Gallivan advisors discuss reporting

first_imgMembers of the Advisory Committee for the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy held a panel discussion Monday afternoon on the issues of modern journalism and how students can make an impact in the future of the industry. Panelists included Robert Costa, Washington editor of the “National Review” magazine; Bill Dwyre, sports columnist for the “Los Angeles Times;” Maddie Hanna, reporter for the “Philadelphia Inquirer;” Daniel LeDuc, editor at the Pew Charitable Trusts; John McMeel, president and chairman of Andrews McMeel Universal; Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News and Kelley Tuthill, reporter and anchor at WCVB-TV, the Boston affiliate of ABC News. Prof. Robert Schmuhl, chair of Notre Dame’s department of American Studies and director of the Gallivan Program, moderated the discussion. Schmuhl asked each panel member to briefly speak about journalistic lessons they learned both during their time at Notre Dame and in their professional lives after college. Hanna, who graduated in 2008, said young reporters must have the courage to “report critcally.” “It’s not just about reporting on an event. It’s asking tough questions about that event and putting things into context,” Hanna said. “When difficult things happen, don’t shy away from them or sugarcoat them.” Thompson stressed the continual process of education that occurs for journalists of all kinds and said the best way to learn is through their mistakes. “You never stop learning when you’re a journalist; it’s a great thing,” Thompson said. “You never stop learning about what you do. It’s also very humbling because you learn everyday about how much you don’t know.” LeDuc said persistence is one of the most important qualities for a successful journalist. “You can be nice as a journalist and you should be polite, but you need to build a steely resolve,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to push back at your sources.” After the formal discussion ended, panel members took questions from students in the audience. Students asked questions about the challenges of working as a young reporter and the role social media, especially platforms like Twitter, plays in modern journalism. Costa said Twitter is an extremely important tool and students who are interested in journalism as a career should utilize all social media platforms, and do so properly. “It is so critical right now when you’re applying for a job … the first thing your potential new boss is going to look at is your Twitter,” Costa said. “I find Twitter to be very empowering because as a reporter you often only have so much space to write a story and you may have a lot of color, anecdotal things in your story or notes from a meeting, and it comes back to having judgment and know what to share and what not to share. “Accuracy is by far the number one thing always, but it’s really great to be able to share things about a story on Twitter beyond what you wrote in your own piece.” McMeel said he had great hope for students who attended the discussion and said they are the future of journalism. “You are talent … and talent has a way of being able to break through with what you’re doing or just always keeping that new idea down,” McMeel said. Contact Jack Rooney at [email protected]last_img read more

