism


first_imgWhen Nina Totenberg began pursuing a journalism career, she was required to overcome a massive cultural hurdle.“It was extremely difficult in the beginning,” Totenberg said. “People used to just say to me, ‘We don’t hire women.’”Despite the resistance that Totenberg faced, she continued to seek a role as a journalist and storyteller. Totenberg sat down Wednesday with Randy Kozel, a law professor at Notre Dame, to discuss her career as a reporter and her path to covering the Supreme Court for National Public Radio. “I always wanted to be a reporter,” Totenberg said. “I wanted to be a reporter at least when I realized that I couldn’t be Nancy Drew.”Totenberg secured a reporter job, but she continued to confront discrimination in the workplace. Ryan Kolakowski | The Observer NPR reporter Nina Totenberg discussed challenges she faced in her career Wednesday in the Notre Dame Law School.“I suddenly realized that the guy sitting next to me, who was five years younger than I was and had no experience, was making 50 percent more than I was,” Totenberg said.Totenberg moved to Washington, D.C. and landed a position with Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper that lacked significant manpower.“The staff was me,” Totenberg said. “There was the publisher, there was his sister who did the ads and there was me. I was the staff.”Following her stint with Roll Call, Totenberg moved on to the National Observer, a weekly newspaper published by Dow Jones. In her new position, Totenberg filled a number of roles. In addition to covering hearings on Capitol Hill, Totenberg also worked in the print shop to supervise newspaper publication once a week. During her five years at the National Observer, Totenberg began covering the Supreme Court of the United States, which she would report on extensively for the remainder of her career.“I started trying to write things, not just about what had to be covered if it was major, but how the court worked, who the justices were and what these cases were.”When she began covering the Supreme Court, Totenberg did not know all the details of the judicial system, nor did she pretend to have all the answers. In her early years with NPR, Totenberg covered the Supreme Court, the Justice Department, the House and Senate Judiciary committees and all judgeships.“The first thing I did was — this really amazes me in hindsight — I just called up justices and said could I come by and see them?” Totenberg said. “Most of them — not the Chief Justice — but most of them said yes, and I didn’t ask them anything secretive. I asked them how they did their job.”Totenberg noted that the justices were very kind, and she made every effort to acquire as much information from them as possible.“I just was fearless in asking questions,” Totenberg said. “If I didn’t understand something, I would just ask them.”Her passion for acquiring information and her coverage of the Supreme Court earned Totenberg a number of awards, and she has been recognized by the American Bar Association seven times for her work. In addition to carving out a career in legal reporting, Totenberg crafted her passion for storytelling with NPR.To end the night, Totenberg offered advice to students in attendance.“Winning isn’t enough, just like scoops aren’t enough,” Totenberg said. “I love a good scoop, but it’s sort of low-nutrition food, and winning is sometimes low-nutrition food.”Totenberg encouraged students to find their passions, not necessarily the jobs that will earn the most money.“Remember what makes your heart beat, so to speak.”Tags: national public radio, nina totenberg, Notre Dame Law School, NPRlast_img read more