Gigot hosts ‘Idea Challenge’ at ND

first_imgIdeas ranged from the high tech to the socially and environmentally conscious to the bizarre at the third annual Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies’ Idea Challenge, held yesterday in the Mendoza College of Business. Ideas included everything from laser pointers to automated urinal carnival games. Each student is given one minute to present their idea in front of an audience, which then votes on the best. The objective is to simulate an “elevator pitch” — the opportunity to present potential investors or partners with an original idea. “The goal of the Gigot Center is to really look at the idea of venture development as a spectrum from idea to enterprise,” Laura Hollis, director of the Gigot Center, said. The event is meant to kick off the rounds of competitions that come later, such as the main McClosky Competition, which gives students the opportunity to present their business plans in the hopes of the $15,000 grand prize, according to Gigot’s website. Students can be intimidated by the prospect of presenting their ideas, so this event is supposed to help ease that anxiety, Hollis said. Both the Idea Challenge and McClosky Competition are open to all Notre Dame students, no matter the major. “The best projects are usually interdisciplinary,” Hollis said. After all of the students have presented, the audience votes. There are two overall winners in two categories, Best Social Venture and Best Health care Venture. The Best Social Venture award went to a plan to set up medical kiosks around the world so that doctors in developing nations could learn about medical procedures while providing data for the study of disease, Hollis said. A plan to apply mobile technology to fighting diabetes in developing nations won the Best Health care Venture category. Casey Cockerham and Joe Miller won the general competition, both garnering new iPads for their ideas. Cockerham’s idea was to put bar codes on posters in order to instantly obtain digital information about the event in question. “It was one of those back of the envelope sketches,” he said. Now that it appears to have earned a certain amount of attention, he plans on developing it further, Cockerham said. Miller’s idea consisted of putting a Bluetooth connection in digital cameras, to allow for instant sharing of pictures.last_img read more

Poetry tour showcases current Latino talent

first_imgA national Latino poetry tour affiliated with Notre Dame launched at Harvard University today. The Poetry Society of America (PSA) and Letras Latinas, a subdivision of the literary program at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), created the tour, called “Latino/a Poetry Now.” The tour will showcase 15 poets in a span of two-and-a-half years at different universities across America. It will conclude at Notre Dame in October 2013. Director Francisco Aragón of Letras Latinas facilitated the opening installment of “Latino/a Poetry Now” at Harvard University. Lauro Vazquez, first-year MFA graduate student and Aragón’s assistant, said the poets hoped to debut a new wave of Latino poetry through the national readings. “All of these poets, or the majority, are kind of like a newer generation that is coming into maturity,” he said. “What ‘Latino Poetry Now’ seeks to do is enhance the visibility of Latino poetry and these newer voices.” Vasquez said that, while the term “Latino” implied a homogeneous focus in the showcase, each poet produced different styles of work. “In reality Latinos are very diverse,” he said. “They have varying aesthetics, influences and cultural backgrounds. The topics are tremendously diverse.” Different poets will speak at each segment of the series, Vazquez said. The first installment featured Rosa Alcalá, Eduardo C. Corral and Aracelis Girmay. Corral recently won the Yale Younger Poets Award and Girmay received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. Following installments held at Georgetown University, Macalester College and the University of Arizona, the showcase will conclude at Notre Dame in 2013. “When it comes to here, it will be a two-day event with a reading and discussion,” Vazquez said. “It will be collaboration between the Creative Writing program at Notre Dame and undergrads who will have the opportunity to listen to these poets and ask questions.” Vazquez said Aragón hoped to create a dialogue between the poets and their audience. Aragón will guide the conversations at each installment over the next two and a half years as a representative of the ILS and the University. “Aragón also worked with the PSA to generate online discussion,” Vasquez said. “We’re not just trying to bring audiences to the poets. We want the thing to take on a life of its own.” The poets hope to reach several audiences through the showcase, Vazquez said. “I think it goes without saying that the general impact is not only for people in higher education,” he said. “Poetry, especially this new poetry, is meant to be visible to anybody.”last_img read more