Student government responds to sexual assaults

first_imgCRIME ALERT: Sexual Assault Reported.  Every time a sexual assault is reported on campus, this blunt message appears in students’ inboxes, but student government leaders at both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are working to humanize the issue of sexual assault and improve the student body’s response to these inhuman crimes.  Alex Coccia, Notre Dame student body president, said recent sexual assault reports motivated student government to act on the issue. “We had always considered it part of our platform to work specifically with the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention and [Vice President for Student Affairs] Erin Hoffmann Harding, but I think the immediacy and volume of the alerts that we received early on in the year sort of made us rethink about the conversation and ultimately has led us to decide that this is really our administrative priority for the rest of the year,” Coccia said.  Kat Sullivan, Saint Mary’s student body president, said the increase in emails indicates an increase in reporting, which is a positive sign for the community, but she was particularly concerned about how students reacted to the reports. “I think people were frightened, and I think that people understand that sexual assault is an issue across the world, but it’s hard to really fully understand and be fully affected by it until it’s someone that you know and a member of our community,” Sullivan said. “So I think that they were frightened but again what I keep emphasizing is that it means that people are reporting it. It means that people are seeking out help.” ‘Is this normal?’ Vice president of campus safety Mike Seamon said the amount of sexual assaults reported so far this year conforms to national trends. “One is too many, no matter what. One reported sexual assault is too many. But if you look at probably the national averages over the last several years, national as in not just Notre Dame, and the numbers in the first eight weeks, the first two months of school is when you’ll see an influx,” Seamon said. “… And if you look at Notre Dame’s numbers, although you can see clusters of reported events like we have [seen] in the last couple of weeks our numbers tend to be over the last three or four years pretty consistent. “And it doesn’t mean that we expect that to remain the same but because we’ve had a cluster over the last two weeks, or three weeks, or month, I think that is following national trends, and it’s also following what Notre Dame has seen in the past several years.” While she acknowledges that Notre Dame’s numbers may be on trend, Notre Dame vice president Nancy Joyce said student government is not satisfied with this. “I think one of the biggest things is that the first three emails were all reports of either rape or attempted rape, and I think that really caught people’s attention. That was something different than we had seen in the past,” Joyce said. “And then to have three within the first two, three weeks, I think that was the biggest thing because as seniors, we have not seen that.  “And then you’ve got the underclassmen and they’re response is, ‘What is this? Is this normal?’ I think it’s a great opportunity for us to set the tone for the underclassmen that this isn’t normal or we’re not going to accept it as normal on our campus, but also then to help use the upperclassmen’s sense of, ‘This is new; this is different’ to sort of change the way that we’re talking about sexual assault on our campus.” Setting the Tone At its Sept. 18 meeting, Notre Dame Student Senate passed a resolution making Student Government more responsible for sexual assault on campus. The resolution states, “Whereas, recognizing that these occurrences are a leadership failure … [we admit] that as leaders in our community, we have not been doing enough to change the way we, as a community, concern ourselves with these issues.” Coccia said through this resolution, student government wanted to utilize its potential for change to better address sexual assault. “We recognize that if we’re in the room with senators and people who are representatives of their dorm, people who are elected representatives of the student body and people who are appointed representatives because of all of their passion and interest in serving the student body, we have so much potential in that room to get a conversation going,” he said, “and I think that was the purpose of that resolution was to recognize that before we move forward with anything we have to recognize our own failures.” Joyce said admitting student government’s responsibility to protect the community from sexual violence opens the door for change. “It’s a conscious decision that we have to take some sense of ownership over this issue and hold ourselves accountable, hold each other accountable, otherwise it’s just not going to change,” she said. “It was an interesting debate but I was really pleased that that went through Senate because I think that was important for us to have a conversation where we’re recognizing that it’s on us, it’s on our shoulders. It’s not administrators. It’s no one other than students.” Sullivan said student government is best suited for advising the student body on sexual assault, and she takes that responsibility seriously. “I think the biggest thing as student government that we can do is reassure the community that … what we can ultimately do to stop the cycle of sexual violence is making sure that we’re watching out for the other members of our community,” she said. Response and Prevention Coccia said student government immediately responded to the sexual assault reports by instituting prayer services at the Grotto and changing the wording in report emails from the Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) to say “sexual battery” instead of “forcible fondling.” “The benefit we see in [the prayer services] is it’s an immediate tangible thing for people to do following an email,” he said. “And obviously it’s not enough, but viewing that as an action that can spark dialogue, can spark healing, is extremely important as we move forward.” Coccia said student government is helping to publicize events for October as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, such as the Gender Relations Center’s “A Time to Heal Dinner,” which will take place Oct. 29. Sullivan said Saint Mary’s student government worked together with the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) on the One in Four Vigil, which took place Oct. 1. The event highlighted the statistic that one in four college women has been a victim of sexual violence by giving out 400 T-shirts to represent a fourth of the Saint Mary’s student body, she said. “I think that having a large showing for that really speaks volumes for our community because it’s important that these assaults are getting reported,” Sullivan said. “… I think the stigma is disintegrating and students are feeling more comfortable voicing what they’ve been through because there are others that have kind of led the way with that by being brave and seeking help when they need it.” Sullivan said her administration began combatting sexual assault by running  Know the Facts Training for first-year students during orientation and requiring that student leaders receive green dot training, a national certification program for preventing sexual violence. “When there’s some sort of questionable situation, you’re worried about your friend going off with someone else – that’s called a red dot. And so the green dot is that you directly intervene, you distract the other person or you delegate and get someone else to help,” she said.  Joyce said she wants to launch a “grassroots” campaign against sexual assault that will focus more on preventing the crime on campus. “As helpful as the administrators that we’ve worked with have been and as cooperative as NDSP and others have been, at the end of the day they can’t make the changes that need to be made,” she said. “We’re really hoping to work with leaders within each of the dorms to kind of start the conversation there. I’m a big believer in using the structure that we already have, which is the hall system, to sort of shape how we approach this.” One way the community can make a significant impact in ending sexual violence is just being supportive, Sullivan said. “The fact that this is mental health awareness week, with Support a Belle, Love a Belle, [we want to let] the girls know who have struggled and have had to experience sexual violence that we are here for them,” she said. Contact Tori Roeck at [email protected]last_img read more

