Monthly Archives: January 2021

Lecture addresses evolving language

first_imgEnglish professor Barry McCrea discussed the relationship between language and modernity at the inaugural Keough Family Professorship of Irish Studies lecture Thursday in McKenna Hall.  McCrea specializes in modern European and Irish literature. He released a book called “Minor Languages and the Modernist Imagination” this year. The abandonment of language and dialects in rural communities is one of modernity’s immediate effects, McCrea said at the lecture. “The mass adoption by rural population of standard languages as mediums for communication was a highly intimate form of globalization, one which produced a tangible change for how language itself was produced,” he said. McCrea said two main factors instigated the switch from dialects to regional language – people began to move to cities where a need for unity in communication existed, and a mass marginalization took place in the countryside as new languages began to replace the old. “Merely feeling or imagining that somewhere out there, there existed another language that might be more authentically their own freed writers up to experiment with the languages they knew, like English,” McCrea said. “They felt that English was borrowed and there was another language for them out there to be located.” This sense of disconnectedness to their native language inspired writers to use language in new ways, McCrea said. Although people long for language to feel truly theirs, he said it is a natural predicament that language will always frustrate this longing. Above all, adopting non-native languages offered the writers a new way to express their vision, McCrea said. “Choosing to write as a non-native in a particular language whose vernacular life has quickly disappeared was a way for both [Irish writer Seán Ó] Ríordáin and [Italian writer Pier Paolo] Pasolini to express … a possible utopian vision of a language in which one might feel truly native to the world,” McCrea said. “A modernist ideal, really, of the new, perfect language for art.”last_img read more

‘To believe amidst the unbelievable’