Huang chosen as dean

first_imgRoger Huang shed the title of interim and now serves as the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, according to a University press release Friday. “I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to assume the deanship of the Mendoza College of Business,” Huang said in the release. “I am inspired by the vision of the founder of the business school, Cardinal John O’Hara, who said that the primary function of commerce is service to mankind. “This vision sets the Mendoza College apart form other business schools, and I look forward to furthering our vision of business as a powerful force for good.” Huang earned the appointment as interim dean of the College when former dean Carolyn Woo left last year to serve as president of Catholic Relief Services. As interim dean, Huang finalized a partnership between Notre Dame and Renmin University in Beijing to offer a graduate business program for Chinese students pursuing careers with nonprofit organizations. He has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2000 and currently serves as the Kenneth R. Meyer Professor of Global Investment Management. “Roger is an internationally respected scholar who during his time at Notre Dame has proved to be an equally accomplished leader,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the press release. “His reputation in his field, administrative experience, strategic perspective and commitment to Notre Dame’s mission as a Catholic research university are extraordinary. “I look forward to working closely with him as we continue to build a superb business school that serves the greater good.”last_img read more

Garden program employs autistic individuals

first_imgThe power of entrepreneurship has planted a new business in the local South Bend community called The Green Bridge Growers (GBG). The small business, co-founded by Saint Mary’s Justice Education professor Jan Pilarski, will sell local produce and offer employment to autistic individuals. Pilarski said she was personally affected by the hardships of autism when her son was unable to obtain a full-time job after graduating college. After witnessing others like her son, she began to see a social justice issue. “They are strong employees. The skills and opportunities for those with autism are not being used on the job,” Pilarski said. Innovation was needed to solve the problem, so Pilarski said she and her son decided to take action. Pilarski’s interest in sustainability and her son’s experience in organic farming provided the first step in creating GBG, she said. In collaboration with Notre Dame’s Science and Engineering Meet Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation master’s program, the GBG team began researching adequate and productive farming methods. Pilarski said GBG uses aquaponics, a different agricultural method in which growth must be maintained and monitored on a daily basis. “Aquaponics saves on hard labor,” she said. “It helps those with autism to work at the same level without creating physical stress on their bodies.” Typical farming tasks will be performed by the workers, who will seed the plants, transfer them as they grow and test them, she said. The system also requires precision and attention during inspection. In collaboration with the local community, Pilarski said GBG will be partnering with Hannah and Friends, a non-profit organization former by former Irish head coach Charlie Weis supporting and improving the lives of those with special needs. GBG will be adding a greenhouse to Hannah and Friends as a prototype, she said. This will provide an opportunity to test energy efficiency and growing methods while training autistic employees who are autistic, she said. GBG plans to build three 2,000 square foot greenhouses in the next three years. “We look forward to the expertise that Green Bridge will share with our staff and participants, teaching us to maintain the aquaponics system and creating hands-on learning opportunities for our participants” Katie Teitgen, staff member at Hannah and Friends, said. GBG is working on the construction of the prototype and will start with the instillation in May, according to Pilarski. The greenhouse will be completed by this summer and all proceeds will support further development of the greenhouse and other day program activities. Contact Christin Kloski at [email protected]last_img read more

