Seen and heard around campus

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

The Graffiti Dance has been erased. Current students and younger alumni will recall this misleadingly named mixer that became part of Freshman Orientation Weekend about a decade ago. There was background music at Graffiti Dances, but hardly anyone danced. Rather, the event involved dressing new students in plain white T-shirts and having them assemble on the Stepan basketball courts. There they would go around asking people to write their names and phone numbers in marker on their shirts. By custom, you asked people of the opposite sex. On the plus side, people met. On the minus side, it was a meat market. Upperclassmen sometimes advised the newcomers to bring two colored markers with them to the “dance” — one color to give to desirables to write their name and number, the other for everyone else. “Students were asked to make value judgments about other students based on their appearances,” said Student Activities Director Joe Cassidy in explaining the problem with the event. Replacing the Graffiti Dance will be a festival inside Stepan Center that will include music videos and games in which people compete to meet the most people. Also eliminated from orientation weekend was a curious icebreaker that a couple of brother-sister dorms engaged in called the “tuck-in.” It involved male students visiting a women’s dorm at bedtime, reading a story and then tucking the women in. . . . Near the end of spring semester, Student Senate passed a resolution authored by Fisher Hall junior Phil Dittmar calling for Farley Hall to be turned into a 24-hour student entertainment center. The hall would be divided up this way: study and game space in the basement with music from the ’70s on the first floor, from the ’80s on the second floor, from the ’90s on the third, and “a mix of Marvin Gaye and Barry White” on the fourth. . . . Like many other universities, Notre Dame has taken steps to block students from using the campus computer network to access Napster, the website that helps people swap MP3 music files. Usually the files are recordings by popular artists that people have copied onto their hard drives. In addition to concern over copyright infringement, Napster downloading was accounting for as much as 40 percent of the traffic on the campus computer system, slowing legitimate use. . . . More than a dozen students crowded into a corner of Reckers (the new all-night eatery behind the South Dining Hall) early one evening in April to talk with a priest about pornography. Father Bill Wack, CSC, ’89, ’93M.Th., the young associate vocation director of Moreau Seminary, said pornography perverts sexuality because sexuality is about relationships, and “you can’t have a relationship with a website or a magazine.” The get-together was the first in a planned series of Discussions on Virtue. . . . Four Notre Dame students, all African Americans, were arrested early spring semester after an apparent misunderstanding at a restaurant near campus. According to their accounts, the students — three females and one male — were inside a Denny’s on U.S. 31 Business late one Saturday night in February. While waiting for friends to join them, one of them accidentally knocked a sign off a wall. As they tried to put it back, two off-duty Roseland police officers working as a security guards approached. The students said the officers, both white, accused them of causing a disturbance. One of the guards accused one of the women of trying to steal the sign. When the male of the group interceded, he was arrested and handcuffed. The confrontation continued into the parking lot with the women students pushing and kicking the guards, according to some accounts. At that point the women were placed under arrest for interfering. After viewing security camera footage of what happened inside the restaurant, the Saint Joseph County prosecutor dropped all charges against the students. Denny’s fired the guards. A few days later, Notre Dame officials, including Vice President for Student Affairs Rev. Mark Poorman, CSC, ’80M.Div. appeared with two of the students at a news conference on campus. Poorman said he agreed with the students’ view that the arrests had been racially motivated, a charge denied by the officers and Roseland’s city attorney. Poorman also said it was “more than an isolated incident.” . . . At the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s annual meeting of alumni physicians on campus in March, the honor of presenting the J. Phillip Clarke Family Lecture in Medical Ethics went to Sidney Callahan, noted psychologist, ¬_Commonweal _magazine columnist and 1994 recipient of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal. It was a presentation neither the audience members nor Callahan will soon forget. About 30 minutes into her talk, on “The Ethical Challenges of Alternative Medicine,” she calmly moved from the lectern to a chair at an adjoining table and continued the speech seated. Not long after that she threw up. The audience in the Center for Continuing Education gasped. Conference organizers rushed to her aid. She ignored most of their assistance and continued on, barely pausing or even departing from her prepared remarks except at a point where she was saying “We are all at the will of the body” and added, “as I’ve just demonstrated.” After she finished, the conference host explained that Callahan had been ill when she arrived on campus but wanted to go ahead with the talk anyway. That’s dedication. . . . Freshman Jake Cram returned to his high school in April for a solemn reunion. He graduated from Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, and was going back for a memorial marking the one-year anniversary of the shootings that left 12 students and a teacher dead. Cram described his experiences that day to The Observer. He said he was in choir class when the shootings began. He ran out into the hallway and there stood Dylan Klebold, five feet away and shooting at fleeing students. Cram said he knew Klebold and had even spent a night at his house when he was younger, but Klebold didn’t see him. Cram and 60 other choir members then retreated to the choir room and barricaded themselves in a storage closet. One of those in hiding, a friend of Cram’s, had a cell phone and called his father, who relayed their location to police. But it would be 3 ½ hours before they were rescued, the last group to leave the building. . . . Law school professors and students rallied in the rain April 7 in front of the Main Building in support of a proposed program of loan forgiveness for law graduates who pursue careers in public-interest law, which generally doesn’t pay well. The idea has the support of the law faculty and Dean Patricia O’Hara ‘74J.D. The challenge now is to raise money to endow such a program. . . . Nine out of 10 Notre Dame freshmen surveyed say they plan to earn an advanced degree. . . . Among the well-wisher ads in the program for this past year’s Keenan Revue (of questionable taste, as always) was this assurance from Campus Ministry: “We’re praying that God will spare your souls, Keenan Hall.” . . . Sports Illustrated for Women came out with its list of the 20 best schools for women who play sports. It ranked Notre Dame 15th. The editors noted, among other things, Notre Dame’s “ultracompetitive” women’s interhall flag football league, which draws almost 700 players annually. The top spot on the list went to Stanford. . . . A team of women from Lyons Hall beat a team of genuine, full-size, healthy men from Morrissey and Dillon halls to win a tug-of-war tournament at AnTostal this year. The only excuse the men can offer is that the Lyons team had “11 or 12 girls,” according to one member of the women’s team, versus eight guys. The hastily assembled women’s team — mostly freshmen and with no varsity athletes — started by easily pulling three women’s teams into the pit of defeat (a baby pool full of mashed potatoes). Then they gave the lone men’s team in the field the same treatment. The guys demanded a best-two-out-of-three, arguing that their end of the rope was slippery from being dragged through the spud mud. The rope was reversed, and the women won again — then leaped into the potatoes in celebration. “We went nuts,” said sophomore-to-be Laura Cannizzaro. “Everyone was hugging and cheering. [The guys] didn’t say much.”