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the first installment in a three-part series discussing the Rutagengwa family’s search for God from the 1994 Rwandan genocide in light of their trip back to Rwanda in December. To remain true to their experience, this piece contains graphic content.To mark the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which 1 million people were killed in 100 days, a group including theology professors Fr. Dan Groody and Fr. Virgil Elizondo and project coordinator for the Institute of Latino Studies Colleen Cross accompanied survivors Jean Bosco Rutagengwa and Christine Rutagengwa to their home country in December to explore the search for God during genocide.Groody, who organized the trip, said its goal was to bring together a “community of friends” to address the issue of finding God in seemingly hopeless situations.“We wanted more than to just see a pious Band-Aid over a very painful, difficult reality,” Groody said. “We wanted to see how people really helped rebuild their lives after such violence … and how you begin to think about that theologically.”Groody, whose primary research area is migration theology, said Christine Rutagengwa reached out to him two years ago after he gave a talk about Rwandan refugees. She introduced Groody to her husband, Jean Bosco Rutagengwa, who wanted to write a book about the search for God from his personal experience seeking refuge in the Hotel Mille Collines, also known as the Hotel Rwanda.“I said, ‘Where was God for you during that time?’” Groody said. “And [Jean Bosco] says, ‘Well, I remember one instance in particular where they cut off all the water sources and we had started to drink out of the swimming pool. And at one point there was no water left, but amidst our desperation that we thought we were going to run dry, it then started to rain. God for me was in the rain.’”The Rutagengwas, whose daughter Fiona Rutagengwa is a freshman at Notre Dame, spent 40 days in the Hotel Mille Collines, the inspiration for the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” where more than a thousand Tutsi refugees sought shelter during the genocide, Groody said. Photo courtesy of Dan Groody Fr. Dan Groody stands with survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide in December. While in Rwanda, Groody visited victims’ memorials and met with community leaders seeking to rebuild their country.During the trip, the group stayed at the hotel — the Rutagengwas’ first visit there since they fled 19 years ago — and visited important memorials for genocide victims, Groody said.“When you go out to these memorials, they had all kinds of different models,” he said. “One would [display] the skulls and the bones, and you can just pick them up. They’re right there. And then there were others where they would say, ‘Here are the vaults,’ and there are 200,000 people in this vault, 200,000 people in that vault. … It wasn’t as graphic as the first model.“The third, which was really disturbing … [showed] how they died, and then they took this lime and they basically preserved the bones, some of which still had hair on them. The most disturbing one was I think the rape. You’d see this woman who had been raped and kind of thrown into this pit.”The group also visited Christine Rutagengwa’s childhood parish, the site of a brutal killing spree, Groody said.“It’s a church that is a memorial for the genocide, and in the back it’s just skulls and bones,” he said. “[Christine] said, ‘This is where I went to Sunday school. This is where they rounded up my mother and my sisters, and they macheted and threw grenades and they macheted 5,000 people in a couple of hours.’“Some French brigade group trained the killers how to kill 1,000 people in 20 minutes.”Groody said churches were popular targets for those carrying out the genocide.“There were previous genocides in Rwanda, but in those previous times, people fled to the churches for refuge, literally for protection,” he said. “But this time, the killers knew they were going to do that, so then they targeted the churches, then rounded them up there and threw grenades in there and hacked them to death or took their kids, their babies, and smashed their heads against the wall. The numbers were just astronomical.”Groody said he held Mass at many of the memorials, including the place where Jean Bosco Rutagengwa’s mother was buried.Along the way, Groody said the group met people who proved that new life had emerged in Rwanda, including a nun who had harbored 22 refugees in her house during the genocide. Despite her best efforts, the killers found them and murdered them, even burying one person alive, he said.“This dog they had was a very mean dog, but the dog one day — after they had killed [the refugee] and put him in this grave — the dog kept whimpering and crying, and he kept going back and forth between the grave and the house,” Groody said.“What he was trying to say is there’s somebody still alive there. And [the nun’s] comment was that in many ways, this dog showed more humanity than the people, which is interesting for my work because when I ask migrants what is the hardest part about being a migrant, one of them said it’s being treated like you’re a dog.“But in this case, it even takes that further that sometimes a dog can be even more human than people or show more humanity than human beings do.”Groody said even though the nun suffered terrible losses, she also said she had a responsibility to cultivate goodness.“She said, when we asked ‘What is the message of Rwanda for the world?’ ‘Rwanda descended lower than anyone could possibly go. As a human community, we went lower than anybody could possibly go,’” Groody said. “‘Neighbor turned against neighbor. People in the same church started killing each other, parents against children. We went so low that you couldn’t get any lower.’“But it was from that point that she realized that her mission was to be a messenger of light and hope and to put goodness back on its throne.”Groody said he also met a priest named Fr. Jerome who sought to rebuild his community after the genocide.“[Fr. Jerome] realized that he had to do more than keep saying Mass for people,” Groody said. “He started a support group, and they came in and started telling their story. He says the stories were all the same. ‘They killed X, Y and Z. Why did God let this happen?’ Because it’s very hard for people to get beyond their own pain and suffering.“But he said at one point he asked them, ‘Was there anything good that happened at any time during the genocide? Did you experience anybody do a good act for you or anything that you feel grateful for?’ And he says that kind of opened a door and it just changed the perspective and people began talking about where God was in the midst of that.”Groody said hearing these survivors’ stories changed the way he approaches finding God in hopeless places.“Before I left, I had a lot of questions,” he said. “When we got there and started talking to people, I began analyzing it. We got further into the questions to try to understand things.“As I started hearing people’s stories, I became more and more quiet, and then once you start hearing these things, you’re just speechless. And by the end you’re crying. You just don’t have words that even begin to touch this. You really kind of have to shift your theology in a way from just saying, ‘Where was God?’ to ‘Where were we?’”Jean Bosco Rutagengwa wrote a book about his search for God, framed around life, death and resurrection, to be published later this year, and Groody said the group is working to release a documentary about their trip to be released around the 20th anniversary of the genocide in April.“The greatest takeaway for me is that there are living witnesses that bear testimony to a God of life in midst of death, and whose own ability to believe amidst the unbelievable is a compelling narrative of how God is with us, even amidst the most challenging situations we face,” he said. “It’s one thing if we say this from places like [Notre Dame], and it’s another thing when you’re with people who say it from places like [Rwanda].”last_img read more