‘One is too many’

first_imgMICHAEL YU I The Observer Student body vice president Nancy Joyce, president Alex Coccia, and Campus Minister Fr. Pete McCormick gather at the Grotto to pray for those involved with a sexual assault accusation on campus.After a sexual assault occurs on campus, students receive an emailed crime alert from Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), which is usually the first and last bit of information they hear about the incident. But behind that email notification, a response team rallies to coordinate resources all across campus for the students involved, Associate Vice President for Campus Safety Mike Seamon said.Seamon said one reported sexual assault is too many, but the University’s response proceeds from “very close collaboration” among the relevant groups.“If NDSP receives a report of a sexual assault, they’ll begin their investigation immediately and we have the resources to do that,” he said. “We would contact Student Affairs within hours of receiving that to bring them into the loop so they can make the resources available to all parties involved in that incident.“So you’ll see that you’ll have a law enforcement and a Title IX or Student Affairs response being made available together almost instantaneously.”Phil Johnson, chief of police for NDSP, said the goal of the email notifications is to release as much information allowed as quickly as they can, to get the word out to people.“We certainly want to identify where the location is when we can, when we think it’s appropriate, but there are a number of factors that are going to come into play as we write a crime alert,” Johnson said. “We try to understand where we are in the investigation and what we can release at a given time. We still want the warning out there right away.”Bill Stackman, associate vice president for student services and deputy Title IX coordinator, said although the Office of Student Affairs is obligated to investigate a sexual assault report and manage the case, the student involved can decide whether to also report the case criminally.“As soon as we hear about a case, we meet with [the student] and we assign a resource coordinator to them,” Stackmansaid. “They have the option to report criminally, or do both at the same time … or they can ask us to defer our process.”Stackman said the administration’s investigation process is “fact-finding” in nature, and because they are equally concerned with the complainant and the respondent, they provide resource coordinators to both parties for support.“[If] we have a report, we are obligated by the federal government to investigate it, to gather information and then to move it forward, and that’s what we do,” he said. “But we make sure that in everything we do that we’re taking care of both individuals equally, and that one doesn’t feel that they are automatically seen as guilty.“We’re sensitive to that perception so we try to really counter that as much as possible.”Just because a case was reported does not mean it will be on the record of the students involved, Stackman said.Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for student affairs, said only “in very rare cases” a conduct result would become part of a student’s personal record, and only when a student is found responsible.“The support doesn’t cease with the end of the case,” Harding said. “There are many cases where the resource coordinators check in and offer support to the both of the students involved, even coming out of the process.“The care of the University community is something we see as a very continuous process any time a student has gone through a difficult time, whatever the outcome.”Stackman said a typical investigation of a sexual assault case could last around two to three weeks or longer, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of people involved in it. In order for the administration to investigate a case under Title IX, though, Stackman said both parties have to be students at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross.“Let’s say a woman comes forward with a report of [being] assaulted by someone who was visiting campus. What we would do is provide her with all the support that we would just like if the respondent was a Notre Dame student; it would be identical,” he said. “I’d assign a resource coordinator to that person and let them know about their options outside of the University because there wouldn’t be any options here because the respondent is not a student. We would not have an administrative dealing, but there could be criminal options that she would have that we’d want her to be aware of.”Harding said the Office of Student Affairs makes a point of partnering with both the student body and the broader community in preventing sexual assault.“We want this to be a campus free of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault,” Harding said. “Everyone wants the same goal, and we consider the student body, the administrators, faculty and security our partners in this effort to do everything first and foremost that we can do to prevent these instances from happening at all.“If and when they do occur, I feel great about the support and the resources that we provide to investigate thoroughly and sensitively anything that occurs and to care for both students involved in the process.”Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the Gender Relations Center, said the recent changes in freshman orientation and the move from the Office of Residential Life to the Office of Community Standards marks “a shifted focus of conversation” toward a more community-driven approach. The Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention has launched a big effort to train bystanders to react to sexual assault situations, she said.“I’ve heard students say there are some basic bystander obstacles for why people don’t intervene,” she said. “Í don’t know what to do’… ‘I’m afraid this isn’t my business’… ‘Am I the person to do this?’“Well, building community at Notre Dame says this is your business; this is about us taking care of each other. [The training] is happening at a level where students can really be empowered to create the kind of community that we all believe and we all envision together.”Caron Gebhardt said students should not be discouraged to report or intervene because there may be other rule violations involved, such as alcohol use or parietals.“I believe we have within Du Lac an understanding that because sexual assault is one of the most egregious things that we have, it becomes our highest priority and the other situations become issues that are secondary,” she said. “Any witness coming forward that may be involved in any other policy violation, that would be taken into consideration in the conduct process. So we really want people to step forward, knowing that.”Harding said she has seen “terrific examples” of concerned students coming forward to report assaults either as victims or bystanders.“Our first and primary hope is that these instances will not occur, but when and if they do, we want our students to know that there are resources available for them to go through this process and to be surrounded by others within the community,” she said.Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]: sexual assaultlast_img read more

