California measure aims to pay off 80% of most unpaid rent

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California could pay off up to 80% of most people’s unpaid rent because of the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s top two legislative leaders announced a bill Monday that would use federal relief money to pay off the debt. But landlords would only get the money if they agree to forgive the remaining 20%. The proposal also would extend a state law until June 30 that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who pay at least 25% of what they owe. The state Legislature is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday.last_img read more

Daughter: Pakistan arrests rights activist in sedition case

first_imgPESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A prominent Pakistani rights activist living in exile says her father was arrested in the northwestern city of Peshawar after a court denied him bail on charges of terror financing and sedition. Gulalai Ismail tweeted that her father, Mohammad Ismail, was arrested on Wednesday. The father is wanted in a long-standing case that also charges his wife and daughter since 2019, when Gulalai Ismail fled to the U.S. to avoid harassment by Pakistani security agencies because of her investigations into alleged human rights abuses by soldiers. Pakistani activists and journalists have increasingly come under attack by the government and the security establishments, restricting the space for criticism and dissent.last_img read more

Navalny urges Russians from jail to overcome their fear

first_imgMOSCOW (AP) — In a note from jail, opposition leader Alexei Navalny is urging Russians to overcome their fear and “free” the country from a “bunch of thieves.” Meanwhile, the Kremlin on Thursday cast the arrests of thousands of protesters s as a due response to the unsanctioned rallies. Navalny, who was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison earlier this week, said in a statement posted on his Instagram that “iron doors slammed behind my back with a deafening sound, but I feel like a free man.” He said his imprisonment was “Putin’s personal revenge” for surviving and exposing the assassination plot.last_img read more

SMC team competes in service competition

first_imgMesina and Yancy worked with the South Bend Center for the Homeless during the Fall 2009 semester in a public communication class. “I owe a great deal to Claire for envisioning this project,” Mesina said. “It was her idea and form there, we’ve really made it blossom. We still have a long way to go, though, and a huge responsibility to the Center.” “Next year, we will meet once a week for an hour to discuss topics such as family relationships, women’s history and body image,” Mesina said. “We’ve been meeting with a focus group, staff and professors and students at Saint Mary’s College to ensure that we’ve done the proper research to run a program like this.” The two are entered in the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation’s (NABEF) Collegiate Call to Service. Mesina and Yancy make up one of seven teams declared finalists for the prizes. Combining their knowledge of communication and their desire to serve, Saint Mary’s juniors Katrina Mesina and Claire Yancy are competing in a contest to win scholarships as well as a matching donation to an organization of their choice. The two have created a program for the Center called “One Hour.” The program was designed to allow women at the Center to practice public speaking skills, as well as to bond and create confidence.  In order to win the scholarship and donation, Mesina said the two have to write a blog about their project with the Center. They were responsible to blog about 45 days of service. “Our professor, Terri Russ, heard about the scholarship and really encouraged us to do it,” Mesina said. “We were a little uneasy about it because we felt that we might not fit into the criteria for the competition, but one short phone call to NABEF ensured that we should apply.” “They will be judging based on our efforts to help our community. In addition, they are judging our creativity and use of media in our blogging,” Mesina said.Mesina said she and Yancy worked together, though she credits the basic idea for the project to Yancy. “I love working at the Center,” she said. “It’s very easy to lose yourself in activities and school, but giving back to the community should always be a priority. The people at the Center are there because they want to make their lives better. It takes courage to want that for yourself and to work for it. It is an honor to be a part of their journey.” Mesina said she enjoys working at the Center.last_img read more