Media critic examines advertising and gender

first_imgAlthough many Americans argue advertising images do not impact them, Dr. Jean Kilbourne argues that the impact comes from repeated, subconscious and instant exposure. This inundation shapes cultural norms, especially with regard to acceptable forms of female beauty and behavior, she said in her talk “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Gender,” on Tuesday night in DeBartolo Hall.“They stay with us and we process them over and over again, and we process them subconsciously,” Kilbourne said. “To a great extent, advertising tells us who we are and how we should be.”Kilbourne, an author and filmmaker, spoke as part of the Gender Relations Center’s (GRC) “Love Your Body Week.”She said Americans view an average of 3,000 ads every day and spend two years watching television commercials in their lifetimes. She said it is impossible to completely ignore this constant messaging, which creates a toxic cultural environment that sacrifices health for corporate profit.“What they’re selling us is image,” Kilbourne said. “… People are willing to spend a lot more money to buy that image while at the same time they believe they aren’t influenced by advertising.”Having studied advertising since the late 1960s, Kilbourne said that American advertising has created an unrealistic ideal for female beauty, telling women and girls that they must spend incredible time and money to achieve the impossible standards portrayed in advertisements by unhealthily thin and often airbrushed models.“What this does is it creates the idea that there is something wrong with [women who see the advertisements] … and creates the image that women can be perfectly thin and beautiful if we try hard enough,” Kilbourne said.Citing multiple examples of computer-manipulated photos, Kilbourne said these artificial and constructed pictures damage women’s self-esteem and also cause men to have unrealistic expectations for females.“Failure is inevitable because success is based on absolute flawlessness,” she said. “No one looks like this, including her … yet real women and girls measure themselves against these ideals everyday.”Kilbourne said if an eating disorder meant having a disordered attitude toward one’s body or food, 65 percent of America would qualify. She said an obsession with becoming thinner and thinner prevents women to value themselves for anything but their bodies and teaches girls that they will be judged in life for how they look and what they wear, not what they accomplish.“On a deeper level, the obsession with thinness is about cutting girls down to size,” she said. “Girls are taught to aspire to become nothing”Kilbourne said advertising’s obsession with perfect female bodies has caused the prevalence of body-altering products and services like “The Wonderbra” and plastic surgery. She said 91 percent of plastic surgery patients today are women and women are getting surgeries at a younger age.“Nowadays we’re supposed to go further; we’re supposed to get surgery,” she said.With damaging ads running in teen magazines targeted at audiences as young as 12, she said the image of the ideal woman causes a girl’s self-esteem to plummet in adolescence.“Girls are getting the messages so young that they need to be thin and perfect looking and hot and sexy, and there is no way they can succeed,” she said. “Part of this wall [of self-esteem] is this terrible emphasis of physical perfection.”Kilbourne said an over-emphasis on thinness and dieting pairs logically with the obesity problem in the U.S., where both fast food and diet pills are commonly advertised. She encouraged a realization of natural, healthy body-sizes.“We need to transform our attitudes as a culture about how we eat and how we exercise,” she said. “Eating should be one of life’s joyful experiences.”Kilbourne said objectifying women by showing only a body part like legs or a stomach or by transforming a woman into a beer bottle can lead to violence.“It is part of a cultural climate in which women are seen as things, as objects … which is almost always the first step of being violent against someone,” Kilbourne said. “It is a chilling but logical result of this kind of objectification.”Kilbourne said many ads also show women in victimized, passive positions that glorify battery, murder and submission. She said these advertisements are dangerous in the U.S., where one-third of female murder victims are killed by their romantic partners.Kilbourne said objectification of male bodies has become increasingly common, although men often assume poses of power, dominance and violence that contrast with the passive rag-doll positions of females. She said male models often receive computer-enhanced muscles instead of the waifish look for female models.“It’s a perverse kind of equality, and it’s not okay; it’s not ever okay to be objectified,” she said. “… Men and women inhabit very different worlds. Men don’t live in a world where their bodies aren’t routinely stereotyped and judged.”According to Kilbourne, the body language in advertisements has grown increasingly graphic and pornographic. She said ads have more frequently portrayed young girls sexually, but she said an APA study suggests that girls exposed to sexual images at a young age have higher chances of developing eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem.“Girls learn from a very young age that their sexual behavior affects them,” Kilbourne said. “… Girls learn to turn themselves into objects. When the culture offers women and girls only one way to be sexy, it can hardly be portrayed as a choice to choose it.”Kilbourne said American children receive their sex education from the media, through sexualized video games, music videos and advertisements because the U.S. has no regulated education program. She said this could be one reason why the U.S. has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexual diseases of any industrialized nation.When asked how she stays hopeful despite advertisements growing worse since she started her work decades ago, Kilbourne said society must work together for change. She said after showing one of her documentaries, “Killing Me Softly,” to the British Parliament, a politician introduced legislation to label Photoshopped images and to enforce a minimum body mass index for models.“The big thing that’s changed is I’m no longer alone, which I was when I started talking out about it,” she said. “What’s at stake for all of us … is the ability to have authentic and freely-chosen lives and relationships, and we all deserve that.”Tags: advertising, Body Image, gender, Gender Relations Center, GRC, Jean Kilbourne, Love Your Body Week, medialast_img read more