Professor earns grant for energy research

first_imgThe U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Project Agency awarded a $2,496,428 grant to a research team led by Notre Dame Electrical Engineering Professor Grace Xing in October. Xing’s team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame and three tech companies – IQE, TriQuint and the United Technology Research Center – is working to improve the process of converting and distributing electricity. “If you look at electricity after it’s generated, we have various means: we have hydro-power, wind power, solar power – we have various ways of producing [energy],” Xing said. “This electricity has to be converted to higher voltages so it can be transmitted and distributed. … This power signal has to be converted … sometimes by stepping up voltage, sometimes by changing the frequency.” Xing said researchers could streamline the energy production process. “The current technology is very bulky and not efficient, especially the ones converting electricity at higher frequencies. … If you think of delivering power, you think of power distribution, like huge towers, wires, ceramics, insulators and inductors,” she said. “We are looking to miniaturize that landscape so that it can be better distributed and that we can be more efficient. … For example, you don’t connect your computer directly to the wall, you plug it into a power converter block. … Potentially, we can get rid of the power converter block.” Xing said she hopes to make the process sleeker, smaller and more efficient by making power-converting devices with a relatively new material called gallium nitride. “Gallium Nitride is a type of semiconductor, not really the most heard-of semiconductor – that’s called Silicon,” she said. “That is the backbone of all of our modern electronics. You have silicon in your car, phone, computer. It’s in all the electronics you can think of including power stations. Some of them use silicon.” “So the technology we’re using uses a semiconductor called gallium nitride. Gallium nitride is a relatively new semiconductor in comparison to silicon. … It has only been worked on for 25 years, but if you have used blu-ray disks or white LED’s, you have been using gallium nitride devices.”   The same thickness of material of silicon supports 100 volts of energy but the same amount of gallium nitride supports 1,000 volts, Xing said. Xing said she thinks this research will benefit public infrastructure or engineering research. “[We hope that] our device can be used as a replacement for our current infrastructure or for engineers to help develop the next-generation of infrastructure,” she said. Contact Alex Cao at [email protected]last_img read more

GRC launches ‘A Time to Write’

first_imgThe Gender Relations Center (GRC) at Notre Dame is accepting submissions to “A Time to Write,” a journal on violence and sexual assault..According to the GRC website, the journal provides students with “an opportunity to reflect on the nature of violence, how to prevent it and how to build a more just and humane society.” Amanda Downey, assistant director for educational initiatives, said the journal is a way for the GRC office and campus community at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to consider healing from sexual violence.“We can look at healing as a kind of spectrum,” she said. “Each little piece along the way kind of contributes to an overall sense of healing.”Written expression is a way people seek healing, Downey said. As a result, the GRC journal accepts personal narratives, fiction, poetry, photography and paintings for submission. She said the Center also offers an annual workshop to students in February.“People come together and they learn how to put their feeling and experience and emotion into a written form, whether that’s a short story or poetry,” Downey said.After the workshop, Downey said interested students may choose to submit their work to the journal, which is a way to share stories and the healing process with others.“It kind of lets people know that they’re not alone and that others may have similar experiences,” she said.According to Downey, the GRC will unveil the journal to the public on April 24 at the “Take Back the Night” event.“The people who are at attendance at that event tend to be people who want to see healing from a community perspective and celebrate that while there are people who are hurting, there are people who care,” she said. “I think that tends to be our audience.”The “Take Back the Night” event is a national event that includes campuses and community organizations across the country, Downey said.“[It] calls to mind that people, sometimes most specifically women I think, but people in general tend to feel a little bit more unsafe and unsure of their safety at night,” she said. “We’re taught that strangers may be lurking, to fear the night essentially.”Downey said the event calls attention to the concept of darkness and prompts victims to reclaim the fact that they did not do anything wrong. The event begins with a prayer vigil at the Grotto. From there, students march through campus in an attempt to raise awareness.“[It gives students] the option to be loud and to speak out about this as a societal issue,” she said.The event concludes at Legends with a speak-out portion for students to come forward and share their story if they so choose, Downey said. A dinner follows and allows students to share in fellowship with one another, she said.Emmanuel Cannady, assistant director of outreach services, said the event is open to the greater community as well.“We’re not going to turn anybody away who wants to heal,” he said.However, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students are the focus of the event, Cannady said, because the whole topic of violence and sexual assault allows the two student populations to stand together in solidarity.“I think it’s standing in solidarity, survivors and allies and friends and saying as a community [that] this isn’t okay. We support you, we care for you and we’re here for you,” Downey said.The deadline for submissions to “A Time to Write” literary journal has been extended to March 14. Submissions can be made to [email protected], [email protected] or dropped off in 311 LaFortune. Tags: A Time to Write, GRC, Take Back the Nightlast_img read more