Vidal, Devine take office, offer a vision for upcoming year

first_imgFour years ago, Lauren Vidal and Matthew Devine never would have guessed they would be students at Notre Dame, but now the incoming student body president and vice president, both juniors, recognize that many once-insignificant decisions led them to where they are now, Devine said.“We were just reflecting on how important choices are,” he said. “You make one decision, and we never would be sitting here today.”Vidal said she had not considered applying to the University until the day before the application deadline. She said other schools recruited her for athletics but she ultimately based her decision on Notre Dame’s strong community.“I applied the last day [the application] was due,” she said. “I was going a different route. I was being recruited to play sports.“I was about to go to go elsewhere. I was basically going … I got here for Spring [Visitation, a weekend recruitment program for prospective minority students], and it just changed the game.”“The community was really, really impressive and I thought, ‘If there’s one place that’s going to bring me a little closer to the person I really want to be, this whole person, it’s going this institution,’” she said.Devine said he had “no connection” to Notre Dame except one football game until his visit to campus for a scholarship finalist weekend left him with a lasting impression.“I remember leaving the press box, and it was really late at night, and I ended up wandering over to the grotto,” he said. “So did about 10 of the other people that I was with, and people just kept coming … and, no joke, three in the morning, it’s freezing outside, and all of us are holding candles praying that we’ll just end up when we’re supposed to end up.”The pair’s vision for the coming year incorporates their experiences with the Notre Dame community, Vidal said. Devine said they want student government to be accessible to every student and to incorporate ideas from across campus.Vidal said she and Devine see Notre Dame as an institution with a breadth of knowledge and resources that student government can and should use to facilitate dialogue and action on issues that the student body considers important.“You think of an issue like sexual assault on campus, so you think of it as a very student-led conversation in terms of student leadership trying to solve [it] … but it’s unique when you step back and you think, we are at a premier university,” Vidal said.Devine said he and Vidal will focus first on “visible initiatives” such as founding the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP), a supplement to the SafeWalk program, and initiating quad markets, which would bring food products and crafts from farmers markets to Notre Dame’s quads.He said acting as a representative of the student body presents a unique challenge to faithfully serving the campus community.“The thing I’m most excited about is also the thing I’m most afraid of too: representing the student body’s opinion, especially the atmosphere at the time,” he said.“[I will be] able to use that voice, express students’ opinions effectively and give a very accurate temperature of the discussion of the time. “Vidal said she and other members of her administration had met with the administration of former student body president Alex Coccia and former vice president Nancy Joyce, both seniors, to facilitate the transition process.“They’ve been great,” She said. “Obviously we need to attribute a lot of credit to them. They’ve been good at catching us up to speed and giving us information on issues as opposed to just logistics, so they’ve really involved us in the conversation, and we’re really grateful for that.”Devine said he and Vidal expect to hit the ground running when they take office April 1.“April 1 is not the start date; it’s just a continuation,” he said.Tags: devine, new student government, vidallast_img read more

Club supports Special Olympic athletes

first_imgThe motto of Special Olympics Notre Dame reads, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” a phrase club vice president and senior Andrew Hosbein said describes the club’s mission well.“You hear the Vince Lombardi quote, ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,’ and from that you take sports to be ultra-competitive, which they are – who doesn’t want to win?” Hosbein said. “Yet, at the same time, one must be comfortable that they tried their best, and that’s what we try encourage through the club at Notre Dame.”Special Olympics Notre Dame, founded in 2010, connects students with members of the South Bend community with intellectual disabilities.Club co-president and senior Molly Reidy said relationships between students and Special Olympic athletes develop through participation in sports. Pick-up basketball, swimming and ice-skating are some of the largest events the club plans throughout the year, she said.“One of the biggest things I think is important to know about our club is that we’re not an event on campus, but we’re a club that plans events year around,” Reidy said.The club also plans a Special Olympics soccer program, Unified Soccer, each spring, Reidy said.Hosbein said Unified Soccer provides students and athletes with an opportunity to play on a team together.“What I think is really unique about Unified is the participation on the part of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students,” Reidy said. “They are able to get involved rather than just standing on the sideline and giving pointers. And I think that’s really valuable not only for the students, but also the athletes. They feel like they’re a part of an actual team and aren’t just being instructed on how to get better. While that’s certainly a goal, the camaraderie that the students and athletes develop is special.”Unified Soccer didn’t have any local teams like it to play against when it began, but club co-president and senior Laura Gardner said the popularity of the program has since grown to include away games in Michigan. The involvement between club members and athletes provides students with a sense of pride as they see athletes improve and develop, Gardner said.“Volunteers learn to be adaptable to the kids, and in the end, after a whole season of soccer practices, it’s amazing to see children that you work with actually develop day by day in terms of skills and maturity,” Gardner said. “We had our first Unified Soccer practice today, and one of the kids from last year was directing a new kid this year and saying, ‘This is what I learned last year; this is how you should incorporate it.’ … So that was really cool.”The connection between the city of South Bend and Special Olympics Notre Dame benefits those with disabilities and their families while also popping the “Notre Dame bubble,” Reidy said.“I think the fact that we are not only bridging the gap between the Notre Dame community and the South Bend community, but also bridging the gap between those with and without disabilities – I think it goes hand-in-hand really well,” Reidy said. “We’re not only being exposed to these athletes and what they’re capable of, but we’re being exposed to their families and the ways the athletes and their families find joy. And they find opportunity through our club through the events that we hold, which I think is really rewarding.”This spring, Special Olympics Notre Dame will also participate in ‘Spread the Word to End the Word,’ a national campaign to end the casual use of the word “retarded,” Reidy said.“It’s important to take time away from school, which can become all-consuming with work, friends and social life, finding a job – and return the favor,” Hosbein said. “It’s grounding and has engendered a sense of humility, and to me, there’s nothing better than seeing how excited an athlete gets after hitting a three or scoring a goal.“At the core, sports are about competition, but Special Olympics has shown me that making others happy by playing and teaching them skills can be just as satisfying as winning.”Tags: disability, South Bend, Special Olympics, Special Olympics Notre Dame, Unified Soccerlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s panel confronts LGBTQ youth bullying