SMC study abroad ranked No. 15

first_imgThe 2010 Open Doors Report, released by the Institute of International Education (IIE), ranked Saint Mary’s College No. 15 among all baccalaureate colleges in the nation for 2008-2009 academic year study abroad programs, according to a press release. “Before 2002, Saint Mary’s College had only seven study abroad programs and all but one were in Europe,” Elaine Meyer-Lee, director for the Center for Women’s Intercultural Studies (CWIL), said in a press release. “CWIL has expanded study abroad offerings, creating 17 new programs. The portfolio of programs is varied enough to meet individual students’ needs, including geographical location, time frame, disciplinary focus, pedagogical model and specific learning outcomes.” Recently, the College launched a new program in South Korea, which started with senior and student body president Rachael Chesley. Chesley also spent a semester studying in Rome. “Taking the independence and confidence I developed in Rome, I was able to travel abroad and learn more about the Korean culture,” Chesley said. She said she had some apprehensions about going to South Korea, but liked the flexibility of the program. “Before heading to South Korea, I was nervous about being the first and only student to experience this new program with Saint Mary’s,” Chesley said. “There was not a great deal of information given about the program, and I was not sure about the language barrier, where I was living or what my life would be like there. However, I trusted my gut, branched out, met new people and had an excellent experience.” According to Chesley, going abroad is a crucial experience not only in education, but also in life. “There is a quote by St. Augustine that says, ‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.’ I believe this,” Chesley said. “I always grew up doing road trips with my family, so I realized that the world was a big place with lots of different people and so many diverse things.” Through her time in Rome and South Korea, Chesley said she realized the importance of experiencing different parts of the world. “Overall, the world is becoming a more global society each and every day,” Chesley said. “Studying abroad offered me the opportunity to develop my intercultural competence, communication skills and independence.” Chesley is not the only student who has had multiple experiences with Saint Mary’s study abroad programs. Senior Chelsea Crane spent a year in Ireland, a summer in Nicaragua and two weeks traveling in Ecuador. “I heard somewhere that when you go someplace where no one knows you, you become more yourself than ever,” Crane said. “Now that I’ve experienced traveling and living abroad, I know that to be true and it’s an experience I think every woman, American, human should have.” Crane said she picked Ireland because she felt she would be able to assimilate there due to the similarities between the U.S. and Ireland. “One of the reasons I decided on Ireland was because they speak English — it would be an easier transition and I was able to make close friends more easily,” Crane said. However, Crane said she enjoyed traveling to more exotic places because it gave her an appreciation for the everyday amenities of American life. “In Nicaragua, I learned to really appreciate things I didn’t realize I should,” Crane said. “For example, having to throw toilet paper into a basket instead of down the loo made me really appreciate the commonality of working toilets in America.” Traveling in unfamiliar territory can be intimidating, but Crane said it also offers moment that can’t be found anywhere else. “Hiking around the same islands where the very notion of evolution was born was the experience of a lifetime and I’ll be lucky if I get to experience something like that again,” Crane said. For both Chesley and Crane, going abroad was a part of their college career they won’t forget. “Studying abroad has allowed me the distinct opportunity to learn more about myself, my interests, my passions and the world around me,” Chesley said.last_img read more

President prepares for state of SGA address

first_imgSaint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) discussed the end of the current administration’s term, including the state of SGA address and spring allotments, at Wednesday’s meeting. Student body president Rachael Chesley and student body vice president Laura Smith will deliver a state of SGA address at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Center Lounge. The address will replace the weekly SGA meeting. “As student body leaders, we will talk about things we’ve worked on this year, things that didn’t pan out, things we’ve accomplished and things we hope continue in the future under the next administration,” Chesley said. “For instance, we would hope the next administration would consider holding the finance seminar before the allotment forms were sent. That is what happened this year, and it would have been better had we had the finance seminar prior to the sending out of forms.” Chesley said she hopes there is a larger turnout for the address than there was at the open forum held during the fall semester. Forming connections to the student body is important to the administration, she said. “We want students to care about their student government and to come to this meeting to really know what we do and what we have done,” Chesley said. The next president and vice president, for whom elections are today, will be invited to introduce themselves to the student body at the address. “Our goal is to have the smoothest turnover that SGA has ever experienced, from Friday when the new SGA president and vice president are elected to the end of our term,” Chesley said. “I think it should be pretty smooth this year.” The transition period between administrations affects the financial deadlines for clubs’ spring allotments. In the weekly treasurer’s report, SGA treasurer Meg Griffin discussed the deadlines the financial committee set. Spring allotment forms, sponsorship and travel grant forms are due March 7. Spring allotment appeals are due March 21. “We made [the guideline sheet] clear and concise,” Griffin said. SGA will send a list of eligible items for spring allotments and the deadlines for paperwork concerning spring allotments to all club leaders, Chesley said. It will also be available on the SGA website.last_img read more