Show to address sexual issues on campus

first_imgThis Thursday, the Gender Studies department will host their annual production “Loyal Daughters and Sons” at the Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library.“Loyal Daughters and Sons,” originally a thesis project from the gender studies department, is a series of monologues and theatrical performances detailing experiences from Notre Dame students regarding sexuality, gender and sexual assault on campus.Senior Marissa Vos, director of the “Loyal Daughters and Sons,” said this year’s production aims to link sexual assault prevention with the concept of the Notre Dame community.“This year we tried to revamp things a bit with the gender relations and gender studies departments. Our tagline this year is ‘Is this how you would treat your family?’” Vos said.“We want to be true to what we always say, that we are a [Notre Dame] family. We can’t say that we are a family when people are suffering on campus.”Vos said this year’s script includes both old and new monologues from students who have experienced problems with sexual assault or sexuality on campus.“With all of the increased reporting, students felt like they could just come forward and tell their stories,” Vos said. “I’m hopeful that it’s something that people are more aware of, because [we] want to create a community where we feel comfortable talking about these kinds of things and [where] we are more active bystanders.”Vos said the increased awareness of sexual assault through freshman orientation activities has garnered an increased awareness and a greater understanding of the need to report sexual assault.“The way we revamped the [freshman orientation] education program has made it clear to incoming freshman that reporting [assaults] is essential,” Vos said.Vos is hopeful that this year’s show will be a follow up to the many sexual-assault-awareness campaigns on campus and will foster a greater sense of community regarding gender issues and acceptance.“The purpose of the show is not to blame anyone,” Vos said. “The purpose is to come together and make it clear that we want to create a community where we prevent sexual assault and discrimination.”Shelly Chatman, a writer for the show this year, said many of the interviews from students were left unchanged.“A lot of the monologues are [a] literal word-for-word of what a person said, and some of the words are so powerful that I felt that they stood on their own,” Chatman said. “The purpose is to understand what [the person] wants us to take away from their stories and making that clear.“It’s a show that tries to illustrate these issues in a way that’s very creative and helps start a dialogue. I feel that every single member of the Notre Dame community could learn something from this show.”The show opens Thursday and has performances Friday and Saturday as well.Tags: gender issues, gender relations, gender studies department, loyal daughters and sons, sexual assaultlast_img read more