first_imgAs part of its Campus Conversations initiative, which aims to raise awareness about underrepresented societal issues, Student Diversity Board (SDB) held a discussion panel about LGBTQ youth bullying at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday.Senior Angela Bukur, SDB vice president, said having open discussions about this topic can help the Saint Mary’s community take a stand against bullying.“I hope this event brings to light the harming effects bullying has on LGBTQ youth,” Bukur said. “I hope students take away more of an awareness about LGBTQ bullying. I want students and faculty to be in support of LGBTQ students and actively make changes to show their support.”Bukur said SDB and the Sociology Club decided to coordinate this session of Campus Conversations to inform students and create a safe environment for them to express their thoughts.“LGBTQ youth bullying is especially an important topic because of the lack of knowledge and awareness some people have about this issue,” she said. “The statistics are staggering, showing that 56.7 percent of LGBTQ students did not report experiences of bullying because they doubted an investigation [would be held]. This shows that there is a lack of support for the LGBTQ community in school systems where bullying is taking place.”Bettina Spencer, chair of the psychology department, said students should make efforts to end youth bullying because its effects can harm victims for the rest of their lives.“These early experiences can really shape how people approach the world and how they respond to people around them,” Spencer said. “It becomes a really additive cycle.”According to Spencer, past encounters with bullies may cause stigma consciousness, the expectation that prejudice will continue to occur, as well as other social constraints and perceived barriers that prevent people from confiding in others. The lasting outcomes of bullying can make it difficult for victims to process traumatic experiences, she said.Spencer said events such as Campus Conversations help encourage students to support one another.“It starts to build a community where we can have more open dialogues,” Spencer said. “Having events like this is kind of the first step and also one of the best steps we can do in supporting LGBTQ people, peers, allies and people who have been bullied in general. I think this a great way to start really talking and having good, thorough discussions with each other and generate ideas and hear people’s stories.”Junior Maranda Pennington said she works to make Saint Mary’s a welcoming and inclusive environment through her involvement with the Straight and Gay Alliance and with justice education.“A lot of times I feel like people are uncomfortable talking about anything LGBTQ related,” Pennington said. “It is hard to feel validated when your identity isn’t even recognized.”Pennington said even making simple changes, such as using more inclusive language, can unite the Saint Mary’s community.“I want Saint Mary’s to truly be a place where we embrace and empower women, regardless of any aspect of our identity,” Pennington said. “I think this can only be done through education, empathy and honest dialogue.”Tags: Campus conversations initiative, LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth bullying, SMC, smc campus conversations, Student Diversity Boardlast_img read more

