Seen & heard

Author: The editors

One by one, students raised their hands for the microphone to ask questions about alcohol policy, the logistics of disciplinary procedures, even the methodology of the survey they had gathered to discuss. About 100 people attended a town hall meeting at DeBartolo Hall on April 20 to talk about the sexual misconduct and campus climate report released earlier that week.

Results of the student questionnaire showed 6 percent of women and 2 percent of men reported they had experienced “nonconsensual sexual intercourse” while at Notre Dame, and 19 percent of women and 4 percent of men reported experiencing other types of “nonconsensual sexual contact.” All students were invited to participate in the survey, conducted in January and February 2015, and 38 percent responded.

In addition to the distressing extent of sexual misconduct, which tracks with national trends, administrators expressed concern that relatively few victims report such assaults to the University.

“I’m troubled in two ways,” Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for student affairs, told The Observer. “One is the reports aren’t coming to us. Most importantly, so we can offer support, help and response. But secondly, that they’re happening at all, and that they’re happening to that degree.”

Reluctance to discuss details of an assault, concern for one’s reputation and fear of punishment for violating parietals or alcohol policies were offered as barriers to reporting from both victims and witnesses. University policy precludes punishment for other violations that might be revealed in relation to reporting a sexual assault. That is among the areas administrators hope to emphasize to students to allay their concerns and expand access to campus resources for victims.

In conjunction with the survey release, Notre Dame introduced an expanded website,, which includes the results, recommendations made in response by the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention, and information on University policies and resources.

“The compass at Notre Dame now points south,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, ’76 said during a March address to the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil. Jenkins led a Notre Dame delegation on a six-day trip to South America, noting that U.S. universities have traditionally sought international partnerships in Europe and, more recently, Asia. While Notre Dame has its own longstanding relationships around the world, he emphasized that “Latin America is vitally important to our future.” Last year, in fact, 37 percent of first-year international students came from Latin America and the Caribbean, more than six times the overall rate for U.S. colleges and universities.

The South American visit included meetings with government, academic, corporate and Church leaders in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, covering a range of issues including research on the Zika virus and the need for values-based learning. Engagement in the region, Jenkins said, “is critical for understanding the changing demographics of the United States. It is critical for higher education. And it is critical for the future of the Catholic Church in the United States.”

Flaherty and Dunne. Those are the names of the new neighboring residence halls opening in August on the northeast side of campus, in recognition of a $20 million donation from each family for the construction. Flaherty Hall will be home to 226 women and Dunne Hall to 221 men. They will live well. Each residence hall will be approximately 71,000 square feet with kitchens, fitness rooms, laundry facilities and an outdoor patio. Flaherty Hall formally recognizes Mary Hesburgh Flaherty ’79, a member of Notre Dame’s undergraduate experience advisory council. She and her husband, Jay Flaherty ’79, who serves on the Notre Dame Board of Trustees, have been longtime University benefactors, including support for student financial aid and an endowed professorship in psychology. Jimmy Dunne ’78, also a board of trustees member, and his wife, Susan, previously endowed the director position at the Harper Cancer Research Institute.

Artifacts and manuscripts from the Vatican Library were on display this spring at the Snite Museum of Art and the Hesburgh Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections room. And a concert at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart featured music from the Vatican’s collection. What was the occasion? A new agreement between Notre Dame and the Vatican Library, the only one of its kind with an American university, to promote collaboration and exchange between the two institutions. Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, ’76 and Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, OP, an archivist and librarian at the Vatican Library, made the pact official at a May 9 ceremony on campus. The collaboration, Jenkins said, “joins our mission to foster learning and faith with a place that is such an icon of the Church’s commitment to see the harmony between the two.”

Ted Barron has done the job on an interim basis since last fall, but now the title is officially his: executive director of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Barron, the senior associate director since 2010, succeeds Anna Thompson, who had held the position since 2007. Previously a senior programmer at the Harvard Film Archive, Barron’s credits include a special commendation in 2006 from the Boston Society of Film Critics. At Notre Dame, where he also teaches courses on film history, Barron has organized campus visits from filmmakers such as Claire Denis, Larry Karaszewski, Margarethe von Trotta, Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. “This is an exciting moment in the center’s history to reintroduce the value of the arts both on campus and in the greater community,” Barron says.

While the students are away, LaFortune is undergoing a few nips and tucks. The west porch entrance, facing God Quad, is being reconstructed; the Starbucks in the first-floor atrium is being remodeled; and Smashburger is replacing Burger King in the food court. All the projects began in mid-May and are scheduled to be completed in August for the start of the new academic year.

Duncan Stroik, a Notre Dame professor and architect long celebrated for his church designs, received a 2016 Arthur Ross Award for Excellence in the Classical Tradition from the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture. Stroik’s designs include Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in Santa Paula, California; the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin; and the restoration of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The founding editor of the journal Sacred Architecture, Stroik is also the author of The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal.

Five current and former Notre Dame fencers will represent Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro — the most from any NCAA program. Mariel Zagunis ’06 (sabre), Kelley Hurley ’10 (epee), Courtney Hurley ’12 (epee), Gerek Meinhardt ’15 (foil) and senior Lee Kiefer (foil) were among the 17 fencers who advanced through a year-long qualification process to make the team. All five have competed in the Olympics before. In 2004, Zagunis became the first U.S. fencer in 100 years to win a gold medal. The Hurley sisters were bronze medalists in 2012.