NDream celebrates new admissions policy

first_imgStudents and faculty gathered outside Main Building Friday afternoon to celebrate Notre Dame’s decision to admit undocumented students.  The University announced this decision in August. The event, titled “NDream Immigration Celebration,” was sponsored by student government, the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy, the Progressive Student Alliance, the Center for Social Concerns and the Institute for Latino Studies.  In a speech given at the celebration, student body president Alex Coccia said he supported the administration’s move to include undocumented students in future Notre Dame classes.  “We’re proud of our university for making this decision,” Coccia said. “Our primary purpose is making sure [undocumented students] feel extremely welcome.” Notre Dame’s decision is also relevant in the larger sphere of federal politics, Coccia said. “This is a critical moment for us nationally, and we urge Congress to pass national immigration reform,” he said.  Juan Rangel, student body chief of staff and chairman of the Immigration Task Force, a sub-division of student government, said he believes this decision will benefit the campus community overall. “I hope that this gathering of students shows that we are ready to welcome undocumented students to campus,” he said. “They contribute their histories, cultures and traditions with us throughout the United States. It’s one of the many benefits that we as Americans receive from our immigrant communities.” Fr. Dan Groody, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, read a statement from University President Fr. John Jenkins regarding the new policy. In the statement, Jenkins called for a “just and effective immigration reform” within the United States that would allow “deserving, academically qualified young men and women who are brought to the United States as children to have access to higher education in the United States and opportunities following from educational achievement.” Senior Stephen Zerfas said he supports the new policy because it reflects Notre Dame’s role as a religious institution. “I’m excited that the University has been able to take a stance more in line with our Catholic tradition,” he said.  To conclude the event, Dara Marquez, a junior from Saint Mary’s College, read a poem that highlighted the experience of undocumented immigrants in the United States. As an undocumented student herself, Marquez said the policy change is influential. “It’s able to provide more aid for those students that are wanting to come that are undocumented,” she said. “That’s empowering.”  Contact Sarah McCarthy at smccart6@nd.edulast_img read more