Professors research hearing loss, concussions

first_imgStudents and faculty members heard more about research at Saint Mary’s during Friday Faculty Colloquium Series presentations by Dr. Jennifer Rowsell, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Sandra Schneider, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders.Rowsell spoke on “Insights into the Restoration of Hearing Loss.” She said there are two types of hearing loss, and she is specifically interested in the sensorineural type, which is when hearing loss results from damage to the cochlea in the inner ear.This type of hearing loss has multiple causes, including presbycusis, or age. Playing different frequencies of sound demonstrated to attendees how older age decreases the ability to hear high frequency sounds.“You can speed up this process by exposure to loud noises,” Rowsell said. “In a younger ear, if you are exposed to loud noises it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to cause an immediate hearing degeneration or loss, but it may very well cause this to occur a lot earlier in life.”Mammals naturally lose hair cells as they age, and this results in hearing deficits, Rowsell said. These hearing losses are permanent because the hair cells can’t regenerate, she said.“These neurons that are connecting to our hair cells are taking information to the brain,” she said. “So what’s happening here is hair cells recognize the vibrations caused by sound waves. Neurons transmit that information to the brain for interpretation … these are the cells that are important for the function of hearing in the cochlea.”However, fish and birds can regenerate these hair cells. By studying the developmental pathways of hair cells in animals such as birds and mice, researchers like Rowsell can explore different routes of promoting hair cell regeneration in mammals, she said.One future possibility being explored in research is using stem cells in stem cell therapy to replace lost hair cells.“First, you have to know the normal developmental pathway, how they make these decisions, if you want to force an undifferentiated [stem] cell down that pathway,” she said.Schneider’s area of interest is in neurogenic communication disorders, and that interest was explored in her talk “Using Speech Analysis for Concussion Detection and Other Neurological Disorders.”The lecture began with a video of a hard hit by a football player, who, despite displaying symptoms of having a concussion, played again later in the game.“It’s an epidemic,” she said. “There are two different types of concussion … after a hard hit, the brain bounces up and back. The cranium is a very hard system. There is nothing it can do, but the brain gets knocked around … the other concussion that they don’t talk about as much is the face mask or any kind of rotational where they grab and twist the brain on top of the brain stem. Both of those are equally damaging.”Concussions are a significant health problem in the United States, and are the leading cause of death and disability in young people, Schneider said.These concussions have long-term consequences, including temporary and permanent effects on personality, relationship skills and early onset dementia, Schneider said. She said she often tells her class, “Touch the brain, never the same.”“Sometimes symptoms don’t manifest themselves immediately to the physician or clinician who is looking that them, and yet [the athlete] will have delayed onset of symptoms where the functional ability it just difficult,” Schneider said. “Unfortunately, 90 percent of concussions go undetected.”While people are finding ways to cheat current concussion tests, the voice is one thing humans can’t cheat, Schneider said. One example of this is when a student calls home, and their mother knows something is wrong simply by the emotions in the student’s voice.By collaborating with engineers at Notre Dame, Schneider uses her interest in speech to develop a technology tool to detect concussions, she said. Such collaboration resulted in data collection for over 2,500 subjects, and collecting numerous baseline and after-event recordings.“We looked at movement,” she said. “Hesitating with movement, pitch level change, also duration rate of what’s going on. Particularly motor speech execution involves about 100 different muscles containing about 100 different motor units. During normal speech 140,000 neuromuscular events are generated every second to produce one monosyllable.”Using around 40 different motor speech execution biomarkers, Schneider and her collaborators have developed a tool for detecting concussions that has 94 percent accuracy. The idea of using motor speech execution biomarkers has potential future applications in areas such as detecting autism, she said.Tags: Autism, concussions, faculty colloquium, hearing, saint mary’slast_img read more