Arts and Letters announces new concentration

first_imgMeg Handelman | The Observer Maria MassaThe College of Arts and Letters announced it will add a new concentration in financial economics and econometrics for the fall 2014 semester, according to a Notre Dame press release. The concentration will accept applications from sophomore economics and international economics majors, the press release said.“This year, we had roughly 40 applicants,” professor of economics Timothy Fuerst said. “We are still in the process of making choices, but we plan to accept about 25 of these students … We anticipate that it will grow steadily, with likely 50 students being part of cohorts in the more distant future.”Admission decisions will be based on applicants’ overall GPA, mathematical background and performance in prior economics classes, according to the press release. The decisions will be made by Monday, the press release said.The concentration came about from a desire to expand the qualitative skills of the economics majors in combination with a growing interest in the economics of financial markets, Fuerst said.Richard Jensen, professor of economics, said the concentration in financial economics and econometrics will offer students practical experience and increase the University’s competitive edge.“This concentration will provide students not only a thorough understanding of financial institutions and instruments, but also rigorous analytical and econometric training in financial markets that is currently available at only a handful of the top-20 universities,” Jensen said in the press release.Although the new concentration might appear to be similar to the finance major available in the Mendoza College of Business, it will serve a different group of students through a distinct educational strategy, Fuerst said.“The economics major is within the Arts and Letters College, so that there is a wider variety of non-economics electives available to students,” Fuerst said. “In contrast, Mendoza provides a more complete business background but with less flexibility in other electives.“Second, we approach finance from the perspective of an economist. For example, what is the best way to model and thus understand the behavior or market actors? How do these behaviors affect markets and asset prices?”The concentration will include five additional classes, with three newly-created course offerings being required: financial economics, asset pricing and financial econometrics, the press release stated. These courses will fulfill the elective requirements of the economics or international economics major.“We’ve been delighted by the growing student interest in economics and the strong response to our new international economics major and the business economics minor open to all Arts and Letters students,” John McGreevy, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said in the press release. “The financial economics and econometrics concentration offers yet another terrific option for students with these interests.”Contact Kayla Mullen [email protected]: Concentrationlast_img read more

Campus community, visitors watch funeral Mass, follow procession

first_imgGiven the rich Notre Dame lineage, it’s fitting that so many people have made the pilgrimage to campus to attend memorials honoring University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.“As an ND family for three generations, he’s been our local pope,” Rich Cronin, class of 1976, said. “When the pope passes, you go to the Vatican.”Cronin traveled from Los Angeles, and his sister, Cindy Cahill, class of 1980, came from the Chicago area to pay respects to Hesburgh. Cahill served as the first woman president of the Notre Dame Club of Chicago.“I came out because I love Fr. Hesburgh,” she said. “… I met him many times — had dinner with him.”Cronin and Cahill watched the funeral Mass in the packed main lounge of LaFortune Student Center, along with many other alumni and students.Visitors joined the campus community at various other locations around campus to watch a live stream of the Mass, and many students watched the service together in their dorms before heading out to line the procession’s path.Outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a group braved the cold to listen to audio of the service and receive Holy Communion, and some people left their viewing areas to stand outside the Basilica for the Eucharist.The funeral Mass was by invitation only.“[The funeral] was really nice … very somber, but very nice. An honor to be there.” Eric Woitchek, junior and Dillion hall president, said.Traveling alumni joined the campus community in celebrating Hesburgh’s legacy as they lined the path around Saint Mary’s Lake from the Basilica to Holy Cross Community Cemetery. Some followed the procession to the cemetery.“It showed those that went to the funeral — family, friends and members of the Holy Cross congregation — that we are one big community and are all together in times of hardship,” O’Neill Hall sophomore Alexander Preudhomme said on attending the funeral procession.As mourners gathered, many shared personal memories of meeting Hesburgh.“My RA used to read to him every Tuesday,” freshman Margaret Crawford said. “She’s been doing that since she was a freshman, so she took our section to go meet him first semester. He was really impressive, kind of intimidating just because he’s such a big Notre Dame figure.“But he was just a really cute old man. And he told us all these amazing stories about incredible things that he’s done in his lifetime.”Maura Poston Zagrans met Hesburgh while working on the book “Camerado, I Give You My Hand” about Fr. David Link, a professor emeritus and dean emeritus of the Notre Dame Law School. She recalled that Hesburgh was always gracious and accommodating during her visits and work on the book.Zagrans’ husband and daughter attended the University, she said.“My husband came to Notre Dame because of Fr. Hesburgh and the work that he did for civil rights,” Zagrans said. “He could have gone anywhere in the country. This place owes a lot to Fr. Hesburgh.”Many remembered Hesburgh exactly as he often said he wanted to be remembered — as a priest.“Fr. Ted was a man for the ages,” Zagrans said. “He was truly a great man. And I think he was a quintessential priest. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.”Tags: Father Hesburgh, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, Funeral Mass, Procession, Ted Hesburghlast_img read more