Students capitalize on summer research opportunities

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Graham Englert Senior Graham Englert poses with community members around Lake Bunyonyi outside Kabale in southwest Uganda. Englert studied the effects of disease outbreaks on healthcare workers in the region this summer.Jen Fulton, student coordinator at the Nanovic Institute, said partial or full funding was provided to 52 students to conduct research in 15 countries, including the United States.“This is the story of the Nanovic Institute,” she said. “If [a proposed project] has to do with Europe, we’re interested in helping students do their projects, whether they are from the College of Science or the College of Engineering or Mendoza or Arts and Letters or Architecture.”With the number of funded students increasing from year to year, Fulton said the Institute is on a general upward trend of student involvement. She also said the variety of research fields “really runs the gamut.”“We have students who were doing lit research on French literature,” she said. “We had some scientists over doing some internships in labs. We had some vocational students looking at doing service in Le Mans. Architecture students away on digs in Ireland.”Fulton said students today are entering a much more difficult and competitive job market where international experience and independent research can help set them apart.“I think it’s really exciting that people like us here at the Nanovic Institute are giving students the opportunity to do that independent research and do internships that may not have been a possibility for them if they didn’t have the funding to do so.”While the Nanovic Institute funded European projects, other students partnered with the Kellogg Institute to do research in Africa, Asia and the Americas.Senior Graham Englert, who conducted research throughout Uganda under a Kellogg/Kroc undergraduate research grant, said he was one of about 50 Notre Dame participants who partnered with the Kellogg Institute this summer.As students travelled to 20 different countries to conduct their research, some partnered with organizations such as WorldTeach and the Foundation for International Medical Relief while others, like Englert, conducted independent research.“I completed ethnographic research during the first two weeks in Kampala and Jinja,” he said. “For the final three weeks, I interviewed health workers with experience responding to Ebola and Marburg [virus] outbreaks in Gulu, Kabale and Bundibugyo.”Englert said he prepared for the experience by examining various global health research methods while attending global health and international development conferences at Notre Dame and other institutions.“Interning in the Crowe Laboratory at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center sparked my interest in viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) when I assisted a graduate student studying antibodies to Ebola and Marburg,” he said. “Reviewing literature enabled me to identify lapses in knowledge regarding the risks of responding to such outbreaks.”Due to the frequency of VHF outbreaks in Uganda, which included four Ebola and two Marburg outbreaks since 2000, Englert said the country stood out as an informative area to conduct research.“I investigated the psychological and social risks posed to health workers when responding to viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks,” he said. “Psychological risks were defined as depression, anxiety and trauma. Social risks referred to any stigmatization or other negative repercussions from the public.”Englert said although he initially experienced anxiety at the prospects of interviewing health workers about such a sensitive topic, his first interviews in Gulu went well and left him energized for his remaining time in Uganda.Meanwhile in the United States, senior Jonathan Jou researched tendon and ligament regeneration in zebra fish through the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program partnered with the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.“I was initially looking for an opportunity to do research off campus,” he said. “I’d considered the [National Institutes of Health], I’d considered an Amgen internship with MIT, but ultimately my advisor Dr. Wingert suggested I look into the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.”Jou said the research showed him the benefits of following the proper faculty members and following one’s passion.“I learned that even though you’re 20 or 21 … you can still have big dreams,” he said. “People will embrace it as long as you can find the right audience.” Tags: Kellogg Institute, Kroc Institute, Nanovic Institute, research This summer Notre Dame students traveled both across the country and around the globe to conduct research in an array of academic fields as a result of independent searches and University-funded programs.The Nanovic Institute of European Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) were three Notre Dame institutions that helped provide such funding.last_img read more

Notre Dame ROTC to commission senior cadets

first_imgOn May 14 in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, 13 cadets will be commissioned while the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, gives the keynote address. This ceremony will be a joint commissioning with members of the Navy and Air Force ROTCs.According to Lt. Col. Christopher Pratt, the class of 2016 has stood out for its intelligence, motivation, and leadership.“We have a very strong senior class — we have 13 seniors commissioning, which is the largest commissioning class out of the tri-mil this year,” Pratt said. “Out of this senior class, we have four that we call DMG — Distinguished Military Graduates. These are individuals that are in the top 10 percent of the country.”The Notre Dame ROTC is comprised of students from six universities — the University of Notre Dame, Bethel College, Saint Mary’s College, Holy Cross College, Indiana University at South Bend (IUSB) and Valparaiso University.The cadets who are being commissioned from Notre Dame, listed with their assignments, are as follows:Austin Crehan — Illinois National Guard — InfantryMichael Deasey — Army Reserve — Military IntelligenceFernanda Garcia — Active Duty — Corps of EngineersMatthew Jackson — Active Duty — Field ArtilleryJohn Lake — Active Duty — Cyber CorpsMichael McGraw — Active Duty — ArmorPeter Noell — Active Duty — InfantryRyne Quinlan — Arizona National Guard — Corps of EngineersMichael Weeks — Army Reserve — Military IntelligenceFrom Saint Mary’s College, Isabella Gagnon and Brett Quick, both of whom will be serving Active Duty in the Signal Corps, will be commissioned.According to Pratt, the class of 2016 enjoyed many special experiences, chief among them being a staff ride to the Gettysburg Battlefield.Pratt said this trip “allows [cadets] to connect to the program’s history and lineage, tying into the Irish Brigade, which served at Gettysburg.”In addition, this trip allowed seniors to view a statue of Father William Corby, a former President of the University and member of the Irish Brigade during the battle of Gettysburg, a replica of which stands outside of Corby Hall.The senior cadets also participated in many other events this year, including leadership developments exercises (LDX) at the National Guard Armory in Kingsbury, Indiana and at Fort Custer in Michigan. Cadets also participated in combat water survival tests at the University, rapelling labs at the South Bend Fire Department and two awards ceremonies.Pratt said success is consistent among cadets in the Notre Dame ROTC program and that this success is the culmination of four years of work.“When you come in as a scholarship cadet to Notre Dame, you generally finish,” he said. “We have about a 96% progression rate, which means that if you start the program, you generally finish if you’re a scholarship cadet. The important thing with that is that 95% of seniors [were commissioned] … [and] that is mostly based on their performance.” Tags: Army ROTC, Commencement 2016, navy ROTC, ROTClast_img read more