Worker Participation Committee discusses labor policy improvement

first_imgIn the early 1990s, amidst growing concerns over sweatshop labor in the developing world, University President Emeritus Fr. Edward Malloy convened a subcommittee to study the factories where Notre Dame licensed gear was produced. The subcommittee eventually settled on freedom of association for workers as the goal all manufacturers would have to follow, banning manufacturing in 11 countries — China included — which did not allow worker organization.Tuesday evening, in the auditorium of the Eck Visitors Center, the Worker Participation Committee, convened by executive vice president John Affleck-Graves, spoke on attempts to reform their manufacturing policy and better address workers’ rights.Affleck-Graves said the recommendation to make changes came from a University partner in protecting labor rights.“What the Fair Labor Association was pushing me on was to move less to a country-centric approach and more to a factory approach,” he said. “I guess that was the seed of where this came from — it was pressure from our partner at the Free Labor Association.”In order to resolve this problem, the University set up a test program in Chinese factories with the fair labor group Verite, in order to test how these factories fared on a case-by-case basis.“We asked our licensing companies if they had factories that would want to participate in the survey, and six factories were nominated and Verite did surveys of those factories and sent the results back,” Affleck-Graves said. “Two met our criteria, two were close but needed to do some work and two did not meet our criteria.”After this experience, the committee came up with three options to pursue in terms of their policy towards foreign labor. First, maintain the same policy. Second, continue to work with Varite in a select number of factories. Third, join with another compliance company, Summera, to join universities together to focus on labor rights. The panel stressed that none of these options had been chosen yet and that they were considering hybrid options.Christine Cervenak, committee member and associate director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights in the Eck School of Law, said one of the biggest challenges in their assessment was applying labor standards across countries.“[Our problem was] distinguishing between what we, first world people in South Bend, might believe to be [our] own standards,” she said.Cervenak said this was most evident in their visitation of Chinese factories.“When our team visited the dormitories of migrant labor factories in China, there was a slight sense of being appalled,” she said. “Our community came to understand that they were really not so bad, and much better than even the national norms.”Affleck-Graves said the decision to test the waters in China was, in some part, motivated by Under Armor’s desire to consolidate manufacturing in the country.“Under Armour and the other licensees we want to be with — they want to manufacture goods in one place,” he said. “[In these factories] you don’t see Notre Dame hats only, you see every school you can think of in the world … and so they want us to be part of that, so it’s very difficult for them if we say, ‘No, we don’t want to do that.’” Graduate student Chris Iffland, a committee member, described the process all factories would be put through in order to pass Verite tests.“The five general areas covered by the Verite assessment are as follows: workers’ right for freedom of association and collective bargaining, workers’ right to form and operate a union, good faith negotiations between factory management and union or worker representatives, effectiveness of union or worker representative body and worker grievance feedback and participation,” he said.Affleck-Graves cited student participation as key in helping the decision making process. Representing the Student Workers Participation Committee was Junior Niko Porter, who outlined the students’ main concerns.“The SWPC exists as an intermediary organization between the administration and the student body so students are able to have a voice in this conversation about manufacturing abroad,” he said. “Students’ foremost concerns are about the rights of workers, including but not limited to, freedom of association [and] safety in the workplace.”No matter what decision the committee reached, Porter said, dignity ought to be at the center of the decision.“It [must] all be based around the idea of [workers] … being treated like human beings,” he said. Tags: China, fair labor, Notre Dame licensed gear, Worker Participation Committeelast_img read more