Seniors discern futures, pursue religious life

first_imgAfter founding the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Blessed Basil Moreau, along with other priests and brothers, landed in southern Indiana in 1841. The group trekked to South Bend in 1842, where they cleared the trees, dredged the lake to create two and began creating “brother bricks” in the river, Fr. Neil Wack, director of vocations for the Congregation of the Holy Cross, said.“This University was built on the blood, sweat and tears of the Holy Cross brothers, and also the priests,” Wack said. “[Moreau] had the idea of being the family of the Holy Cross under one founder, Blessed Fr. Moreau, with his charism, ‘educate the mind and the heart, but never educate the mind at the expense of the heart.’”Though many students pass Corby Hall and Moreau Seminary — two buildings used by the successors of the brothers who laid the bricks of several buildings on campus — without even knowing what they are used for, the buildings hold deep significance to seniors such as Ryan Kerr and Brian Vetter. Kerr and Vetter plan to enter religious life after graduation with the Congregation of Holy Cross.For a year following Commencement, Kerr, Vetter and others will enter a year of formation with the Congregation of the Holy Cross. The year of formation is a time in which those who are called to religious life take classes, pray and further discern their vocations, Wack said.In order to be accepted, Kerr and Vetter, as well as other applicants, underwent a vigorous orientation process. The process includes a lengthy application, interviews, psychological evaluations and a spiritual autobiography in the vein of St. Augustine’s confessions, Wack said.“We ask that they come and see for a weekend to see what life is like in the community, go to class, go to mass, go to prayer and just to hang out and see if this feels like home, a community where you can live and die with,” he said.Wack said Notre Dame prepares men and women entering religious life and way of thought through the theology and philosophy requirements, and — perhaps more importantly — the environment.“Our charism is ‘educators of the faith, educators of the hearts,’” he said. “A big part of how we do that is by living where we work … we live with the students, which is kind of unusual. … We get the opportunity to serve in a different way, they get the opportunity to experience the religious life and the priesthood in a different way and see us as being something more than far away, unapproachable and — heaven forbid — uninteresting.”Kerr, who majored in theology and English with minors in constitutional studies and business economics, lived in his dorm, Keough Hall, for all four years as an undergraduate. Kerr said he has been in touch with the Holy Cross vocations director sine his sophomore year of high school.“I went back and forth between religious life and married life and different kinds of religious life,” he said. “For a long time I thought I would be in a more contemplative order — a Benedictine community.”However, his experiences in his dorm, namely with his rector, Fr. Pat Reidy, and Wack — who has lived in Keough for the last two years — gave him a greater understanding of Holy Cross and helped him realize his calling more fully, Kerr said.Kerr and Reidy both moved into Keough in the same year, when Reidy had not yet been ordained a deacon. Kerr was able to see Reidy take his final vows with Holy Cross, Kerr said, as well as witness him perform his ministries as rector.“One hundred and fifty of us were at his ordination, and I think that that sparked something really significant for me that I couldn’t replace,” Kerr said.Noting that the Catholic culture and dorm community on campus had the biggest impact on the realization of his vocation, Kerr said the education he received in his undergraduate years at Notre Dame has been equally beneficial in preparation.“Being in the theology department, some things really changed my spiritual life that I learned in class,” he said. “And within the English major, I was able to learn to engage in things that I wasn’t used to, in a way that I wasn’t used to and articulate myself in a new way.”Members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross live in community wherever they work, Wack said, be it a soup kitchen or a university such as Notre Dame. Kerr said this aspect of it drew him to the congregation.“Holy Cross is known for its fraternity and community — for Holy Cross, it’s kind of like their hallmark,” Kerr said. “I ended up being drawn in by that and realized that God had been working through my life pretty actively, through my stubbornness to get me here. Even just wanting to go to Notre Dame was part of God calling me to [the] Holy Cross community. When I was 10, I decided I was going to Notre Dame, and I kind of lived my life to that end.”The fraternity that attracted Kerr to the community also appealed to Vetter, who majored in science pre-professional studies and theology, and has lived in Alumni Hall for the past four years, which he said greatly influenced his decision to join the congregation.“I wouldn’t be joining Holy Cross without the awesome community of Alumni Hall,” Vetter said. “Throughout my discernment, I realized that my most authentically joyful moments have taken place when I have been in community with my Alumni Hall brothers. For four years I have lived with a large group of guys who — because of our strong emphasis on community and identity — manage to accept and love one another in the midst of our flaws and wide-ranging personalities and lifestyles.”Vetter said this community taught him more about himself and how to live his own life.“This has taught me how to love, and has drawn out my best self,” he said. “I’ve learned that this is a charism that flows directly from the religious life of Holy Cross. If I want to be my best self and cultivate a close relationship with God, I need a strong community to support me.”Echoing Kerr, Vetter spoke of his discerning process and time at Notre Dame as an overall positive experience, and advised all students to keep an open mind about their vocations.“Discerning a vocation to the priesthood has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but it has been an experience of profound joy,” he said. “The more I have opened my heart to it, the more peace and joy I have experienced. So be open and never forget to pray for an open heart, because without prayer it won’t be possible.”Tags: Alumni Hall, Community, Congregation of the Holy Cross, Keough Hall, priesthood, religious life, vocationslast_img read more