Belle-A-Palooza ushers in spring

first_imgStudent Activities Board geared up for the spring season with a campus-wide carnival event, Belle-A-Palooza, on Friday at Saint Mary’s.Students and other members of the Saint Mary’s community were welcomed to the Dalloway’s Green for a “Belle of a good time!”“These are the most important days up to final exams. Students need a chance to unwind and as members of the activities board, we have a job to do that.” Erica Chiarello, president of the Student Activities Board, said.Alli Gerth, Student Activities Board (SAB) vice president, said Saint Mary’s hosts various celebrations during the year. Other events across Saint Mary’s includes: movie nights in Vander Theater, Midnight Madness, Murder Mystery Dinner, Study Day Massages and more.In years past, Belle-A-Palooza was celebrated in the Student Center Lounge due to bad weather, Chiarello said.“I was glad that the event was held on the beautiful greens of SMC. It was important to attend events like these because it brought the SMC family back together,” Belle-A-Palooza attendee and Saint Mary’s junior Nicole Papiernik said.Gerth said activities at Belle-A-Palooza included: mechanical bull, crafts, DJ, face tattoos and inflatables. The assortment of food that was available included: smoothies, fudge puppies, popcorn and cotton candy.“It was a good way to unwind, relax,” sophomore Emily Eash said. “It was a great way to have some young fun.”Sophomore Shannon Schlak said it was good to be a kid for a day before exam season began.Gerth said SAB plans to hold more events to take advantage of the warm weather while they can.Senior Jordan Diffenderfer said she enjoyed the event and reflected on her time at the College.“Wow, it was a mix between a beautiful day and a fun-time; I think SAB did a great job,” she said. “I just wish I weren’t graduating. I will miss things like this.”Tags: Belle-A-Paloozalast_img read more

Saint Mary’s hosts improv troupe ‘Second City’

first_imgCaitlyn Jordan A member of the Second City, Ali Barthwell, instructs a workshop in the Regina South Lounge on Sunday afternoon.Students and faculty alike took center stage as Second City troupe members taught them the principles of improvisation at Saint Mary’s on Sunday afternoon.Associate professor of Dance and Theatre Katie Sullivan said the workshops hosted by Second City, an improvisational comedy group with headquarters in Chicago, took place over four days and the levels ranged from beginning to advanced. The session’s topics included writing, comedy, musical improv and how to make a living from improv acting. Some sessions were reserved specifically for theatre majors and minors, while others, including the basic improv workshop, were open to students and faculty.In the basic improv session, participants engaged in various activities, such as word association, name games, physical acting and responses to Dr. Know-it-all — an improv game in which participants had to answer a question one word at a time and form a coherent response. The session focused on ensemble, emotion, an exercise called “yes and” commonly used in improv acting and responses to changing situations.“This one is fun because we’ve opened it up to anyone who answered the email on time,” Sullivan said. “There’s faculty, staff and students, which is very fun.”Troupe members Casey Whitaker and Jasbir Singh said their goal was to improve everyone’s improv ability while hosting an enjoyable workshop.“We have to be completely open to whatever is going to happen,” Whitaker said. “The main goal of improv is to have fun.”During one portion of the basic improv workshop, Whitaker and Singh paired up participants and encouraged them to talk about their days. Singh said this exercise helped them learn how to carry on a conversation through constructing thoughtful but rapid answers to questions.“If someone does something, you have to respond,” Singh said. “That’s a basic of improv. Eye contact and listening and affirming are very important here.”Another exercise involved groups of three participants acting out assigned situations and demonstrating complex relationships. Participants were instructed to demonstrate ranges of emotions in this activity.“We all kind of know what a best friend relationship would feel like,” Whitaker said. “You need to use some of your own personal experiences to act this out. This helps everybody.”According to Whitaker, actors can generate responses by applying different scenarios to their lives and by building from past experiences.“The best thing to do when you feel lost is to turn inward to your partners and to make it about the relationship,” Whitaker said. “Commitment is a big thing that makes improv successful.”Whitaker said she was impressed with the improvements students and faculty made within the two-hour workshop.“You guys are no longer beginners,” Whitaker said. “So much of the work is not about trying to be funny and make a joke. The humor finds its way in. It only comes because you’re committed.”The duo left one lasting piece of advice for aspiring actors: continue the conversation.“If you don’t know what to say, say anything,” Singh said. “It doesn’t matter. When you hear yourself say something, you’ll feel something. Just do something. Say anything you want.”Tags: Improv workshops, saint mary’s, Second Citylast_img read more