Admissions moves to test optional, giving students ‘one less hurdle’

first_imgIn June, Notre Dame announced admissions will not require standardized test scores for the 2020-2021 application period. Although COVID-19 concerns catalyzed this change, associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment Don Bishop said this decision has been years in the making.For the past 10 years, Bishop said admissions has considered test scores less and less in applications in favor of a holistic approach. In fact, in the 2019-2020 application cycle, less than half of the students who applied with an ACT score between 35-36 and an SAT score higher than 1550 gained admission.(Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misstated the SAT score as being higher than 5050 rather than 1550. The Observer regrets this error.)Instead, admissions reviews extracurriculars, letters of recommendation and essays to determine an applicant’s motivation for success, which the admissions team rates highly in choosing students.Bishop expects the admitted class of 2025 to display the same academic prowess as students in previous years despite the University’s decision to be test optional.“Being test optional is not going to mean we’re less selective,” he said. “What it means is that your class performance is going to be really important for us to evaluate.”Director of admissions Christy Pratt said her office first evaluates an applicant’s academic preparation, then moves on to the rest of the application.“We open up with the transcript and the high school profile, what was offered to that student in their high school, what have they taken, have they continued to challenge themselves, each and every year throughout high school and obviously the grades achieved on it,” Pratt said. “And we’re hoping that they’re maximizing what’s available to them.”In addition to academics, Pratt said admissions looks for students who are passionate about their activities and will utilize the resources Notre Dame has to offer.“It’s not the quantity of [checking] off every single box,” Pratt said. “It’s more of what are you involved in and what are you passionate about and what that’s sharing with us. … We’re not looking for someone who’s president of 15 clubs. Well, if you’re president of 15 clubs, then how are you able to give so much of yourself?”Pratt sees the University’s decision to go test optional as “one less hurdle for students to jump over.”Admissions has been attempting to remove barriers for students in the last few years, and becoming test optional will further this goal, she said. As a part of this progression, admissions began to allow students to self report test scores on their application portal two years ago. The student is only required to provide an official testing report if they decide to enroll at Notre Dame.“It’s one less thing that a student has to pay for to send to however many schools that they did so that was kind of that first step of let’s take away this barrier,” Pratt said.Because of the holistic admissions process, Bishop said students who elect to not send a score will not be at a disadvantage to comparable students who choose to send in a score. For many reasons, he has grown to be more skeptical of standardized test scores in identifying students to admit.“In the last few years, I have never seen so many applicants with high test scores that the rest of their application does not align with,” Bishop said. “I’m concerned whether they got help on their essays beyond their own abilities. I’m concerned whether their test score was over practiced, and it’s not indicative of their talent.”For students concerned about comparing their test scores to that of previous classes, Bishop said admissions will take the country’s current circumstances into consideration. He expects the national distribution of test scores to decrease because of a lack of access to taking the test multiple times and to practice with personal counselors.“We’re only going to compare you with the pool that applies with you that is laboring under the same circumstances that you,” he said. “We’re really looking at the proportional success.”Admissions plans on piloting this program for one year, and at the end, they will determine whether they want to continue test optional in future admissions.“I am really excited along with the entire team that we’re putting that power back in the hands of our applicants to decide if they want to include a test score within their application,” Pratt said.Tags: ACT, Admissions, COVID-19, SAT, test optionallast_img read more