County to cancel and renegotiate food inspection agreement with Notre Dame

first_imgSt. Joseph County will cancel and then renegotiate a recently announced agreement with Notre Dame that would have allowed the University to conduct its own health inspection for on-campus food establishments, the South Bend Tribune reported Thursday.On Wednesday, David Keckley, the county Board of Health’s attorney, said the renegotiated agreement would seek to make the University’s health inspection reports publicly available.“I don’t think that’s probably a good arrangement for Notre Dame to conduct inspections and keep all their reports confidential — even if they have a right to do it,” Keckley said in the article.According to the article, the county board of health has had problems carrying out the recommended number of health inspections due to staff shortages. It would be helpful, the article said, if Notre Dame could do its own inspections.Keckley said the health department’s food services director, Carolyn Smith, had negotiated the agreement with the University. However, it was Notre Dame that had insisted on keeping the inspection reports confidential. Keckley stated Smith had told him that she heard from the state health department that Notre Dame could keep the reports confidential, but he did not believe that to be the case. He also said Smith reported Indiana University and all of its regional campuses do their own inspections and keep the reports confidential.According to the article, Smith told Keckley that Indiana’s health department lets IU and “all of its regional campuses, including IUSB, to conduct inspections and keep the records confidential.”Graham McKeen, IU’s public health manager, said this information was inaccurate, as although IU does its own inspections, it makes the information publicly available.The initial agreement between Notre Dame and the county called for the county to do any initial inspections of “new or remodeled food establishments” at the University, with the school taking over “routine” inspections from then on. The records of such inspections would have been available to the health department but not the general public.“If we’re going to have Notre Dame give us inspection reports and keep them here, we may have to turn them over on any [public] request,” Keckley said in the article.Notre Dame signaled it was willing to renegotiate the agreement, according to the article.“[The original agreement] contains substantial errors, including language concerning access to public records,” University spokesman Dennis Brown told the Tribune.Keckley also says he believes the first deal is not valid because the department’s health officer, Luis Galup, never signed it. Only Smith signed the original deal.Since the approval of the agreement, Galup said the county health department has not received any inspection reports from Notre Dame, though it is unclear if any inspections were carried out.Tags: Campus DIning, food inspections, St. Joseph County Health Departmentlast_img read more