Keenan Revue celebrates 40 years

first_imgEmma Farnan | The Observer Since its inception 40 years ago, the Keenan Revue has been performed in three different locations, kicked off Saint Mary’s campus, shamed various times in The Observer Viewpoint section and, despite all, endured as a campus tradition. Started in 1976 by two Keenan Hall RAs, Thomas Lenz and Richard Thomas, class of 1977, as an alternative activity to the drinking culture on campus, the “New Keenan Revue” opened Nov. 6 in Washington Hall.“It began junior year when Rick and I were in Keenan Hall — there was a real tragedy for the hall,” Lenz said. “One of our classmates — he was hit by a car coming back from Michigan after having been at a bar. It was one of those really shocking and sobering moments for our dorm, to really consider the role that alcohol played at a lot of social events and in the dorm’s life.“That was kind of the context for people saying, ‘Okay, so getting wasted every weekend is one thing to do, but what else could the dorm do that would contribute to the growth of the dorm spirit and to the health of the community?’”Over the summer, Lenz, a member of the Glee Club, and Thomas, who had participated in theatre in high school, began discussing the idea of holding a hall-wide variety show, Lenz said.“We had done a ‘Mr. Keenan’ contest the year before, so the idea wasn’t completely foreign,” Lenz said. “We said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,’ and … after we got the approval, one of the key things was, as RAs, our job was to talk to people, to get to really know the guys in your section, to have a feel for the dorm, so we had a hunch that there would be some talent and people who would be interested in this, but, candidly, the scale and the quality of the people who participated was way, way above anything we had expected.”In contrast to the more recent Revues, the first Revue was mostly a variety show, Lenz said.“We had all kinds of acts — we had a guy who was a juggler, someone read poetry, we had a guy who did a violin solo,” Lenz said. “In its initial conception, it was really a form for all kinds of talent — musical and dramatic talent in the dorm.”Lenz and Thomas held auditions for performers and were surprised by the talent in the dorm, Lenz said. However, the most surprising talents were not on stage, Lenz said.“The other thing that was kind of unanticipated was the other kind of talent in the dorm — people that designed the sets, people that did the publicity … We even had a pit orchestra,” Lenz said. “A whole set of people just emerged that gave it kind of a polish that we had not anticipated. It morphed from being kind of ‘Oh, this’ll be kind of fun, kind of funny,’ to kind of looking like a real production.“By the time we had the opening, we knew that it was going to be good but it was just really good. It just blew everyone away — us included — and so part of the lore is that there was so much demand that we ended up producing it a second time in the subsequent week because there were so many people who couldn’t get tickets.”In 1979, there was fear the Revue would be unable to proceed as planned due to “electrical wiring changes” in Washington Hall, according to an Observer article.“Donald Dedrick, director of the Physical Plant, stated that his staff is ‘installing a portable dimmer board for a functioning lighting system.’ Therefore, the wiring changes will not be interfering with the Revue and will be completed by Dec. 1, he said,” the article stated.However, in 1980, the Revue moved to O’Laughlin Auditorium on Saint Mary’s campus due to a lack of space in Washington Hall, according to an Observer article.The 1983 Revue was the first Revue to break even in terms of finances, and the 1984 Revue was the first Revue to be available on video tape, according to a 1984 Observer article.“The show is designed to bring together the talents and efforts of the hall members,” Randy Fahs, class of 1984 said in the article. “It is as fun for them as it for the audience. It must never become a ‘job’ for its participants, and it must remain free of charge. It is Keenan’s gift to the community, and it should never be used as a money-maker.”Heeding this advice, Hall Presidents’ Council subsidized the Revue in 1986. However, 1991 marked the beginnings of Saint Mary’s split with the Revue, according to a 1991 Observer article.“The staging of the Keenan Revue was also discussed. Saint Mary’s students expressed disgust at the large amount of Saint Mary’s ‘bashing’ that took place at the Keenan Revue, which ironically took place on Saint Mary’s campus,” the article read. “‘We should not allow the putting down of SMC on our own campus,’ said Melissa Whelan.”In 1996, Keenan invited the Saint Mary’s student body president and senate representative to preview the Revue at its dress rehearsal, according to an Observer article.