‘Dome-ish’ season two aims to explore cultural issues

first_imgThe second season of “Dome-ish,” the television program showcasing diversity and identity problems at the University of Notre Dame, will premiere Thursday in the Duncan Student Center. While carrying over the message of the first season, the second run of “Dome-ish” will have a different stylistic and dramatic focus.Senior Erin Williams, one of the producers of “Dome-ish,” said the program will explore a variety of themes related to privilege.“We deal with all issues relating to privilege and inequality. That’s a very general way of saying it,” she said. “But race, gender, poverty, sexuality — more broad than sexual assault, just abuse in general.”Whereas the last season of “Dome-ish” had a more comedic focus with little or no story carryover between episodes, this season will feature a continuing narrative surrounding a set of characters, junior Durrell Jackson, another producer, said.“This year, we decided to take a different stylistic approach,” Jackson said. “One thing is we wanted to make an episodic series. We implemented main characters and a storyline that flows from episode to episode. These are main characters that you’re going to be able to follow. … We changed the face of it, but not the idea of it.”The sketch comedy-focused first season presented some problems, Jackson said. For example, he said the lack of a continued storyline made it difficult for people to get attached to the series.“Getting feedback from people who were watching it, they didn’t feel the need to follow when it was just skits,” he said. “It was just like ‘oh yeah, I should catch this skit this week and not worry about the rest.’ We wanted to develop something where you want to go back and watch that first episode, you want to follow along, you want to see how these characters develop. … We wanted to develop a following that’s just going to carry.”Williams and Jackson said the storylines will consist of “realistic fiction.” He said “Dome-ish” will be different from a program like “Show Some Skin” in that not every story will recount an actual occurrence.Both Williams and Jackson expressed a hope that the episodic series will be more focused.“We’ve kind of narrowed it on the things that we can talk about, but I would like to say we took 100 cars and put them in four lanes, in the tunnel,” Jackson said. “Before, it was like a million cars in the parking lot all trying to get out. We’re able to slowly feed you a lot of things in a tighter format so it’s easier to receive.”Williams said that each issue won’t necessarily become the focal point of every episode.“There may just be one comment that touches on an issue that’s happening on campus,” Williams said.The season will not just focus on problems at Notre Dame. The producers said the programming will also deal with issues happening in the broader world, as well as family and other at-home issues characters are having. The second season of “Dome-ish” is intended for a wider audience than the first.On the whole, Williams and Jackson both said they hope “Dome-ish” will serve as an introduction to sometimes overlooked and ignored cultural problems.“The problem I’ve seen with Notre Dame in trying to bring important issues to the forefront is that we’re always preaching to the choir,” Williams said. “We’re always preaching issues to people who already know and who have already brought them to the mainstream, to the forefront. It’s the majority culture, the dominant culture, that’s sometimes not listening to us. I usually see entertainment as a way of bringing these issues to the forefront and not being so, maybe in other words, aggressive. So, this is our way of introducing issues to the majority culture.”Jackson said he hopes that the changes made to “Dome-ish” will help expand its reach.“On the visual side, I wanted to create a different experience and different type of showing of talent in how creative we can get,” he said. “ … We kind of stepped it up from last year. We’re still amateur, don’t get us wrong. We don’t have all the professional equipment, we don’t have all the professional skills. We’re trying to touch a little bit on that level where it’s not just people on campus that are watching. It’s to where it can reach avenues — the South Bend community, our communities at home — where they watch it and say, ‘Oh that show’s nice!’ … We most definitely feel like that we can showcase this here, but also make it wide enough where we can showcase it everywhere.”The “Dome-ish” premiere will take place in the Duncan Student Center at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The season will consist of eight episodes and be available on YouTube after their official airing.Tags: Diversity, Dome-ish, privilegelast_img read more

L’Arche founder Jean Vanier found credibly accused of sexually abusing at least six women

first_imgCatholic activist and humanitarian worker Jean Vanier was found to have sexually abused at least six adult women, according to a report commissioned by L’Arche, the service organization he founded.In a press release Saturday, L’Arche said the alleged abuse took place between 1970 and 2005, often in the context of spiritual direction. None of the six known survivors had intellectual disabilities. The investigation deems the allegations against Vanier credible.Vanier was a recipient of two awards from Notre Dame, both of which were revoked Sunday, said Paul Browne, the University’s vice president for public affairs and communications.The sexual abuse investigation began the summer of 2019, following Vanier’s death in May. Findings from L’Arche’s report also implicate Vanier in covering up similar behavior by Father Thomas Phillippe, his spiritual mentor. Allegations of Phillippe’s sexual abuse first surfaced in 2014 and were deemed credible by the Vatican in 2015. Vanier publicly denied knowing anything of the abuse.The report’s findings “do not relate” to L’Arche communities in the United States, the release said. L’Arche is an international nonprofit created to serve those with intellectual disabilities. Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns often partners with the organization for Summer Service Learning Programs and community seminars. Vanier received the Notre Dame Award in 1994. In 2014, he and L’Arche were given the Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity during the Kellogg Institute’s Conference on Human Dignity and Human Development at the University’s Rome Global Gateway.“The L’Arche report was thorough, rigorous and fair, prompting University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to revoke the award,” Browne said in an email. “Similarly, the 2014 Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity given to Vanier by the University’s Kellogg Institute was revoked today by the institute.”University President Fr. John Jenkins issued a public statement commemorating Vanier after his death in 2019.Tags: Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal, Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity, Jean Vanier, L’Arche, Notre Dame Awardlast_img read more