“The discussion is not censorship,” Saint Mary’s student body president at the time, Sarah Sullivan, said in the article. “It’s just a forewarning. I want to make sure no personal attacks are made.”Notre Dame female students also felt that the Revue was derogatory towards women, according to a 1999 Observer article.“I went my freshmen year [to the Revue] and left in the middle because I found it offensive to myself and other groups that were targeted, even though I might not have been a part of these groups,” president of the Feminist Collective Kelly Curtis said in the article. “I’m not against humor and parody jokes in which everyone is included and can laugh about, but there is a sharp difference between that and what the Keenan Revue is.”In 2000, Saint Mary’s Board of Governance voted to allow the Revue to remain on Saint Mary’s campus.By 2004, controversy surrounding the Revue was so charged that the Observer Editorial Board weighed in on the issue, urging students to “lighten up on the Keenan Revue.”“Their material focuses on aspects considered integral to Notre Dame and mocked groups should feel more honored than insulted,” the Jan. 30, 2004 editorial read. “It’s good-natured banter, highlighting and teasing elements of the Notre Dame community. It’s Saturday Night Live, South Bend-style.”The show continued to be held on Saint Mary’s campus until Feb. 18, 2010, when Saint Mary’s administrators voted that the Revue was “incongruent” with the mission of the College, according to an Observer article.“The Cabinet finds the sexual nature of the skits as well as the inappropriate references to women to be incongruent with Saint Mary’s College mission and values,” vice president of College relations Shari Rodriguez said in the Feb. 18 article. “Saint Mary’s College strives to treat all individuals with dignity and respect.”In 2011, the Revue moved to Stepan Center, where it continues to be held to this day. Despite its controversies, the Revue remains a well-loved tradition on campus, Thomas said.“I think the Revue filled a need – we were a big hit on campus that first year, so I’m not surprised it was continued,” Thomas said. “That first year, the underclassmen were talking about doing it again already because everyone felt that community, the community spirit it brought, so they wanted to keep doing it.”This year’s Revue incorporates aspects of Revues from the past but also includes new content, senior producer of the Revue Ryan Rizzuto said.“[The show’s director] and I started our time as director and producer by watching the Revues from the past,” Rizzuto said. “We also looked through old programs to see what we wanted to bring back – obviously, with our show’s title ‘The New Keenan Revue: The 40 Year Old Version,’ we wanted to call back the first Revue from 1976.“Rick Thomas and Tom Lenz will be giving a short speech at the Friday show and we, for the first time ever, are bringing back a skit from the past for the Saturday show.”Of the 64 skits pitched this year, 21 were selected to be featured in the show, Rizzuto said. As for the slightly checkered past of the Revue, Rizzuto said that will continue.“The Revue’s slightly controversial nature is exactly why it’s remained such a prominent University tradition,” Rizzuto said. “The beautiful thing about writing comedy is what you can say with it. It can turn a mirror on the student body and the administration and make people listen to arguments that they’d normally tune out.“We all love calling [Breen-Phillips] fat and reminding Carroll that they’re far away, but those jokes do not challenge anything,” he said. “The Revue is truly itself and is truly great when we are pushing boundaries and whenever you are pushing boundaries, you are being controversial to someone.“We want people to come and laugh at our BP, Carroll and Zahm jokes, but when we have a skit addressing issues like race, gender, or socioeconomic status and how they are dealt with on campus, that’s when we’re being the right kind of controversial.”Thomas said the tradition of Notre Dame is what has carried the Revue all these years.“Notre Dame is very tradition-oriented, and I’m not surprised that it continued because of the drive and the talent of the people who go to Notre Dame,” Thomas said. “Once this thing had traction and there was a foundation for it — it really doesn’t surprise me that it’s been going for 40 years.”Tags: 40th anniversary, Keenan Revue, Stepan Centerlast_img read more

Speaker discusses role of women in stand-up comedy

first_imgMary Beth Haralovich, a professor of theatre, film and television at the University of Arizona, spoke Tuesday on the progression of women in stand-up comedy in a lecture sponsored by the department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Gender Studies Program.Haralovich said as women’s roles have evolved throughout history, the type of comedy female stand-ups are able to perform has changed, as well.“The kind of characters stand-up women can be changes over time with the historical circumstance,” she said. “This comedy expresses women’s experience and women’s history, and it opens doorways into our national, cultural heritage.”Female comedy usually falls into one of three basic categories, Haralovich said, the earliest of which was a critique on the stereotypical housewife role.“The first popular female comics are these housewife roles,” she said. “A performance about domesticity, linking female comedy with the home and women’s identity as a homemaker, and I feel as if these women are a response to that old male comic shtick, which is ‘Take my wife, please,’  those kind of jokes.”Haralovich said this comedy developed into a more neutral form of comedy, in which gender roles are not necessarily defined.“The second type of comic riff is … the standup woman comic as a person, not especially gendered, but reaching across to kind of embrace the human condition,” Haralovich said. “She’s not necessarily self-defined as female, and she doesn’t necessarily do women-oriented characters or women-oriented comedy.”The most common form of female comedy now, Haralovich said, is comedy about societal issues impacting women.“The final comic riff is an exploration of what’s happening today,” she said. “These women today, they’re diverse women, they’re desiring women — they do comedy now about women’s desires, women’s sexuality — their voices come from the margins, they’re not necessarily [the] mainstream housewife position.”Haralovich said one challenge female comics have faced throughout history, and are still facing today, is needing to be accepted by the male “gatekeepers” of the comedy industry before being granted access to an audience.“There are performers, especially late-night TV hosts and industry executives, who grant access to the TV audience,” she said. “They allow this self-critical, self-demeaning character to have access to television audiences. They invite the content of this comedy to enter into the mainstream discourse. … The gatekeepers also have a lot of power in the industry.”Developments in television have allowed female comics to play a more active role in the field, Haralovich said.“HBO is a significant force in allowing comedians and what they consider to be uncensored comedians,” she said. “On HBO, through paid subscription, viewers were able to see performers who were open to diverse sexuality and a diverse presence.”Haralovich said this is important in recognizing that comedy is a profession for women as well as men.“It’s a profession. They’re actual, working women,” she said. “They’re creative professionals in the entertainment industry. They have the courage to do performance. … Their routines are, of course, they’re developed, they’re practiced, they’re worked through, but it’s still a live performance in front of strangers.”Many of these women are choosing to create their own roles instead of having men write roles for them, Haralovich said, allowing them to confront the issues they want to discuss.“Stand-up women comics, they write their own parts,” she said. “I just think it’s a wonderful opportunity for someone to express [herself], but also that can be really meaningful to people in the audience who are listening and learning from it.”Haralovich said female comics are starting to call for change and address societal issues through humor.“Stand-up women today, there are so many of them, and they’re social interpreters,” she said. “Comedy has the power to confront restrictions, to confront stereotypes and to turn negativity into the joy of humor. I think that’s what is one of the greatest parts about all these women comedians. They joyful in their critique, they’re joyful in pointing out patriarchal systems of oppression, in pointing out conventions that affect women’s self-image.”Tags: stand-up comedylast_img read more

Saint Mary’s club hosts week of events for sexual assault awareness

first_imgThe Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) at Saint Mary’s, with the help of the College’s food services provider Sodexo, demonstrated their support for the nationwide “NO MORE” campaign Monday by providing students with teal-colored doughnuts in the dining hall — teal being the official color of the campaign seeking to end domestic violence and sexual assault.NO MORE was launched in March 2013, and this week is the official “NO MORE week” across the nation. BAVO is showing their support for the cause by using this week to spread the word and raise awareness about the problems of relationship violence. BAVO student advisory committee member Michaela Gaughan said in an email that this week will be an opportunity to get people talking about the issues.“The purpose is [to] spark a conversation about sexual violence on our campus,” Gaughan said. “The campaign works to acknowledge this violence is real and we all have a responsibility to say “no more” to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.”On Tuesday night, Gaughan said there will be a spring break send-off event. Students can come, make crafts and enjoy treats in support of the cause. “I am most excited for the spring break send off. We are partnering with the Green Dot committee and we are hosting [this event] which allows for students to take part in the campaign,” she said. BAVO ally Carmela LaGambina-Lockwitz said in an email that this week is an opportunity to make it known that these issues continue to be very prevalent in today’s society. “This week is important because sexual assault and domestic violence occurs every single day, and the first step to putting an end to these terrible acts is by spreading awareness,” she said. “This week spreads awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence with the mentality that it cannot continue happening.”Gaughan said the message the NO MORE campaign promotes must be heard, and students on campus are the ones who can spread that message best. Coming together can allow for others to be more open to talking about these issues as well as advocate for the prevention of them.“The campaign encourages the world to ‘speak out with a unified voice for change’ which is what we are doing as a Saint Mary’s community,” she said.Gaughan said after spring break, BAVO will distribute ribbons to students to further carry the message and continue spreading awareness across campus even after the week has ended.LaGambina-Lockwitz said the NO MORE campaign focuses on a cause close to her heart, so she is excited to spend a week sharing information with her fellow classmates about a cause she thinks needs more attention. “I am always excited for weeks like these because ending sexual assault is something I feel very passionate about and it is exciting to see so much momentum and passion across all of campus,” she said. Tags: awareness, BAVO, NO MORE, saint mary’s, sexual assaultlast_img read more