Some Doctors Moving Away From Ventilators For Virus Patients

first_imgPhoto: ZUMA / MGNNEW YORK — As health officials around the world push to get more ventilators to treat coronavirus patients, some doctors are moving away from using the breathing machines when they can.The reason: Some hospitals have reported unusually high death rates for coronavirus patients on ventilators, and some doctors worry that the machines could be harming certain patients.The evolving treatments highlight the fact that doctors are still learning the best way to manage a virus that emerged only months ago. They are relying on anecdotal, real-time data amid a crush of patients and shortages of basic supplies.Mechanical ventilators push oxygen into patients whose lungs are failing. Using the machines involves sedating a patient and sticking a tube into the throat. Deaths in such sick patients are common, no matter the reason they need the breathing help. Generally speaking, 40% to 50% of patients with severe respiratory distress die while on ventilators, experts say. But 80% or more of coronavirus patients placed on the machines in New York City have died, state and city officials say.Higher-than-normal death rates also have been reported elsewhere in the U.S., said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the American Lung Association’s chief medical officer.Similar reports have emerged from China and the United Kingdom. One U.K. report put the figure at 66%. A very small study in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the disease first emerged, said 86% died.The reason is not clear. It may have to do with what kind of shape the patients were in before they were infected. Or it could be related to how sick they had become by the time they were put on the machines, some experts said.But some health professionals have wondered whether ventilators might actually make matters worse in certain patients, perhaps by igniting or worsening a harmful immune system reaction.That’s speculation. But experts do say ventilators can be damaging to a patient over time, as high-pressure oxygen is forced into the tiny air sacs in a patient’s lungs.“We know that mechanical ventilation is not benign,” said Dr. Eddy Fan, an expert on respiratory treatment at Toronto General Hospital. “One of the most important findings in the last few decades is that medical ventilation can worsen lung injury — so we have to be careful how we use it.”The dangers can be eased by limiting the amount of pressure and the size of breaths delivered by the machine, Fan said.But some doctors say they’re trying to keep patients off ventilators as long as possible, and turning to other techniques instead.Only a few weeks ago in New York City, coronavirus patients who came in quite sick were routinely placed on ventilators to keep them breathing, said Dr. Joseph Habboushe, an emergency medicine doctor who works in Manhattan hospitals.But increasingly, physicians are trying other measures first. One is having patients lie in different positions — including on their stomachs — to allow different parts of the lung to aerate better. Another is giving patients more oxygen through nose tubes or other devices. Some doctors are experimenting with adding nitric oxide to the mix, to help improve blood flow and oxygen to the least damaged parts of the lungs.“If we’re able to make them better without intubating them, they are more likely to have a better outcome — we think,” Habboushe said.He said those decisions are separate from worries that there are not enough ventilators available. But that is a concern as well, Habboushe added.There are widespread reports that coronavirus patients tend to be on ventilators much longer than other kinds of patients, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University.Experts say that patients with bacterial pneumonia, for example, may be on a ventilator for no more than a day or two. But it’s been common for coronavirus patients to have been on a ventilator “seven days, 10 days, 15 days, and they’re passing away,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when asked about ventilator death rates during a news briefing on Wednesday.That’s one reason for worries that ventilators could grow in short supply. Experts worry that as cases mount, doctors will be forced to make terrible decisions about who lives and who dies because they won’t have enough machines for every patient who needs one.New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said Wednesday that officials are looking into other possible therapies that can be given earlier, but added “that’s all experimental.”The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family that can cause colds as well as more serious illnesses. Health officials say it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is no proven drug treatment or vaccine against it.Experts think most people who are infected suffer nothing worse than unpleasant but mild illnesses that may include fever and coughing.But roughly 20% — many of them older adults or people weakened by chronic conditions — can grow much sicker. They can have trouble breathing and suffer chest pain. Their lungs can become inflamed, causing a dangerous condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome. An estimated 3% to 4% may need ventilators.“The ventilator is not therapeutic. It’s a supportive measure while we wait for the patient’s body to recover,” said Dr. Roger Alvarez, a lung specialist with the University of Miami Health System in Florida, who is a leader in the effort to use nitric oxide to keep patients off ventilators for as long as possible.Zachary Shemtob said he was “absolutely terrified” when he was told his 44-year-old husband, David, needed to be put on a ventilator at NYU Langone last month after becoming infected with the virus.“Needing to be ventilated might mean never getting off the ventilator,” he said.Shemtob said the hospital did not give any percentages on survival, but he got the impression it was essentially a coin flip. He looked up the rates only after his husband was breathing on his own six days later.“A coin flip was generous it seems,” he said.But Shemtob noted cases vary. His husband is relatively young.“David is living proof that they can really save lives, and how incredibly important they are,” Shemtob said. 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